VLS Announcements 62 - 6 November 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to issue 62 of our weekly announcements.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Michael Calver, Halina Kobryn, Bethany Jackson, Kirsty Bayliss, James Speers, Guy Lester and Ihab Habib for presenting at the Postgraduate Evening last Wednesday 28 October and representing the school at this important event.

 Peter Irwin and Ian Robertson are the Murdoch University Chief Investigators on a successful University of Sydney LIEF grant application ($230,000) for a project titled: VetCompass: big data and real-time surveillance for veterinary science. There is representation from most of the veterinary schools around Australia on this project. The VetCompass data service intends to collect real-time records from veterinary clinics (including the university veterinary teaching hospitals, like at Murdoch) and aggregate them for researchers to interrogate. It aims to provide Australian researchers with sustainable and cost-effective access to authoritative data from hundreds of practitioners in Australia and the United Kingdom. These data will be essential for research on disease distribution and determinants, and surveillance and diagnostics that underpin evidence-based practice. The expected outcomes include identification of the most prevalent disorders and their causes and optimal treatments. The data may also revolutionise clinical auditing in Australia, help the veterinary profession to rank research priorities, and inform companion animal and equine curricula in our universities.

Also this week, Dr Wei Xu, Lecturer in Entomology, has received an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA).


David Hampson
Dean, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences

Submissions for the announcements can be made by emailing Emma Thorp by COB each Tuesday for publication on Friday.

Note: items that require action are marked with a red flagfor action.   Click on [Expand All/Collapse All] below to view the entire stories.

Teaching and Research News [Expand All] | [Collapse All]

  • Filming in VLS Areasfor action

    On Thursday, November 5 and Friday, November 6, certain areas of the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences will be utilised for filming by a production company shooting scenes for a comedy movie entitled A Few Less Men. This is a sequel to A Few Best Men.

    Filming will be taking place all day on Friday inside the Anatomy Room and surrounding corridors and several production trucks will be parked in this area from 8am on Thursday. Around 30 crew vehicles and 12 trucks will be parking in car parks 8B and 8A and 8 on the day of filming. The film crew’s unit base (comprising make up trucks, wardrobe, catering and green room) will be situated in the area adjacent to the Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre, above Tea Tree Loop. There will be significant foot traffic between this area and the film location on the day of the shoot with 50 crew members and five actors on site. Signage will be erected on the day of filming to direct students and staff to appropriate areas. There will be access to the museum and other study areas throughout the day. Filming will be completed by 6.45pm on Friday and the film crew will be bumping out until 9pm. The pergola area has been booked by the film unit as a precaution to avoid any noise during shooting, so please use another area on Friday. The coffee van will still be coming on Friday and will be situated close to their usual spot but please keep noise to an absolute minimum. We apologise for any inconvience to staff. Every effort is being made to minimise any disruption to the normal operations of VLS. Murdoch will be receiving a fee for its participation and will be looking to generate publicity.
  • Public Universities/Veterinary Medical Colleges’ Task Force Unveils Recommendations & Launches Action Plan to Address Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture

    WASHINGTON, DC, October 29, 2015--The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) | Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture today unveiled a much-anticipated report that outlines a comprehensive national strategy for diminishing the role antibiotics used in food animal production systems play in the broader antimicrobial resistance (AMR) problem.

    The Task Force, comprised of leaders from U.S. agriculture colleges/land grant universities and veterinary colleges as well as key representatives from the production animal agriculture community and the pharmaceutical industry, detailed a comprehensive research and educational agenda along with plans on how it intends to implement it. The report’s agenda is designed to explore and describe the nature and implications of the problem and educate producers, healthcare providers and the public about best practices. It also calls for a series of national summits to elevate the issue of antibiotic resistance to the top of the national agenda.

    Formed last fall, the 14-member task force has been working closely with federal government agencies to develop an action plan that will leverage the collective strengths and expertise of North American universities to address what the Obama administration has termed a national security priority.

    The Task Force report also contains a detailed strategy for implementing their educational, outreach and research program recommendations. A full-time program manager has been hired to provide administrative leadership and management. The APLU and AAVMC will work to identify a national consortium of faculty experts within their member institutions to build out the programs and collaborate with federal agency personnel.

    A series of educational workshops and leadership forums uniting personnel from federal agencies, industry, NGO’s and academic institutions will be convened to explain and advance the Task Force recommendations. Other strategies designed to support the successful implementation of the Task Force recommendations include:

    Frequent collaboration/meetings with USDA, FDA, CDC, PCAST representatives, agricultural and veterinary medical organizational, federal task force officials to ensure coordination and alignment

    Broad collaboration with representatives from the OIE, FAO, WHO and other global organizations with interest and programs in this area

    Engagement with federal government agencies to resolve the issue of lack of veterinarians in many rural communities across the United States

    The AAVMC | APLU Task Force report will be broadly disseminated among the vast array of stakeholders involved with the issue. King’s recent appointment to co-lead the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria will help ensure that the APLU/AAVMC Task Force recommendations are fully considered as elements of the official national action plan.

    To develop the report, task force members convened with federal government officials in Washington several times. The report outlines the benefits of leveraging the research and development capabilities of the nation’s universities, as well as the working relationships maintained by faculty members at the nation’s land-grant universities with members of the production animal community through the USDA’s Cooperative Extension Service.

    APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization representing 237 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations. Founded in 1887, APLU is North America's oldest higher education association with member institutions in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada, and Mexico. Annually, APLU member campuses enroll 4.7 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.1 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $41 billion in university-based research.

    The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Members include 49 accredited veterinary medical colleges in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, as well as 23 affiliate members.

  • National policy on sending animal samples overseas for testing for emerging and exotic diseases.

    Please find attached a letter advising you of the national policy on sending animal samples overseas for testing for emerging and exotic diseases.

    Please contact Dr Raana Asgar ( should you require further information.

Staff News and Events [Expand All] | [Collapse All]

  •  New Staff Member - message from Marilyn Davies

    It is with pleasure that we welcome Amy Moeen as an Administrative Assistant to the school and the Technical Resources Manager

    Amy will be located in the VLS Office of the Dean. Please join me in welcoming her.

    Amy Moeen Picture

  • New Arrival - message from Prof Peter Irwin.

    Hello everyone, I have some good (joyous) news and some sad news from the land of Diagnostic Imaging.

    062 JJ Reese Pic

    First the good: Shona Reese gave birth to a baby boy on 2/10/2015 called Jamison Joseph. For those of you into such things, ‘JJ’ weighed in at 2.85kg and was 48cm long (high?).  However, sadly, Shona has today handed in her resignation, to be effective from April 2016. We will say our farewells in due course.

Seminars, Conferences and Workshops [Expand All] | [Collapse All]

  • Seminar - National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Grant Review Panel

    A seminar will be held on the 18th of November regarding Grant Review Panels.

    This seminar will be presented by NHMRC GRP co-chair Dr Rakesh Veedu; GRP observers: Dr Ann-Maree Vallence and Ms Hinke van Gelder and will provide insights to:
    how grant review panels operate, what the assessors are looking for; and importantly provide tips to help improve the success of your next application. For further information, see the attached flyer.

HDR Opportunities and Scholarships [Expand All] | [Collapse Al

  • PhD scholarship in estuarine ecological health

    This PhD project will assess linkages between estuarine fauna (fish and benthic invertebrates) and ecosystem health in the iconic Peel-Harvey Estuary, Western Australia.

    It is part of a large, inter-disciplinary study aimed at linking key catchment and climate drivers to estuarine health response and testing resilience across the human-natural system. The successful student will be working as part of a broader team encompassing ecological, hydrological, biogeochemical, modelling and socio-economic expertise. They will also be working closely with key management and community groups in the Peel region.
    The successful applicant will have a First Class Honours (or equivalent) in marine/estuarine ecology or a related field, and be an Australian or New Zealand citizen. Preference will be given to those applicants with previous experience in fish or benthic invertebrate fauna and/or strong statistical skills. Journal publications in these fields are desirable but not essential.
    The student will be based in the Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research ( at Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.

    Funding: Stipend ($25,849 pa, tax exempt). Field and laboratory expenses will also be supported by the broader project.
    Contact: Interested applicants should send their CV, academic transcript and a short (max. 1 page) letter outlining their suitability and interest in the project to Dr Fiona Valesini (
    Closing date: November 16th 2015.
    Project starting date: Preferably February 2016.

  • David Syme Research Prize

    The prize rewards the best and most important original research in Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics

    Closing date: Friday 15 January 2016
    Value: approximately $7,500

    Summary details:
    The prize rewards the best and most important original research in Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics;
    The presented research must have been produced in Australia during the past two years, ending 31 December 2015;
    Candidates for the prize must have spent a minimum of five full years out of the last seven years in Australia;
    Preference will be given to work of value to the industrial and commercial interests of Australia;

    The following are not eligible to apply: Professors or researchers outside universities who will have attained a level of seniority comparable to a university professor (LEVEL E) when applications close.

    An Application Form and Information Sheet are available by searching under ‘Syme’ at: . Applicants are advised to refer to the Information Sheet and familiarise themselves with award details before submitting an application.

    This prestigious award was established following a donation by David Syme to the university in 1904 and is one of the Faculty’s oldest and most prestigious awards.Applicants requiring further information should contact: Linda Richardson on 8344 5949 or email:

  • Australia Awards in Indonesia - Short Term Award RFT: Agriculture: Productivity, Networks and Globalisation for Dryland Farming

    The Australia Awards scholarship program has invited Australian providers to submit a tender for a short course in Agriculture: Productivity, Networks and Globalisation for Dryland Farming.

    The documents are available on the Australia Awards in Indonesia website:

    The course delivery schedule is fixed, as indicated in the RFT document.

    If a Tenderer finds any discrepancy, error or omission in the RFT or wishes to make any enquiry concerning the RFT, it is to notify Colin Fuller ( in writing by the date indicated in the RFT. Where appropriate, answers to any such notices or questions will be provided to registered tenderers in the form of addenda and will be issued to all registered Tenderers.

    Tenderers who wish to submit a proposal are to fill in the two provided templates and email them to Colin Fuller ( by Friday 4 December 2015 at 5:00pm local time in Adelaide (ACST). Please see the RFT document for tender submission instructions.

  • OneStart bio-Entrpreneurship Program for Students/Postdocs.

    The OneStart bio-entrepreneurship program for students and postdocs - with a grand prize of $150k and free lab space.

    Our mission is to encourage students and postdocs (from across disciplines) to get involved in healthcare entrepreneurship by giving them financial support and mentorship. Taking part will allow students, postdocs and researchers within your network to gain exposure to entrepreneurship,whilst encouraging stronger ties between your institution and our industrial partners through potential funding and collaborative opportunities. Our partners include McKinsey & Co., Johnson & Johnson Innovation, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche, Takeda Ventures, andmore..

    If you have any questions regarding the program please do not hesitate to contact me via or have a look at our website:

    Do you have an innovative idea that could tackle humanity's most pressing healthcare needs? We are pleased to announce the launch of OneStart 2016, the world's largest life sciences and healthcare accelerator program. Offering young entrepreneurs the chance to win $150k, free lab space and on-going advice from our extensive mentor network drawn from McKinsey and Co., Johnson and Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, SR One, Takeda Ventures, and more.

    Many of our graduates have been successful in securing follow-on investment, our alumni raising over $30 million combined!

    There is no cost to apply, and applications are open now until 1st Dec, 2015.

    Learn more at today and start building your winning team. Who should participate? Anyone under 36 years old interested in healthcare entrepreneurship. We welcome applicants from all disciplines and ideas at all stages of development - from a simple idea to a startup with ample data. Moreover we encourage applicants to recruit other scientists, engineers, business students, lawyers, and anyone else with talent and motivation to join your team. Have a fantastic idea but no co-founders; why not assemble your team through our co-founder hub, connecting innovators across the globe.

    Applications are reviewed in Dec 2015 and 35 semi-finalist teams are selected to attend a two-day Biotech Bootcamp based in San Francisco on 19th and 20th Feb 2016. Consisting of workshops and networking opportunities with our mentors and partners. Each team also receives 1-on-1 mentorship from our industry experts over 7 weeks. The program ends with the Finals Gala, at which 10 exceptional finalist teams compete for the grand prize. Throughout October launches are being held across the world. Who will you be working with? You'll be directly interacting with experts across healthcare and life sciences drawn from pharma, biotech, venture capital, management consulting and more.

    If you have any further questions feel free to get in touch via or reach us through our dedicated discussion forum.

VLS Announcements No. 62