VLS Announcements 110 - 21 October 2016

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to congratulate Rushan Abdul Rahman, Environmental Science honours student, and Alex Gorman, Marine Science honours student, who both won awards at the IOC Perth/IMaeEST Marine Studies Awards. I would also like to congratulate Emeritus Professor Thomas Lyons who was awarded the "Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand, Western Australia Branch, Annual Achievement Award". This is a yearly prize to recognise individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of Air Quality.

I would like to thank Mike Calver, Bethany Jackson, David Newsom, Kirsty Bayliss and James Speers for attending and presenting at our Postgraduate Evening on Thursday evening.  Thank you for showing your support of the school and of the university.

Thanks also to those of you have taken or booked your leave. It is a very significant contribution to our budget, and we all need to ensure we clear as much outstanding leave as possible. Outstanding leave reduces our available budget in the following year, so do please help avoid the negative personal and financial impact of untaken leave by seeing what leave you can book this year and next year.

Kind regards

Phil Nicholls
Acting Dean, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences.

Submissions for the announcements can be made by emailing Mhairi Finlayson COB each Tuesday for publication Thursday

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

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

  • Assignment Collection

    When advising your students of assignment collection from the Biological Sciences front office, please let them know that collection times are 9:30- 10:30 and 3:00 – 4:00pm.

  • Marking of multiple choice questions

    CUTL will cease providing this service on 31 December 2016. A Working Party was formed to consider a replacement service and the Academic Registrar has approved their recommendation that a new service be provided by ACSPRI (Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Inc.) from 1 January 2017.

    The new system has various advantages over the current system:

    • No special stationery required
    • No special pencil required
    • No special scanner required
    • MCQ and EMQ formats available
    • Questions can have variable points
    • Questions can have more than one correct answer
    • Reduced cost

    As detailed in the attachment, details on the new service and its processes will be provided to academic staff via email and Staff Announcements once they are available from ACSPRI, closer to implementation

  • IOC Perth/IMarEST Marine Studies Awards highlight excellent MU honours students

    Several VLS Honours students competed very successfully in the recent Western Australian Marine Studies Awards held by the UNESCO IOC (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission) Perth Program Office and IMarEST (Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology). Congratulations to the following students for excellent presentations on their honours research projects:

    • First Place – Rushan Abdul Rahman, Honours in Environmental Science (supervisors: Dr. Margaret Andrew & Prof. Lynnath Beckley)
    • Finalist – Alex Gorman, Honours in Marine Science (supervisors: Dr. Jennifer Verduin & Prof. Michelle Waycott [U. Adelaide])
  • Chemicals Available- free to a good lab

    Assorted CHEMICALS will be available in B240 (Biological Sciences) Room 2.049 for viewing and removal from 3rd to 10th November. You are welcome to have a look and take any chemicals you may consider useful. Please note chemicals removed must be included in your own chemical manifest that is a requirement for OSH (Brodey Anderson)- see "Chemical Management 2016" in "Staff Events and News" section for more information. Please feel free to contact Gordon Thomson ( for further details

  • Online Research Profile on Scopus

    R&I are undertaking a number of initiatives to manage research performance and indicators at Murdoch University that will lead to improved grant application and information on publication output. Citation databases such as Scopus are used globally to monitor research performance so it is important for researchers to keep their publication profiles up to date.

    The initial phase of this project is collect and update Scopus Identifiers of all research active staff in the School of VLS, including Emeritus Professors. If you are research active, can you please check your Scopus ID, update if need be and email your main identifier to by 31st October COB. (This information will be collated on a spreadsheet – not included in this message - & returned to R&I next week)

    (note: “Scopus Author Identifiers are system generated: if you have an article indexed in Scopus, you will have an ID. However, this means that you may have more than one ID generated if you have published with variant names and affiliations (e.g. Clarke, G and Clarke, GC). Find yourself in Scopus by using the Author search option. Enter your surname and initials. If you find you have more than one ID and profile you can ask Scopus to merge them so you have a unique Scopus identifier”.)

    A number of common errors can arise in Scopus and these are listed below:

    • you have more than one Scopus profile
    • Someone else’s Scopus profile has become merged with yours
    • Some of your publications are attached to someone else’s profile and so are missing from yours
    • You have someone else’s publications attached to your profile
    • You do not have a Scopus profile because you do not have publications that are indexed by Scopus

    A number of FAQ links are available on page below, outlining how to access Scopus, check your profile and if necessary fix problems or errors on your Scopus profile, or merge them if you happen to have several Scopus profiles:

  • Mentoring Program for Murdoch Early-Career Academics

    During November all academic staff establishing their careers (the mentees) can meet with a more experienced staff member (the mentors) to talk about a topic of their choosing.

    The expectation is that the mentor and mentee meet twice during November after participating in a short, 1-hour training session to set ground rules and check in on expectations.

    To close off the mentoring month there will be special morning tea to celebrate and to provide an opportunity for mentors and mentees to network and give feedback about the program.

    Register your interest to be a mentee before 24 October 2016 here or for further information click here

  • Innovative Research Universities – Malaysian Research University Network (IRU-MRUN) Workshop on Regulation of New breeding Technologies

    There are a series of powerful new breeding technologies that can be applied to most biological systems, but especially to crop improvement. These include transgenics, gene silencing (RNAi) and various forms of genome editing (eg based on CRISPR/Cas9). Regulators need to determine how these technologies will be regulated. As part of an IRU-MRUN joint initiative between Murdoch University and the University of Malaya, new breeding technologies were discussed on Wednesday 12TH October in a one day online Workshop. The participants of the Workshop included researchers of the Plant Biotechnology Research Group, VLS, based in the SABC, and researchers at the University of Malaya. From the Murdoch side, speakers included Dr Sadia Iqbal (genome editing in potato), Dr Yong Han (genome editing in barley), Professor Mike Jones (regulation of new breeding technologies in Australia) and invited speaker Professor Peter Waterhouse, ARC Laureate Fellow (QUT) talking about new developments in RNAi. Malaysian speakers outlined the new technologies and the current regulation system in Malaysia. The Workshop was particularly timely as the OGTR has just announced a review of regulation of genetic technologies in Australia, and the Malaysian regulatory system is modelled on the Australian system. (Organisers: Prof Mike Jones, Murdoch, Prof Jenni Harikrishna, University of Malaya).

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

  • Academic Registrar's Office (ARO) Weekly Newsletter #41 - 17 October

    Please find attached, the ARO newsletter for the week beginning 17 October.

  • Chemical Management 2016 for action

    The Chemical and Hazardous Substances Committee met recently in September 2016 and proposed an upcoming chemical audit and amnesty to be held over a three month period (September to end of November 2016).

    All laboratory managers as per the attached Chemical Management v3 MUR-SAF-SPR-INV-2016 register are required to make a list of all chemicals within their laboratory utilizing the attached Chemwatch Manifest MUR-SAF-SPR-CMA-2016 inventory register.

    Any surplus chemicals can be disposed of through the Science Store (Physical Sciences, Room 1.016) or held until the chemical amnesty with the assistance of the Murdoch Safety Team towards the end of the year.

    All areas such as laboratory, workshops and stores must maintain a chemical register (list of chemicals), which includes a list of all chemicals in the area including quantity and location. A list of designated “hazardous substances” assessed as hazardous according to the assessment criteria produced by the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission must also be kept and included in the chemical register.

    This list of all chemicals in each area is maintained and available electronically in the university “Chemwatch” Chemical Management System in which the safety team will provide some upcoming training.

    The Chemwatch audit process is outlined in the attached presentation Chemical Management Audit Rollout MUR-SAF-PRE-CMA-2016 and will cover all chemicals within the area and ensure the existing SDS’s are up to date.

    Please see the attached documents: 
    CREDO Quick Start Guide
    Chemwatch Process Flow
    Chemwatch Implementation Plan
    Chemical Audit and Chemical Amnesty

  • Visiting Lecturer - Guy Kol, NRGene

    Mr Kol has 15 years of experience in industrial computational biology. From 2005 to 2007, he served as the Bioinformatics team leader of Evogene, where he collaborated with Dr. Ronen. Mr. Kol holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science, Biology and Mathematics from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a M.Sc. in Human Genetics from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from Babson College in Wellesley, MA.

    Date: Wednesday 2 November
    Time: 11.30am
    Venue: SABC Seminar Room
    RSVP: please RSVP your attendance to Ruth Abbott ( by Tuesday 25 October

  • Acupuncture guided Meditation Workshops

    Murdoch University Health (Medical) is offering acupuncture guided meditation workshops for staff wellness, run by one of our doctors Dr Su Lin Wan. (see attached flyer)

    The four-week workshop will train you in qigong meditation techniques with the guidance of acupuncture (max 8 participants per course). The four-week workshop will train you in qigong meditation techniques with the guidance of acupuncture (max 8 participants per course)

    Receive personal instruction, guidance and answers to your questions, and experience the benefits of guided qigong meditations in a friendly group setting. You will leave this course with tools you need for your own daily meditation practice for wellbeing.

    • Week One: Deep Relaxation for stress and anxiety
    • Week Two: Natural Breathing Method (Abdominal breathing)
    • Week Three: Meridian cleansing
    • Week Four: Revision of Techniques

    Dates: 7th November, 14th November, 21st November, 28th November
    Time: 11.00am - 12.00pm or 12.30pm - 1.30pm
    Venue: ECL2.031 Postgrad Suite, 2nd Floor
    Costs: Part funded by Medicare with a gap fee of $30 per class, attendance is require for all four classes, deposit for attendance $30x 4 ( $120)
    Enrolments: Please contact Murdoch Uni Health on extension 2293 or Enrolment forms attached (11.00-12.00 Booking Form and 12.30 - 13.30 Booking Form)

  • VLS Poster Day

    VLS Poster Day is approaching, the posters will be displayed from Monday 7th November till Wednesday 9th November in the Library Foyer. All HDR Students have been emailed, could supervisors please encourage their students to participate.

    Date: Wednesday 9th November
    Time: 2pm till 3pm
    Venue: Library Foyer
    RSVP: As drinks and nibbles are provided RSVPs are essential. Please RSVP by 2nd November to

    If you wish to invite any external guests please send their contact information including email to Mhairi Finlayson, VLS Marketing and Communications Coordinator ( for a formal invitation to be sent.

    More information is available on the Poster Day page of the website.

  • Postgraduate Evening

    The Murdoch University Postgraduate Evening is coming up. The on-campus event will take place on the 26th October at Club Murdoch. Please see the attached powerpoint slides (powerpoint Club M only) to add to the end of lectures for final year Undergraduate students.

    The event is being marketed via emails to all final year undergraduate students, the database of prospective PG students, social media, radio, electronic screens around campus, staff and student announcements.

    108 PGInfoEveningFlyerA5 5.jpg

  • Seeking Feline Community Blood Donors - message from The Animal Hospital

    Does your cat have what it takes to be a TAHMU Superstar Blood Donor?


    • Between 1-8 years old
    • Ideally 5kg, or greater, we will accept 4kg if very suited to being a donor
    • Good temperament & healthy
    • Currently on flea preventive
    • Current vaccinated
    • Ideally donor cats are indoor cats. However, we recognise that many cats are indoor/outdoor cats and we take this into consideration.

    Our Screening process involves the following

    • We would like to meet you and your cat. We will go through some paperwork and ask you to complete a questionnaire – we like to have all the information we need.
    • For your cat – we will get a body weight & perform a full physical exam.
    • Behavioural assessment- most cats are very cautious, we like to spend a bit of time with your cat in the consult room and see how they feel about us and being a part of the Donor Team.
    • We will obtain a blood sample for preventative health screening. The FeLV/FIV tests are repeated at each donation.

    Unlike dogs, this procedure requires your cat to be anaesthetised for the collection procedure. It will involve dropping your cat off to us in the morning and collecting your cat at the end of the day. Donation can occur between 3 and 5 times per year if your cat is available.

    This procedure, while safe, carries inherent risk. Our experienced team monitor for complications before, during, and after donation.

    Please contact Michelle Rouffignac with any questions you may have and also your preferred contact details. We will make contact with you to schedule a meet and greet within 4 weeks of receiving your email.

    Many thanks for providing this community service to the patients of The Animal Hospital At Murdoch University.

  • Vale Emeritus Professor Swan - a note from Professor Peter Irwin

    We are saddened to learn of the death last week of Emeritus Professor Ralph A. Swan BVSc (Hons), PhD (University of Queensland), MVPM (University of California, Davis, USA.), MRCVS, MACVSc. He died peacefully on Friday 14th October. Ralph was appointed in 1976 as the foundation Professor of Veterinary Clinical Studies, in the newly established Veterinary School at Murdoch University. This position required the planning of and construction of facilities, an on-campus teaching farm, appointment of staff, development of curriculum and an ability to get staff to carry out the vision. The success of the Murdoch University Veterinary degree is part of the legacy of Professor Swan.

    Professor Swan was a highly qualified Veterinary Surgeon who had specialist registration in sheep medicine and a national and international reputation. He was a clinician, teacher and researcher. He had wide veterinary interests and expertise including with diseases and management of horses, cattle, sheep, emus, ostriches and wildlife. He taught in Queensland, Western Australia, USA, Indonesia and Sri-Lanka. His research interests covered many fields including parasitology, epidemiology, virology, public health and disease conditions affecting horses, production animals and wildlife. He was passionate about preventive medicine and the delivery of animal health and production services. He supervised many now well-known Murdoch PhD Graduates including Dr Kevin Bell, Professor John Edwards, Dr Richard Norris and Associate Professor Kristin Warren. Professor John Edwards states “I was fortunate along with many others to benefit from his leadership, vision and passion for a range of aspects of veterinary science. Among other things, Ralph was early to recognise the importance of veterinary epidemiology and international work and his work in these areas led the Veterinary School at Murdoch University to being a leader in these areas”.

    Ralph was highly regarded in Asia, especially in Malaysia, Sri-Lanka, and Indonesia – his consultancies included numerous visits to various places in Indonesia to consult on tropical animal health and production and Orang-Utan rehabilitation. Some of these visits were at the request of FAO; some at the request of the Australian Universities International Development Programme, some were to train undergraduate students and some to help his postgraduate students. Professor Swan understood cultural difference and made an effort to learnt the local language. His valuable contribution to Asia was recognised by the award of the Kesteven medal for distinguished contribution to scientific and technical development in developing countries. This was awarded jointly by the Australian Veterinary Association and the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists in 1994.

    A man for all Creatures Great and Small.

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

  • Kings Park Seminars

    Topic: Fire and the Evolution of Mediterranean Floras
    Date: Thursday 27th October 2016
    Time: 4pm
    Presenter: Prof Byron Lamont is a Distinguished Professor (Emeritus) with the Plant Ecology and Evolution Group at Curtin University
    Venue: Biodiversity Conservation Centre, Kings Park (map:
    More information available on attached flyer.

  • The Royal Society of Western Australia (RSWA) presents Crime Scenes: Clues from Nature – Dr Paola Magni

    Date: 21st November 2016
    Time: 7pm
    Venue: Kings Park Administration Building

    More information is available on the attached flyer.

    Dr Paola Magni
    Lecturer in Forensic Science, School of Veterinary & Life Sciences, Murdoch University
    Investigators have the job to reconstruct the events of a crime and identify its cause. Despite movies showing a different and of course exciting perspective, it is not as easy a job as portrayed. The reason is because investigators have to confront the uniqueness of each crime scenario, a combination of the particular aspects of the place where the crime occurs, environmental conditions and organisms involved. The crime scene is not a closed system and the presence and activity of plants, animals and microorganisms can modify the crime scene by adding and erasing information. However, information left by nature – if correctly interpreted and contextualized – can also provide useful clues for the investigation process because they can characterize the time, the manner and the people involved in these events.

    A number of real cases will be presented in which insects, crustaceans, molluscs, microorganisms and plants were witnesses to a crime and were used as key evidence in the success of the investigation.

  • International Scientific Conference

    Conferences: International Scientific Conference on Agricultural, Animal and Veterinary Research, 16th International Scientific Conference on Sport, Medical and Health Sciences, 16th International Scientific Conference on Food Engineering and Biotechnology, 16th International Scientific Conference on Electrical, Computer, Electronics and Engineering
    Date: 26 - 27 November 2017
    Venue: Nippon Hotel, Topu Caddesi No: 6 34437, Taksim, Istanbul, Turkey