VLS Announcements 111 - 28 October 2016

Dear Colleagues,

VLS has once again made it onto television this week. Dr Navid Moheimani, Director of our Algae Research & Development Centre, was interviewed by Channel 9 for a story on algae production and biofuel, see the interview here.  Dr Charlotte Oskam has also appeared on our screens this week on SBS Insight on their “How sick can you get from a tick” episode. The show can be viewed here, Charlotte appears about 45 minutes into the show. Dr Brad Norman was featured on Martin Clunes’ show Islands of Australia. The episode can be viewed here (link expired), Brad appears about 5 minutes in and it was apparently Martin Clunes’ favourite episode of the series. This is great media exposure for the school, thank you and well done to everyone involved.

As well as fantastic media coverage this week we have also had some very impressive publications. Congratulations to PhD student Tim Haskett who has first authored a paper published in PNAS, “Assembly and transfer of tripartite integrative and conjugative genetic elements”. Also congratulations to Amanuel Bekuma, PhD student with the Centre for Rhizobium Studies, Dr Jason Terpolilli, Dr Graham O'Hara and Dr Penghao Wang who co-authored this paper. The full paper is available here.

Dr Sam Abraham has also been in the news talking about a study he led to identify the risk of a highly drug-resistant salmonella superbug that could infect both humans and livestock. The superbug has been found in domestic animals for the first time in Australia; see the full story here.

Dr Ihab Habib also wrote a Linkedin article about the one health approach to tackle the challenges of foodborne zoonoses and its impact on human health and food safety. The article is available here.

Finally I would like to extend sincere thanks to Michael Calver, Bethany Jackson, Halina Kobryn and James Speers for attending and presenting at the Post Graduate Evening on Wednesday at Club Murdoch. These events are important, and it is always appreciated when staff make time in their busy schedules to help promote and represent both the School and Murdoch.

Kind regards

David Hampson
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]

  • Early Career Researcher Representatives for School Research Committee: Call for Nominations

    Professor Giles Hardy, the Chair of the School Research Committee is calling for two Early Career Researcher representatives to nominate for the 2017 representative for the School Research Committee. Nominees are asked to forward their expression of interest by email to Jacqueline Dyer by Friday 11th of November.

    The ECR Rep will have a portfolio that will include activities and initiatives as decided by the Committee and Associate Dean (Research) that further the research development of Early Career Researchers and are in keeping with the School’s strategic research initiatives.

  • STEM + Business Fellowship Program

    The STEM+ Business Fellowship Program provides a mechanism for Early Career Researchers (ECR) to build new skills and relationships with industry. ECR, research organisations and small and medium sized (SME) Australian businesses will work together to develop innovative commercial solutions that build Australia’s national competitiveness.

    The objectives of the STEM + Business Fellowships are to:

    • build deep connection and collaboration between Research Organisations and small and medium sized Australian businesses that allow for knowledge flow between research and industry sectors;
    • elevate the significance of STEM disciplines as skills and capabilities central to industrial competitiveness in Australia;
    • provide practical experience in industry for Early Career Researchers, thus creating and sustaining a cohort of developing researchers capable of addressing national challenges;
    • accelerate the adoption of new ideas and technologies by Australian businesses; and
    • fast track solutions to increase the competitiveness of Australian businesses.

    The STEM + Business Fellowship Program presents a distinctive opportunity for SIEF to support the SIEF Strategic Objectives and align with the Trustee’s intent for closer links with industry, including active involvement by industry players. This Program provides long-term, in-firm placement of R&D capability with the prospect of developing the technical opportunities identified through previous, shorter term engagements between the research organisation and SME.

    Further Information

    Please contact, should you be interested in this scheme.

  • Zebrafish Workshop – Introduction to Genetic Manipulation

    Please see attached flyer for information

  • New Library Initiative- Free to Share

    Free to Share, was developed to assist all customers access these open resources more comprehensively and effectively.

    This initiative will support the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy to extend and access online educational content providing easier access to open access digital content. Free to Share digital content will also allow for easier sharing of resources that have been licensed by the copyright owners with fewer of the restrictions applying to purchased and ‘all rights reserved’ content.

    The Library realises that this content is increasingly in demand, particularly with Murdoch’s move towards blending learning modes of study so these resources will now be prominently featured.

    To assist customers discover these valuable resources, a portal to this content has been created on the Library’s website and information pages have been added to explain the copyright implications of using and sharing these resources. Our aim is to improve the visibility of these resources and provide clarity around their conditions of use.

    The library will officially launch Free to Share later this week as is it Open Access Week (24-30 October) via the Library’s social media channels.

  • Supervisor Enhancement Workshops (SEW)

    The next series of Supervisor Enhancement Workshops will be presented on:
    Tuesday, 22nd November, 2016 in the ECL Building 460 Postgraduate Suites ECL Room 2.031 at 9.00 am to 12.00 noon; and
    Tuesday, 6th December, 2016 in the ECL Building 460 Postgraduate Suites ECL Room 2.031 at 9.00 am to 12.00 noon.

    In order to meet research training educational standards expectations under a range of national mandated and best practise policies, the Research Degrees and Scholarships Committee (RDSC) of the university has approved the implementation of a compulsory supervisor professional development program (don’t be alarmed – it is one 3-hour workshop once every 4 years) as part of the requirements for academic staff to be listed on the approved register of supervisors.

    The attached document provides details of the background to development of the Workshop program, and identifies how it will be rolled out over the next few years.

    As per the roll-out information in the attached document, we require academic staff who fall in to the first cohort for Workshop completion - i.e. all staff who are not eligible to act as a Principal Supervisor, and have not been required to complete the EPS (Enhancing Postgraduate Supervision) program - to attend a workshop session this year if they wish to continue to be eligible to supervise graduate research degree students. We encourage all academic staff who have not completed EPS within the last 4 years (or are not currently undertaking EPS) to attend a workshop as soon as possible so that they are fully informed about current policy, procedures and issues relating to GRD supervision. If you are unable to attend these workshops in February, further workshops will be held later in 2016 (dates to be confirmed).

    Please ask Staff to contact myself, Karen Richardson ( to register for the
    22nd November SEW workshop by 12 noon on Monday 21st November, 2016; and
    6th December SEW workshop by 12 noon on Monday 5th December, 2016.

  • Australian Companion Animal Health Foundation (ACAHF) - Application for Funds 2017

    Applications are sought for grants (of up to $10,000.00 per year each), for research into the causes, prevention and cure of disease in animals seen in small animal veterinary practice and in particular in the canine, feline and other companion animal species.

    Applications for funds must be made using the attached application form and submitted via email by the closing date of Monday 6th February 2017.

    All applications must be emailed to:
    Subject heading: 2016 ACAHF Grant Application
    Phone: 02 9431 5090

  • 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

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

  • VLS Staff Rooms - Milk

    If your staff room milk needs to be replenished please contact Kiara Roche (

  • VLS683 Honours and Masters Poster Session

    The Honours and Masters Students will be sharing their research across a diversity of disciplines including biomedical science, crop and pasture science, molecular biology and more.

    Date: Tuesday 1st November 2016
    Time: 2.30 - 4.30pm
    Venue: Room 2.003, Learning Link (Building 513)
    More information is available on the attached flyer.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Friday After Work Drinks

    Please see attached flyer.

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

  • 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.