VLS Announcements 114 - 18 November 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Last night the Banksia Association Honours Scholarship, a scholarship awarded to high achieving Murdoch students to provide financial assistance during Honours, was awarded to Claire Greenwell who has almost completed a double major in Conservation and Wildlife Biology and Marine Science. Claire will spend her Honours year researching the Western Gloomy Octopus as predators of the Greenlip Abalone in Flinders Bay, Augusta. I would like to congratulate Claire on being awarded this competitive scholarship and wish her the best in her honours study.

It feels like this year has flown by and I can’t believe that it is time to discuss the limited service period over Christmas and New Year again. In line with the rest of the University the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences (excluding The Animal Hospital) will be closing from COB Friday 23rd December to Wednesday 4th January 2017 comprising of public holidays and days in lieu of holidays worked.

The University is committed to ensuring that all staff are able to maximise their health and wellbeing. An important component of this is being able to take adequate leave from work on a regular basis in order to ‘rest and recharge’. VLS staff (apart from those in The Animal Hospital) are encouraged to book annual leave for Thursday, 5 January and Friday, 6 January 2017. This allows staff to take advantage of a complete two week rest period. Leave applications should be submitted online via MyHR.

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]

  • Changes to Teaching in MAS183

    Early last year Mathematics and Statistics began considering a review and renewal of MAS183, beyond the changes that had already been made to pedagogy and learning materials. In June last year they began consulting with client majors in the terms set out in the attached email.

    Briefly, they requested feedback on:

    • changes already made,
    • changes people would like to see, and especially
    • views on moving from SPSS to R as the statistical software

    The feedback received (in writing, and via meetings with some discipline groups) boiled down to two main elements:
    • Changes already introduced were either welcomed or hadn’t been noticed;
    • Requests for more “hands on” practice with interpreting data and getting messy data into shape for analysis (“data wrangling”); and
    • Very strong support for a move from SPSS to R.

    The present intention is to introduce R instruction (and cease SPSS instruction) from 2017 S1. The Unit Notes and the computer Lab exercises have already been re-drafted and staff are now checking these revisions. The changes will affect these VLS majors:

    • Animal Health (BSc)
    • Animal Science (BSc)
    • Biological Sciences (BSc)
    • Biomedical Science (BSc)
    • Clinical Laboratory Science (BSc)
    • Conservation and Wildlife Biology (BSc)
    • Crop and Pasture Science (BSc)
    • Environmental Management and Sustainability (BSc)
    • Environmental Science (BSc)
    • Forensic Biology and Toxicology (BSc)
    • Genetics and Molecular Biology (BSc)
    • Laboratory Medicine (BSc/BLabMed)
    • Marine Science (BSc)
    • Veterinary Science (BSc)+(DVM)

    There will be more practice with data wrangling by increasing computer lab time from 2018. This could not be implemented from 2017.

  • Potential Funding Opportunity - WAPHA Connect

    The Australian Government is committed to delivering an efficient and effective primary health care system through the establishment of PHNs. Evidence indicates that health systems with strong integrated primary health care at their core are both effective in improving patient outcomes and experiences and efficient at delivering appropriate services where they are needed most.

    On 1 July 2015, 31 PHNs were established to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, and to improve coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time. PHNs will achieve these objectives by working directly with general practitioners, other primary health care providers, secondary care providers and hospitals to facilitate improved outcomes for patients.

    The Government has agreed to six key priorities for targeted work by PHNs. These are:

    1. Mental health
    2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health,
    3. Population health,
    4. Health workforce,
    5. eHealth
    6. Aged care

    For further information about their Grants please refer to the

  • Voice Coaching in December

    The CUTL office has been approached to organise some voice coaching sessions for academic staff who might want to improve their accents. The training is facilitated over two 1.5 hour sessions and delivered by Julia Moody (Senior Lecturer in Voice, Acting Department, ECU) who has considerable expertise in voice coaching. We have space for 12 people and aim to have the sessions on the 7th December and 19th December. If you are interested in receiving voice coacing please contact Jeannette Pether (

  • Workload Model 2017for action

    The Workload model metrics for 2017 have been approved and the School is now ready for you to confirm your details with Emma Thorp ( It would be most helpful if you could ensure that all data are confirmed by the of 2nd of December.

    The 2016 and 2017 models are available here (2016) and here (2017) as well as the new data entry form.

    Please see the below flowchart of the workload timeline

  • Animal Ethics Feedback Survey for action

    Every 3 – 4 years an external review is conducted of Murdoch University's care and use of animals for scientific purposes by an entirely independent panel. The next review will be conducted from 27 February to 3 March 2017, in accordance with the guidelines of the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (8th Edition 2013).

    Preparations are underway to ensure a thorough review process. Your confidential feedback provides important input to this review. This survey should take approximately 5-10 minutes.

    The survey asks about your experiences of Murdoch University’s Animal Ethics Committee, the Research Ethics & Integrity support staff in animal ethics, as well as your views on other related matters. Many of the questions have space for you to elaborate on your response. You will also be asked to consider whether you may wish to meet with the panel.

    Click on the email link below to go to the survey. Once you have commenced the survey you are able to exit at any point and use this same link to return to the last question completed or to review your responses. Please retain this email to link you back to the survey at your last exit point. To save and continue, simply exit the survey by closing the survey window.

    Once the survey is submitted, you will not be able to return to the completed survey.

    Please follow this link to the Survey:

    Please complete this survey by 4pm Friday 23 December 2016.

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

  • Academic Registrar's Office (ARO) Weekly Newsletter #45 - 14 November

    Please find attached, the ARO newsletter for the week beginning 7 November. 

  • Request for Electronic Access within VLS

    Complete the attached Application for Electronic Access for Individual Requests form and email :

    Security will then complete the request within 48 hours. Please contact Amy Sheppard Moeen if further information is required.

  • WA - STATE OF INNOVATION Summit: Life Sciences

    Date: Tuesday 22nd November
    Time: 1.00pm - 4.30pm
    Venue: KPMG Conference Room (Ground Floor), 235 St Georges Terrace, Perth, WA 6000 
    Tickets: Available Online

    The life sciences comprise the fields of science that involve the scientific study of living organisms – such as microorganisms, plants, animals, and human beings – as well as related considerations like bioethics.

    Can Western Australia play a significant role in the life sciences by 2030? How can we create life sciences innovation cluster in Western Australia? What are our unique advantages? If you are interested in these questions and even more interested in possible answers, come and join us for another instalment of WA - STATE OF INNOVATION Summit on Life Sciences.

    Moderator: Professor Fiona Wood AM, Head of Burn Injury Research Unit, 2005 Australian of the Year
    Opening Remarks: Professor Peter Klinken, Chief Scientist of Western Australia
    Panel of Presenters:
    Professor Barry Marshall AC, Research Fellow at The University of Western Australia, Nobel Prize Laureate
    Professor Steve Wilton, Head of Molecular Genetic Therapy Group at The University of Western Australia
    Professor Sue Fletcher, Principal Research Fellow at Murdoch University
    Peter Santa Maria, Associate Professor at The University of Western Australia and Director of SPARK Co-Lab
    Nick Northcott, Managing Director of Chrysalis Advisory
    Peter Kasprzak, Chief Executive Officer, Innovate Australia

    The presentations will be followed by a Q&A session and a general discussion moderated by Professor Fiona Wood.

  • Annual Campus Clean up Monday 5th - 9th December

    The end of 2016 is fast approaching and to help maintain our beautiful University environment and make a positive and lasting impression on our new and returning students in 2017, the Vice Chancellor and our Chief Operating Officer are calling on School Managers and Directorate leaders to help drive the annual campus clean up during the week of Monday 5 December to Friday 9 December 2016.

    We have a shared responsibility for maintaining safe, tidy and productive working and learning environments at Murdoch. This includes reviewing common spaces and identifying opportunities to de-clutter, tidy or dispose.

    This could include:

    • removing items from trafficable spaces such as pathways, building entrances, stairwells and corridors,
    • effectively re-using or disposing of surplus items from frequented spaces, such as meeting and common rooms, office accommodation, laboratories and learning venues, and
    • looking for opportunities to optimise the use of space and improving the safety and aesthetics.

    Please schedule time with your teams to discuss your area’s plan for assisting with our campus clean up. This may involve staff taking a short break from regular duties to focus on tidying up their work areas.

    Help is at hand The Property, Development and Commercial Services (PDCSO) team will support our campus clean-up by providing skip bins and logistical support for the removal of large items between 5-9 December 2016.
    Skip bin locations are listed below and can be viewed on our campus map:

    • Building 240 Biological Sciences Loading Zone 6
    • Building 260 Vet Clinical Sciences (east)
    • Building 335 Environmental Sciences Loading Zone 1
    • Building 350 Library Loading Zone
    • Building 450 Education & Humanities (south)
    • Building 490 Amenities (north)
    • University Farm

    To ensure only necessary items reach landfill, please follow the following disposal guides:

    • General waste/unusable furniture – place into drop down fronted skip bins.
    • Quality but surplus furniture – contact the PDCSO Helpdesk.
    • Scrap metal and batteries – specific bins located at PDCSO car park.
    • Pine pallets – do not use campus skip bins, contact PDCSO Helpdesk.

    You are requested not to dispose of computer type equipment into the skip bins provided as Information & Technology Services (ITS) engages a specialist waste provider enabling correct environmental disposal of such equipment. For further information please contact ITS Helpdesk by phone 9360 2000 or via email

    Remember to complete the Asset Disposal Form (1160) should any items being disposed possess asset barcodes. More information is available by emailing the PDCSO Helpdesk.

  • Accoodation Wanted for Professional Family–Applecross (preferably) – 1st July to 31st December 2017 - message from Peter Irwin

    Accommodation is needed for a visiting veterinary professional couple and their primary school-aged son for the second half of 2017. Both parents will be working in the College (one as a radiologist, the other as a pathologist) to assist us with teaching the double cohort. They have been in discussion with the Applecross Primary School which has a place for their son if they can live locally, so it’s a matter of trying to help find them a place in the same suburb. Any assistance you can give would be appreciated. Please contact Peter Irwin (2590) or Mandy O’Hara (2297).

  • Friday after work drinks

    INVITATION - Last Friday of the month BBQ and drinks 25/11/16 from 4PM! (flyer attached)

  • End of Year Processing Deadlines- IMPORTANT DATES for action

    The Finance Support Team (FST) and the Central Finance Office need your support in achieving a successful end of year process. You can assist us to meet your requirements by ensuring documentation is submitted as early as possible and at the latest by the deadlines below (click on title to expand section)

    Accounts Payable
    Due Monday, 12th December 2016
    Includes all invoices for payment and staff/student reimbursements.
    Invoices for goods or services delivered in 2016, that are submitted to the FST from 12th to 22nd December 2016 will be accrued in the same year.
    Note: payment will most likely not reach supplier account until 2017.
    If goods or services are delivered in 2016 without invoice, please advise your Financial Analyst by the 5th January 2017 to be managed as part of the 2016 accrual process.

    Purchasing Card Acquittals
    Due Friday, 9th December 2016
    To guarantee processing of your 2016 transactions in the current year, every endeavour should be made to ensure purchases can be captured on your November statement, to be submitted to the FST for processing by the 9th December deadline.
    The 9th December deadline is to allow as much time as possible to process cost in the 2016 year. The FST cannot guarantee this will occur for purchasing card acquittals received after this date.
    Time permitting, expenses >$2k post your November statement that relate to goods or services delivered to site, or travel that has happened in 2016, will be managed as part of the 2016 accrual process. We shall provide an interim statement to you on the 15th December 2016. Please review and submit by 19th December only if accrual is essential. You will need to provide a copy of the invoice, account code to charge and business purpose.

    Other Functions
    Accounts Receivable Due Wednesday, 14th December 2016 All invoice requests (Form 485).
    Note: - Continue to send in your invoice requests after the deadline that relate to services provided in 2016 and we will manage as part of the 2016 accrual process.
    Asset Acquisition & Disposal Due Wednesday, 30th November 2016.
    All purchases post this date by Wednesday, 21st December 2016
    This will ensure all costs associated with an asset are recognised in 2016.
    Journal Requests Due Friday 23rd December 2016 Relates to internal charges, transfer of cost between accounts, posting code corrections, etc.
    Cash to be Banked Due Thursday, 22nd December 2016 Deliver to Central Finance by 12 pm – Chancellery Building, Level 3.

    Finance One and Concur Approvers: timely approvals in Finance One and Concur are critical to achieving the deadlines so as not to delay the end process – your assistance is appreciated.

    If you have any concerns regarding the above deadlines or need further clarification, please contact Ellie Meek, Annette Baker-Forrow or Jeremy McCraw in the Finance Support Team (FST).

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

  • Professor Pedro Crous, Sir Walter Murdoch Adjunct Professor Seminar

    As director of the world’s largest fungal Biological Resource Centre, Pedro has initiated several major activities to facilitate global research on fungal biodiversity He has added several thousand cultures to the CBS culture collection, and has described more than 1000 novel fungal taxa. He is a strong supporter of the Barcode of Life projects. He has published more than 500 papers, authored or edited more than 20 books, and monographed several genera of major economic importance. In this seminar Pedro will talk about the dramatic and often contested changes to fungal taxonomy in the past 15 years.

    Topic: Molecular systematics as game changer in fungal taxonomy
    Date: Monday 5th December
    Time: 4pm
    Venue: Biological Sciences Lecture Theatre, Murdoch University

  • Presentation from visiting professor Philip Poole (University of Oxford)

    Phil Poole, currently visiting us from University of Oxford, will be giving a presentation on his group’s current research direction, entitled: Understanding N¬2-fixation in Rhizobium and using it as a model to obtain N2-fixing cereals

    Title: Understanding N¬2-fixation in Rhizobium and using it as a model to obtain N2-fixing cereals Date: Tuesday 22nd November
    Time: 11.30am - 12.30pm
    Venue: VBS 3.024 Lecture Theatre, Murdoch University

    The biggest input of nitrogen into the biosphere comes from biological N2-fixation with the major source being the Rhizobium-legume symbioses. Rhizobia must colonise plant roots before establishing an exquisitely controlled molecular exchange with a host legume, leading to infection and the formation of root nodules. In the pea symbiosis the bacteria undergo terminal differentiation as a part of transforming into ammonia secreting organelles of the plant. We aim to understand the genetics and biochemistry of this fundamental biological process as well as use it as a model to understand how we might transfer this process to cereals. This latter has involved the development of a fundamentally new trans-kingdom signalling circuit to control novel plant-microbe interactions.

    About Phil Poole
    Phil Poole is originally from Perth, completing his undergraduate and later PhD studies at Murdoch in 1986. After working as a post-doctoral research fellow in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Oxford, Phil moved to Reading in 1990 where he started his own group studying the physiology and genetics of the root nodule bacteria. From 2007-2013, Phil was a Project Leader at the John Innes Centre and is now Professor of Plant Microbiology at the University of Oxford. Phil’s current research interests are in the physiology and biochemistry of nitrogen fixation in legume nodules and in the growth and survival of root nodule bacteria in the rhizosphere. Most recently, Phil’s group has developed methods to study how root nodule bacteria attach to and colonise roots, which has opened up the whole area of how plants control the root microbiome. For more information on Phil’s research, please follow this link:

  • Seminar by a Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Collaborator

    Professor Umesh Varshney, a Sir Walter Murdoch Distinguished Collaborator from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (INDIA), will be at the Centre for Rhizobium Studies next week from 23rd-28th November. Umesh is a world leader in DNA repair and Protein Synthesis research. He will present his work on protein synthesis on Monday 28th November. If you are interested in his research, you can organize a meeting by contacting Ravi (; ext 2202).

    Title: An evolutionarily conserved element in initiator tRNAs prompts ultimate steps in ribosome maturation.
    Date: Monday 28th November
    Time: 12.30pm - 1.30pm
    Venue: BS 3.034 (Wooller Room)

    Ribosome biogenesis, a complex multistep process, results in correct folding of rRNAs, incorporation of >50 ribosomal proteins, and their maturation. Deficiencies in ribosome biogenesis may lead to various faults in the translation of mRNAs causing cellular toxicities, and ribosomopathies in higher organisms. How cells ensure quality control in ribosome biogenesis for the fidelity of its complex function remains unclear. Using Escherichia coli, we show that initiator tRNA (i-tRNA), specifically the evolutionarily conserved three consecutive GC base pairs in its anticodon stem play a crucial role in ribosome maturation. Deficiencies in cellular contents of i-tRNA confer cold sensitivity and result in accumulation of ribosomes with immature 3’ and 5’ ends of 16S rRNA. Overexpression of i-tRNA in various strains rescues biogenesis defects. Participation of i-tRNA in the first round of initiation complex formation licenses the final steps of ribosome maturation by signaling RNases to trim the terminal extensions of immature 16S rRNA. Umesh Varshney. Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 560012

  • EOI - Sydney Summer School in Pathogen Genomics and Global Health 20-24 February 2017

    This Summer School aims at young graduates, researchers, clinicians and public health professionals that are interested in translational research the field of public health pathogen genomics and communicable disease control. The program includes a mix of inspiring keynotes and master classes, practical hands-on demonstrations and laboratory visits.

    We will teach the basics of genomics of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites with epidemic potential and critically examine the approaches to the analysis of genomes in global health context. Hands-on exercises will be organised to illustrate the power of genomics, functional genomics and metagenomics in answering important questions on the assessment of evolution, virulence, transmissibility and drug resistance as well as on detection of outbreaks and deciphering of transmission pathways. The School will also offer opportunities for exchange of ideas and discussions with presenters and fellow participants.

    The number of participants is limited so the organisers will select participants based on their provided information about motivation, prior knowledge and interests. Participants are encouraged to submit or bring fastQ files from their own experiments if they prefer to use them as their training exercises.

    Topics Include
    • What can the analysis of microbial genomes tell translational researchers clinicians? How to select sequencing and bioinformatics solutions for specific research questions? Genome-wide association studies and patient outcomes
    • Integration of genomic, clinical and epidemiological data: global and local perspectives and solutions
    • Integrated data models, data analytics for knowledge discovery and data visualisation (we will employ phylogenetics and phylodynamics as case studies)
    • Effective and ethical data sharing and translation of genomics into precision medicine and public health
    • Modelling and evaluation

    Date: 20-24 February 2017
    Venue: Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Camperdown and Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology – Public Health, Westmead Hospital, Westmead
    Registration fees: $450 for international and Australian participants. Registration covers refreshments (morning tea and lunch) and course notes. The deadline for expressions of interest (EOI) is 10 Dec 2016.
    Accommodation: There is a choice of affordable hotels in the Sydney CBD around Camperdown (at own cost).

    For more information and to complete your EOI please aee the attached flyer and program.

  • 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.