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Today's date is Saturday, October 31, 2020
School of Plant Biology
 December 2011
Wednesday 14
9:00 - CANCELLED - WORKSHOP - Medical geology unit : 3-day unit exploring the role of geological processes in the environment and their impact of human health. Website | More Information
Unfortunately this event has been cancelled.


Offering an introduction to the emerging discipline of medical geology, this unit focuses on the origin, distribution and fate of geological/geochemical agents in the environment and their impact of human health. It provides a multi-disciplinary grounding in medical geology theory and practice, drawing on biomedical, geological/geochemical and toxicological disciplines to offer an integrated view of the entire field. After exploring the origins and development of Medical Geology, the unit examines the metals and other geogenic agents that impact on human health and disease. The unit also provides an analytical framework by which to assess and develop interventions, illustrated by practical examples of current issues. The following topics will be covered: • sources, transport and fate of geological agents in the environment • trace elements in environmental health and disease • foundations of toxicology and environmental pathology • health impacts of natural geological processes.

Medical geology - background The human body is affected in many ways by the toxic elements, metal ions and minerals on our planet. Medical geology encompasses issues such as the effects of deficiency or excess exposure of trace elements and minerals; inhalation of ambient and anthropogenic mineral dusts; transportation, modification and concentration of earth materials/compounds; and exposure to radionuclides, microbes and pathogens in a geological setting.

Medical geology is a major emerging topic which defines and explores the impacts of geologic materials and processes on animal and human health. Based on collaboration among geologists and earth scientists, environmental scientists, toxicologists, epidemiologists and medical specialists, the field aims to characterise the properties of geological processes and agents, the dispersal of geologic material and the effects on human populations.

Teaching team A/Professor Angus Cook (SPH UWA); Professor Philip Weinstein (UniSA); Professor Bob Finkelman (formerly with the U.S. Geological Survey, now University of Texas at Dallas); Dr Karin Ljung (Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM) at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm); Dr Maria Kippler (IMM, Karolinska Institute); and Dr Renee Gardnew (IMM, Karolinska Institute).

Fees apply: please visit our website for more details.
Thursday 15
12:30 - SYMPOSIUM - A Celebration of the Career of Dr Ian Williams More Information
Colleagues and friends of Dr Ian Williams are invited to attend an afternoon symposium to celebrate his contribution to science and education in a career spanning more than 30 years at UWA. Dr Williams has worked in the Animal Science Group and the School of Animal Biology. The programme will include a welcome by the Vice Chancellor, Prof Alan Robson, followed by entertaining talks from several colleagues, industry partners and students. Afternoon tea and post-seminar drinks will be provided. All welcome!

 February 2012
Thursday 09
13:00 - VISITING SPEAKER - Scientific & Business Potentials in Exploring Marine Microbial Life : ABSTRACT AVAILABLE More Information
Professor Duarte is Director of the Oceans Institute at The University of Western Australia and Research Professor with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA) in Mallorca, Spain. His research focuses on understanding the effects of global change in aquatic ecosystems, both marine and freshwater. He has conducted research across Europe, South-East Asia, Cuba, México, USA, Australia, the Amazonia, the Arctic, the Southern Ocean, and the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, spanning most of the marine ecosystem types, from near-shore to the deep sea.
Monday 20
9:00 - COURSE - Introductory Statistics : A short course Website | More Information
The course is designed for people with little or no knowledge of statistics. It will be spread over three days covering material ranging from means and standard deviations to simple linear regression, and basic ANOVA. Some basic categorical data analysis will be included with the emphasis throughout being placed on applications rather than theory. The statistical package SPSS will be used to illustrate ideas demonstrated, however this course is aimed at enabling an understanding of basic statistics.

Registration is available online https://scg.maths.uwa.edu.au/?id=347 .
Wednesday 22
12:00 - VISITING SPEAKER - Processing of miRNA precursors More Information
Nina V. Fedoroff received her PhD in Molecular Biology from the Rockefeller University, and has served on the faculties of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, the Johns Hopkins University and the Pennsylvania State University, where she was the Director of the Biotechnology Institute and the founding Director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. Fedoroff has published two books and more than 140 papers in scientific journals. She is a member of several academies, including the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among her awards is a 2006 National Medal of Science, the highest honor awarded to US scientists. Fedoroff served as the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State and to the Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2007 to 2010. She is an Evan Pugh Professor at Penn State, a member of the External Faculty of the Santa Fe Institute and Distinguished Professor of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. She is also President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Monday 27
16:00 - SEMINAR - CWR Special Seminar : “Growing our future - the challenge and promise of the desert! Website | More Information
The coastal strip of Israel is densely populated and suffers from all the common drawbacks of densely populated areas: air, soil and groundwater pollution; high land prices; chronic traffic congestions; urban violence, etc. The Negev covers sixty per cent of Israel’s surface but is home to less than ten per cent of its population. Therefore it is clear that the future development of Israel will take place in the Negev. Ben-Gurion’s famous dictum that “In the Negev will the people of Israel be tested” has never been more appropriate and relevant than now.

The great challenge that faces the present generation is how to ensure that the development of the Negev is sustainable both in its physical and human dimensions. The scarcity of water in arid regions in general, and of the Negev in particular, results in a lack of readily available sources of food and conventional energy. These three core issues have therefore to be addressed. Ben Gurion University’s Blaustein Institute for Desert Research (BIDR) main efforts are geared to explore and provide new approaches that will ensure the provision of food and energy using marginal sources of water, designed for the future inhabitants of the Negev and of Israel. Of course, the three are intertwined. One cannot talk about one of them without mentioning at least one of the others. Energy is necessary to pump water and spread it, production of food requires water, and the production of biofuels for green energy often competes for the water and land necessary for food production. Research is therefore multidisciplinary by necessity.

The problems facing the development of the Negev are however not unique, but are shared by other countries in arid or semi-arid regions of our planet and therefore BIDR’s research efforts have global relevance. The high solar energy radiation common to desert-like areas is normally perceived negatively, but can be the main source of energy for the whole country. BIDR’s scientists have developed the concentrated photovoltaics approach and develop new and more efficient photovoltaic cells. Agriculture production in Israel is mainly based on irrigated crops and 50% of the water used is treated waste water. The coastal plain of Israel was the area in which there was a very intensive agricultural activity. The increase in urbanization of this area has led to a decrease of the former. In the National Master Plan for 2020, the northern part of Israel’s western desert (Negev) has been selected as the area in which agricultural development would take place using either treated wastewater or brackish water from the underlying aquifer. In both cases the water has to be treated prior to its use, the main treatment being filtration.

Thus the development of filters that minimize clogging, and therefore the need for their cleaning or replacement, is being addressed by another group of BIDR’s researchers. The interaction between the surface characteristics of filters and bacteria and viruses are studied in great detail and novel filters with surface characteristics that minimize bacterial colonization have been developed. The efficient use of water, this scarce and precious commodity, is as well the objective of other groups of BIDR that deal with different aspects of water use. These activities range from trying to unlock the genetic code of desert plants that could help improve the productivity of conventional crops, developing novel irrigation techniques that save water, studying the fate of irrigation water that is not absorbed by plants, rediscovering ancient techniques that use flood waters to produce fodder and firewood, and the use of brackish water to produce algae derived products with high market values or biofuels. The Negev is also home to a wide variety of plants and animals. Studying their behavioural patterns and defining the conditions under which this amazing biodiversity in flora and fauna can be maintained is the task of the world-renown Mitrani Center for Desert Ecology.

Developing minimum energy consuming dwellings and living quarters is the task of a group of architects that has made a mark in the region. Human relations between the various ethnic groups in the Negev are, needless to say, of crucial importance to the successful implementation of the techniques we develop, and are the subject of study of a group of anthropologists and social scientists.

At the core of all our research activities are our graduate students. They are drawn to the BIDR from all over the world and are keen to study with world-renowned experts. Most of them return to their home countries, located in areas that often suffer from a lack of fresh water, food and energy in order to implement the lessons of their studies. Israeli students become the wave of future scientists and policy-makers, keeping Israel at the forefront of desert research. Working closely with their advisers, the students of the BIDR conduct research with wide-ranging implications and achieve impressive breakthroughs.

short Bio.

Dr Pedro's main research interest is the efficient use of water in rainfed agricultural systems and planted forests in drylands. Drylands have been settled since time immemorial and in order to be able to do so desert-dwellers developed ingenious techniques. He have studied and developed the techniques that make use of flood waters for the irrigation of orchards and forests planted in arid zones, with a focus on the evaporation of water from the surface of bare soils and between the rows of crops. He is involved in the development, testing and modeling of agricultural techniques that increase the water use efficiency of crops and planted forests.

PS* This seminar is free and open to the public, no RSVP required.

****All Welcome****

16:00 - VISITING SPEAKER - Molecular Basis of the Antifungal Activity of a Plant Defensin : JOINT PRESENTATION: ARC CoE PEB / UWA School of Plant Biology More Information
Professor Anderson's current work is focussed on defence molecules produced by plants for protection against insect pests and pathogens.. More Info Available

 March 2012
Thursday 15
16:00 - VISITING SPEAKER - Phosphite - a potent 'fungicide' .. but why? : PLS NOTE CHANGE OF TIME! Prev 1pm, now 4pm. More Information
Phosphorus (P) is essential for plant growth, but often has a low availability due to a low solution P pool and sorption to soil minerals. ABSTRACT AVAILABLE.
Tuesday 27
13:00 - TALK - UWA Careers Centre - Teach For Australia "Ace Your Application" : Want to know how to get your graduate application to the top of the pile? Want to learn how to transform an average application response into one that will get you noticed? Website | More Information
Want to know how to get your graduate application to the top of the pile? Want to learn how to transform an average application response into one that will get you noticed?

Two reps from Teach for Australia will talk you through the various components of the graduate selection process.

We'll fill you in on the do's and don'ts of graduate applications to make sure you avoid common mistakes and know what employers look for.

Bookings essential through UWA CareerHub - https://uwa.careerhub.com.au
Wednesday 28
9:45 - EVENT - Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum : Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum Website | More Information
students/graduates in Agriculture competing for Young Professionals in Agriculture Award' ; winners will be announced at 1.45pm by Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Terry Redman

 April 2012
Friday 13
9:00 - COURSE - Semiparametric Regression : A Short Course Website | More Information
Semiparametric regression is concerned with the exible incorporation of nonlinear functional relationships in regression analyses. Assuming only a basic familiarity with ordinary regression, this short-course explains the techniques and bene ts of semiparametric regression in a concise and modular fashion. Spline functions, linear mixed models and Bayesian hierarchical models are shown to play an important role in semiparametric regression. There will be a strong emphasis on implementation in R and BUGS.

Registration for the course is available online at https://scg.maths.uwa.edu.au/?id=347
Wednesday 18
13:20 - Forum - Bioenergy Forum : The Energy and Minerals Institute along with the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry are pleased to invite you to The University of Western Australia’s Bioenergy Forum Website | More Information

Microalgae Energy Farms for Low Cost Biodiesel Production Presented by Dr Peer Schenk

ABSTRACT: From start to finish, biodiesel production from microalgae requires optimisation of all steps towards cost effectiveness and energy efficiency, as current limitations exist mainly in the industrial feasibility of microalgae systems. Our team is developing improved non-GM Australian microalgae strains, as well as low cost algae cultivation and harvesting systems to provide a cost & energy effective biodiesel production module. This module utilises microalgae's potential as zero-waste biorefineries, producing not only bioenergy, but also protein-rich animal feedstock and high-value products such as Omega-3 fatty acids. Our research group maintains a growing collection of marine and freshwater microalgae from Queensland, whereby high lipid yielding strains are screened and selected for improvement. We use adaptive evolution methods incorporating mutagenesis and high throughput selection for high-lipid yielding strains. These are then used in especially engineered "Split-System" cultivation units that incorporate both, a low cost photobioreactor (PBR) coupled with several extensive raceway ponds. In the PBR, optimal culture conditions are maintained with daily culture harvested into the raceway ponds to stimulate lipid biosynthesis. Several harvesting and lipid extraction.

Autotrophic Production of Algal Biofuel: What is the best technology line-up Presented by Dr Skye Thomas-Hall

ABSTRACT: Microalgae have the potential to produce 10-20 times more biofuel feedstock per unit area than any terrestrial bioenergy crop. However for this to be economically viable, three important technology stages need to come together: i) cultivation of high lipid species must be relatively contamination free and highly productive (ideally AFDW in excess of 30 g m-2 d-1); ii) the biomass needs to be harvested quickly using energy efficient technology; and iii) the harvested algae should be processed into stable products before value is lost. Cellana LLC was formed in 2008 with the primary aim of developing the technology pathway to make algal biofuels economically viable. Cellana’s 2.5ha Kona Demonstration Facility (KDF) is located on the Big Island of Hawaii and has been producing high quality algal biomass since 2009. The production can be tailored to customer needs for different fractions of the algal biomass, including lipids for biodiesel, protein for animal feed, essential fatty acids (i.e. EPA, DHA) and accessory pigments (e.g. lutein, ß-carotene, lycopene etc) for the nutrition and cosmetic industries. Cellana’s KDF is primarily a research facility, designed to test many algal species simultaneously (up to 12) in realistic outdoor conditions. The large scale hybrid system can grow 2 species simultaneously and has excellent flexibility that enables cultivation conditions to be optimized for each individual strain. The facility is also set up to test a variety of harvesting and dewatering techniques on each species grown at demonstrations scale (up to 780,000 L). Presented is an overview of strain selection at small scale (lab <1 L) and mid scale (outdoor 200 L). Growth parameters that can be altered for optimizing cultivation at mid scale and large scale (60,000 – 130,000 L). The majority of the presentation is on harvesting and processing techniques used by Cellana and in the wider algae industry, focusing on cost versus efficiency of methods trialed at Cellana’s Kona Demonstration Facility (KDF). Best handling and storage practices are also presented along with data analysis specifically focusing on lipid quality.
Thursday 19
16:00 - VISITING SPEAKER - A universal code for RNA-protein recognition : PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE !!! Previously 1pm, now 4pm. More Information
RNA-protein complexes play essential roles in the regulation of gene expression, by orchestrating the basic growth and maintenance of the cell as well as the complex developmental programs of multicellular eukaryotes. The modes by which proteins bind RNA are diverse and often difficult to predict, limiting our ability to engineer RNA-binding proteins for practical applications. Engineering RNA-binding proteins is attractive because they could be fused to any desired effector domain, enabling selective binding of a specific RNA target to investigate or manipulate any aspect of its metabolism. We have used directed evolution to expand the recognition of Pumilio and FBF homology (PUF) repeats beyond adenine, guanine and uracil and evolved them to specifically bind cytosine. These repeat sequences can be used to create PUF domains capable of binding RNA targets of diverse sequence and structure enabling many potential biological and medical applications.
Thursday 26
16:00 - VISITING SPEAKER - High affinity phosphate transporters in Arabidopsis: a complex story! : PHT1 high affinity Pi transporters belong to a highly multigenic family of genes. More Information
The PHT1 high affinity Pi transporters belong to a highly multigenic family of genes. They are tightly regulated spatially and temporally by Pi supply at transcriptional and post-translational level. Combinations of genetic, cell biology and molecular biology experiment will be presented to dissect elements of this complexity.

 May 2012
Thursday 10
16:00 - SEMINAR - Sending Sharks to School: Brain Evolution in Sharks and Their Relatives : SESE and Oceans Institute Seminar More Information
Cartilaginous fishes are comprised of approximately 1185 species worldwide and occupy a range of niches and primary habitats. It is a widely accepted view that neural development can reflect morphological adaptations and sensory specializations and it has been shown that similar patterns of brain organization, termed cerebrotypes, exist in species of that share certain lifestyle characteristics. Clear patterns of brain organization exist across cartilaginous fishes, irrespective of phylogenetic grouping. Examination of brain size (encephalization, n = 151) and interspecific variation in brain organization (n = 84) across this group suggests that similar patterns of brain organization, termed “cerebrotypes”, exist in species that share certain lifestyle characteristics. Clear patterns of brain organization exist across cartilaginous fishes, irrespective of phylogenetic grouping and, although this study was not a functional analysis, it provides further evidence that chondrichthyan brain structures might have developed in conjunction with specific behaviours or enhanced cognitive capabilities. Larger brains, with well-developed telencephala and large, highly foliated cerebella are reported in species that occupy complex reef or oceanic habitats, such as Prionace glauca and Sphyrna zygaena. In contrast, benthic and benthopelagic demersal species comprise the group with the smallest brains, such as Cephaloscyllium spp. and Squatina californica, with a relatively reduced telencephalon and a smooth cerebellar corpus. There is also evidence of a bathyal cerebrotype; deep-sea benthopelagic sharks, such as Centroselachus crepidater and Harriotta raleighana possess relatively small brains and show a clear relative hypertrophy of the medulla oblongata. Despite the patterns observed and documented, significant gaps in the literature have been highlighted. Brain mass data are only currently available on c. 16% of all chondrichthyan species, and only 8% of species have data available on their brain organization, with far less on subsections of major brain areas that receive distinct sensory input. The interspecific variability in brain organization further stresses the importance of performing functional studies on a greater range of species. Only an expansive data set, comprised of species that span a variety of habitats and taxonomic groups, with widely disparate behavioural repertoires, combined with further functional analyses, will help shed light on the extent to which chondrichthyan brains have evolved as a consequence of behaviour, habitat and lifestyle in addition to phylogeny.
Thursday 17
16:00 - VISITING SPEAKER - Post-transcriptional chloroplast gene regulation: Analysis of key ribonucleases responsible for RNA maturation : Regulation of chloroplast gene expression has levels of complexity not found in prokaryotes. More Information
Dr Sharwood’s research focuses on the molecular engineering of higher plant chloroplasts to improve many facets of plant productivity. Chloroplasts harbour the key biochemical reactions of photosynthesis, a process that underpins all life on earth.

16:00 - SEMINAR - CMCA Seminar Series : Measuring nanoparticle dispersion and in vitro cellular uptake by electron microscopy Website | More Information
'Measuring nanoparticle dispersion and in vitro cellular uptake by electron microscopy' presented by Nicole Hondow from the Institute for Materials Research, University of Leeds

Engineered nanoparticles have been the focus of much recent research with a wide-range of potential applications in catalysis, biomedicine, magnetic resonance imaging, data storage and environmental remediation. For biomedical applications these particles often have surface modification with organic molecules to stabilise them in biological suspensions, functionalise the surface and avoid immediate uptake or clearance by the immune system. Understanding the structure of particles after modification and when within cellular environments is criticial to their safe and successful application. At Leeds we have been developing a systematic approach to the characterisation of nanoparticles and their cellular uptake using electron microscopy. One approach is to draw on the imaging and analytical capabilities of transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) to characterise these particles before and after cellular uptake. A key challenge for this work is representative sample preparation, and we are examining this using CdTe/ZnS core/shell quantum dots dispersed in biological media and serum. The uptake of these nanoparticles by U2-OS human osteosarcoma cells has been examined by quantitative TEM imaging to determine the distribution of the nanoparticles in membrane bound vesicles and the cytoplasm. This is being extended into 3-D, using the Gatan 3-View system in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) to serial section resin-embedded cells exposed to quantum dots. By combining the information from TEM imaging (i.e. location and number of vesicles per 2-D cell section plus the number of quantum dots per vesicle) and serial sectioning (i.e. location, size and number of vesicles in whole cells (3-D)) with that provided by other techniques (such as optical imaging,) we are developing a fully quantitative description of cellular uptake of these quantum dots.
Friday 18
15:00 - PUBLIC TALK - Amanda Newall and Ola Johansson: PROJEKTET : Resident Artists talk at SymbioticA Website | More Information
The immune system can be seen as the metaphorical factor of applied performance, which makes the latter artistic practice more than simply social work. Transposed into a functional nomenclature, the immune system makes a larger body stay healthy by encountering visitors (pathogens) by way of recollection, accommodation, identification, discrimination, protection, and aggression. But it may also learn to live with strangers, ad interim, even if it doesn’t quite know who they are. This captures the current challenges of contemporary applied performance very well.

Applied performance is used when social crises require extraordinary management beyond simple solutions. Such conflicts often subsist on deep structural and implicit behavioural attitudes between two parties in situations of, i.e., racism, bullying, gender discord, postcolonial disputes, ecological predicaments, and so forth. Applied performance is often initiated by a third party, e.g., extension workers in non-governmental organizations, who approach conflicts with an equally cooperative and critical mind towards the host culture, but also those who choose to participate in projects.

Amanda Newall is Senior Lecturer in sculpture at Royal Institute of Arts (Kungliga Konsthögskolan) in Stockholm, Sweden. She is also conducting a doctoral project at Chelsea College of Art, University of the Arts, London. She has taught sculpture, socially engaged art, curatorship, professional practice and new media at Auckland University, Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts (UK), and has exhibited numerous international shows.

Ola Johansson is Guest Professor in artistic research at Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts (Stockholms dramatiska högskola). His books on community theatre and performance art are paralleled by creative work in intercultural performance, documentary film, devising, and applied performance. He has taught devising and applied performance in the UK, Sweden and India. Johansson’s have published two books, Community Theatre and AIDS (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and Performance and Philosophy: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Performing Arts (Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag, 2008).
Friday 25
16:00 - SEMINAR - PaLM Seminar Series (RPH) 2012 - Abdullah Ali Aseeri and Royston Ong: Seminar presentation More Information
All welcome to attend the School of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine 2012 Seminar Series (RPH). On a weekly basis we have local/guest speakers presenting to a wide audience typically in the fields of immunology, molecular biology and cancer related research. This week we are delighted to have 2 of our own students presenting final MLM and honours seminars respectively: Abdullah Ali Aseeri on 'Identification and discrimination of different strains of CA-MRSA by using MALDI-TOF MS' and Royston Ong on 'Whole exome sequencing applied to Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) Disease' from the School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UWA. The event is sponsored by Life Technologies and light refreshments are provided. For further inquiries please contact using the provided email. Look forward to seeing you there!

 June 2012
Thursday 07
10:00 - VISITING SPEAKER - The "all you can eat" guide to the Three Minute Thesis : Three Minute Thesis: A comprehensive guide to preparing and presenting a compelling 3MT talk Website | More Information
The Three MInute Thesis (3MT) is a fun and challenging event that encourages the communication of research to a wide audience. The UWA 3MT competition finals will be held on 25th July and this presentation is a comprehensive guide to the preparation and presentation of a compelling 3MT talk. The presenter, Simon Clews,is an experienced 3MT judge who has championed the 3MT competition in Australia and internationally.

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