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Academic Events
 September 2012
Friday 21
13:00 - EVENT - Ireland: Church, State and Society, 1800-1870 : Seminar Series More Information
"Gladstone and the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland: An Overview"

Professor Oliver Rafferty SJ, the 2012 St Thomas More College Chair of Jesuit Studies, will present the final in a series of six lectures on nineteenth century Irish history.

The Chair of Jesuit Studies is jointly recognised by the the University of Western Australia and the University of Notre Dame Australia, and aims to bring a leading academic from the worldwide Jesuit community to Perth each year.

Professor Rafferty is visiting from Heythrop College, University of London, where he specialises in Irish and Ecclesiastical history.

14:30 - SEMINAR - Asian Studies Seminar : Kra Isthmus and Canal Scheming More Information
Thailand’s Isthmus of Kra is a narrow stretch of land connecting the Malay Peninsula to the Asian Continent. The Isthmus has been a source of constant speculation since the middle of the nineteenth century around the feasibility of constructing a shipping canal which would connect the Gulf of Thailand and countries to the East with the Andaman Sea and Indian Ocean. The issue of a Kra shipping canal was something of a thorn in the side of British colonial interests on the Malay Peninsula from the mid nineteenth century and continued to be a subject of annoyance even as they retreated from Malaya after World War Two. In the post-colonial period speculation about a Kra Canal has continued with routine predictability. The threat of a canal has been of continuing consternation particularly for Singapore which for almost two centuries has been the region’s principal maritime hub. The post-colonial government of Singapore has worked hard to diversify the island state’s economy, nonetheless, the port continues to play a major role in the economy and the state has invested heavily in port infrastructure and development. A shipping canal development on the Thai/Malaysian Peninsula would change significantly the way in which shipping in the Southeast Asian region is done and it would no doubt seriously impinge on the maritime commercial activities of one of the world’s most important port cities – Singapore.

This seminar will examine some of the factors which have continued to nurture the idea of a Kra canal since the mid-nineteenth century. It will also provide an historical account of various canal proposals since the initial canal frenzy that began in the mid-nineteenth century. The paper will also discuss why, despite seemingly constant speculation, no shipping canal proposal has progressed much beyond some preliminary investigations, surveys and more recently, in Thailand at least, endless committees with some official recognition devoted to promoting the idea of a canal or other isthmus routes.

16:00 - SEMINAR - Thesis Presentation: : Hydrodynamic modelling and fluorescent spectral methods for characterising the spatial distribution of phytoplankton. Website | More Information
Identifying structure in aquatic environments and showing the relationship to phytoplankton diversity is challenging because it is difficult to make direct measurements of all relevant variables at the necessary temporal and spatial scales. Two new approaches are demonstrated, which allow relationships between phytoplankton distribution and the aquatic environment to be better understood.

The first approach involved the use of numerical modelling to resolve structures in the aquatic environment at smaller spatial and temporal scales than traditional field sampling allows. A three-dimensional, coupled physical-biological numerical model (ELCOM-CAEDYM) was used to reconcile a range of different unsteady processes that influenced the spatial distribution of motile phytoplankton in a medium sized reservoir located in central Argentina. It was determined that physical processes (with some influence from phytoplankton migration) control the habitat of the motile phytoplankton rather than biological/chemical gradients. The results suggest that numerical models can be used to characterise the spatial habitat of other motile phytoplankton species in similar settings.

The second approach involved the use of fluorescence spectral measurements as a proxy indicator of phytoplankton diversity. As fluorescence spectra can be measured rapidly in situ, in principle, spectral measurements can be made at a resolution that should allow many scales of phytoplankton patchiness to be resolved. However, decoding the information contained within the spectral measurements presents a challenge. Therefore, a method based on principal component analysis (PCA) was developed for identifying patches of distinct fluorescent groupings of phytoplankton from in situ spectral data. A series of idealised spectral data sets were used to explain the conceptual basis of the approach. To demonstrate the method, a profiling multi-wavelength fluorometer was cast at numerous locations throughout Winam Gulf, Kenya.

Processing the spectral data with PCA revealed that linear combinations of four fundamental base spectra could explain almost all of the variation in the spectral measurements. Three of the base spectra were associated with spatially distinct patches of phytoplankton containing different species assemblages, while the fourth base spectrum was due to fluorescence of coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM). Strong relationships were found between the gradients in spectral data and other environmental variables, which suggested several underlying explanations for the phytoplankton and CDOM patchiness. The PCA processing method has the capacity to summarise critical features contained with large spectral data sets and can facilitate better optimisation of traditional water sampling.

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

****All Welcome****
Monday 24
9:30 - WORKSHOP - Introduction to LMS: LMS for new users Website | More Information
LMS for New Users will provide participants with an introductory overview of the Moodle powered LMS (Learning Management System) used as our online learning environment here at UWA. You will need to complete this workshop before being eligible to take part in any intermediate or advanced Moodle/LMS training.

12:00 - SEMINAR - LIWA Medical Research Seminar Series : Mr Gary Cox presents "Patenting for medical researchers the ins and outs" Website | More Information
LIWA invites you to a free seminar on: "Patenting for medical researchers the ins and outs" by Mr Gary Cox, Chairman, Partner, Wray and Associates. Time: 12 noon for light lunch with 12.30pm – 1.30pm presentation.

13:30 - WORKSHOP - Beyond the Basics: Getting the best from the LMS - Creative solutions, tips and tricks Website | More Information
Getting the Best from LMS is a collaborative, problem-solving scenario-based workshop in which participants will discuss solutions to pedagogical needs and common issues faced by UWA staff within the functionality of our LMS. This workshop will enable participants to know the LMS functionality in greater depth, to manipulate it for pedagogical needs and be exposed to some alternative approaches and creative uses of LMS.
Tuesday 25
9:30 - WORKSHOP - Beyond the Basics: Groups and Groupings Website | More Information
Effective learning activities involve group work, and the LMS has extensive opportunities for group activities and group management fulfilling its underpinning social constructivist theoretical base. The Moodle software manages groups through two facets: groups and groupings. In this workshop, participants will investigate the use of groups and groupings within an LMS unit. Participants will create groups and groupings and explore their use and management within the Learning Management System.

13:00 - SEMINAR - The Shootout at the OK Corral : School of Anatomy, Physiology & Human Biology Seminar Series More Information
The Seminar: In supporting the hypothesis that the skeleton found at Liang Bua on the Island of Flores is an adult of a new species, the main proponent asserts that one alternative hypothesis, that it may represent the skeleton of an adult endemic cretin, is wrong. His reasoning is that the Liang Bua remains do not exhibit the various features of endemic cretinism. Is he correct? A story of ‘smoking guns’!

The Speaker: No CV can be short when the speaker has been in research for 60 years! He has published 10 papers in Nature and Science – but over 60 years that is not a great record! Further, his CV includes a number of controversies: on Australopithecines, Sexual Dimorphisms, Out-of-Africa, Brain Evolution, Bone Biomechanics, Osteoporosis, Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Is this presentation another? Is he wrong again? Not an admission that he was wrong before!
Wednesday 26
12:00 - SEMINAR - School of Chemistry and Biochemistry Seminar : When nano meets bio: Interdisciplinary applications of electron microscopy More Information
As leader of the electron microscopy capability in the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis (CMCA), my core role is to support those wanting to apply advanced electron microscopy techniques in their research. With a background in Physics and an interest in the development of microscopy techniques, I have traditionally collaborated with researchers in the physical sciences. The interdisciplinary nature of the CMCA has, however, encouraged collaborations that bridge the physical and biological sciences where my knowledge of electron microscopy complements the discipline-specific expertise within the research groups.

One area where the benefit of this fusion of technique and discipline-specific expertise is readily apparent is when the field of nanomaterials and nanotechnology meets the discipline of biology. From understanding nature’s ability to form minerals at the nanoscale to the interaction of man-made nanomaterials with biological systems, an interdisciplinary combination of physical and biological scientists with experts in characterisation techniques creates distinct advantages. I hope to demonstrate this by presenting data from several ongoing collaborations such as studies of biomineralisation processes in marine molluscs, magnetic nanomaterials for biomedical applications and drug delivery capsules.

The common theme of this research is the application of transmission electron microscopy techniques such as electron diffraction, high resolution imaging, energy-filtered TEM, and electron spectroscopy to extract structural and compositional information down to the nm or atomic scales.

13:30 - WORKSHOP - Teaching Smarter @ UWA (Note: Workshop cancelled) Website | More Information
Workshop Description:

Teachers are being stretched in their efforts to maintain high quality teaching, often in a time or resource-poor environment, and with an increasingly diverse student cohort. Ideas on how to establish and maintain a good learning experience for students by teaching smarter are explored. Strategies ranging from those that are very simple for the individual teacher to implement through to structurally more complex, holistic approaches will be discussed.

Intended Outcomes: You will be able to:

- Choose from a range of options to make your teaching more effective, enjoyable and engaging (for you)

- Choose from a range of options to make your teaching more effective, enjoyable and engaging (for your students)

- Identify ways in which your teaching could benefit from various approaches to content delivery, assessment and feedback Develop a plan for your own teaching or for your school which will make best use of time and resources.

13:30 - WORKSHOP - Beyond the Basics: Managing grades in the LMS Website | More Information
The gradebook is where student marks for assessed activities can be managed. Activities and items in the LMS can be assessed and grade collated in the gradebook. The gradebook, can also be manipulated in a range of ways, manual grades added or marks changed. In the Beyond the Basics: Managing grades in the LMS workshop, participants will explore the functionality of the Grade Book (from both a staff and student perspective) and learn how to use it effectively for grade administration.

16:00 - SEMINAR - “New Insights into Type 1 Diabetes Development and Therapy” Website | More Information
Chris Parish is an immunologist and cancer biologist with a research career spanning 40 years. He is recognised as a world leader in studies of immune regulation and the role of heparanase and heparan sulfate in cell migration. He has also developed several carbohydrate-based drugs, such as PI-88 (Muparfostat), that inhibit inflammation, tumour metastasis and angiogenesis and has developed immunotherapeutic cancer vaccines. His research findings underpin five Australian biotechnology companies. In 2005 he was awarded the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research in recognition of his scientific achievements.

16:00 - SEMINAR - CWR Presents : Corals form characteristic associations with symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria Website | More Information
A. Kimberley Lema1,2, Bette L. Willis1, and David G. Bourne2

1ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville 4811, Australia ([email protected]; [email protected]) 2Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3, Townsville MC, Townsville 4810, Australia ([email protected];[email protected])

Scleractinian corals live in a close symbiotic relationship with a diverse group of dinoflagellates (Symbiodinium or zooxanthellae), but corals also harbour highly diverse, abundant, and stable, microbial communities. The discovery of bacterial communities as symbiotic partners in corals is surprisingly recent and the ecological function of these bacterial communities is still poorly understood.

Elucidating the functional role these mutualistic bacterial communities play in the corals’ multi-partner symbiosis (i.e. the holobiont) is essential to understand their importance in coral health. One important proposed functional role for coral associated bacteria is nitrogen fixation. Nitrogen fixation can only be accomplished by diazotrophic bacteria and is fundamentally important because it makes gaseous dinitrogen (N2) available for nitrogen limited ecosystems such as coral reefs.

In this study, we investigated the diversity of diazotrophic bacterial communities associated with corals of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) by profiling the conserved subunit of the nifH gene, which encodes the dinitrogenase iron protein. We looked at the diversity of diazotrophs in different: coral species, coral microhabitats (mucus and tissue), life stages and geographical regions. Coral mucus nifH sequences displayed high heterogeneity, and many bacterial groups overlapped with those found in seawater.

In contrast, the dominant diazotrophic bacteria in tissue samples in all coral species, through all life stages and at different locations were closely related to the bacterial group rhizobia, which represented over 67% of the total sequences in all cases. Our results suggest that, as in terrestrial plants, rhizobia have developed a mutualistic relationship with corals and may contribute fixed nitrogen to Symbiodinium.


Kim was born and grew up in Mexico City. She completed her BSc in Marine Science at the Centre d’Océanologie de Marseille, Université Aix-Marseille II (Marseille, France), with a thesis on a mathematical model for marine protected areas.

Stayed in France for some months after completing her BSc and worked with deep-sea bioluminescent bacteria at the LMGEM Marine microbiology and biogeochemistry laboratory, CNRS (National Centre of Scientific Research). Then, returned to Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, and worked on migration models of marine turtles and whale sharks at the CINVESTAV (Centre of Advanced Research, Mexico) and PRONATURA(NGO).

Finally, felt ready to go further from home and flew to Australia. Completed a Master of Applied Sciences at James Cook University (Townsville, QLD) and went on to do a PhD. Kim is currently finalizing her PhD on “ Coral nitrogen Fixing bacteria” under the supervision of Prof. Bette Willis (JCU) and David Bourne (AIMS). One component of her thesis is through collaboration with Prof. Peta Clode at the CMCA (Centre of Microscopy) at UWA.

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

****All Welcome****
Thursday 27
9:30 - WORKSHOP - Beyond the Basics: Providing resources in the LMS - database and glossary activities Website | More Information
In this workshop, participants will investigate the Database and Glossary activites within the LMS unit. The Glossary activity allows participants to create and maintain a list of definitions, like a dictionary. Using the Database activity teachers and/or students can build, display and search a bank of record entries about any conceivable topic. This is a flexible, collaborative environment that allows plenty of scope to bring creativity and imagination to your online teaching practice. In this workshop, participants will learn how to set up the Glossary and Database activities and explore the ways in which they might be used in a unit of study.

12:00 - TALK - Talk by Kate Storrs "You look different, somehow" More Information
What you see depends on what you have already seen. After seeing a squashed ellipse, a perfect circle tends to look elongated – a shape aftereffect. After seeing a female face, an androgynous face tends to look masculine – a face aftereffect. Aftereffects are ubiquitous in vision, but have several plausible explanations. I will discuss some of these, and present two novel tests to help diagnose the cause of an aftereffect. First, does a given aftereffect depend only on the properties of retinal images, or does it depend on more abstract representations? Shape aftereffects provide a good test of this, as many different retinal images can create the impression of the same real-world shape (imagine looking at the top of a coffee mug from many different angles). I will show new evidence that shape aftereffects follow perceived, not retinal shape, demonstrating that even apparently simple shape aftereffects reflect the computations required to transform variable retinal images of a common object into a stable impression of form. Second, do high-level aftereffects simply reflect a contrast between successive impressions, or do they indicate a process of normalisation (as in colour adaptation), where an internal ‘average’ is re-adjusted to better match recent experience? Using a novel paradigm, I compared the characteristics of aftereffects generated by adapting to colour, to expanded or contracted faces, and to male or female faces. Colour and facial distortion aftereffects were consistent with normalisation, but facial gender aftereffects were not. These data suggest that superficially similar aftereffects may have different underlying mechanisms; not all high-level aftereffects are equal.

Part of the Person Perception Seminar series, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders

14:00 - VISITING SPEAKER - Statistic Seminar : Nonlinear Time Series Modelling in Bionformatics and Finance: Bayesian perspectives More Information
Abstract: There are two main components in this talk: DNA sequence modelling in Bioinformatics and Bayesian analysis of a modified Smooth Threshold Autoregressive (STAR) models in Finance. For the DNA sequence modelling, I continued my research in Bayesian Hidden Markov modelling for some new DNA sequences and extended the research to model short DNA motif segmentation. Computing problems were encountered due to the complexity of the model and the size of DNA data.

18:00 - PUBLIC LECTURE - A Proper Sense of History : Former Prime Minister John Howard will present The Sir Paul Hasluck Foundation Lecture More Information
As Minister for External Affairs and Minister for Defence, Sir Paul Hasluck was integral in formulating Australia’s post war security and foreign policy. He was a strong advocate for our nation’s indigenous people, particularly in health and education. He was a prolific writer, authoring volumes on politics, foreign affairs, public policy and poetry.

Following his graduation from UWA, Sir Paul became a journalist, a diplomat and then a Member of Parliament and a term as Governor-General and remained active in public life following his retirement. Sir Paul died in Perth in 1993.

The Sir Paul Hasluck Foundation was established this year to promote and inform conservative thought and debate of key issues facing Australia. It seeks to celebrate the central insight of Sir Paul’s life: that learning and ideas matter.

The lecture will rotate around Australian states, and will feature a renowned speaker addressing a significant contemporary issue, drawing on Sir Paul’s interests and principles

 October 2012
Tuesday 02
13:00 - SEMINAR - Biophysics Seminar More Information
This week PhD student Rahi Varsani will be presenting the Biophysics seminar.

Title: Time-evolution of chain formation in magnetic nanoparticles and its effects on transverse proton relaxation rates.

Abstract: In the 1970s, de Gennes and Pincus predicted that magnetic nanoparticles suspended in a fluid will form linear chains in the presence of an applied magnetic field. I have studied a system of magnetic nanoparticles and developed a technique that can measure relaxation rates and lock the particles in situ, allowing the structure of the nanoparticles to be correlated with changes in magnetic properties over time.

13:00 - SEMINAR - Groups and Combinatorics: Packing Steiner trees More Information
Groups and Combinatorics Seminar

Irene Pivotto (UWA)

will speak on

Packing Steiner trees

at 1pm Tuesday 2nd of October in MLR2

Abstract: A classic theorem of Nash-Wiliams and Tutte gives necessary and sufficient conditions for a graph to have k pairwise edge-disjoint spanning trees. We will discuss the natural generalization of this problem to trees spanning a distinguished set of vertices (which we refer to as Steiner trees). Finding edge-disjoint spanning trees is a considerably easier problem that finding edge-disjoint Steiner trees. This is due to the fact that spanning trees are bases of the natural matroid associated with a graph, while Steiner trees are not bases of any matroid. We will present a result that provides sufficient conditions for the existence of k edge-disjoint Steiner trees, reducing this problem to finding disjoint bases of a particular matroid. No prior knowledge of matroid theory is required to attend the talk.

13:00 - SEMINAR - Iron and its influence on hepatic lipids : School of Anatomy, Physiology & Human Biology Seminar Series More Information
The Seminar: Obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are major health problems in Australia. All are characterised by an initial accumulation of lipids which, along with the contribution of confounding factors, such as iron, can lead to organ dysfunction and death. In the presence of existing fat deposits, iron has been linked to progression of NAFLD, via the production of free radicals. Recently we have shown that iron may be involved in the initial lipid accumulation by stimulating production of cholesterol in the liver. Importantly, this cholesterol may accumulate in the mitochondria; mitochondrial cholesterol accumulation has been associated with NAFLD. These data are consistent with an increase in total hepatic lipid burden and a role for iron in the early stages of fatty liver disease

The Speaker: Ross completed his PhD in Physiology at UWA in 1997 studying non-transferrin bound iron uptake in the liver. He retained his interest in metal metabolism following his move to London in 1998, working at the University of London where he studied the synthesis of vitamin B12 in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the pathogen which causes many lung infections in cyctic fibrosis patients. In 2004, he returned to Western Australia to work in the School of Medicine & Pharmacology, UWA, continuing his work on iron in the liver, focussing on the role of transferrin receptor 2 in iron uptake and how mutations in this protein cause a rare form of the iron-loading disorder, haemochromatosis. This work led to identification of a role for iron in the biosynthesis of cholesterol, implicating iron as a factor in liver disease and obesity. In 2011, he moved to Curtin University where he is continuing his research into liver iron and its effects on other metabolic processes.

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