Friday, October 30, 2015

University of Queensland physiotherapy lecturer receives award

The acclaim of University of Queensland physiotherapy lecturer Dr Allison Mandrusiak will span the globe following a Universitas 21 Teaching Excellence Award.

Dr Mandrusiak, from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, was announced as one of two global recipients of the award in Santiago, Chile.

UQ Physiotherapy School
Dr Allison Mandrusiak was one of only two Universitas 21 Teaching Excellence Award recipients globally (Photo credit: UQ)

“I’m so thrilled. It’s a wonderful accolade to be recognised at this international level,” Dr Mandrusiak said.

“The Teaching Excellence Award allows me to travel to the UK for the Universitas 21 Health Sciences Group annual meeting in September, 2016.

“There I will present a workshop in collaboration with the other award recipient, Dr Hong Gao of China.”

Mount Gravatt resident Dr Mandrusiak was recognised for her outstanding work advancing inter-professional and international teaching and learning.

Her impact ranges from paving inroads for simulated learning in China, to teaching cardiorespiratory physiotherapists in Kuwait, and fostering clinical placements in Vietnam.

“It really was the time I spent in Vietnam supervising students that led to an epiphany about the value of inter-professional and cross-cultural learning experiences,” Dr Mandrusiak said.

Universitas 21 is a global network of universities with a strong research focus and ambitions of improving life in the 21st Century.

There are 25 universities in the network, encompassing 1.3 million students and more than 220,000 staff.

UQ School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Associate Dean (Academic) Professor Sarah Roberts-Thomson said the recognition of Dr Mandrusiak brought great pride to the university.

“It is an accomplishment that should be shouted from the rooftops,” Professor Roberts-Thomson said.

“Not only is it fantastic news for Allison and UQ, but it’s a feather in the cap for Brisbane, Queensland and Australia.

“Allison is one of the central figures in developing this faculty’s common course, which is a curriculum developed for all our students.

“The focus of the common course is preparing work-ready graduates that have a great understanding of modern health workforce needs.”

UQ is one of three Australian members of Universitas 21, along with the University of Melbourne and the University of New South Wales.

Other network members include the University of Hong Kong, the University of Delhi, Ohio State University, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Amsterdam.

University of Queensland Physiotherapy

The University of Queensland offers a learning environment and has assessment requirements designed to facilitate the advanced and intensive learning appropriate for a master’s-level program. The Master of Physiotherapy Studies introduces graduates to the profession of physiotherapy and its key concepts in intensive mode during an initial summer semester. It focuses on developing core knowledge and skills in the areas of musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiorespiratory and physical therapy across the lifespan, and integrates this knowledge and skill and application of clinical reasoning in supervised clinical practice.

Program: Master of Physiotherapy Studies
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: November
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline: May 30, 2016

UQ PhD student receives top honours for sustainable energy solutions

A University of Queensland PhD student who is investigating sustainable energy solutions for developing communities has secured a prestigious fellowship from the American Australian Association.

Matthew Herington from UQ’s Energy Initiative will collaborate with researchers at Washington University in St Louis (WUSTL) to look at ways of overcoming energy poverty.

UQ Environmental Sciences
Matthew Herington (Photo credit: UQ)

Mr Herington said 1.1 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity and a further 2.9 billion people continue to use traditional fuels for light, and heating and cooking such as wood, animal dung, coal and crop residue.

“Using these traditional means to attain the most basic of human needs results in a number of significant problems—contributing to four million premature deaths each year, lifelong disabilities, deforestation, gender inequality and income poverty,” he said.

“Furthermore, time spent gathering wood for fuel means less time is available for more productive activities such as education or income generation, particularly for women who typically carry this burden.

“The benefits of achieving universal access to the energy services that sustain modern life are broad and transformational.”

Mr Herington said despite global efforts, progress to provide communities in developing countries with modern energy services has been slow, with many projects failing to deliver sustained and meaningful outcomes.

“Reasons for such failures are often investigated, with projects and initiatives reviewed to ask why these have seemingly failed, but very few explore the motivations and the behaviours of individuals who succeed in making a sustainable shift in their energy choices,” he said.

About the UQ Energy Initiative

The UQ Energy Initiative was established in 2011 to integrate UQ’s strengths and diversity in energy research, and is under the directorship of Professor Chris Greig. With many government and industry partners, UQ is uniquely placed to understand and address the challenges ahead. UQ’s breadth of experience ranges from engineering, material sciences and mining research, to social policy, economics, and environment. This aligns with the specific challenges facing Australia with its abundant and cost competitive coal and gas resources and an economy that is heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

A key focus of the UQ Energy Initiative is to facilitate engagement between the university’s best researchers and leaders in industry and government. The priorities of industry and policy makers need to inform and drive UQ energy research programs to make them as effective as possible.

MCAT 2016 registration deadlines

Are you considering applying to Australian Medical Schools for the 2017 intake? Then you’ll probably want to write the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess the examinee’s problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine.

Australian Medical Schools in Australia
Good luck, OzTREKKers!

The MCAT is administered multiple times from late January through early September, and offered at hundreds of test sites in the United States, Canada, and around the world.

OzTREKK recommends that you visit the official MCAT website ( for all of the important details regarding the test, including registration deadlines, testing dates, and locations.

MCAT 2016 Registration Deadlines

*GOLD Zone registration deadline: Last date to reschedule at the lower rate and last date to receive a partial refund for cancelling an exam.

**SILVER Zone registration deadline: Last date for initial registration without a fee increase and last date to reschedule.

***BRONZE Zone registration deadline: Last date to cancel a reservation.

All deadlines are at 11:59 PM ET on the day of the deadline

Test Date (2016) Gold Zone Begins Gold Zone Deadline* Silver Zone Deadline** Bronze Zone Deadline***
January 22 Oct. 21 Dec. 22 Jan. 8 Jan. 15
January 23 Oct. 21 Dec. 23 Jan. 8 Jan. 15
April 1 Oct. 21 Mar. 1 Mar. 18 Mar. 25
April 23 Oct. 21 Mar. 23 Apr. 8 Apr. 15
May 6 Oct. 21 Apr. 6 Apr. 22 Apr. 29
May 14 Oct. 21 Apr. 14 Apr. 29 May 6
May 20 Oct. 21 Apr. 20 May 6 May 13
June 2 TBD May 2 May 19 May 26
June 18 TBD May 18 June 3 June 10
July 8 TBD June 8 June 24 July 1
July 9 TBD June 9 June 24 July 1
July 22 TBD June 22 July 8 July 15
August 4 TBD July 5 July 21 July 28
August 5 TBD July 5 July 22 July 29
August 19 TBD July 19 Aug. 5 Aug 12
August 20 TBD July 20 Aug. 5 Aug. 12
August 25 TBD July 25 Aug. 11 Aug. 18
September 1 TBD Aug. 1 Aug. 18 Aug. 25
September 9 TBD Aug. 9 Aug. 26 Sep. 2
September 10 TBD Aug. 10 Aug. 26 Sep. 2

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Take off with Griffith University exchange program

Win 1 of 5 $10,000 international study experiences

Broaden your business horizons with an international study experience. Absorb and encounter a different life and culture in a new learning environment. Spend from one week to one year overseas with opportunities including student exchanges, study tours, international internships and community programs. And you’ll receive credit towards your degree.

International exchange

Griffith’s Exchange Program allows you to study overseas with a partner institution for one or two semesters, or during the semester break. With a choice of almost 200 institutions across 41 countries, discover where your Griffith degree can take you.

International internships

Griffith Business School offers Global Mobility Business Internships to destinations such as Bali, Germany, Korea and China. You’ll learn how to operate in an international business environment giving you valuable skills in the employment market.

International study tours

The tourism and events industry is one of the most exciting and fastest growing sectors in Australia, and internationally. Griffith Business School gives you the opportunity for hands-on learning through cruise ship study tours in South-East Asia and fieldwork in international tourism hotspots such as Italy.

International community internship

Apply your academic learning for the benefit of others and develop an understanding of how you can contribute to local and international communities through a Community Internship.

How do you enter?

There are five $10,000 international study experiences to be won. You’ll automatically enter the draw when you accept your offer to study an eligible Griffith Business School bachelor degree in Semester 1 2016.

Eligible business degrees include the following and their double degree combinations:
  • Bachelor of Asian Studies
  • Bachelor of Business
  • Bachelor of Commerce
  • Bachelor of Government and International Relations
  • Bachelor of International Business
  • Bachelor of Tourism and International Relations
You must accept your offer by January 19, 2016 to be eligible to win.

Canadian student featured in UQ Pharmacy video

We love it when our Australian universities show OzTREKK students in their news stories and educational videos.

UQ School of Pharmacy recently released this informative video regarding their popular Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) program, and former OzTREKKer, Sunita, is one of the students they decided to feature! What better way to discover more about studying pharmacy at UQ—hear about the program and the university straight from international students themselves:

Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) Program at UQ

The Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) program is a well-established, professionally accredited learning framework that is well received by both students and the profession. The program has evolved into one of the country’s most comprehensive and well-respected pharmacy degrees, both domestically and internationally.

Program: Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours)
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: November 15, 2015

Entry Requirements
Applicants to UQ Pharmacy are required to have completed their high school diploma. Applicants should have completed Grade 12 English, Chemistry and Math to meet program prerequisites.

If you have commenced or completed a university degree or any post-secondary studies, your most recent studies will be assessed in terms of your grades. If you have not completed the necessary prerequisite subjects in your post-secondary studies, your high school transcripts will then be assessed for prerequisite subjects.

Credit Transfers!

Many international students with prior study (especially those with a science background) are able to enter directly into Year 2 of the Bachelor of Pharmacy. If credit is awarded, students can undertake an additional course in their first and second semester of enrollment and complete the program in just 3 years.

Melbourne law students compete to create best legal help website

Melbourne Law School students have designed and built a range of legal help websites to provide the public with fast, accurate and cost-effective information about common legal problems including inaccurate credit reports, handling and managing fines, and assessing employment rights.

University of Melbourne Law School
Melbourne Law School is the #1 law school in Australia!*

The legal expertise websites are designed to replicate the thought processes and actions of a lawyer and provide tailored legal information to non-lawyers and the not-for-profit sector as part of the Melbourne Law School’s Juris Doctor degree.

Students competed for the title of ‘The Slater and Gordon Award for Law Apps’ before a panel of judges, where their projects were assessed on their usefulness, completeness, ambition and creativity, design and presentation.

Dean of Melbourne Law School Professor Carolyn Evans said that new technologies were providing innovative solutions in the law.

“Legal expert systems are a growing part of the legal landscape, assisting Australian and international lawyers to provide fast, accurate and cost-effective answers to common legal problems,” Professor Evans said.

Subject teacher, Mr Gary Cazalet, said the subject offered at the Melbourne Law School received support from Georgetown University, law firm Slater and Gordon and technology platform Neota Logic—a platform providing non-programmers with the tools to efficiently build, test, maintain, and deploy expert applications.

“During the development of their websites, students receive substantial and ongoing advice from Neota Logic’s experts both in Australia and the US, enabling students to create applications of the highest quality,” Mr Cazalet said.

Slater and Gordon Managing Director Andrew Grech said the group was proud to support the next generation of lawyers as they develop new and innovative ways to improve access to information and justice.

“The legal profession is not immune to disruption and it’s pleasing to see that future lawyers are already developing an understanding of the need to innovate,” he said.

* Melbourne Law School is ranked #8 in the world and #1 in Australia according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015 – Law.

University of Melbourne Law School Juris Doctor program

Program: Juris Doctor (JD)
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Semester intake: February
Duration: 3 years (standard course structure); 2 or 2.5 years (accelerated course structure)
Application Deadline: Melbourne Law School has a general application deadline of November 30 each year. It is recommended that you apply as early as possible.

Entry Requirements
Melbourne JD applicants must have
  • completed an undergraduate degree in any discipline; and
  • completed the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Monash University provides $1 million to genomics in neuroscience program

In recognition of the importance of genomics to the translation of brain sciences from the laboratory to the clinic, Monash University has provided a $1-million kick-start to the Monash Institute for Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN).

Monash University
Monash University provides $1 million to genomics in neuroscience program (Image credit: Monash University)

At the recent launch of the MICCN, Professor Edwina Cornish, Provost and Senior Vice-President of Monash University announced the funding. According to Professor Cornish, the application of “genomics” to human diseases, disorders and traits including brain structure and function is a rapidly developing area of science, spurred on in large part by technical advances that now allow us to interrogate the human genome at an unprecedented level of precision to interrogate large human databases.

“Monash University is extremely pleased to provide support of $1 million in recognition that the establishment of MICCN will respond to the critical need for industry and clinically relevant research that will improve the health and well-being of millions of Australians who face significant life challenges due to brain disorders,” Professor Edwina Cornish said.

According to Professor Kim Cornish, the Director of the MICCN, genomics will play a key role in deciphering ways to fix the broken brain.

“It has been a strategic decision to use precision medicine via genomics with state-of-the-art, next-generation sequencing capability. In this way we can home in on the molecular signatures of brain development, plasticity and repair,” she said.

“By expanding into genomics the MICCN will leverage off large available biobanks at Monash for ADHD, autism and a range of other complex disorders,” Professor Kim Cornish said.

“The use of sequencing in these patient cohorts will not only shed new light on disease pathways but may also identify causative mutations within druggable targets and offer the hope of personalized medicine approaches to disorders of the brain.”

UQ Veterinary School information sessions in Canada next week

The University of Queensland School of Veterinary Science and OzTREKK are pleased to present the UQ Veterinary School Information Sessions to be held in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver next week! At the information sessions, UQ Associate Professor Malcolm Jones will speak about the Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours) program offered at the UQ School of Veterinary Science.

UQ Veterinary School
UQ Associate Professor Malcolm Jones
Find out more about
  • the University of Queensland
  • the UQ School of Veterinary Science
  • the Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) program
  • program structure
  • admissions requirements
  • BVSc application process
  • accreditation
  • life on campus
  • and much more!
Everyone is welcome to attend these free information sessions. Find out why UQ Veterinary School is ranked #22 in the world and #2 in Australia*!

University of Calgary
Date: Friday, Nov. 6, 2015
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: MacEwan Student Centre, Bianca Room 226

University of Alberta
Date: Friday, Nov. 6, 2015
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Agriculture Forestry Centre, Room 1-13

University of British Columbia
Date: Monday, Nov. 9, 2015
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Henry Angus Building, Rm 295



Accreditation Information

UQ’s Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Hons) program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This means that graduates are considered in the same category as graduates from North American Veterinary Schools when undertaking licensing examinations in North America. Graduates are eligible to sit the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination along with graduates from accredited veterinary colleges in the United States and Canada. AVMA accreditation is well recognised as the international benchmark for quality in veterinary education.

UQ Veterinary School’s Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) program

The vet program at the UQ Veterinary School is one of the most sought after in Australia, attracting the very best students and producing veterinarians that are in high demand, both domestically and internationally. The university’s Bachelor of Veterinary Science provides the broadest base in the biological sciences of any undergraduate course and provides a very wide range of career options as well as its professional qualifications, enabling graduates to practice veterinary medicine and surgery.

Program: Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours)
Location: Gatton, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 5 years
Application deadline: UQ Veterinary School has a general application deadline of November 30; however, late applications may be accepted. It is strongly recommended that students apply a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.
*QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015

Sydney Arts and Humanities ranked number one in Australia

The University of Sydney has performed strongly in the 2015/16 Times Higher Education World University Rankings for specific subject areas, with outstanding results in Arts and Humanities and Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health.

University of Sydney arts and humanities degrees
Study arts at the University of Sydney

Subject rankings for other areas will be published over the next month.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings were founded in 2004. The rankings measure universities across the core areas of teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

“We are delighted with yet another strong showing for the University of Sydney in these subject rankings. Our Arts and Humanities disciplines have been ranked among the best in the world over the past five years making us the clear leader in Australia,” said Professor Duncan Ivison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research.

“The performance of our health disciplines is also impressive. Our ambition is to be the leading research and education institution in Australia and among the best in the world. These results suggest we’re on track in pursuing this vision, which is at the heart of our emerging new strategic plan.”

Arts and Humanities at the University of Sydney

The results place the University of Sydney as Australia’s top institution for Arts and Humanities and 29th globally.

This achievement was driven by excellence in research and teaching by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Since the inception of the Times Higher Education subject rankings in 2011 the university has consistently ranked within the top 30 globally in Arts and Humanities.

Griffith professor one of Australia’s top 10 most influential women

Griffith University’s Professor Lesley Chenoweth AO has been named in the top 10 of Australia’s most influential women.

The Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of Logan Campus won the local/regional category at the Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards for 2015 Gala Dinner at Sydney Town Hall. Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry won the overall honour.

Griffith University Australia
Professor Lesley Chenoweth AO has been named in the top 10 of Australia’s most influential women (Photo credit: Griffith University)

Professor Chenoweth said she was honoured to be acknowledged as “influential,” especially alongside McGrath Foundation CEO Petra Buchanan, former Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon, Managing Director of Microsoft Australia Pip Marlow, Australian Army pilot Captain Jennifer Roberts and publisher Louise Adler.

“I believe that all women have the potential to influence, and you don’t have to be in a leadership role to do so,” she said.

“I have met so many wonderful women who have influence in their own way in their own spheres.

“I think the key is to seize opportunities and understand the nature of leadership and influence—there are many opportunities for leadership even when you are at school or just starting your career.”

Professor Chenoweth has led a long and distinguished career in higher education, integrating research, education and community particularly in the areas of social work, people living with disabilities and people often excluded from higher education.

Based at the Logan campus, her work involves partnerships with Logan City Council, community organisations, schools, sporting groups and the whole community to enable more people to achieve more.

“This is made possible through the support of the university to be part of the transformation of a whole community. My vision is for Griffith’s Logan campus to be an aspiration for local young people and others seeking a university education.”

Professor Chenoweth believes her successful career would not have been possible had she not taken up opportunities that came her way.

“I’ve had some amazing opportunities presented to me and I’ve grabbed most of them,” she said. “I’ve also had some great women in my life and cannot stress how important it is to collaborate and work together or seek out mentors at different times.”

Earlier this year Professor Chenoweth was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
The 100 Women of Influence Awards aim to highlight the important contribution women make in creating a bold and diverse future for Australia.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Macquarie Graduate School of Management moves up to 28th in the world

The Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) has moved to 28th in the world in rankings produced by The Economist, putting it in the top three business schools in the Asian timezone.

Macquarie Graduate School of Management
Learn more about business degrees at Macquarie University

Dean Professor Alex Frino said the rankings reflected significant improvements made to the MGSM offering over the past two years.

“We have been focused heavily on our flagship Women in MBAs program, which has seen a significant increase in women participating in our degrees as well as $2.4 million in new scholarships,” he said. “We have also increased our staff-to-student ratios, implemented a strong alumni program and relaunched our career advisory service linking graduates with a wide range of professional opportunities.”

MGSM has seen more than 200% growth in international student applications over the past year, a result Professor Frino links to the improved ranking.

“Rankings are extremely important to international applicants, and we have seen a steady increase as we have incrementally improved our program and subsequently climbed the important rating scales,” he said. “Our top 100 Financial Times result early this year was the first significant demonstration of our improvement in quality and now to be top 30 in The Economist makes us very proud indeed.”

Education continues to be an important export for Australia and results like this improved the country’s reputation overall, Professor Frino said.

“We really want to ensure that Australia is a destination of choice for professionals from all over the world who want to further their education with a world-class degree,” he said. “We’ve been very active in promoting Australia globally and I believe strongly that education will grow in importance as a plank of the Australian economy over the near term.”

Professor Frino said that the Macquarie Graduate School of Management had invested in some significant new programs to roll out in 2016, further focusing on diversity in education.

“We’re working right now on a very exciting project that builds on the Women in MBA program,” he said. “Our sole aim is to produce leaders with a social conscience and a global mindset and we’re continually deepening our offering towards this goal. I’m looking forward to announcing our next important program in this area before the end of 2015.”

Master of Business Administration at Macquarie Business School

Degree: Master of Business Administration
Location: North Ryde, Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intakes: January, April, June, September
Application deadline: While there is no official application deadline, it is recommended that you submit your complete application at least three months in advance of the program’s start date.

Don’t forget to register to write the DAT!

Planning to apply to a dental school in Australia? Two of OzTREKK’s Australian Dental Schools require the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) as part of their application—Melbourne Dental School and Sydney Dental School.

Australian Dental Schools in Australia
Inside the Sydney Dental School

If you’re considering writing the DAT, it is important to know that there are only two sittings per year. If you’ve missed the registration deadline of September 15, 2015 for the November 7 sitting, then you still have time to register for the February 20, 2016 DAT.

As there are a limited number of DAT test centres and seats available, it is recommended that applicants register as early as possible for their preferred test location and date for the DAT and well in advance of the registration deadline. Seats fill up very quickly at certain test centres and Canadian Dental Association cannot guarantee that seats will still be available at the end of the registration period.

Registration for the DAT exams on February 20, 2016 and November 5, 2016 are open!

Upcoming test dates:
  • Saturday, February 20, 2016 (Must register before January 15, 2016 23:59:59 EST)
  • Saturday, November 5, 2016
You can register online. Please note that payment is required at the time of registration. For more information, visit the official Canadian Dental Association website:

University of Newcastle students win community engagement award

The outstanding contributions made by NSW international students was recognised at the 2015 NSW International Student Awards recently.

Announced in a ceremony at Sydney Opera House, the University of Newcastle took out the International Student Community Engagement Award officiated by Stuart Ayres, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events.

The University of Newcastle International Students has been awarded for a great local initiative—Cheap Chewsday. (Photo credit: UON)

“The benefits will continue long after tonight’s winners and finalists have returned home; their presence here has strengthened our links with the international community and have no doubt created connections that will thrive over time,” Mr Ayres said.

The University of Newcastle International Students has been awarded for a great local initiative—Cheap Chewsday.

Once a month, on a Tuesday, international students gather at the Jesmond Park Uniting Church for a dinner to welcome international students and expand their friendships in the local community.

PVC International and Advancement Winnie Eley was delighted with the award for the program.

“International students have a real desire to connect and share with not only other students, but with the community they have come to be a part of. Our unique and innovative programs, such as Cheap Chewsday, provide this opportunity, and are among the many reasons why over 6,000 international students choose to study with the University of Newcastle from over 100 countries. We are honoured for this innovation to be recognised with this award,” Mrs Eley said.

The dinners often have an international theme with a two- to three-course meal on offer for a $2 donation.

Students and community come together at these events with one evening reaching a full-house capacity of 150 diners.

In its third year, Cheap Chewsday continues to grow, fostering a real sense of engagement between the community and students at  the University of Newcastle.

Bernado Christino Altamira, an international student from the Phillipines, recently graduated with a Master Educational Studies at UON. Bernado says that Cheap Chewsday offers not only the option to taste cuisines by different nationalities—but also helps build multicultural friendships.

“What makes the food more delightful is that we share it with other international students and the local community,” Bernado said.

Lambert donation puts Australia at forefront of medicinal cannabinoid research

A $33.7-million gift to the University of Sydney places Australia at the forefront of medicinal cannabinoid research.

“Our vision is to make Australia a world-leader in researching how to realise the powerful medicinal potential of the cannabis plant,” said Barry Lambert, who together with his wife Joy, has funded the Lambert Initiative.

University of Sydney Medical School
Learn more about studying at Sydney Medical School
“The experience of our granddaughter, who suffers debilitating epilepsy, has opened our eyes to the extraordinary possibility of cannabinoids treating not only her condition but a range of chronic illnesses that often don’t respond to conventional treatments.

“We believe this investment in the future of Australian science and medicine will provide the much-needed evidence to rapidly advance the use of medicinal cannabinoids in the treatment of childhood epilepsy and other serious illnesses.”

The donation is the largest gift ever made to research at the University of Sydney.

“The Lamberts’ unprecedented gift holds the promise of achieving innovative and effective new medicines to alleviate the suffering of countless numbers of people,” said Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney.

“It enables research across a broad range of applications from addiction, cancer, obesity, childhood epilepsy and chronic pain to dementia and mental health disorders. Their generosity recognises the university’s commitment to cross-disciplinary research that can achieve life-changing outcomes. It is our privilege and responsibility to respond.

“A world-first in the extent of its support for medicinal cannabis research, it places Australia in the front rank of countries, such as the Netherlands, the United States and Israel, leading the world in this new era of cannabinoid science.”

The Lambert Initiative funds a multi-year program to build on the university’s extensive clinical and scientific cannabinoid-related expertise to ultimately produce cannabinoid-based medicines.

NSW Premier Mike Baird has congratulated the University of Sydney on the significant initiative and applauded the generosity of the Lamberts.

“NSW is breaking new ground in terms of medical cannabis research and this major investment confirms our state’s leadership in this area,” Mr Baird said.

“The Lamberts’ investment gives our cause enormous momentum and my hope is it dramatically increases the cross-sector knowledge sharing required to ultimately produce cannabinoid-based medicines that are safe, reliable and affordable.

“I recently met with the lead investigators of the Lambert Initiative and am pleased that they are already embedded in our clinical trials.”

A priority of the Initiative will be to understand how cannabidiol (CBD) works to treat paediatric epilepsy and to explore the potential of the nine other cannabinoids, currently identified as of greatest therapeutic interest, to address the condition.

The strategy will go on to determine which of these cannabinoids hold the greatest promise in treating specific diseases and, using rigorous, high-quality evidence, move them towards human clinical trials.

From the start the Initiative will undertake medicinal chemistry to drive the creation of new highly targeted medications based on its emerging understanding of how cannabinoids treat disease. At the heart of the program will be sharing such knowledge with the public, government and medical professionals with both outreach and education.

The lead investigators of the Lambert Initiative, from the Faculty of Science and Sydney Medical School, with decades of cannabinoid research between them, are Professor Iain McGregor, Associate Professor Nicholas Lintzeris and Dr David  Allsop.

“We have all devoted our careers to cannabis science, one of the fastest moving frontiers in pharmacology. We now know there are more than 100 different compounds we call cannabinoids, many of which have incredible therapeutic properties that we are only beginning to understand,” said Professor Iain McGregor.

“The Lambert Initiative allows us to gather the key science researchers and clinicians from Australia and worldwide to work within, or in association with, the Lambert Initiative. Much of the research will happen on-site at the University of Sydney but it will also support and promote specialist researchers throughout Australia to encourage them to undertake collaborative cannabinoid-related research.

“We have also made a flying start by becoming embedded in the NSW government’s sponsored clinical trials of medicinal cannabis, offering our unique cannabinoid clinical trials expertise, including exploring its safety and effectiveness for treating paediatric epilepsy.”

With every gift to the University of Sydney, donors become part of INSPIRED, the campaign to support the University of Sydney, which aims to raise $600 million by 2017.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monash University appoints new chancellor for new era

Distinguished businessman and social entrepreneur Simon McKeon AO has been appointed by Monash University Council as the new Chancellor of Monash University.

Mr McKeon succeeds Dr Alan Finkel AO, who has served as Chancellor since January 2008.
Monash University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Margaret Gardner AO said she is looking forward to working with Mr McKeon.

Monash University
Simon McKeon AO (Photo credit: Monash University)

“I am delighted Simon is joining Monash. His leadership and vision will be instrumental in continuing Monash’s outstanding success in an increasingly competitive and rapidly evolving sector and supporting its goals to enhance its students’ success, extend its research impact and expand its engagement internationally and with industry,” Professor Gardner said.

Mr McKeon said he was “humbled and delighted” on hearing the news of his appointment.
“In an era when education is widely regarded as one of Australia’s key sectors, both in terms of societal development as well as economically, it is truly an honour to serve as the next Chancellor of Monash University,” Mr McKeon said.

After studying Law and Commerce at the University of Melbourne, Mr McKeon started his career practicing law before moving into financial services. After a successful 30 years at Macquarie Group, he recently retired from his position as Executive Chairman of Macquarie’s Melbourne office. He has also been involved in a diverse range of organisations including Chair of CSIRO, MS Research Australia and Global Poverty Project Australia and a Director of VisionFund International, World Vision Australia and Red Dust Role Models. He became Chair of AMP in 2014.

In 2011, he was recognised as Australian of the Year and is also a current Australia Day Ambassador for the Victorian Government.

In 2012, Mr McKeon was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to business and commerce through his leadership and advisory roles, and to the community as a supporter of national and international charitable, educational and sporting organisations.

Professor Gardner paid tribute to retiring Chancellor Dr Finkel for his extensive service to the university.

“It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Dr Finkel who has chosen to retire. He has been an outstanding Chancellor of Monash, deeply engaged with its research, its students and leading the enhancement of its campuses. We wish to extend our sincere gratitude to Dr Finkel for his contribution to and ongoing support of the University,” Professor Gardner said.

Dr Finkel was the first Monash graduate to be appointed to the role and has been significantly involved in the development of philanthropy and capital developments at Monash.

“I have been privileged to work with three excellent Vice Chancellors, numerous superb academic and professional leaders and many wonderfully capable Council Members.  Although I will miss my role as Chancellor I am confident that Simon McKeon will provide inspired oversight as the next Chancellor of my favourite university,” Dr Finkel said.

Mr McKeon takes up his new post in January 2016.

Getting ready to go: cell phones

There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to planning your time in Australia. Have you found accommodation? Did you open an Aussie bank account? Did you pack your sunscreen?

We live in a lightning-speed, technologically enhanced age. If you’re heading to Oz soon, another item on your to-do list is probably “find out more about cell phones in Australia.”

Study in Australia
Unlock your phone, and buy an Aussie SIM card!
You’ve got a selection of Australian mobile phone and plan providers.
  • Telstra
  • Optus
  • Vodafone
  • Virgin
  • amaysim
Brands are actually similar to North America’s:
  • Apple
  • Sony
  • HTC
  • Huawei
  • LG
  • Nokia
  • Samsung
Which one is best? Which one will work for you? Best to check out You Compare, a website that gives you a list of providers and phones and does the math for you

SIM cards

What’s a SIM card (aka subscriber identity module or subscriber identification module)? Basically, it’s the tiny removable plastic card inside your phone—the phone’s “brain.” The SIM card can be transferred between different mobile devices.

SIM cards that are issued by providers with an associated contract are called SIM-only deals. Common examples are the GSM networks in the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK. Many businesses offer the ability to remove the SIM lock from a phone, effectively making it possible to then use the phone on any network by inserting a different SIM card.

Option #1: Use your Canadian Mobile Phone
Get your current phone“unlocked.” If you don’t, you will be slammed with roaming charges, and roaming charges are bank account vampires. Unlock your phone by contacting your cell phone plan provider. Find out which frequency your phone uses and then match it to the Australian frequencies.

Next, buy a SIM card. One of the best value, flexible, pay-as-you-go SIMs available in Australia is with Amaysim, powered by the Optus 4G network, which is currently covering 97% of Australians! You can get a SIM card from other companies, but just be sure to check the carrier and the frequencies vs your phone’s frequencies.

Option #2: Buy a phone in Australia
There are five popular mobile phone companies across Australia, thus giving you plenty of options. You can track down great deals and even better phone rates. The disadvantage is that your Aussie phone may not work in Canada. If you’re travelling frequently between Canada and Australia, you’ll be left phoneless while in the Great White North.

Option #3: Buy your own phone in Canada online
If you purchase a quad-band, unlocked phone, then you’re in business. The quad-band can access the four frequencies used in both countries. Unlocked means you’re able to change the SIM card. When you’re in Australia, you’ll take out your Canadian SIM card, replace it with Australian SIM card (see option #1), therefore using a local number and calling rates.

Check out the following websites for more cell phone ideas and options!


Loss of ocean predators impacts climate change

Continued unsustainable harvesting of large predatory fish, including the culling of sharks, can have far-reaching consequences for the way we tackle climate change.

Professor Rod Connolly, a marine scientist from Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute, is the co-author of new research that says keeping populations of larger fish intact is critical to carbon accumulation and long-term storage in vegetated coastal habitats such as saltmarsh, mangroves and seagrass.

Griffith University Environmental Sciences
To cull or not to cull: new research reveals the link between ocean predators and carbon capture and storage (Photo credit: Griffith University)

A paper, Predators help protect carbon stocks in blue carbon ecosystems, is published in the journal Nature Climate Change and identifies the urgent need for further research on the influence of predators on carbon cycling, and improved policy and management with regard to blue carbon reserves.

The research comes as Australia in particular, in response to a recent spate of shark attacks—some fatal—engages in fierce public debate over shark culling.

Professor Connolly warns the loss of top order predators through excessive culling or over-fishing has serious environmental ramifications.

“Altering the numbers of top ocean predators has major consequences for the way we tackle climate change,” says Professor Connolly.

“These predators have a cascading effect on the food web and the ecosystem generally that ultimately changes the amount of carbon captured and locked up in the seabed.”

Coastal wetlands play a crucial role in this process, extracting carbon from the atmosphere and burying it in the mud for hundreds and even thousands of years.

“When we change the abundance of higher order predators, this affects the number of smaller animals living in the mud, and that has flow-on effects for carbon storage in coastal wetlands,” says Professor Connolly.

“We are already aware of the need to manage how many fish we take and from where. But we should also know that our decisions affect climate change.”

Professor Connolly says the coastal wetlands that fringe the world’s continents are doing a power of environmental good, taking a quarter of a trillion kilograms of carbon out of the atmosphere every year; however, that efficiency can be easily compromised.

“Predators play an important and potentially irreplaceable role in carbon cycling. The effect of the disproportionate loss of species high in the food chain cannot be underestimated.”

About the Griffith University Australian Rivers Institute

The Griffith University Australian Rivers Institute is Australia’s largest university aquatic ecosystem research groups with globally recognised expertise in river, catchment and coastal ecosystems and the interaction with these systems in society. The institute brings together 130 staff and post-graduate students at the Nathan and Gold Coast campuses.

Research focuses on a “source to sea” philosophy delivering through six themes:
  • Catchment and river ecosystem processes
  • Rehabilitation science and environmental flows
  • Coastal and estuarine ecosystem processes
  • Aquatic biodiversity and conservation
  • Integration, modelling and catchment management
  • Aquatic ecosystem monitoring and assessment

Upcoming Macquarie Doctor of Physiotherapy webinar

Are you interested in studying physiotherapy?

Great news! In order to the make the Doctor of Physiotherapy program more accessible to Canadian students, Macquarie University has increased the number of international seats from 5 to 20 and now does rolling admissions (no official deadline: first come, first served)!

We are also pleased to announce that Macquarie Physiotherapy Clinical Education and Student Support Manager Ms Angel Stark will be hosting a webinar for anyone interested in learning more about the Macquarie DPT program, the physio facilities and placements. Find out what makes a “happy Ange!”

Macquarie University Doctor of Physiotherapy Webinar

Date: Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Time: 7:30 p.m. (EST)
RSVP: For registration details, contact OzTREKK’s Australian Physiotherapy Schools Admissions Officer Jaime Notman at 1-866-698-7355 FREE or email

About Physiotherapy Clinical Education and Student Support Manager Angel Stark

Macquarie University Physiotherapy School
Ms Angel Stark, Physiotherapy Clinical Education and Student Support Manager

  • Expertise in physiotherapy clinical education, teaching and learning and clinical work
  • Joined Macquarie University in May 2012
  • Previously employed at the University of Sydney as Lecturer in Physiotherapy (2001–2012)
  • 22 years of experience as a clinician working in Australia in public, private and community health settings, mostly in the management of neurological conditions
  • Her areas of sub-specialty are amputees, stroke and traumatic brain injury
  • Passionate physiotherapy educator experienced in curriculum development of physiotherapy programs
  • Academic responsibility for teaching in undergraduate, postgraduate and international physiotherapy programs and has qualifications in higher education teaching
  • Areas of teaching expertise include neurological physiotherapy, orthopaedic physiotherapy (including amputees), clinical education and professional issues

Macquarie University Doctor of Physiotherapy

The Doctor of Physiotherapy at Macquarie is the only three-year, professional-entry physiotherapy program offered in New South Wales.

Program: Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPT)
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Duration: 3 years
Next available intake: July 2016
Application deadline: Applications are assessed on a rolling admissions basis. The sooner you apply the better!

Entry requirements
1. Completion of a bachelor’s degree with about a 65% average or above. This is the minimum academic standing needed to apply and does not guarantee admissions. The starting point to a competitive average would be at least a 70% cumulative average or higher; however, competitiveness changes each year depending on the quality and quantity of each year’s applicants.

2. Prerequisite courses in the following areas:
  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology (Cell and Systems)
  • Psychology
  • Research Methods
The courses in the following subject areas are desired, yet not mandatory:
  • Biomechanics
  • Pharmacology
  • Exercise physiology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Motor learning and performance
  • Neuroscience
Selection Process
Once entry requirements for each candidate have been met the following processes occurs:
  • Candidates will be ranked on their academic merit based on their highest GPA for any tertiary qualification.
  • Secondary level of consideration will be given to students who have completed desired tertiary units of study.
  • The highest ranked candidates will be offered a place.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Australian audiology schools: application deadlines are approaching

If you’re thinking of applying to an Australian Audiology school, please note that applications for the 2016 intake will be closing next Friday, October 30 at noon.

Australian audiology schools in Australia
Find out more about studying audiology!

Australian Audiology Schools still Accepting Applications

Melbourne Audiology School’s audiology program focuses on developing professional skills through a large program component of comprehensive clinical training. Clinical skills are supplemented by coursework and lectures that introduce students to graduate-level research methods, while maintaining a strong level of scientific acumen expected of students in the health sciences at the university.

Program: Master of Clinical Audiology
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Semester intake: February
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline: October 30, 2015

The Master of Clinical Audiology at Macquarie Audiology School is dedicated to preparing students to become professional audiologists. Macquarie University’s audiology program provides supervised clinical placements to hone its students’ professional skills. As well, numerous modules of scientific coursework allow students to learn the scientific fundamentals of audiology and understand the processes that contribute to congenital or acquired hearing loss and vestibular dysfunctions.

Program: Master of Clinical Audiology
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intake: February
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline:  October 30, 2015

Melbourne Endeavour Engineering & IT Exhibition 2015

An e-tool that allows visually impaired people to detect hazards and obstacles is just one of the student inventions that will be launched at the Endeavour Engineering & IT Exhibition 2015, the University of Melbourne’s showcase of design projects.

University of Melbourne Engineering and IT School
Clever engineering from the University of Melbourne can help unlock the future (Image credit: University of Melbourne)

This year, projects include designing robotic arms and emergency cooking methods for refugees.

The Exhibition is hosted annually to showcase the engineering and IT technology of tomorrow, as designed by final-year students.

Endeavour’s Academic coordinator Professor Andrew Western said Engineering and IT is everywhere, and generates new knowledge through diverse research projects.

“Clever engineering can help unlock the future and allows for exciting initiatives to come to light and ultimately improve our lives and the world we live in,” Professor Western said.

“In the case of the e-tool for visually impaired people, students are working on canes with obstacle-detecting capabilities to help avoid risky situations.

“The automated obstacle-detecting cane is both low-cost and portable, and is capable of reliably informing of any obstructions and dangers in front of the user. This is achieved through the use of ultrasonic reflection and video camera image processing.”

Another group made the decision to improve the system design to reduce the sound of trams wheels.

Student Benjamin Kaufman said the screeching of a tram’s wheels as it rounds a corner is a sound all Melbournians are familiar with.

“Our group decided the noise and wheel wear could be significantly reduced as the wheels turn.”

About the Melbourne School of Engineering

The Melbourne School of Engineering offers an internationally recognised curriculum with dual accreditation that is unique in Australia. The Master of Engineering suite of programs are the only engineering courses to be accredited by Engineers Australia, as well having received EUR-ACE® label European accreditation, allowing graduates to register and work as professional chartered engineers in many countries around the world.

The university’s graduate model of engineering education provides depth, breadth and flexibility to a world-class curriculum that is informed by real-world, problem-based learning, industry experience and a generous program of scholarships for both local and international students.

University of Sydney Law School Information Sessions in Canada

Sydney Law School and OzTREKK are please to present the University of Sydney Law School Information Sessions to be held in Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa this November.

University of Sydney Law School
Don’t miss the Sydney Law School Information Sessions!

Everyone is welcome to attend these free information sessions. Find out more about Sydney Law School and the Juris Doctor program.

At the information sessions, Dean Riley will speak about the Juris Doctor program offered at Sydney Law School. This is a great opportunity for future students to meet University of Sydney alumni and to find out more about
  • University of Sydney
  • Sydney Law School
  • Juris Doctor program
  • Program structure
  • Admissions requirements
  • JD application process
  • Accreditation
  • Life on campus
  • And much more!
Wondering about what it’s like to study law in Australia at the University of Sydney? Don’t miss these information sessions!

Date: Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015
Time: 3 – 5 p.m.
Venue: Westin Bayshore, 1601 Bayshore Dr. Vancouver, BC V6G 2V4

Date: Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015
Time: 6 – 8 p.m.
Venue: Westin Harbour Castle, 1 Harbour Square, Toronto, ON M5J 1A6

Date: Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015
Time: 6 – 8 p.m.
Venue: The Westin, 11 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON K1N 9H4


University of Sydney Law School
Sydney Law School Dean Joellen Riley

Meet Sydney Law School Dean Joellen Riley

Professor Joellen Riley, Dean at the faculty of law holds degrees in law from the universities of Sydney and Oxford, and has been teaching and researching in the field of employment and labour law since 1998. She studied law after a number of years as a financial journalist, and spent some time in commercial legal practice before joining the University of Sydney. Her academic career includes some years on the staff of the Law Faculty of the University of New South Wales, where she taught principally in corporate and commercial law. Joellen is a Fellow of the Commercial Law Association.

Study law at the University of Sydney Law School

Sydney Law School is Australia’s first. Since its inception, it has been at the forefront of developments associated with both the teaching and research of law. Its strong sense of commitment to the fundamentals of law is combined with a commitment to innovation and the exploration of issues at the cutting edge.

Program: Juris Doctor (JD)
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Duration: 3 years
Semester intake: February
Application deadline: January 16, 2016; however, it is recommended that students apply a minimum of three months prior to the program start date.

Melbourne dentistry offers are out!

Great news, OzTREKKers!

Melbourne Dental School has released offers for its popular Doctor of Dental Surgery program for the 2016 intake!

University of Melbourne Dental School
Study dentistry at the University of Melbourne!

Once again, OzTREKK students have received most of the international spots in the Melbourne DDS program! Way to go, everyone—this is a testament to the amazing academic quality of our applicants! Here’s what you need to know:

Melbourne Dental School Timeline

Deadline for all applicants to accept an offer of admission and pay a deposit: November 17, 2015 (Australian time). In order to meet this deadline, you will need to submit your acceptance documents and payment information by 4pm EST on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015.
Enrollment deadline: January 14, 2016
Orientation: January 21, 2016 (TBC)
First day of class: January 25, 2016

Moving to Melbourne? Be sure to get there a minimum of two weeks prior to your orientation (usually held the week before classes start). Why? Melbourne is a very busy city with lots of students! Many former OzTREKK students report that they were glad they chose to arrive early to look for accommodation, and some suggest moving a month early!

Be sure to watch the upcoming OzTREKK Pre-departure webinar:

Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Time: 7 p.m. EST

Congratulations again to all OzTREKK students who have received an offer!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

UQ Pharmacy School Pharmacometrics

Pharmacometrics at the UQ School of Pharmacy

The Pharmacometrics group at the UQ School of Pharmacy includes internationally recognised researchers that have a diverse range of interests in the area of pharmacometrics.

UQ Pharmacy School
UQ School of Pharmacy facilities

Pharmacometrics refers to the analysis of experiments and clinical studies, in particular pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies (PKPD) for the purposes of quantitation of drug clearance in the body, drug effects and side effects, disease progression, the optimisation of study designs, and Pharmacometric research focuses on nonlinear mixed effects (“population”) models.

Such models describe data, generally is the response-time profiles observed in a clinical trial, by a basic model, accounting for the general structure of the underlying system, and a set of hierarchical variability components, accounting for variability between subjects, within subjects over time and remaining between observation variability.

Research at the Pharmacometrics group can be divided into two main areas:
  1. The analysis of dose-concentration-response data from trials and clinical therapeutic drug monitoring data to understand therapies with existing drugs with the aim of allowing improved therapy and individualized therapy and
  2. The utilization of the developed models for the purpose of designing future prospective studies, deciding upon dosing strategies and other developmental decisions.
UQ School of Pharmacy mainly tries to employ the Population Pharmacometrics approach to answer questions arising from the clinical setting and work closely together with several clinical teams in Brisbane and worldwide.

Research Areas

The staff members in this group have interests in the supervision and development of academic and contract research projects in one or more of the following key areas:
Optimising drug therapy for
  • Antibiotics
  • Infectious diseases
    • critical care
    • cystic fibrosis
    • malaria
    • sepsis
    • tuberculosis/HIV
    • solid organ transplantation
    • Immunosuppressant agents
  • Effects of body composition on pharmacokinetics
    • obese patients
    • paediatrics
    • oncology
  • Pharmacogenomic subgroups
Software used
  • PsN, WFN
  • Xpose, R,
  • PopED, WinPOPT
  • Monolix
  • Berkley Madonna

Would you like to study pharmacy at the University of Queensland?

The Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) program is a well-established, professionally accredited learning framework that is well received by both students and the profession. The program has evolved into one of the country’s most comprehensive and well-respected pharmacy degrees, both domestically and internationally. This undergraduate program runs over 4 years, full time, after which graduates are eligible to complete a 48-week paid internship in either community or hospital pharmacy.

Program: Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours)
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: November 15, 2015

Entry Requirements
Applicants to UQ Pharmacy are required to have completed their high school diploma. Applicants should have completed Grade 12 English, Chemistry and Math to meet program prerequisites.

If you have commenced or completed a university degree or any post-secondary studies, your most recent studies will be assessed in terms of your grades. If you have not completed the necessary prerequisite subjects in your post-secondary studies, your high school transcripts will then be assessed for prerequisite subjects.

Making Melbourne resilient

The University of Melbourne and City of Melbourne are joining together to strengthen Melbourne’s resilience in the face of sustainability challenges including global warming.

University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne hopes to promote sustainability

In an announcement made Oct. 20, The City of Melbourne Chair in Resilient Cities is being established to provide a key point of leadership to align the resilience activities of both the City and the university.

Located within the Melbourne Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning and working closely with the Melbourne Sustainable Society’s Institute, (MSSI) the Chair will work to enhance and support the many initiatives supporting resilience in the City, the university, their partners and communities.

The Chair will lead this alignment of resilience across the full scope of the university’s faculties and interests.

Professor Brendan Gleeson, Director of MSSI said the Chair will look at urban resilience and identify and seek new partnerships including enhancing student opportunities to build world-class teaching and research programs.

“MSSI is strongly committed to building a collaborative and supportive network to achieve our high expectations.  The new role will build capacity to develop and support open communication based upon trust and respect,” Professor Gleeson said.

Such a key role will aim to influence and stimulate public debate and policy through engaging with both local and international communities.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said the Chair will become another key element in promoting sustainability across the university and beyond.

“The aspiration for a clean and green environment, and resilient society, informs the values of the university, and is in turn reflected in our work.”

“This Chair builds on this aspiration. We’re excited about the opportunities this collaboration with the City of Melbourne will bring in promoting our shared goals for sustainability, and further enhancing Melbourne’s role as a national leader in knowledge based urban resilience.”

“As a knowledge city, the City of Melbourne is delighted to partner with the University of Melbourne in a joint chair, a chair of resilience and of cities in general,” said Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle.

“This is a first for the City of Melbourne and the University of Melbourne but one that we feel will add great firepower to the study of not just what makes us such a liveable city but also such a resilient city and, more importantly, how that can be sustained in the future.”

JCU Daintree Rainforest Observatory

James Cook University is Australia’s leading tropical research university and among the top five tropical universities of the world for research in the university’s areas of research excellence (viz. ecology/environment, plant and animal science, geosciences, coral reef science and tourism). JCU was the only university in Australia that received the highest ranking of 5 (well above world standard) in the category Environmental Science and Management in the Australian government’s Excellence in Research Assessment exercise in 2010.

JCU environmental sciences
The rainforest is part of JCU’s unique location

The JCU Centre for Tropical Environmental & Sustainable Science (TESS) represents a cluster of world-class researchers and research students with common interests in the environment and sustainability, with emphasis on the tropics. There are many opportunities to learn with TESS researchers at undergraduate level and study for post-graduate coursework and research degrees at Masters and PhD levels as part of TESS. Students come from all over the world to take advantage of the opportunities provided by JCU’s unique location—in the tropics, in Australia, between reef and rainforest.

The mission of TESS is to promote cutting-edge ecological and environmental research in the tropics, and the wise management, conservation and sustainable use of tropical terrestrial and coastal ecosystems, in Australia and internationally.

Students come from all over the world to study with world leading researchers in this unique location situated between the tropical rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. Nowhere else is it possible to visit reef, rainforest and savannah in a single day and return to world-class laboratory facilities in a vibrant and attractive tropical city. And TESS researchers are truly international—they work in more than 40 tropical nations around the world!

TESS Facilities
  • Daintree Rainforest Observatory
  • Orpheus Island Research Station
  • Fletcherview Research Station
  • Cloncurry Research Station
  • Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network FNQ Supersite
  • Australian Tropical Herbarium
The JCU Daintree Rainforest Observatory, or DRO, is a premier ecological monitoring site located in lowland rainforest around 140km north of Cairns in northern Queensland, Australia. The Daintree rainforest has the highest biodiversity anywhere in Australia and offers unique Gondwanan flora. The observatory welcomes educators, students and researchers who want to visit and explore the rainforest and surrounds via the observatory’s canopy crane and other facilities.

Tropical Australia is resource-rich, ecologically fragile and infrastructure-poor, and is undergoing unprecedented growth and development. It is a national priority to develop growth strategies that are ecologically, socially and economically sustainable. TESS is taking a leading role in developing, implementing and exporting solutions for the environmental and sustainability issues faced by Australia and the rapidly developing tropical world.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It’s 2015, so where’s my flying car?

Today, October 21, 2015, marks the day Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrive in the fictional future of the iconic film Back to the Future II.

While we aren’t expecting the time-travelling duo, played by Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, to arrive from the past—what about the film’s other predictions of the year 2015?

According to UQ researchers, it seems the filmmakers were both spot on and way off.

According to University of Queensland mechatronics lecturer Dr Paul Pounds flying cars do in fact exist and have been around for almost 100 years.

“The first flying car, the Curtis Autoplane, was actually built and patented in 1917,” said Dr Pounds.“But unfortunately it was both a bad car and bad plane.

“The problem with flying cars is they need enormous amounts of energy to fly, particularly if they have a vertical take-off and landing feature like in the film.”

While there are currently flying cars on the market, Dr Pounds said these are more or less just small planes which can “taxi a bit faster.”

Can I travel through time?
According to UQ experts, the short answer is yes and no. Einstein’s theory of general relativity suggests the possibility of travelling backward through time using an Einstein-Rosen bridge, also known as a wormhole.

UQ physics researcher, Martin Ringbauer, has used single particles of light to simulate the behaviour of quantum particles when travelling through time.

He said this possibility in Einstein’s equations has puzzled researchers for decades, as it creates paradoxes in the classical world like the “grandfather paradox.”

“This paradox is the exact problem Marty encounters in the movie when he almost prevents his parents from meeting,” Mr Ringbauer said. “As he starts changing the past, he begins disappearing.

“By changing the past in this way he would erase his own existence and could have never set out for the time travel in the first place.”

There has been various examples of functioning hover boards on the internet, as well as a range of hoax videos of full flying examples; however, according to UQ theoretical physicist Professor Ben Powell, a device which has the capabilities and control of Marty McFly’s retro ride is still a way off.

“The working hover boards you may have seen on the internet levitate by using superconductors and magnets, similar to the way a maglev train works” Professor Powell said.

“While this is great technology, these board require a superconducting surface to levitate above and they don’t have the abilities to change directions or accelerate and brake in mid air.

“So to have hover boards like those in the film, we would need superconductors that work at room temperature, rather than the very cold temperatures that currently known superconductors work at.”

Today’s technology
While we might not be able to visit last week, fly our car to the beach or gently hover down to the shops, other predictions of 2015 the film made were spot on. For example
  • Google glass
  • Tablet computers
  • Wall mounted flat-screen televisions
  • Video conferencing
  • Virtual reality headsets
  • Voice and finger print control technology
  • Even dog walking drones

Monash University public health researchers suggest stroke prevention guideline outdated

Associate Professor Dr Anne Abbott, from the Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (SPHPM), has led a team of 16 experts in a systematic review of international stroke prevention guidelines and found that recommendations for surgical procedures to prevent stroke are outdated and over-utilised.

Dr Abbott’s findings, published this month in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, have significant implications for improved stroke prevention in all patients with narrowing of the main brain artery, known as carotid stenosis, as well as others at risk.

Monash University School of Public Health
Study public health at Monash University

“This research tells us that there is a great opportunity to improve best practice standards for stroke prevention for the benefit of many Australians and people overseas, as arterial disease continues to be the single leading cause of death and disability in westernised countries,” Dr Abbott said.

The study analysed 34 current guidelines from 23 regions in six languages and found that guidelines usually endorse carotid procedures (surgery and stenting) to remove narrowings of the internal carotid artery caused by fatty plaques, which are known as carotid stenosis.

“A major weakness of current Australian and international guidelines is that they over-encourage the use of costly carotid procedures which, for many patients, are currently more likely to harm than help.  These procedural recommendations are based on studies in which patients were recruited up to three and a half decades ago and overlook the particular hazards of carotid stenting.

“Current guidelines understate the value of modern medical treatment which has seen a drop in stroke rates of up to 80 per cent over the last 30 years,” Dr Abbott said.

“Carotid procedures target one artery, while medical treatment helps prevent strokes and all other arterial disease complications because it targets the whole body. Medical treatment encourages healthy lifestyle habits and appropriate medications to reduce risk associated with common conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, inactivity, alcohol excess, illicit drugs, and diabetes,” Dr Abbott said.

The research, funded by an independent grant from the Bupa Health Foundation and facilitated by the Alfred Hospital, also uncovered significant organisational problems across guidelines. These problems included incomplete definitions and numerous fundamental inconsistencies and omissions.

“Updating health policy and practice by changing the focus of care away from surgery or stenting to non-invasive strategies will better prevent stroke and other complications of heart and arterial disease and this is important for public health and economically sustainable health services.”

About Monash University Public Health School

The Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (SPHPH) is the second-largest school within the university’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.

From health promotion to disease prevention, there is a growing international demand for public health professionals in both the government, non-profit and private sectors. Public health is society’s response to threats to the collective health of its citizens, and practitioners work to enhance and protect the health of populations by identifying their health problems and needs, and providing programs and services to address these needs.