Monday, November 30, 2015

UQ to welcome new Chancellor

The current Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Peter Varghese AO, will join The University of Queensland in July 2016 as UQ’s new Chancellor, following an election by the university’s Senate.

University of Queensland, Australia
Mr Peter Varghese AO, will join The University of Queensland in July 2016 as UQ’s new Chancellor (Photo credit: UQ)
In statements issued Nov. 24, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop paid tribute to Mr Varghese.

Ms Bishop said Mr Varghese had had a distinguished career in Australia’s diplomatic service.

“Mr Varghese is one of Australia’s most esteemed public servants and diplomats, having served as Secretary since 2012, High Commissioner to India from 2009–2012 and Director-General of the Office of National Assessments from 2004–2009,” she said.

“Importantly, Mr Varghese has been a constant source of sage advice during a time of significant international challenges. I have personally benefited from his calm, competent and insightful counsel.”

University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said Mr Varghese had a reputation as an outstanding leader of large and complex entities, combined with an outstanding international diplomatic record and proven thought leadership in the Australian community.

“Mr Varghese, a UQ alumnus, University medallist in history, and 2013 recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Letters, is an excellent choice for this position as he embodies the UQ ideal of knowledge leadership for a better world,” Professor Høj said.

“He has served as Australia’s High Commissioner to both India and Malaysia, and worked in Tokyo, Washington and Vienna.

“His well-rounded global perspective and diplomatic and managerial experience will be of great benefit to UQ and the broader community.”

Mr Varghese will take over from Mr John Story AO, who has served as UQ’s Chancellor since 2009.

“It has been a privilege to serve as UQ’s Chancellor, and I am proud of the wonderful progress that the university has achieved during my time,” Mr Story said.

“The position of Chancellor is both demanding and satisfying. With his outstanding background and broad range of experience, I am confident that Mr Varghese will serve with distinction, and that his leadership will be for the great benefit of the University.

“I wish him all the very best in the position, and I look forward to welcoming him to the UQ community.”

Mr Varghese said he was honoured to be appointed to the position.

“The University of Queensland is a great institution,” he said. “I look forward to working with the Vice-Chancellor and the University Senate to ensure that the university is in the best possible position to meet the exciting opportunities and challenges facing the higher education sector.

“I am also excited to be returning to Brisbane and to be renewing my connections to a university which has played a large part in my family’s Australian journey.”

Mr Varghese will be UQ’s 14th Chancellor. The role is an honorary position with strategic, governance and ceremonial responsibilities and wide engagement with a range of internal and external stakeholders.

Mr Story will retire at the end of this year. Deputy Chancellor Dr Jane Wilson will act as Chancellor until Mr Varghese joins the university in July.

Study chiropractic science at Macquarie University!

In April 2013, Macquarie University alerted its current and future chiropractic students of the proposal to begin discussions with other interested higher education providers about the transfer of its chiropractic teaching by 2015.

Macquarie University Chiropractic School
Study chiropractic science at Macquarie!
After assessment of the Macquarie Department of Chiropractic, and many consultations with key stakeholder groups and interested parties, the university has approved a proposal for the continuation and development of teaching and research in the department.

The proposal outlined potential for greater and more rigorous research into the field, and highlighted the impact that such research could have on chiropractic around the world. In Australia, the chiropractic and osteopathic services market is valued at almost $1 billion annually. By applying evidence-based research practices to the study and curricular development of this field, the department can ensure that Australians experience the best possible care at the hands of highly qualified graduates using the most up-to-date and scientifically sound chiropractic research.

The Macquarie Department of Chiropractic will develop a strong statement of commitment to evidence-based practice that all members of the department and casual staff will be expected to adhere to and actively promote. The statement will build on a similar document published by a number of departments internationally—including in the UK, Switzerland, Denmark, and South Africa—to which the department is already a signatory.

The department has always been distinctive and authoritative in its discipline. With a renewed commitment to academic excellence and investigative rigour, it will inform chiropractic practice nationally and lead professional bodies toward a completely evidence-based approach in the future.

Master of Chiropractic at Macquarie University

The Master of Chiropractic is a rigorous two-year program that further develops the concepts and techniques introduced in the Bachelor of Chiropractic Science. In conjunction with coursework, students are required to participate in a year-long internship working within one of Macquarie’s chiropractic clinics.

Program: Master of Chiropractic
Location: North Ryde, Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intake: February
Duration: 2 – 3 years (dependent upon candidate’s background)
Application deadline: Rolling admissions. Applications close when the program is filled. The sooner you apply the better.

Eligible applicants will have completed at least a three-year undergraduate degree in health or medical science, including the completion of
  • substantial studies in human anatomy (including musculoskeletal, visceral and neuroanatomy); and
  • substantial studies in human physiology.
A minimum GPA required for consideration is 2.50 (out of 4.00). Applicants will be chosen based on their grade point averages from previous studies and completed prerequisites. No work experience is required.

Students without a strong background in human systems may want to consider the pathway program, Bachelor of Chiropractic Science. Combined with the Master of Chiropractic, this will qualify students to practice as a chiropractor in Australia or Canada. The total duration for the Bachelor of Chiropractic Science and Master of Chiropractic is 5 years and includes an internship.

Koala genome reveals its secret

It has long been thought that low levels of koala genetic diversity is a reason for their declining populations and local extinctions, but James Cook University and University of Sydney researchers have found this is not the case.

James Cook University
Koalas still maintain higher levels of genetic diversity than originally thought
For the first time, the genome of the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) has been studied across the species range. Previous research has shown that many marsupials have low genetic diversity—often a sign of inbreeding and mating with kin, which is not unusual in animals with declining populations.

A new study by researchers at JCU and the University of Sydney, in partnership with the NGO Science for Wildlife organisation and San Diego Zoo, has used cutting-edge genetic technology to answer critical questions about koala conservation.

In the ground-breaking study, the group has applied whole-genome DNA sequencing to show that koalas still maintain higher levels of genetic diversity than originally thought.

JCU’s Associate Professor Kyall Zenger said the finding was very exciting, given that koala numbers have been declining to the point where they have been listed as being at risk of becoming endangered.

“To effectively manage koalas across Australia and in captivity we must understand how genetically diverse these populations are—how ‘fit’ they are,” he said.

Shannon Kjeldsen, a PhD student working on the project at James Cook University, said her research also showed that there is very little evidence for the three currently recognised subspecies of koalas.
“It’s widely thought that there are three distinct subspecies of koala inhabiting Southern and Northern Australia, respectively,” she said.

Northern koalas have been known to be smaller and lighter in colour than their southern counterparts, which are larger, darker and have thicker fur.

“We know that it would be unwise to move koalas between these regions, because they live in different climates and have adapted to different environments, but we do not know where the management boundaries lie,” Ms Kjeldsen said.

The duo is working alongside Professor Herman Raadsma from Sydney University, Dr Kellie Leigh from Science for Wildlife, and Ms Jennifer Tobey from the San Diego Institute for Conservation Research.

Associate Professor Zenger said management and implementation of a national koala conservation program was vitally important to protect this charismatic species.

“Until now there has been a lack of species-wide information to help coordinate conservation efforts,” he said.

“These results have shown the genetic diversity of the koalas sampled from all key locations on the east coast of Australia is far from being inbred, and actually is as diverse as many other wild species.”

Science for Wildlife Inc Director, Dr Kellie Leigh said: “This development is extremely exciting, in that it offers a tool to understand how all koala populations are genetically linked.”

The tool also offers exciting possibilities to better manage captive breeding populations.

Ms Tobey said, “The Australian research gives for the first time a clear view on how captive populations can be mapped to the national koala population, and to manage breeding to maximise genetic diversity.”

This project is funded and supported by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project grant, with industry funding and in-kind support from partners San Diego Zoo Koala Education & Conservation Program and James Cook University, Sydney University, and Science for Wildlife.

Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science studies early-age feline desexing

The traditional age for desexing cats is about six months but research published during the breeding season now shows the surgery can be done safely before two months old—with important implications for animal welfare and the environment.

The findings have been published recently in the peer-reviewed Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery Open Reports, which is an official journal of the International Society of Feline Medicine.

University of Sydney Veterinary School
Research shows surgery can be done safely before two months old
Cats have overtaken dogs as the number one pet in the United States, and in Australia, number three million out of seven million pets. Touching on the environmental impacts of abandoned cats becoming feral predators in national parks, which has been identified by Government as a national issue, the paper calls for a re-think about desexing.

Chief investigator for the project, Associate Professor Vanessa Barrs, from the Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science, said early-age desexing removes the responsibility from owners, who often fail to return cats for surgery, and prevents sexually precocious animals from falling pregnant.

“The traditional age for desexing is around five to six months, but some females come into heat around four months of age, and hence unwanted pregnancies can occur,” Associate Professor Barrs said.

“We performed a retrospective study with the Cat Protection Society of NSW, who granted us access to records of cats that had been desexed at an early age during their care. We found no increased risk of complications.

“We are working with the Cat Protection Society to coordinate an early-age desexing education project for veterinarians, including a training video that will be widely disseminated.”

Cat Protection Society of NSW CEO Kristina Vesk said many unwanted kittens were euthanased each year. “With kitten season now here, the coming months will see thousands of homeless kittens in pounds and shelters across the state,” Ms Vesk said.

 “If people want to be certain to prevent pregnancy in their cat they should book the cat in for desexing ideally before twelve weeks of age… we desex our kittens when they reach one kilogram, usually about eight to ten weeks. We rehome only desexed kittens.”

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) said it was reviewing its 2008 policy, and their proposed new policy was in line with this study’s findings.

“Veterinarians must decide the appropriate age of desexing based on current scientific evidence. At the veterinary practitioner’s discretion, desexing can be performed from as early as eight weeks of age and at a minimum of 1kg bodyweight,” said AVA president Dr Robert Johnson.

The paper reads: “The remarkable reproductive success of this species is a major factor in the ability of cats to colonise diverse environments. A single female cat can produce 40 kittens per year.

“There is increasing evidence that early-age desexing is not only safe in the short and long term, but also offers advantages, including reduced surgical time and rapid recovery.”

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Sydney Veterinary School

Program title: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intake: March
Program duration: 4 years
Application deadline: January 4, 2016; however it is recommended that students apply as soon as possible as this program can fill quickly.

Admissions Criteria/Entry Requirements for Canadians
Students can apply for a position into the Sydney DVM after completing any kind of bachelor degree at a recognized university, as long as program prerequisite units of study have been met.

Applicants must have completed the following prerequisite units of study at bachelor-degree level to be eligible for entry:
  • general chemistry (physical and inorganic)
  • organic chemistry
  • biology
  • biochemistry
The minimum GPA for entry is a 2.8 on a 4.0 scale; however, places are limited and there is a strict quota for this course. Entry is highly competitive so students who have achieved the minimum GPA (and other admission requirements) are then ranked on academic performance. The higher your GPA, the better your chances of receiving an offer.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Do you need protein supplements to get ripped?

Many people spend hours in the gym every week and fill up on protein supplements in the quest for a ripped physique, but could all that hard work and money spent on sweet tasting powder be in vain?

According to a University of Queensland physiology and nutrition expert, expensive supplements may be nothing more than a waste of money.

UQ Health Sciences
Do you need protein supplements to get ripped? (Photo credit: UQ)

UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences researcher Dr David Jenkins argues that more protein doesn’t necessarily mean more muscle.

“Because muscles are made of protein, there’s a misconception that if you eat more protein you get more muscle,” Dr Jenkins said.

“In principle this is true, but there are two considerations that override this.

“Provided you eat a healthy and balanced diet, you consume far more protein than you actually need.

“Any extra protein we consume is probably not going to have any additional effect.”

Dr Jenkins said timing meals around workouts was important for muscle growth.

“Having 20 grams of high-quality protein that includes leucine and the other essential amino acids immediately before or after exercise will promote muscle growth and repair.”

He said whey protein, marketed as being the best work out supplement, tended to have higher amount of leucine and the other essential amino acids.

“However there is no long-term evidence that expensive supplements from the shop are any better than just drinking flavoured milk,” Dr Jenkins said.

“Provided a food source has the essential amino acids and the timing of intake is carefully considered, this will provide the right environment for muscle growth.”

About the UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences

The UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences offers a range of high-quality undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs in the interdisciplinary areas of human movement and nutrition, which includes, but is not limited to, clinical exercise physiology, exercise science, health sport and physical education, dietetics and coaching.

The school provides world-leading staff and state-of-the-art facilities which provide students with a world-class education.

The university takes an interdisciplinary approach to research, which is critical to allow effective translation of research outcomes for policy and practice.

The school’s research is diverse and focuses on addressing multi-dimensional questions related to how and why humans move and obtain nutrition. Areas of focus include critical to health and disease prevention across the lifespan including exercise, physical activity and health, dietetics and nutrition, sensorimotor neuroscience, sport, physical and health education.
  Story via UQ/ Science Over Coffee

Sugar-free drinks and candies are bad news for teeth say dentists

Scientists at the University of Melbourne’s Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre have warned about the damage sugar-free drinks can do to tooth enamel.

Researchers in the centre tested 23 different types of drink, including soft drinks and sports drinks, and found drinks that contain acidic additives and with low pH levels cause measurable damage to dental enamel, even if the drink is sugar-free.

Melbourne Dental School
Sugar-free candies and drinks as bad as the rest

“Many people are not aware that while reducing your sugar intake does reduce your risk of dental decay, the chemical mix of acids in some foods and drinks can cause the equally damaging condition of dental erosion,” Melbourne Laureate Professor Eric Reynolds, CEO of the Oral Health CRC, said.

“Dental erosion occurs when acid dissolves the hard tissues of the tooth. In its early stages erosion strips away the surface layers of tooth enamel. If it progresses to an advanced stage it can expose the soft pulp inside the tooth.”

Early dental erosion can usually be reversed by oral health professionals with treatments to replace lost minerals.  In more advanced cases, the lost surface of a tooth may need a filling or crown.

Studies in the Oral Health CRC measured dental enamel softening and tooth surface loss following exposure to a range of drinks.

Significant findings:
  • The majority of soft drinks and sports drinks caused softening of dental enamel by 30%–50%.
  • Both sugar-containing and sugar-free soft drinks (including flavoured mineral waters) produced  measurable loss of the tooth surface, with no significant difference between the two groups of drinks.
  • Of 8 sports drinks tested, all but 2 (those with higher calcium content) were found to cause loss of dental enamel.
The Oral Health CRC has this week released a briefing paper outlining the findings of its dental erosion studies and is recommending better consumer information and product labelling to help people consider their oral health when selecting food and drink products.

Professor Reynolds says ‘sugar-free’ labelling does not necessarily mean a product is safe for teeth.

“We have even found sugar-free confectionery products that are labelled ‘Toothfriendly’ and which when tested were found to be erosive.”

Preventing dental erosion:
  • Check ingredients for acidic additives, especially citric acid (ingredient number 330) and phosphoric acid (ingredient number 338).
  • Drink more water (preferably fluoridated) and limit soft drinks and sports drinks.
  • After eating or drinking acidic products, don’t brush your teeth straight away as this can remove the softened tooth layer. Instead, rinse your mouth with water and wait one hour before brushing.
  • Have regular check-ups with your oral health professional.
About the Oral Health CRC
The Oral Health CRC is a consortium of university and industry partners based at the University of Melbourne and supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.  The centre carries out world-class scientific and clinical research to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases.

About University of Melbourne Dental School Doctor of Dental Surgery

The Melbourne Dental School offers the Doctor of Dental Surgery program which incorporates all aspects related to the provision of advanced general dental care to patients as well as teaches students to prepare, develop, execute and write for publication a small research project.

Program: Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Next available intake: February 2017
Duration: 4 years

Entry Requirements
To be eligible to apply for the Melbourne DDS program, eligible applicants must have
  • successfully completed an undergraduate degree in any discipline at a recognized international university within the past 10 years;
  • completed prerequisite second-year subjects (one semester each) in human anatomy, human physiology and biochemistry (approved by Melbourne);
  • completed an entrance examination: either the Canadian DAT or US DAT. Please note that the carving portion of the Canadian DAT is not required for Melbourne Dental School; however, if you have completed the carving section of the test, this score will be considered. Test scores will not be considered if the exam results are more than 2 years old. There is no minimum cutoff GPA or DAT score for this program; however, a high level of academic standard is required for entry.

University of Sydney pharmacy advantage

The Sydney Faculty of Pharmacy is consistently ranked among the world’s best educators in pharmacy. Here’s why…

Sydney Pharmacy School
Learn more about Sydney Pharmacy School

Superior graduate satisfaction

Sydney Pharmacy School graduates rank their experience with the course and the faculty as extremely satisfying and rewarding.

The Australian Graduate Survey is an annual survey used by Graduate Careers Australia to compile information from graduates of all Australian universities. It incorporates the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) which gathers data about the graduate’s perceptions of their higher education experience. Participants have scored the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney an overall satisfaction rank of 97 percent.

Connect with health care peers

Mirroring the real-life health care landscape, the Faculty of Pharmacy is a core member of a broader health division within the University.

Engagement with Sydney Medical School and Faculties of Dentistry and Nursing & Midwifery creates an extensive multi-disciplinary network of health care professionals to collaborate with. Both students and academic researchers in the Faculty of Pharmacy benefit greatly from the breadth of knowledge and insight made available by these collaborations.

Enviable class sizes

Sydney Pharmacy School is dedicated to providing the best educational experience to its students, and actively ensures no classes are overcrowded and that all students have equal and extensive access to academic staff services. An enviable student-to-staff ratio means more time for staff to spend with students during teaching and practical class hours.

Be one of the best

The University of Sydney attracts and develops some of the best students in Australia and from around the world. With this privilege comes a responsibility to provide the highest quality learning and teaching.

The university strives constantly for excellence in intellectual inquiry, academic freedom and integrity, and ethical practice in academic endeavours. At the heart of all of this is an exciting and stimulating student-centred learning and teaching environment.

University of Sydney Bachelor of Pharmacy

Program: Bachelor of Pharmacy
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intake: March
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: January 31; however, it is recommended that Canadian students apply as early as possible to provide time for the pre-departure process.

Bond dual law degree appeals

An increasing number of students are studying law to give them an edge in their chosen profession, according to Bond University Executive Dean of Law, Professor Nick James.

Professor James said many students study law not to become legal practitioners, but to set them apart from their fellow graduates in disciplines such as commerce, business, arts and international relations.

Bond Law School
Bond University graduate Mitchell Stevens (Photo credit: Bond University)

He said a growing number were also studying law as part of non-traditional dual degree combinations, such as health sciences and law. Bond has recently launched an actuarial science and law dual degree program.

“The majority of law students study law as part of a dual degree, and many of these students are more interested in pursuing the career that flows from the other degree,” he said.

“A lot of students want to keep their options open while at university, and they appreciate that the knowledge and skills that come from a law degree, whether or not they chose to become a legal practitioner, will significantly enhance their employment prospects.

“While we teach every law student as if they are going to become a lawyer, the reality is that about half are likely to follow a different career path.”

Professor James said gaining a comprehensive understanding of the legal system and learning practical legal skills gave students an advantage when applying for jobs.

“Law teaches research, communication, negotiation and advocacy skills, and the ability to think like a lawyer, which are of enormous benefit not just to lawyers but those going into business or any professional career,” he said.

“That is really what many students are looking to get from a law degree: the ability to analyse complex programs, to think clearly and methodically, and come up with practical solutions.”

Mitchell Stevens landed a job as an associate with professional business services firm Boston Consulting Group, after graduating with commerce and law degrees from Bond in 2012.

“In my team of four at Boston Consulting Group, three of us have a law degree,” said Mr Stevens.

“The combined degree gave me more options: I could have gone into almost any business, legal or professional field. I enjoyed law and problem solving, but was more interested in business, finance and economics and it worked well to put them together.

“As a management consultant I work with businesses to help improve their efficiency and I use my legal skills all the time.  Problem solving is a big one—studying law teaches you to break complex problems down and that’s applicable in all settings.

“Also, the written and presentation skills you get from law are invaluable, particularly if you have been involved in mooting.  It definitely gives you an edge.”

About Bond Law School

Bond Law School is consistently ranked first in Australia in terms of overall quality of the student experience for very good reasons. Bond has some of the best law teachers and scholars in the country delivering innovative law programs using truly world-class teaching facilities. The school is committed to providing an exceptionally high-quality learning experience characterised by a professional and practical emphasis, a global focus, small classes and personal attention. National and international legal experts in a variety of fields contribute to the delivery of programs at the cutting edge of contemporary legal scholarship and practice.

Upcoming Bond Law School Information Sessions

Bond University will be holding four information sessions for anyone interested in learning more about the university, the law school, and the Juris Doctor program!

Sunday, 29 November 2015
5:30 – 7 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Toronto, 370 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario

Monday, 30 November 2015
7 – 9 p.m.
Sheraton Eau Claire Hotel
255 Barclay Parade SW, Calgary, Alberta

Wednesday, 2 December 2015
7 – 9 p.m.
The Westin Edmonton
10135 100th Street, Edmonton, Alberta

Thursday, 3 December 2015
7 – 9 p.m.
Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel, 1128 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

University of Sydney celebrating outstanding contributions to student learning

University of Sydney Associate Professor Jaime Gongora (Faculty of Veterinary Science), and Associate Professor Alyson Simpson (Faculty of Education and Social Work) have received 2015 Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning.

Jaime was recognised for innovatively embedding cultural competence into the veterinary curriculum and promoting an environment that celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Alyson was recognised for her passionate commitment to dialogic pedagogy that inspires students to become literacy educators who teach critically and creatively with children’s literature.

University of Sydney Veterinary School
Associate Professor Alyson Simpson (Faculty of Education and Social Work) & Associate Professor Jaime Gongora (Photo credit: University of Sydney)

“I want learners to be imaginative in their thinking and have found over the years that children’s literature is a great way to encourage that,” said Alyson after the award ceremony.

“The OLT recognition is very important to me, as the risk is high of teachers avoiding creative ways of teaching due to an emphasis on reductionist models of learning and narrow measures of achievement. This award recognises the importance of helping educators learn to teach through experiences that encourage rich engagement with literary text so that they will become resilient innovators in a time of standardised testing.”

The citations are awarded by the federal government’s Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) to people who have made a significant contribution to the quality of student learning in a specific area of responsibility over a sustained period.

Jaime’s OLT recognition comes hot on the heels of receiving the inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding and Innovative Contributions to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy earlier this year.

“The citation is an important external recognition of the work I have been doing in the faculty since 2012 and encourages me and other people who have contributed to continue working in this area,” he said.

“I intend to continue embedding and implementing cultural competence and themes on Indigenous knowledge systems into the faculty’s programs,” added Jaime, one of many staff across the university who have been working to further the university’s Wingara Mura – Bunga Barrabugu strategy.

Jaime called for more support and infrastructure to sustain the 20 Indigenous initiatives underway in the Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science.

“I want this to become everybody’s business and business as usual, and this would also allow me to catch up with my crocodile and platypus genomic research.”

Alyson’s next priorities for her teaching include integrating the principles of dialogic teaching into other areas of study and into other platforms of learning.

“My goal is to encourage students to work towards autonomous professionalism in a supportive and challenging context,” she said. “For example, employing mobile digital technologies to create communities of learners interacting across time and place could enhance professional experience placements.”

JCU medical researchers receive AUS$2.8M grant to develop malaria vaccine

Professor Louis Schofield, Director of the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) at James Cook University in North Queensland has received a $2.8M grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to pursue the pre-clinical development of a vaccine aimed at the goal of malaria eradication.

JCU Medical School
JCU Professor Louis Schofield (Photo credit: JCU)

The research will be conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, and other colleagues and institutions in the USA.

Speaking at the Northern Australia Investment Forum in Darwin, the Australian Trade Minister, the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP congratulated Prof Schofield on the awarding of the Gates Grant, in particular as it could lead to the commercialisation of a life-saving malaria vaccine.

“This is a further major endorsement of the outstanding work undertaken by JCU and AITHM in tropical medical research,” Mr Robb said.

The funding will enable the team of researchers from North Queensland and Victoria to develop a broad spectrum vaccine effective against most species of human malaria.

Along with HIV and tuberculosis, malaria is one of the world’s most serious infectious diseases, infecting more than 5% of humanity and killing about 700,000 people each year. Half of the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria, with the disease imposing a heavy burden in tropical regions, including Australia’s near neighbours.

“There is an urgent need for a broadly effective vaccine to attack all strains, species and life stage of malaria,” said Professor Schofield.

“However, this is a major challenge: five malaria parasite species infect humans, and the parasites are complex and hard to target.  Some forms infect people though the bite of a mosquito; other forms proliferate in the blood and cause disease, and yet different forms are passed from human to mosquitoes to complete the cycle. Our prototype vaccine attempts to overcome these barriers by attacking most species and stages in the malaria life cycle.

“Eradication of malaria would be the ultimate goal for any truly effective vaccine.”

The basic research was previously supported by a $1.3-million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The new funding will expand the pre-clinical development to improve the potency and efficacy of this experimental vaccine. The research team is grateful for the support of the Foundation, which is vital to the next stages of this project.

Lifetime award for Griffith School of Environment professor

Professor Lex Brown, from the Griffith School of Environment, has received the UK Noise Abatement Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his international work in environmental acoustics.

Griffith School of Environment
Professor Lex Brown and Pro Vice Chancellor (Griffith Sciences) Professor Debra Henly (Photo credit: Griffith University)

The award was presented at the recent John Connell Awards 2015 Ceremony, held in the Palace of Westminster in London.

It honours key individuals who have made outstanding contributions to raising the profile of noise pollution as a critical environmental issue, and who have worked tirelessly over the course of their careers to effect solutions for the public benefit.

The award is the latest in a series of honours for Professor Brown, who since joining Griffith University in 1980 has led the emphasis on integrated assessment, namely the adaptation of environmental assessment tools to effectively integrate with planning activities including project development, plan-making, policy development and international development assistance.

In 2014, Professor Brown travelled to Chile to receive the prestigious Rose-Hulman Award for his international contribution to impact assessment. Also that year he received the Sustainability Excellence Award at the Pro Vice Chancellor’s Griffith Sciences Excellence Awards.

Pro Vice Chancellor (Griffith Sciences) Professor Debra Henly congratulated Professor Brown on his latest success.

“This is a huge honour and very well-deserved recognition for Professor Brown’s outstanding contribution over many years,” she said.

The John Connell Awards are named after the Noise Abatement Society’s founder, who lobbied the Noise Abatement Act through the British Parliament in 1960.

The annual awards, also known as the “Noise Oscars,” acknowledge the importance of the quality of sound in our lives, and champion vital advances in reducing the negative impact of unnecessary noise for the public benefit.

JCU University Council elects next Chancellor

James Cook University’s governing body, the University Council, has elected Bill Tweddell as JCU’s next Chancellor.

Mr Tweddell will replace the current Chancellor, Lt. Gen. John Grey AC (Retired), who has previously announced he will retire from the position at the completion of his current term on March 25, 2016.

James Cook University, Australia
Bill Tweddell is JCU’s next Chancellor (Photo credit: JCU)

The University Council met to consider two candidates for the position of Chancellor.

Bill Tweddell has been elected as Chancellor for a five-year term, beginning March 26th 2016. He will be the university’s fifth Chancellor, and the first alumnus to be elected to the role.

Mr Tweddell has enjoyed a distinguished career in Australia’s diplomatic service spanning four decades. He is currently Australia’s Ambassador to the Philippines, having served in the position since 2012.

Other career highlights include serving as Ambassador to Vietnam, Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Deputy High Commissioner to India, and High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Mr Tweddell grew up in Townsville and completed bachelor degrees in English and Economics at James Cook University. In 2010 he was recognised as an Outstanding Alumnus of JCU.

“I am honoured and humbled to be elected Chancellor, and I am acutely conscious of the big shoes I am to fill,” Bill Tweddell said.

John Grey said he is delighted by Mr Tweddell’s election. “Bill is an outstanding Australian who has maintained his contacts with James Cook University throughout his career, and particularly since 2010 when he was recognised as an Outstanding Alumnus.”

Bill Tweddell said he will bring to the university his experience in promoting Australian initiatives in the region.

“Mine has been an Asia-focused career by choice. This focus has enabled me to develop extensive, high-level knowledge and access to senior government representatives in the region.”

“These postings and my North Queensland upbringing bring depth to my commitment to JCU’s tropical agenda in our region and beyond.”

The Chancellor is the Chair of the university’s governing body, Council and presides over all Council meetings. The Chancellor is elected to this honorary position by the members of the Council.

Lt. Gen. Grey was first appointed as Chancellor in 1999.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Upcoming Bond Law School information sessions in Canada

It’s no secret that Bond Law School has strong links with Canada and has been training Canadian lawyers for over 20 years. Did you know that there are currently more than 150 Canadian students studying law at Bond University and an active Canadian Law Students’ Association? And there is a rapidly expanding group of Bond Law Canadian alumni working as partners and senior practitioners in Canada and worldwide!

Bond Law School
Study law at beautiful Bond University!

If you’re wondering about studying law at Bond, we’ve got great news: Bond University will be holding four info sessions for anyone interested in learning more about the university, the law school, and the Juris Doctor program!

Bond Law School Information Sessions


Sunday, 29 November 2015
5:30 – 7 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Toronto, 370 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario

Monday, 30 November 2015
7 – 9 p.m.
Sheraton Eau Claire Hotel
255 Barclay Parade SW, Calgary, Alberta

Wednesday, 2 December 2015
7 – 9 p.m.
The Westin Edmonton
10135 100th Street, Edmonton, Alberta

Thursday, 3 December 2015
7 – 9 p.m.
Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel, 1128 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC

Bond has three intakes per year: January, May and September. Students are able to apply any time to the Bond JD and the LSAT is not required for admission.

Bond Law School Juris Doctor

Program: Juris Doctor (JD)
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland
Semester intakes: January, May, September
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline: There is no official application deadline. Students from Canada should apply early, particularly if they are seeking entry for a September intake.

Entry Requirements for the Bond University Juris Doctor Program
  • Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree in any discipline in order to apply to the Bond JD  program. Students who have not yet completed a bachelor degree may apply, as long as they will have graduated prior to commencing the program.
  • Two reference letters are required.
  • Applicants who have a cumulative average of 70% or above should apply to the program.
In common with most other Australian Law Schools, Bond does not use the LSAT as an entry criterion.

Melbourne School of Design collects multiple awards

The Institute Of Structural Engineers, based in London, recently announced that the Melbourne School of Design won best education project at the Structural Awards 2015. This is a significant award as it covers several categories, and is awarded “for excellence in the structural design of buildings… which either facilitate learning or support healthcare…”

University of Melbourne School of Design
University of Melbourne School of Design

The award follows the 2015 National Architecture Awards on Nov. 5, at which the Melbourne School of Design won The Daryl Jackson Award for Educational Architecture. It’s the first time the Australian Institute of Architects has given the award. The awards tally for the new home of the Melbourne Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning is now at 13,  significant recognition to a building that has only been open to students for less than a year.

At the Structural Awards, the judges commented that they were “struck by this unusual building which was designed specifically to teach the students about design, structure and construction. So the principal structural materials, wood, steel and concrete, are all used and incorporated to demonstrate their qualities.  Wood is represented by a huge LVL roof to the central atrium; steel by a scissor staircase, and a three-storey high, 12-metre cantilever; and concrete by exposed in-situ beams and post-tensioned slabs—a built dictionary of exposed structure.”

The school was commissioned via an international design competition in 2009. A key element of the brief was “Built Pedagogy,” the concept that the building itself would teach the students about design, structure and construction. The design team adopted a carefully considered program of exposing a number of key structural elements, and also achieves a 6 Star Green Star Education Design Rating and was the first in Australia to achieve all available innovation points. It was also delivered on budget and four months ahead of program.

Previous ABP Dean Tom Kvan, who played a major role in the competition that led to the creation of the award-winning new building, says it’s a significant award which reflects well on the overall intention of the building:

“A key aspect in the design and creation of the Melbourne School of Design was that it embody ‘built pedagogy,’ meaning future students would learn not just from teaching in the building, but from the building itself. This award is yet another significant acknowledgement from industry that we’ve done exactly what we set out to do.”

Artist’s 100 images win UQ’s $50,000 National Self-Portrait Prize

Victorian artist Fiona McMonagle has been awarded one of Australia’s most prestigious art prizes, The University of Queensland’s National Self-Portrait Prize 2015.

The award was judged by QAGOMA Curatorial Manager of Australian Art Jason Smith.

UQ Faculty of Arts
An image from One Hundred Days at 7pm 2015 by McMonagle (Image via UQ)

The winner was announced at the opening of the National Self-Portrait Prize exhibition at the UQ Art Museum on Nov. 13.

Fiona McMonagle’s winning artwork, One hundred days at 7pm 2015, is a single-channel, 16-second video animation of 100 self-portraits. The artist painted a single portrait at 7 p.m. every day over 100 days.

“To me, ‘becoming’ is the process of change and moving forward, and I wanted to translate these ideas into an artwork that had a fluidity about it,” she said.

“As a medium, watercolour lends itself very nicely to the moving image, but the challenge was to keep my self-portraits as consistent as possible by using a restricted palette and a restricted number of brushes.

“I also didn’t allow myself to view the previous portrait when making the next.

“The process itself turned out to be an intrinsic part of the work. The ritual of painting one’s self-portrait at the same time every day was an exercise in self-discipline and a test of my painting skills.”

Mr Smith said self-portraits did not allow an artist to divorce themselves from their subject, and it had been a poignant and challenging process to judge artworks with such captivating qualities and personal backstories.

“Judging art prizes is never easy, but I kept coming back to Fiona McMonagle’s work, not only because it addressed the theme of ‘becoming’ in many ways, but it also did so in a way that drew me to her process of constant looking and observation.

“I think perhaps this distinguishes one self-portrait over another,” he said.

“Fiona is well known for her lyrical watercolours, so it was also intriguing to see how she has pushed her practice into the realm of animated film. It was a remarkable transformation that resulted in a poetic, mesmerising and wonderfully alternative view of the artist.

“For me, transformative artworks always are more than the sum of their parts.

“It sustains the viewer until the end and, for some indefinable reason, keeps driving you back to it. Fiona’s work achieves this and she has produced a quiet but complex, poetic picture of herself.”

UQ Art Museum Director Dr Campbell Gray said 30 artists at the forefront of Australian visual arts practice were invited to vie for the acquisitive prize, responding to the theme of ‘becoming’.

“It is wonderful to see these diverse and innovative responses to the theme by some of Australia’s most senior artists and many exciting newcomers,” Dr Gray said.

“The self-portrait is an important focus area for both collection development and exhibitions at UQ Art Museum through our National Collection of Self-Portraits, and Fiona McMonagle’s work makes an important addition to the UQ Art Collection.”

The $50,000 invitation-only acquisitive prize is a biennial event, curated this year by National Portrait Gallery former Deputy Director Mr Michael Desmond.

Monash computer technology a finalist in “The Australian” Innovation Awards

Computer technology designed to assist children with developmental disabilities, created by Monash researchers, has been chosen as a finalist in the annual The Australian Innovation Challenge awards, to be announced Nov. 28.

Monash University
Professor Kim Cornish and PhD student Hannah Kirk (Photo credit: Monash University)

The world first tablet technology—designed to assist children with developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorders and Down syndrome, stay focused is aimed at facilitating learning and inclusion within the school environment. The technology, called the TALI Attention Training Program, is a finalist in the Educations and Community Services category of the awards. The research has been funded by an ARC Linkage grant to Monash University, Grey Innovation and Torus Games.

Professor Kim Cornish, Director of the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, said that the awards recognised how technologies can revolutionise the ways all children are taught. “TALI is a real game changer as it assists children with developmental disabilities who often get left behind in traditional education settings,” she said.

The gaming technology, developed with DreamWorks contractor Torus Games and Australian Technology Commercialisation firm, Grey Innovation, has been tested in a randomised control trial aimed at determining whether using the games for 20 minutes five days a week over a five-week period led to improved attention and focus.

It is estimated that around three per cent of Australian children have a developmental disability, where there is a reduction in their ability to concentrate and stay focused on a task, switch attention between tasks, inhibit impulsive responding and mentally hold and use information. Disruption to these processes can lead to difficulties in learning and academic performance, as well as difficulties developing social skills.

Miss Hannah Kirk, who designed the training program and evaluated its efficacy during her PhD, which was supervised by Professor Cornish, said that there are currently very few interventions that aim to improve core attention skills in children with developmental disability.

“Although there is a deeper understanding of the vital role attention plays in shaping the broader cognitive landscape, rarely is this new knowledge applied to enhance problems in attention and learning.  The current program does just that, by taking a striking deficit namely inattention and attempting to reduce these difficulties via theoretically driven training activities,” she said.

The new gaming technology developed by Professor Cornish and her team was shown to be effective in promoting improvements in selective attention skills as well as numeracy abilities.  These promising findings have resulted in the program being commercialised by a spinoff company, Tali Health, in an effort to raise the funding needed to extend the trials longitudinally and to more children, according to lead researcher Professor Cornish.

Monday, November 23, 2015

University of Sydney fundraising campaign reaches $600 million target two years early

Launched in 2008, the 10-year fundraising campaign was the first and most ambitious of its kind in Australian higher education. With its original goal now realised, INSPIRED’s new target has been revised to $750 million by the end of 2017.

University of Sydney< Australia
The University of Sydney has reached its fundraising goal (Photo credit: University of Sydney)

“We’ve reached this goal thanks to more than 43,000 generous supporters who have donated to the university since the campaign began,” said Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sydney.

“Reaching our goal more than two years early demonstrates a common belief that the University is at the forefront of meaningful change to our society, pursuing ideas that will shape our future.

“The impact that we can make with $600 million is already being seen on a local, national and global scale. Setting a new target gives us the opportunity to do even more.”

Donations this year to INSPIRED include
  • $33.7 million, the largest single research donation in the University of Sydney's history, from Barry and Joy Lambert, to research the medical applications of cannabinoids for chronic illnesses
  • $15 million for the establishment of the Chau Chak Wing Museum
  • $10.8 million from the Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation to establish 12 annual nursing scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate student nurses
  • $5 million to the university’s Charles Perkins Centre to fast-track child health research, given by the Financial Markets Foundation for Children
  • $3.6 million raised in 24 hours from 1,000 donors from the Pave the Way online and campus fundraising challenge
  • $2 million from sleep apnea expert and University of Sydney Professor Colin Sullivan to bolster research into sleep and its relationship to chronic disease
  • $3.6 million from the Abrahams family to establish a chair in oral and systemic health.
“The success of the campaign shows that the culture of philanthropy in Australia is growing at an unprecedented pace. This bodes well for universities across the nation, and for the University of Sydney in particular,” said Tim Dolan, Vice Principal (Advancement) at the University of Sydney.

New biological teaching laboratories at Macquarie University

Last week saw the successful official opening of three new state-of-the-art, interconnected biological teaching laboratories in Building E8C at Macquarie University.

Macquarie University science degrees
Official grand opening of the new labs (Photo credit: Macquarie University)

The new labs, part of ongoing renovations within the Macquarie Faculty of Science and Engineering, will enable undergraduate biology students access to modern, cutting-edge equipment, bringing them up to the world-class standard of the university’s other digital learning environments.

Aside from the state-of-the-art microscopes, the three labs also sport large internal and external display windows, featuring interesting relevant teaching materials that will complement the class activities.

These new look labs allow teachers and students to work together using the latest integrated technologies. The microscopy instruments’ integration system give students the opportunity to develop critical, analytical, and integrative thinking through their investigations—turning their laboratory sessions into targeted, intelligently explained, and purposeful learning experiences.

Macquarie University science degrees
Study biological sciences at Macquarie (Photo credit: Macquarie University)

The new labs were launched by Daniel Mehring, Marketing Director for industry partner VWR International, with more than 100 staff members and friends of the Macquarie Department of Biological Sciences in attendance. The launch event was a celebratory interactive welcome function enabling guests to preview the new labs and experiencing the sample displays set up on the new digital microscopes.

“One thing that surprised me was that staff and guests couldn’t quite get enough of looking through the microscopes at the displays,” Rekha Joshi, Senior Technical Manager commented.

“They were all thrilled to see what they were not expecting to see, which in many ways is what these new labs are all about.”

Macquarie University has an international reputation for being innovative in the study of science. It is at the forefront of research nationally and internationally, and excels in the application and commercialization of new discoveries.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering at Macquarie is broken down into the following departments:
  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences
  • Department of Chiropractic
  • Department of Computing
  • Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Department of Engineering
  • Department of Environment and Geography
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Department of Statistics

Melbourne law student wins scholarship

University of Melbourne student Matthew Pierri has been awarded the 2016 Victorian Rhodes Scholarship for postgraduate study at the University of Oxford.

Mr Pierri completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Media and Communications and Chinese Language at the University of Melbourne with First Class Honours and is due to complete a Juris Doctor degree at the Melbourne Law School this year. He hopes to study a Master of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

University of Melbourne Law School
Matthew Pierri just after the Rhodes Scholarship announcement. (Photo by Louise Bennet via University of Melbourne)

Mr Pierri said he was thrilled to receive the scholarship, which will allow him to further his ambition to achieve social change at a systemic level.

“Over the last few years, I have advocated to change the perception and treatment of people with spinal cord injuries and I strongly believe that progressive and practical public policy is needed to address increasingly complex and multi-faceted social problems,” he said.

“By encouraging a positive, open-minded approach to disability, I believe we can remove the common, conservative misconceptions of the achievable quality of life for those living with disabilities and permit people to reach their full potential.

“At Oxford, I hope to gain the interdisciplinary problem-solving and policy implementation tools to become a leading strategic thinker within the public sector.”

Congratulating Mr Pierri on his achievement, Honorary Secretary of the Victorian Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee Professor Carolyn Evans, from Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne, said all the applicants demonstrated exceptional intellect, character, leadership, and commitment to service.

“The selection committee has been extremely impressed by all the applicants for this year’s Victorian Rhodes Scholarship, they have significant accomplishments and their commitment to making a difference both in Australia and internationally is exceptional,” she said.

“Matthew has demonstrated great intellectual ability and strong leadership skills while overcoming substantial personal challenges. His passion for social change and intellectual challenge ensure that he will make the most of the opportunities offered to him by the Rhodes Scholarship.”

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).

Scope of the Dental Aptitude Test

Many pre-dentistry students will be writing the Canadian Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) this February. We have compiled some information from the Canadian Dental Association website about the DAT in order to help students in their preparation to plan to write the DAT, and to give a little bit of background information to students considering applying to an Australian dental school in the future.

Australian Dental Schools in Australia
Study dentistry in Australia!

Upcoming test dates:
  • Saturday, February 20, 2016 (Must register before January 15, 2016 23:59:59 EST)
  • Saturday, November 5, 2016
Component Number of Questions Time allotted
Manual Dexterity Test N/A 30 minutes
Survey of Natural Sciences 70 questions ( Biology 1-40 chemistry 41-70) 60 minutes
Perceptual Ability Test 90 questions 60 minutes
Reading Comprehension Test 50 questions 50 minutes

There are 4 examinations included in the English DAT and 3 examinations included in the French DAT. The tests are administered over one half day and include the following:  

1. Manual Dexterity Test - 30 minutes Carving a specified model out of a cylindrical bar of soap specially made for the DAT. Please note that neither Melbourne Dental School nor Sydney Dental School require the manual dexterity portion for admission consideration.

 2. Survey of Natural Sciences - 60 minutes Biology - origin of life; cell metabolism (including photosynthesis); enzymology; cellular processes; thermodynamics; organelle structure and function; mitosis/meiosis; biological organization and relationship of major taxa (using the five-kingdom system: monera, planti; anamalia; protista; fungi); Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology - structure and function of vertebrate systems (integumentary, skeletal, muscular, circulatory, immunological, digestive, respiratory, urinary, nervous/senses, endocrine, and reproductive); Developmental Biology - fertilization, descriptive embryology, and developmental mechanisms; Genetics: molecular genetics; human genetics; classical genetics; Chromosomal genetics; Evaluation, Ecology, and Behaviour: natural selection; population genetics/speciation; cladistics; population and community ecology; ecosystems; animal behaviour (including social). General Chemistry – Stoichiometry and General Concepts (percent composition; empirical formulae; balancing equations; moles and molecular formulas; molecular formula weights; molar mass; density; calculations from balanced equations; gases (kinetic molecular theory of gases; Dalton's, Boyle's, Charles', and ideal gas laws); liquids and solids; (intermolecular forces; phase changes; vapour pressure; structures; polarity; properties); Solutions (polarity; properties; colligative; non-colligative; forces; concentration calculations) Acids and Bases (pH; strength; BrØnsted-Lowry reactions; calculations) Chemical Equilibria (molecular; acid/base; precipitation; calculations; Le Chatelier's principle); Thermodynamics and Thermochemistry (law of thermodynamics; Hess's law; spontaneity; enthalpies and entropies; heat transfer) Chemical Kinetics (rate laws; activation energy; half-life) Oxidation-Reduction Reactions (balancing equations; determination of oxidation numbers; electrochemical calculations; electrochemical concepts and terminology) Atomic and Molecular Structure (electron configuration; orbital types; Lewis-Dot diagrams; atomic theory; quantum theory; molecular geometry; bond types; sub-atomic particles) Periodic Properties (representative elements; transition elements; periodic trends; descriptive chemistry) Nuclear Reactions (balancing equations; binding energy; decay processes; particles; terminology) Laboratory (basic techniques; equipment; error analysis; safety; data analysis)

 3. Perceptual Ability - 60 minutes The Perceptual Ability Test is comprised of six subtests: 1) apertures, 2) view recognition, 3) angle discrimination, 4) paper folding, 5) cube counting, and 6) 3D form development.

 4. Reading Comprehension (English DAT only) - 50 minutes Consists of 3 reading passages. Ability to read, organize, analyze and remember new information in dental and basic sciences. Ability to comprehend thoroughly when studying scientific information. Reading materials are typical of materials encountered in the first year of dental school and require no prior knowledge of the topic other than a basic undergraduate preparation in science. Students from Canada who have already completed an undergraduate degree may apply for entry into Australian dentistry programs at either the graduate-entry or undergraduate-entry levels.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Meet Ms Jacqueline Bond from the UQ School of Pharmacy

Meet UQ School of Pharmacy Lecturer Jacqueline Bond

UQ School of Pharmacy
UQ School of Pharmacy Lecturer Jacqueline Bond (Photo credit: UQ)

Jacqueline has been widely recognised as an excellent pharmacy educator by both her students and colleagues. Her passion for experimenting with and evaluating innovative teaching and eLearning approaches over the last 13 years has led to curricular reform that engages students, inspires them to learn and prepares them for their future roles as ‘medicines experts’ in an evolving healthcare system.

Her educational philosophy, that constructively aligned learning objectives, learning activities and assessment must be authentic and relevant to professional practice, has guided the re-design of courses in medicinal chemistry and pharmacy practice. Jacqui takes a scholarly approach to teaching and learning design that is informed by an understanding of the higher education literature, as well as her own original research in pharmacy education, along with that of her research students.

Jacqui’s deep respect for the development of students as individuals, and creative approaches to teaching (such as ‘medicinal chemistry karaoke’) have enhanced learning and resulted in exceptional student evaluations and multiple student-initiated awards.

Her contribution has further been acknowledged by colleagues via four UQ awards (UQ citation, UQ APEL, VC’s equity and diversity award and HABS Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence), as well as a prestigious national teaching award (AAUT APEL).

Jacqui has taught across multiple streams in the undergraduate Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) program including
  • Quality Use of Medicines
  • Dosage Form Design
  • Drug Discovery
  • Metabolic Fate of Drugs
Jacqui is the current Course Coordinator of PHRM1011 – Introductory Pharmacy 1.

Meet Jacqui—and two former OzTREKK students: Sunita and Andrew!

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.

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; however, late applications may be accepted by UQ Pharmacy School.

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.

New ranking boost for Griffith MBA

The Griffith MBA’s reputation as one of the country’s leading programs has been reinforced with the Graduate Management Association of Australia (GMAA) 5-Star rankings for 2015.

Griffith Business School is one of seven in Australia to receive top billing in the annual rankings.

Griffith Business School
MBA Director Chris Fleming says the latest GMAA rankings confirm the Griffith MBA’s reputation as one of the best in the country (Photo credit: Griffith University)

This follows the September announcement that the Griffith MBA was rated number four in Australia in the 2015 Financial Review BOSS Magazine MBA survey.

“The GMAA rating is based upon a detailed independent quality assessment of the top business schools in Australia,” Griffith MBA Director Associate Professor Chris Fleming said.

“It provides insight to prospective MBA students about the quality of the program and maintains our position of being nationally recognised as one of the best MBAs in the country, reaffirming our recent BOSS Magazine result.”

GMAA carries out an assessment of the top business schools in Australia as part of its mission to promote the standing of and enhance the value of MBA, DBA and other postgraduate management qualifications.

The process is recognised as a rigorous, independent evaluation across the country.

“Like the BOSS ranking the GMAA rating is in part based on surveys of alumni, demonstrating the success we have had with engaging our students and delivering a high quality program,” Associate Professor Fleming said.

In the BOSS ranking, Griffith’s MBA was the big mover inside the top 10, climbing into the top five for the first time.

“Our program is set apart from others because of our three core values which have remained constant as the program has been restructured and updated to meet the needs of modern, digital-savvy students,” Associate Professor Fleming said.

The core values of responsible leadership, sustainable business practice and a global orientation with an Asia Pacific focus are integral to how the Griffith MBA is delivered.

Griffith MBA

Like all MBAs, the Griffith MBA explores all the business disciplines you would expect—accounting and reporting, economics, finance, people management, marketing, strategy and innovation. However, what makes the Griffith MBA different is that it’s built on core values that are crucial to modern business: sustainable business practices; responsible leadership; and global orientation—particularly, the potential impacts of the Asian century.

Program: Master of Business Administration
Location: Southbank Campus, Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intakes: February and July
Duration: 1 – 1.5 years

Sydney Nursing School at the heart of cardiovascular research

Top researchers from the University of Sydney Nursing School have been awarded a $200,000 grant to further their research in preventing stroke through early detection of atrial fibrillation via technologies such as smartphones.

Dr Lis Neubeck, Professor Robyn Gallagher, and Dr Nicole Lowres from Sydney Nursing School, and Professor Ben Freedman, Sydney Medical School, were awarded the grant at the NSW Cardiovascular Research Network State of the Heart Showcase and Awards ceremony this week hosted by NSW Minister for Health, the Hon. Jillian Skinner MP.

University of Sydney Nursing School
Sydney Nursing School Dean Donna Waters with grant recipients Lis Neubeck and Robyn Gallagher (Photo credit: University of Sydney)

Led by Dr Lis Neubeck, their research focuses on diagnosing an irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation), which causes blood clots to form in the heart and travel to the brain to cause a stroke.

“It’s been shown that strokes can be prevented through early identification of atrial fibrillation (AF) and up to two-thirds of people with AF don’t know they have it,” Dr Neubeck explains.

“We need a way to find people who have asymptomatic AF before they get a stroke, since treatments with blood thinning medications are very effective in preventing strokes.”

The team have pioneered a handheld smartphone electrocardiograph (iECG) device to screen for unknown asymptomatic AF in pharmacies.

“The simplest way of testing for atrial fibrillation is a pulse check, but it is not a very sensitive method. As an alternative, we’ve been investigating an electrocardiogram (ECG) device which attaches to a smartphone. In just 30 seconds, the hand-held device can check the ECG and tell if the rhythm is likely to be atrial fibrillation.”

Dr Neubeck and colleagues have previously shown how the device can be used by community pharmacists and practice nurses to screen for atrial fibrillation. Their future research will focus on translation of this research into real-world practice.

“International guidelines suggest everyone over 65 should have a check-up to see if they have AF, since it’s when your risk goes up,” Dr Neubeck said.

“Screening with a smartphone device is quick and cost effective, so suitable to use as part of a national screening program for atrial fibrillation—which is necessary to prevent stroke deaths. Screening for AF in this way could prevent thousands of strokes every year.”

Atrial fibrillation affects five percent of people over 65 and while early identification has been shown to prevent strokes, screening is rarely implemented. One in three strokes is AF-related, and the associated annual health system cost is $874 million.

Together with partners from the George Institute for Global Health, UTS, UNSW, and the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation, the research network led by Dr Neubeck will develop ways to scale the intervention, so the maximum numbers of strokes can be prevented.

Cardiovascular disease remains a major health concern for NSW claiming the lives of women, men and children, with thirty per cent of all deaths in NSW currently attributable to cardiovascular disease.

JCU and rangers track climate change

James Cook University scientists and Land and Sea Rangers from the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) have installed scientific instruments to measure the impact of climate change in Australia’s northern-most islands.

TSRA and JCU staff have deployed water monitoring equipment to measure the intrusion of sea water across the wetland swamps on Boigu and Saibai islands in the Torres Strait.

JCU Environmental Sciences
A Torres Strait Regional Authority ranger sets a measuring gauge (Photo credit: JCU)

The rate of sea level rise around Saibai and Boigu is predicted to be twice the global average. The impacts of climate change in this region will be particularly harshly felt, with the islands being only a few metres above sea level. Freshwater wetlands on these islands are at risk as the wet season and summer king tides approach.

“A concern here is sea level rise, and the potential intrusion of saltwater into freshwater swamps,” said Senior Ranger Dimas Toby, “which will mean the loss of freshwater fish, turtles and potentially important feeding areas for migratory birds that visit our islands. Rangers will continue to maintain these loggers for many more years, collecting important data to manage our land under climate change.”

Ranger Herbert Warasum said his people have a strong connection with the swamps. “The swamps provide us with food, like Batha (barramundi), Yamu (tarpon) and Pakawiya (sea mullet). Working with the scientists, we are combining our traditional ecological knowledge with western science to understand more about our land. This means we can protect the land for our children and their children.”

Dr Nathan Waltham, Senior Scientist at JCU’s TropWATER said the islands rise only a few metres above the highest tides. “This means productive mangrove and freshwater swamps that provide habitat for fish and crustaceans, as well as food for local communities, are at risk.

“This is a particular concern for Saibai Island, where freshwater swamps that are home to freshwater turtles and fish, which probably have genetic lineage to PNG from times of lower sea level, are at risk of saltwater intrusion under future climate change.”

Dr Waltham said that with the deployment of water quality testing equipment, rangers will be able to track salinity, water temperature and depth of water across swamp lands.

The equipment will remain in place across the wet season and its information downloaded early next year when the wetlands again recede.

Researchers are also concerned that as the freshwater wetlands become increasingly brackish from sea-level rise, opportunistic and highly adaptive invasive species, such as the climbing perch may take hold.

The wetlands of the Torres Strait are the ecosystems at most risk from climate change and sea level rise. Understanding how the pending king tides over the summer are having an impact on these systems will help rangers and the community develop adaptive management strategies to protect them.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

UON a leader in workplace gender equality

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency recently announced the 2015 WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOGCE) citation holders and the University of Newcastle is proud to be recognised as an Employer of Choice for Workplace Gender Equality.

University of Newcastle
University of Newcastle recognised as an Employer of Choice for Workplace Gender Equality

UON is one of only 90 organisations Australia-wide to be recognised for taking a whole-of-organisation approach to supporting equality of participation in all levels of the workplace.

The citation recognises employer commitment and best practice in promoting gender equity in the workplace.

This year’s applicants were required to consult with employees to demonstrate that gender equality initiatives translated into lived experience.

UON Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Caroline McMillen said that the achievement reflects the range of policies and procedures UON has in place to ensure that staff at UON can thrive in their work.

“This citation also acknowledges the improvements we have recorded since last year in working to achieve gender balance in our leadership group, senior levels of academia and among professional leaders to set the standard for the whole organisation,” Professor McMillen said.

The University of Newcastle’s participation in the Science in Australia Gender Equality program under the Athena Swan charter is one way we are addressing the gender imbalance that still plagues STEM disciplines.

Professor Deb Hodgson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) is leading an information session with Dr Zuleyka Zevallos from the SAGE program to provide staff with an opportunity to learn more about the SAGE pilot and the role we can play.

UON looks forward to continuing to focus on achieving gender equality across the institution. “There is always more we can and should be doing,” Professor McMillen said.