Antarctica Trip 2012 - Maria Byrne

December 18th, 2012

Baby Weddell Seal - CC licence

Baby Weddell Seal - Creative commons

Maria Byrne joined a group flown to Antarctica by the US army in a Hercules jet as part a trip organised by 'Antarctica NZ'. She spent 20 days with University of Otago staff and post-graduates. While there, she spent time researching the effects of ocean acidification as a result of global warming on marine life.

Maria's research is focused on sea life vulnerable to climate change. Her experiments had to be continued after she left by others due to the incredibly slow growth rates in cold polar climates.

The trip also had an educational component for New Zealand school children. Students of ages ranging from 6 to 12 years old were able to have phone calls with the researchers where they could ask a variety of questions about the experience of living and researching in Antarctica.

Maria felt privileged to be able to visit Shackleton and Scott's huts'. The well preserved surrounds were a step back in time to the age of the polar expeditions. Though you cannot touch anything in the huts due to the historical and heritage importance of the sites, Maria found the experience to be truly memorable and special.

After the huts, the animals of the antarctic were another memorable part of her journey. Highlights included Adélie penguins and Weddell seals.

Future journeys
Maria declined an offer to return next year so she has can finish the paper on her most recent trip. She hopes to return in 2014.

Higher Degrees for 2012

17th of December, 2012

2012 saw higher degrees awarded to a number of students at the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology. The Postgraduate Research Committee of the Discipline of Anatomy & Histology congratulates the following students on the award of Doctor of Philosophy in 2012:

  • Dr. Zoe Brett (Keay laboratory)
  • Dr. Sergio Barbosa (Byrne lab)
  • Dr. Eun Hye Hailey Shin (Lovicu Lab)
  • Dr. Eszter Kalman (Keay Lab)

The Discipline also congratulates Ms. Soraya Joseph (dos Remedios Laboratory) on the award of Master of Philosophy.

Prosectors Afternoon Tea and Certificate Ceremony - 2012

3rd of October, 2012

The discipline hosted an afternoon tea and certificate ceremony for the participants of the 2010 and 2011 prosectors competition and prosection workshop at 3pm in the Anderson Stuart Common Room on the 3rd of October, 2012.

The Discipline of Anatomy and Histology congratulates those who have made a significant contribution to our teaching resources and those who are receiving awards and certificates in recognition of their skill in the art of prosection.

Certificate photos can be viewed and downloaded here.

Prosectors' Competition and Workshop - applications open in October

1st of October, 2012

prosection hand

The Prosectors' Competition and workshop are are prestigious annual events within the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology.

APPLICATIONS OPEN October 01st, 2012 APPLICATIONS CLOSE October 31st, 2012

COMPETITION - January 7 to February 1, 2013
"The competition is held annually and is open to all currently enrolled anatomy students who have had previous dissection experience. The objective of the competition is for students to plan and dissect a specimen worthy of inclusion in the Wilson Museum of Anatomy. The prosection should be original and of some anatomical or clinical importance. A brief description of the prosection is required as part of the submission which is judged by the anatomy staff for the giving out of prizes and the title of prosector. The task should take approximately four weeks and is a serious undertaking for those interested in a career in prosecting or surgery. The competition may only be entered once."

WORKSHOP - January 7 to February 1, 2013
"All currently enrolled students of anatomy are eligible to apply for the annual prosection workshop. No previous experience is required and all technical advice is provided by anatomy staff. Students are required to complete a simple standard prosection according to a specific description and are given approximately four weeks to complete the task. The aim is that the prosection will be good for use as an undergraduate teaching specimens in the teaching labs. Adjudication of the completed specimens is conducted to determine who is to be given the title of 'Prosector'."

Please visit the Prosectors' Competition and workshop webpage for details.

John Irvine Hunter Research Prize in Anatomy : Student Seminars, 2012

27th of September, 2012

Seminar whitebaord

The Discipline of Anatomy and Histology awards several research prizes every year for outstanding work from senior students. The Hunter research prize is for distinction in Honours or Postgraduate research to the value of $5,000.

Students present their research as a seminar to a committee for evaluation. Seminars will be 20 minutes each with 5 minutes for Questions and Discussion. The committee is comprised of the following:

  • Postgraduate Coordinator(s) (Discipline of Anatomy & Histology)
  • Research Committee Chair (Discipline of Anatomy& Histology)
  • Where possible, academic representatives from each of the SoMS disciplines.
  • Senior Postgraduate Student (any discipline in SoMS)

The full criteria and eligibility for the award can be downloaded here.

This years session will be held at the Anderson Stuart Building, Room N248 on the 27th of September, 2012.

  1. 10.00 Nastaran Hesam Shariati A multi-stage model for fundamental functional properties in primary visual cortex.
  2. 10.25 Raymond Schwartz Small-vessel disease in patients wirth Parkinson’s disease: a clinicopathological study.
  3. 10.50 Swetha Murali Opioid-related (ORL1) receptors are enriched in a subpopulation of sensory neurons and prolonged activation produces no functional loss of surface N-type calcium channels.
  4. 11.15 Vanessa Sequeira The role of the Vitamin D receptor and ERp57 in photoprotection by 1a,25-Dihroxyvitamin D3.
  5. 11.40 Eun Hye Hailey Shin Sprouty is a negative regulator of transforming growth factor b-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and cataract.

Provided the work is of sufficient merit, the prize will be awarded by the Dean of the Sydney Medical School on the recommendation of the Head of the School of Medical Sciences, after consultation with the head of the discipline of Anatomy and Histology.

The prize will go to a candidate for a postgraduate research degree for the best research undertaken in the disciplines of the School of Medical Sciences.

Peter Bishop 1917-2012

06th of July, 2012

Peter Bishop

Peter Bishop, Visual Scientist

MB BS 1940 DSc 1967 MD 1983 FRS

Peter Bishop had a world class academic career spanning five decades. He served as head of Physiology at the University of Sydney and the John Curtin School of Medical Research, served on the advisory committee for the NHMRC and helped found the Australian Physiological and Pharmacological Society.

He was elected as a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Royal Society, in 1986 he became an officer of the Order of Australia. Peter was appointed as an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Anatomy at the University of Sydney in 1987.

He completed his last research paper when he was just shy of 80 years old. Peter was recognised as one of the three leaders in Visual Science in 1993 for his world class contributions to the understanding of how the brain and eyes work.

A lunch will be held in Peter Bishop's memory at the University of Sydney on August 24th, 2012.

Lena Ting retirement

06th of July, 2012

Lena Ting image collage

Friends and colleagues joined together for Lena Ting's farewell in the The Anderson Stuart Common Room

The Discipline of Anatomy and Histology gathered to celebrate Lena Ting's retirement over a light lunch on Friday the 6th of July, 2012.

Lena retired as a Senior Administration Officer (Finance) after having served the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology in various roles for 25 years.

Lena's contribution was recognised in speeches from the current Head of Discipline Kevin Keay, Associate Dean and Head of the School of Medical Sciences Chris Murphy, former Head of Discipline Cedric Shorey and her colleague & friend John Mitrofanis.

Lena was joined by a large portion of the Discipline past and present in the Anderson Stuart Common Room where she was presented with cards, flowers and gifts.

Lena will take some time to relax and then travel. She has yet to decide what she will do with all her newly found spare time in retirement. The Discipline sends Lena the warmest of good wishes for her retirement.

Alan Gordon Thorne, 1 March 1939–21 May 2012, Palaeoanthropologist

30th of May, 2012

Alan Thorne

Alan Thorne

Alan Thorne was an academic whose prime interest was in the origins of the Australian Aborigines. He was known for his research into the oldest known skeletal remains in Australia – the Lake Mungo remains and also for his theory of the “regional continuity” of human evolution. Alan’s somewhat controversial ideas about human evolution, which suggested that the first humans out of Africa interbred with other hominids, have now been partially supported by recent DNA evidence.

In 1960 he began his career in anthropology at the University of Sydney when he enrolled in an Arts degree in which he combined anthropology, anatomy, English, psychology and zoology. In 1968 he was awarded a MA in anthropology. In 1972 he was awarded his PhD (supervised by NWG Macintosh). His PhD was concerned with what was to occupy him for many years to come, the skeletal remains from the burial grounds of Kow Swamp and Lake Mungo. During this time he lectured in this department in both anatomy and physical anthropology. He went on to become a professor at the Australian National University in Canberra.

In 2011 Alan, aware that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, very generously gave his entire collection of hominid casts as well as archives relating to the Lake Mungo and Kow Swamp excavations to the Shellshear Museum. There is a small exhibition in the Shellshear Museum on Alan Thorne’s work and his cast collection. We are very grateful to Alan Thorne and his family for his contribution.


(Left to right) A young Alan Thorne at the department of Anatomy, the cast collection donated by Alan and a diagram of remains found at Lake Mungo

Shawna Foo awarded Doctoral Fellowship from Sydney Institute of Marine Science

Shawna Foo doctoral fellowship SIMS 2012 award

09th of May, 2012

Congratulations to Shawna Foo of the Byrne Lab for her Doctoral Fellowship from SIMS.

SIMS explains the selection process:
"A panel of highly qualified scientists assess the applications. Criteria for awarding the fellowships include the track record of the applicant, the quality of the project, and the relevance of the project to SIMS and its research themes."

Shawna has provided a summary of her research project:
"Excess carbon dioxide emissions are causing the oceans to acidify with this decrease in pH decreasing mineral saturation in the ocean. This makes it difficult for marine invertebrates to make a skeleton or shell. There is a large weight of evidence of the stunting effect of ocean acidification on echinoderm development, including skeleton formation, however little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects and the potentially confounding influence of temperature.

Ocean warming is especially relevant along the east Australian coast with greater rates of warming waters. I will investigate the effects of ocean acidification and warming on gene expression in marine invertebrate development to help understand the dwarfing effect it has on larval and skeletal growth. We will analyse the quantitative effects of near future ocean pH conditions on important developmental genes to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the negative effects of ocean acidification. The data will help identify major cellular and developmental processes that are affected.

Professor William 'Liam' Burke's 90th Birthday!

Happy 90th Liam!
Family blows out candles

23rd of April, 2012

Emeritus Professor William 'Liam' Burke celebrated his 90th birthday in the Anderson Stuart building with a large crowd filled with family, friends and colleagues.

Download a copy of the invitation here.

Prof. Burke completed his PhD studies in 1956 working under the Nobel Laureate Sir Bernard Katz. Following Peter Bishop's move to the Australian National University in 1967, Liam Burke became Professor of Physiology, and has pursued ever since an active program of research into the organisation and function of visual pathways in the brain.

Prof. Burke spoke out against recent staffing cuts at the university during his speech. The event was covered by The Australian news service:

"But he is disappointed in the trend for universities to be "run as businesses'', and for the alleged need at Sydney to shed staff to fund projects including the new $385 million Charles Perkins Centre for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

"We have embarked on several projects that we cannot afford,'' Professor Burke said. "I'm very old-fashioned, I don't think you should buy what you cannot afford and the university has done that.

"And so we now have this financial crisis in which the management of the university is preparing to sack some hundreds of people. This is their way of dealing with this financial crisis, created by trying to do something they could not afford.

"The university is entitled to sack people who have been inefficient or have misbehaved but this is the first time in all the time I have been at the university that I am aware of people being sacked and it's not justified.''

To arguments that such cuts are normal in the "outside world'' he said: "this is not the outside world, this is a university. If you work in a car firm and don't sell enough cars, you lose your job, but what we are selling is saleable: teaching and research. There's always a market for teaching and we are doing good research, journals are
publishing (our) good research.


Staff Photo - 2012

27th of March, 2012

A staff photo for 2012 was shot by Clive Jeffery across two seperate days (to accommodate staff availability) - 9th of March and 14th of March.

Main Staff Photo

9th of March, 2012 (click for larger version as provided by Clive Jeffery)

TOP ROW: Ew-Jun Chen, Denise Donlon, Paul Austin, Stephen Eamegdool, James Hall, Phillip Romo, Chris Murphy (HOS), Kevin Keay (HOD)

ROW 2: Louise Cole, Sam Dowland, Nicolas LeGrand, Hayden Houlton, Jenna Reeves, James Kang, Jack Ayscough, Darryl Cameron, William Burke, Mai Pham, Mo Buksh, Tonnette Stanford

ROW 3: Jonathan Hakim, lnas Kansoh, Hannah Lewis, Sarah Croker, Ping Hu, Vicki Velonas, Colleen Estigoy, Leo Philips, Sam Adamson, Nicholas Cole, Maria Byrne

BOTTOM ROW : Claire WInnick, Cassandra Peoples, Connie Poon, Lena Ting, Frank Lovicu, Chris dos Remedios, Cynthia Tang, Marcus Robinson, Bogdan Dreher, Nabil El Massri, Tailoi Chan-Ling, Shawna Foo, Coral Chamberlin

Second Staff Photo

14th of March, 2012 (click for larger version as provided by Clive Jeffery)

TOP ROW : Ashneeta Kumar, Danielle Davies, Roland Smith, Andrew Youssef, Suzane Ollerenshaw, Silvia Gustin, Noemi Meylakh, Claire Goldsbury, Micheal White

MIDDLE ROW : Romanthi Madawata, Jamie McKay, John Mitrotanis, Luke Henderson, Bill Webster, Jessica Boros, Vladirnir Balcar, Neil Nosworthy, Michelle Gerke, Christopher Harris

BOTTOM ROW : Clive Jeffery, Katherine Wilkinson, Cedric Shorey, Ashvini Ambihaipahar, Louise Matherson, Jamie Acosta, Stella Feng, Micheal Lovelace

Katherine's fluffy friend, ‘Henri’ (please click through to view)

John Pollak - A celebration of his life

19th of January, 2012

In memory of John Pollak who died on Monday, December 5, 2011, his children, Linsey, Liesl, Jenny and Ana invited friends and family to celebrate his life with a meal on Wednesday (December 14, 2011) at 1pm, The Edge Art Space, 120 Brooklyn Road, Brooklyn, opposite Brooklyn Park.

John Pollak photos

"In celebration of a life well lived. I hope your wonderful memories of John carry you through the sadness. He was a great scientist and good friend." Anne Swan (click photo for complete image)

You can read John's Eulogy here.

"John lead a lectureship and a scientific career at Sydney University that spanned fifty years, during which time he produced around 80 papers, taught and mentored a string of students and assistants, and furthered his research during three sabbatical years in England."

"John’s smiling face and twinkling eyes (as well as his good humour and hearty laughter) drew people towards him and he developed many good friendships. "

"And this is how it was up to his very last day, an active life helping others just the way he wanted. He made a lasting impact on many lives and his children are grateful for the philosophies he passed onto them and the maxims he left behind: “Do what you love, not love what you do“, “Nothing matters half as much as you think it does“, “Things are always better in the morning” …and if he were here with us today he would tell us all to laugh and be happy."

You can leave a message at John's obituary page -

Mrs Ann Macintosh memorial page

3rd of January, 2012

Mrs Ann Macintosh

A web page has been dedicated to the memory of Mrs Anne Macintosh in the 'About Us' section of our website. Mrs Macintosh died on Friday the 1st July 2011 peacefully at home. Ann will be remembered not only for her great generosity but also for her passion for anatomy and anthropology and for her loyalty to our Discipline, to the Faculty and the University.

Please visit the page here.