Twenty five years on

Image of Prof Steve Robinson

Professor Steve Robinson (second from left) was a Bosch Young Investigator even before the Bosch YIs were formed. After completing in 1985 his PhD with the current Bosch Director (Professor Stone, at right) at the University of NSW, he undertook postdoctoral work, first (1986-1991) with Professor Bogdan Dreher (left) at Sydney and then, in the early to mid-1990s at the University of Queensland. His PhD and postdoctoral work focused on mechanisms underlying development of mammalian retina, on the morphology of Muller cells in vascular and avascular retinae, the concept of common timetable in the development of visual pathways in birds and mammals, and the role of astrocytes in production of glutamate for neurones. During his years in Sydney. Steven collaborated also with fellow 'early BY investigator' (now Professor) John Mitrofanis (second from right). In his research, Steve has continued his interest in glia and has developed and active interest in mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's disease and sleep apnoea. After over a decade in the Department of Psychology at Monash University, Steve moved to RMIT University in Melbourne where he is currently Discipline Leader in Psychology at the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences.

Steve was visiting Sydney to give an invited seminar in the Anderson Stuart series (title: “Neuropathology of obstructive sleep apnoea - a precursor to Alzheimer's?”) The seminar was very well attended and generated a very lively discussion. This picture was taken at a quick lunch-before-the-seminar, on August 21 2017.


Image of A/Prof Renae Ryan

Associate Professor Renae Ryan has recently been recognised in various news articles for her outstanding performance and achievements which includes being appointed as the Academic Director of SAGE, being a Leader for gender equality in Medicine and being interviewed for the University News as an influential woman in Health Research during this years International Women's Day recognition. Congratulations Renae!

Ninety five not out - Professor Emeritus William (Liam) Burke

Image of Prof Liam Burke
Liam Burke's 95th Gallery

On Friday April 21 2017, an extraordinary group - all colleagues, family or friends of Liam Burke - gathered in the Courtyard of the Anderson Stuart Building to celebrate his 95th birthday.

They came from Queensland (David Vaney), from Canberra (Lauren Marotte, Bill Levick, Eva Elekessy, Bob Tupper), from Melbourne (Sandra Rees, Vidayasagar), from all over the University campus, from retirement.

We all wished to celebrate with Liam, and to acknowledge his scholarship, his commitment to science and his humanity.

It was a special occasion in the history of the Department of Physiology.

Brain awareness week at Sydney International Grammar School, March 2017

Image of Brain awareness week

Dr Jin Huang and her colleagues continued to promote brain awareness to high school students this year. Dr Huang has been a long term partner scientist of the CSIRO “Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools’’ program ( During Brain Awareness Week, Dr Huang and her team visited Sydney International Grammar School on 17 March 2017. Again, we have successfully promoted neuroscience and science to Year 8 kids. To our surprise, on the day, our activities attracted some Year 12 students while they were on a break.

This year’s feedback score was the highest ever (4.8/5) proving our program is well designed and activities well executed. These fun and hands-on activities demonstrated amazing brain and body functions. The battle between their brain waves using a Mindflex Duel machine remained the all time favourite. Next in line was how smell and taste work together by tasting various flavours of jelly beans. Their pupils were certainly challenged by the pencil torch. They were flexing their biceps muscles to see who is stronger using a machine that measures electromyograms. They all look adorable/drunk trying to maintain balance using massagers! Kids also had the opportunity to exercise their fine surgical skills on lamb brains. It really was a fun and enjoyable day for us all! Some comments from the students are shown below:

  • Thanks for teaching us more about the brains. It was an eye opener :)
  • We learnt a lot of things and we want to do it again and again!!
  • Don't change. Keep everything the same!
  • I thoroughly enjoyed today!
  • It was all fun! They were all good!
  • It was a really good experience but it was really short!

Most scientists are members of the Australasian Neuroscience Society ( and Sydney Chapter of The American Society for Neuroscience (

Volunteers from The University of Sydney

Dr Jin Huang (leader); A/Profs Kay Double and Cathy Leamey; Drs Tom Duncan, Alan Freeman, Elizabeth Hegedus, Dario Protti, Atomu Sawatari and Eryn Werry; Sian Genoud, Xiaohui Lin, Eurwin Suryana and An Truong
Photographers: Dr Jin Huang and Xiaohui Lin

Permission was obtained from the team and school to publish photos on school bulletins and websites.

"Nature" cover features research collaboration with Maria Byrne's lab

Nature magazine's cover-image for March 2017 features a coral reef image that was taken as part of a nation-wide research collaboration that included Maria Byrne's Integrative Biology and Evolution of Marine and Freshwater Invertebrates lab.

March 2017 cover of Nature Magazine

March 2017 cover of Nature Magazine

The research paper is titled "Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals" and focuses on tracking the patterns and changes associated with ocean warming over an extended period of time.

The IBEMFI lab at the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology takes a multidisciplinary approach to study the effects of climate change, evolution, devlopment, and biology. Researchers and students interested in the lab can contact Maria Byrne through the lab's contact page.

Bercovici Prize - Applications now Open

Becovici Prize

Becovici Prize

Applications are now open for the Bercovici prize administered through the Bosch Institute. The Bercovici Prize - Open to candidates for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (best postgrad publication). For more information please go to here.