The University of Sydney
Biological Sciences
MARCH 2011

Postgraduate students

Martyna Molak

In have started my PhD under supervision of Dr Simon Ho in the newly forming research group of 'Molecular Ecology, Evolution, and Phylogenetics'. Currently I'm working on a project concerning DNA decay in archaeological/paleontological samples, but my general field is ancient DNA.

I was born and raised in Warsaw, Poland. There I also got my Master's degree. My research covered studying genetic affinities within and among a few pre-Columbian populations from Peru. So I collected some teeth and bones from ancient tombs, isolated DNA and tried to extract population information from them. I'm fascinated by evolution - especially of human lineage and interrelation of biology and culture in our species. Apart from science I love entertainment (particularly when it involves spending time with my friends), travelling and lizards.

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Frances Goudie
I've just started a PhD in the Social Insects (Bee) Lab with Ben Oldroyd and Madeleine Beekman. During my PhD project I will be studying evolutionary genetics in eusocial insects, in particular the honey bee. I'm interested in the evolution of sex and the genetic consequences of sexual and asexual reproduction, as well as the genetic conflicts that exist within the eusocial colony.

I did honours last year in the Bee Lab, and loved the experience so now I'm back. I moved to the University of Sydney for honours, having done rest of my undergrad at Macquarie University. I've really enjoyed getting to know the University this last year, and look forward to continuing to meet people and becoming more involved in the School.

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Nadee Jaywardana

I have started my PhD working on genetic pathways involved in the formation of roots in the plant Arabidopsis thaliana. I am under the supervision of Dr Jenney Saleeba and co-supervised by Dr Mary Bryne. I am from Sri Lanka and that's where I completed my B.Sc. in Agriculture and M.Sc. in Biotechnology (University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka).

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Clarissa Fraser

I have just started my PhD looking at limpet behaviour and ecophysiology with A/Prof Ross Coleman and A/Prof Frank Seebacher. Previously I completed my Bachelor of Science (Hons) here are the University of Sydney majoring in Biology.

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Rodrigo Roman-Pena

I am enrolled in a full-time PhD under the supervision of A/Prof Ross Coleman. My research will test hypotheses that the existing boundaries set between marine bioregions in NSW are supported (or not) under ecological experiments. I will use assemblages of microgastropods because they can be considered as representative of ecological conditions. This study addresses one of the key aims of ecology, which is the developing of new knowledge on factors affecting marine conservation and the improvement of scientific basis of management of our coastal environment. Previously, I completed my BSc in Marine Biology (Hons) at the University of Valparaiso, Chile.

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Valentina Mella

I have a Bachelor Degree in Natural Sciences obtained in Milan (Italy) in 2006 and a Masters Degree in Environmental Science obtained in Perth (WA) in 2009, both specialising in Zoology. My interests and expertise are primarily in animal behaviour, in particular predator-prey relationships in mammals and the effects of predation risk on behaviour.

I am currently working for my PhD with Clare McArthur and Peter Banks. My project is focusing on how personality shifts the foraging response of herbivores to plants and predators. My goal is to understand what role personality plays into the process of foraging of common brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula). I will conduct manipulative experiments on captive and free-ranging individuals using the Giving-Up-Density framework to determine how personality modifies the individual response to predation risk and how it modifies the trade-off between dealing with plant toxins and predation risk.

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Associate Lecturers

Matt Pye - Concepts in Biology

Matt will be in this role for two years. He can be found on level 5 Carslaw, room 506.

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Peter Oxley - Human Biology

Peter will be in this role for semester 1 of this year, after which he will travel to New York to commence his postdoctoral research. Peter can also be found in room 506 in Carslaw.

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Royal Society of NSW - Walter Burfitt Prize

Professor Rick Shine has been awarded the Walter Burfitt Prize, for scientific research of the "highest merit", by the Royal Society of NSW.

The Walter Burfitt Prize is awarded at intervals of three years to the worker in pure or applied science whose papers and other contributions published during the past six years are deemed of the highest scientific merit.

Professor Marie Bashir, AC CVO Governor of NSW and Patron of the Royal Society of NSW, presented the prize to Professor Shine at the Royal Society's Annual Dinner held on 18 February in the University of Sydney's St Paul's college.

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2011 NHMRC Australia Fellowship

Professor Edward Holmes, an internationally renowned infectious diseases expert, has won a five-year, $4 million National Health and Medical Research Council Australia Fellowship to conduct research jointly at the Biological Sciences and Sydney Institute for Emerging and Infectious Diseases.

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Friday Seminars

The Friday seminar series has taken on a new format, with seminars commencing at 3:30pm, followed by 4:30 refreshments on A08 foyer. Everybody is welcome to attend the Friday sessions. Even if you are unable to attend the seminar, please join us for a drink from 4:30pm.

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Title Goes Here
Database to predict and prevent disease from spreading a world first
How diseases like swine flu and bird flu might arrive in Australia and spread could be accurately predicted in the future thanks to a world first database that will be developed at the University of Sydney.
The Age | Daniel Florence
Waterhole fences may halt cane toad invasion
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