RIP Terry Pratchet

Shaking hands with DEATH at the Rose Theatre Kingston

Shaking hands with DEATH

Alas, DEATH has come to take Terry Pratchett from us. Viv has written on this on one of her blogs – clearly she was greatly affected. Read her comments HERE.


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Lecturer of the Year Awards 2014

2014: #8 in Australia

2014: #8 in Australia

I just got a pleasant surprise. Reading through the latest School of BioSciences newsletter I found I had been #8 in Australia in the Lecturer of the Year nominations.

Newsletter Item

Lecturer of the Year Awards 2014

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Photoshop’s content aware fill

Just had a little play with Photoshop with a picture with converging verticals.

2014-11-05_194327 here is the image taken looking upwards so the verticals converge
2014-11-05_194341 I used the perspective crop tool to correct the convergence, leaving a blank wedge at the bottom left


I selected the blank area with the magic wand then expanded the selection by 2 pixels to be safe.
2014-11-05_194435 Then I pressed the delete key and chose the “content aware fill”. The fill is remarkably good, particularly given the complexity and structures involved.
Then all it needs is a tweak to the image width, to correct the distortion introduced by the perspective crop.


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Trends in VCE enrolments 1995-2014

Some interesting data I came across, showing patterns of enrolments over time for subjects in year 11 (the start of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) that is our final educational qualification before tertiary/post-secondary studies).

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Student Feedback Semester 1 2014

BIOL10004 SES feebdback wordcloud, Semester 1, 2014

BIOL10004 SES feebdback wordcloud, Semester 1, 2014

Here is a word-cloud summary of the student feedback for first year biology, for the question  What did you like best in the subject. I lectured for only 2 of the 12 weeks, but the students must like what I do.

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A successful cookery experiment

The price was right so we bought a whole rump. We decided to give low-temperature roasting a go – having vague recollections of Heston’s Feasts advocating this approach. So we dumped 3 kg of the rump in an oven bag at ~90 C for about 4 hours. It turned out very tender and juicy. I suspect it would have been a bit tough with a standard roasting.

The remaining 2 kg we turned into a stew in the slow cooker. Also turned out tender.

Dinners for the forseeable future will be reheated stew or roast…

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Kangaroos are upside down, down under!

Interviewed by Mx newspaper… Apparently a celebrity comedian made some “rood” comments about kangaroo genitals … they called me to check the facts!

MX-Interview-Kangarooclick image for readable format

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Student Feedback for Biology 2013

Just for interest I pasted the student  feedback “what did you like best about this subject” question into a wordcloud package (Tagxedo: Makes a pretty picture.

Student feedback Biology Semester 1, 2013

Student feedback Biology Semester 1, 2013

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Article on our Koala work

Coming out soon in the UoM Research Review 2013

It is a catch 22 situation: koalas are prolific breeders but relocating them to new habitats eventually leads to habitat saturation. So how do you treat the koalas kindly and protect the environment at the same time?

The solution is in a University of Melbourne research project entitled Development of Contraceptives for Management of Overabundant Koalas, conducted by Professor Marilyn Renfree, Dr Kath Handasyde and Professor Geoff Shaw, all from the Faculty of Science. Continue reading

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National Health and Medical Research Council funding

We were thrilled to learn that our application to the NH&MRC for research funding has been successful.

 Prof Marilyn Renfree , Prof Geoffrey Shaw ,  A/Prof Andrew Pask, Emeritus Prof Jean Wilson, Doctor Hongshi Yu. Hypospadias and control of urethral closure $707,950

Hypospadias, the ectopic opening of the penile urethra, is a common defect in humans, affecting 1 in every 125 live males born in Victoria each year. However, the cause(s) of over two-thirds of these cases cannot be explained. Our studies using marsupials show that this process is mediated by 5alpha-androstanediol, a hormone with previously undetermined physiological function. This study will provide novel data on the interactions of the genes and hormones that result in defects of phallus development.

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