L'Oreal Fellowships close soon; $40,000 for community science events; and meet the master of systems biology

Bulletins, Science stakeholder bulletins

In this bulletin:

I’m on the road this week for Fresh Science – our first state final in Perth was great fun, and I’m looking forward to introducing the South Australian Freshies to science leaders in Adelaide tonight and elsewhere in the next week or so.

Applications are flowing in for the L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowships – there are still two weeks left to encourage outstanding early-career women in science to apply for one of three $25,000 Fellowships.

Scientists and universities in NSW can apply for a share of $40,000 to support community science events and build links with other local organisations. It’s part of the Inspiring Australia initiative to promote science in the community and encourage engagement.

In Brisbane next month, meet Hiroaki Kitano – inventor of robot dog AIBO and a pioneer of systems biology. He literally wrote the book on systems biology – his work has bridged the gap between computing and life science.

He’s also speaking in Melbourne at a BioMelbourne Network CEO lunch and meeting with collaborators in Melbourne, Brisbane and Townsville. And a couple of his colleagues will lead a workshop on CellDesigner, a core piece of software for systems biology.

Stem cell researchers are invited to meet with patients at a public forum on diabetes in Melbourne. It’s part of a two-day symposium on the challenges of translating stem cell science into clinical practice.

And finally, a happy 21st birthday to our friends down the road at Scienceworks. Like good neighbours, they’ve warned us that they’re having a big party – and everyone’s invited.

Apply now for the $25,000 L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowships

Time is running out to apply for the L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowships, with nominations closing on Monday 6 May.

We’re looking for Australia and New Zealand’s best and brightest early-career researchers.

The three $25,000 Fellowships will be awarded to women who have shown scientific excellence in the five years since finishing their PhD, and are intended to help early-career women scientists to consolidate their careers and rise to leadership positions in science.

The one-year Fellowships can be used to help finance the scientific research of the Fellows, including equipment, reagents, consumables, travel expenses and conferences. The Fellowship may also be used for child care or hiring a research assistant to cover maternity leave.

Applications close on Monday 6 May 2013.

Nominating is easy – the whole process is online. For full details of the eligibility criteria and how to nominate, go to http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/loreal/applications.

To get a sense of the qualities expected of entrants into this highly competitive Fellowship, we encourage potential applicants to read the brief profiles of past recipients at http://www.scienceinpublic.com.au/loreal/fellows.

Applications close at midnight on Monday 6 May 2013 and will only be accepted via the online form.

For more information, including the criteria, conditions, FAQ and the online application form, head to: www.scienceinpublic.com.au/loreal

The For Women in Science Fellowships are supported by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian National Commission for UNESCO.

$40,000 for science outreach projects in regional NSW

There is $40,000 available for community groups in regional NSW to support science activities and events during National Science Week in August.

From citizen science projects to supermarket science shows, the funding is intended support community partnerships which motivate and inspire locals to get involved with science and science-related issues.

Local scientists are encouraged to partner with arts and community organisations, local clubs and societies, business associations and local government. The aim is to create a network of enduring local partnerships throughout NSW which will deliver inspirational science initiatives throughout NSW during National Science Week and beyond.

Some of the successful community science initiatives already underway include:

  • Radical Wine, a town hall event that explored the science of wine making
  • Consumer Science, featuring experiments presented in local shopping malls by scientists from the University of New England
  • The Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness project, which brings volunteers together with professional scientists to document the biodiversity of the southern NSW coast
  • The Border Stargaze, an annual astronomy festival in Albury, with debates, interactive science activities and night-time sky tours

NSW Trade & Investment has joined forces with the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia initiative and the University of Sydney to provide the 2013 NSW Regional Science Grants.

Read more about the grants here: http://sydney.edu.au/science/outreach/inspiring/index.shtml

Meet the master of systems biology

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, University of Queensland, 12pm, Thursday 9 May

Hear about the future of systems biology from Professor Hiroaki Kitano in Brisbane at AIBN at the University of Queensland.

He’ll introduce you to the ideas behind systems biology, and show you how systems biology can be applied to understand whole organs, organisms or even whole ecosystems.

His talk – systems biology: past, present future – will be aimed at a broad scientific audience. While there are researchers who specialise in systems biology, it’s also a useful tool for development biologists, chemists, engineers, bioinformaticians and others.

“Systems biology is a multidisciplinary science that tackles the big questions,” says Prof Kitano. “It can’t be done by just one person or one laboratory—it needs integration of data, knowledge, and various expertise from medical and biology experts to computer science and engineering experts.”

Prof Kitano is director of the Systems Biology Institute, and more famously the inventor of AIBO, the robot dog. He literally wrote the book on systems biology – his pioneering work has bridged the gap between computing and life science, using his knowledge of computing and robotics to understand and analyse biological processes.

Prof Kitano will also be visiting Melbourne and Townsville in May to meet with collaborators. He’s working closely with Australian researchers through SBI Australia, a node of the Systems Biology Institute, based at Monash University.

He will be visiting Australia regularly in the lead-up to next year’s 15th International Conference on Systems Biology, to be held in Melbourne from 13-19 September 2014.

For more details of the seminar at AIBN, contact: Petrina Gilmore, p.gilmore@uq.edu.au

For more information about SBI Australia, contact: Sarah Boyd, sarah.boyd@emblaustralia.org or go to www.sbiaustralia.org

Come and see our 2013 Fresh Science state finalists in action

Fresh Science state finals are well underway.

We kicked off in Perth on Monday, where we heard about whales needing personal space, how to build an artificial nose and early blood tests for Alzheimer’s disease.

In Adelaide today, the Freshies are telling us how trees cope with thirst and starvation, how your teeth could repair your brain and how to generate power from pollution.

We’re heading up to Brisbane next week and finishing with Melbourne and Sydney the following week.

Fresh Science is a national competition which empowers up-and-coming scientists to engage with community, industry, business and the media.

At these state finals, more than 60 early-career researchers will learn the basics in a one-day media and communication workshop. They’re doing mock interviews with working journalists and learning how to present their work to the public.

We’ll wrap up each state final with a small networking reception where finalists will have a chance to mingle and perform one last challenge. Their mission: to excite and inspire you over a glass of wine.

The dates of the remaining state finals are below. If you’d like to come and have a drink and meet the Freshies from your state, RSVP to AJ on aj@scienceinpublic.com.au

  • SA – tonight, Thursday 18 April
  • Qld – Tuesday 23 April
  • Vic – Tuesday 30 April
  • NSW – Thursday 2 May

Events, workshops and conferences around the country

Diabetes and stem cells: hype, hope and progress

Free public forum Thursday 16 May in Melbourne

There is hope that one day we may be able to treat type 1 diabetes with stem cells. But what is actually involved and how close are we to it being a reality?

The National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia is sponsoring a public forum to bring experts, patients and stakeholders together to answer these questions.

This free forum is an opportunity for people with diabetes, their families, carers and the broader community to hear from leading local and international scientists and clinicians about the latest stem cell developments targeting type 1 diabetes.

When: 5.45pm-7.15pm, Thursday 16 May
Where: Auditorium, Melbourne Brain Centre – 30 Royal Parade, Parkville

This forum is being held in conjunction with the Bio21 Cluster / Stem Cells Australia Scientific Symposium.

Register and reserve a place at the forum online: http://bio21cluster.org.au/public-forum/

Symposium: Therapeutic potential of stem cells – prospects and pitfalls

Scientific symposium in Melbourne, Thursday 16 – Friday 17 May

This two-day Melbourne scientific symposium explores the achievements and challenges of translating stem cell science into clinical practice.

Who should attend?

  • Stem cell researchers: Hear from leaders in the field about the status of therapeutic approaches and the associated issues.
  • Other scientists: Gain information about how stem cell approaches are being applied in a variety of disease areas.
  • Clinicians: Gain accurate, factual information about the prospects of cell therapies, and for patients, the controversy surrounding treatments off-trial and the current status of approaches in Australia.
  • Biotech sector: Hear about trials in prospect or currently in progress and hurdles in getting therapies to market.

When: 10am-4.30pm, Thursday 16 May; 9am-5.30pm, Friday 17 May;
Where: Auditorium, Melbourne Brain Centre – 30 Royal Parade, Parkville

See the full program and register online: http://bio21cluster.org.au/stem-cells-symposium/

Learn to model gene regulatory networks with CellDesigner

CellDesigner: A process diagram editor for gene-regulatory and biochemical networks
Monash University, Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 May

Learn to use CellDesigner, a core piece of software for systems biology originally developed by the Systems Biology Institute in Japan, from two of its earliest users.
At this two-day workshop in Melbourne, you’ll learn to build a model from scratch, building a biochemical network as a “map” which includes links to several existing databases.

You’ll also learn how to build on models imported from elsewhere and be introduced to several third-party databases, which is particularly useful for users who do not have as much experience in building a mathematical model by hand.

Places are limited: register your interest at http://australianbioinformatics.net/sbi-australia-workshop-celld

When: Tuesday 7 May and Wednesday 8 May
Where: Monash University

Giving new PhD students a head start in research: the EMBL Australia PhD Course

Applications close this Friday for the EMBL Australia PhD Course, designed to give new PhD students the scientific toolkit they’ll need to excel in research.

Bringing in experts from the leading edge of life science, the two-week residential program will give up to 60 outstanding Australian PhD students the chance to learn from the best and to make connections with colleagues from around the country.

When: 30 June – 12 July
Where: University of Melbourne and WEHI

Applications close this Friday, 19 April.

For more information and to apply online, head to: www.emblaustralia.org/students/courses

Scienceworks’ Big Kids’ Birthday Night Out

Melbourne’s Scienceworks museum will celebrate its 21st birthday on Saturday with an adults-only event.

Get lost in your favourite Scienceworks’ exhibitions, including Carnival of Science and electrifying Megawatt.

Escape the confines of Earth and travel the Universe in the Melbourne Planetarium and discover the night sky through the lens of a telescope.

Join in a science show with a difference and learn a new party trick to show to your friends.

Festivities will go from 6 until 10pm. Details are online here: