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Research Review 0808

The University of Melbourne is Australia's second largest research organisation after the CSIRIO. Research Review is a biannual magazine which reports on the University's research achievements and the latest in research news.

1 August 2008 - 1 April 2009


Welcome to the 2008 issue of Research Review
The University of Melbourne is committed to cross-disciplinary research, creating opportunities for the best minds to work together to tackle some of the world’s most challenging research problems and providing outstanding opportunities for training and developing a new generation of researchers.

In Brief

When Work Gets You Down
21,000 Victorians suffer from work-related depression

A Helping Hand
World-first employment program helps the mentally ill find work

Uni leads citation survey
The University of Melbourne has led the recent Thomson Scientific citation survey – making 21 ‘Top Three’ appearances.

New Coasts & Climate Research Centre
The University of Melbourne is creating a National Centre for Coasts and Climate (NCCC) – at Point Nepean.

Problem Gambling Research Centre
Victorian Minister for Gaming, Tony Robinson, recently launched the Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre – a joint initiative of the University of Melbourne, Monash University and the Victorian Government. The Centre will receive core infrastructure funding of $4.2 million over four years, and access to a range of other program and research funding.

Immunologist Wins US Scientific Award
University of Melbourne immunologist Professor James McCluskey is the first Australian to be awarded the prestigious Rose Payne Distinguished Scientist Award by the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics.

Nobel Peace Prize
The scientific contributions of University of Melbourne Federation Fellow Professor David Karoly and international colleagues have been recognised in the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and US climate change activist Al Gore.

Melbourne Student Rhodes Scholar
University of Melbourne Commerce/Science student John Feddersen has won the Victorian Rhodes Scholarship for 2007.

Larkins to Head Pulp Mill Expert Group
Professor Frank Larkins, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne will chair an Independent Expert Group to ensure full and proper implementation of the environmental safeguards imposed on Tasmania’s new pulp mill.

Fast Broadband Wins Top Academic Prize
Dr John Papandriopoulos who developed technology to make broadband up to 100 times faster without multi-billion dollar investments in cabling infrastructure has won one of the University of Melbourne’s Chancellor’s Prizes for Excellence in the PhD awarded late last year.

CSIRO, ANSTO Appointments
Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), Professor Suzanne Cory has been appointed the inaugural Deputy Chairman of the CSIRO Board.


Genetics Triumph
A world first – Tasmanian Tiger genes succeed in a mouse.

The Art of Making Sense
When we look at a painting by Van Gogh or Edvard Munch, or read a poem by Sylvia Plath, or ponder the ideas of Virginia Woolf, are we looking at the painting, ‘hearing’ the poem or narrative – or are we looking at a form of mental illness – a sign of sorts that the creator suffered from, or was likely to suffer from, a psychiatric disorder?

White Collar Criminals
The widely-reported price-fixing charges levelled against Richard Pratt, his company Visy and its competitor Amcor, culminating in record-level penalties in late 2007, brought into sharp relief the issue of cartels and white-collar crime. Coming as it did in the lead-up to a federal election, the case also threw a spotlight on the attitude of government and other sectors to pursuing high-profile figures for these types of offences and the proposed legislation to criminalise Serious Cartel Conduct (SCC).

Free radical link suggested between pollution and asthma
Free radical pollution in the air could be a cause of asthma, suggests Ms Duanne Sigmund, based at the University of Melbourne with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Free Radical Chemistry and Biotechnology.

Unlocking genome of world’s worst insect pest
Scientists from CSIRO and the University of Melbourne, and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, are on the brink of a discovery which will facilitate the development of new, safe, more sustainable ways of controlling the world’s worst agricultural insect pest – the moth, Helicoverpa armigera.

Cool Fire
New research looks at the effect forest fires have on the quality of Victoria’s water supply.

Food For Thought
Food production will be increasingly challenged by changing climate, dwindling supplies of cheap oil and declining water and soil resources, according to Kirsten Larsen, the lead author of the report Secure and Sustainable Food Systems for Victoria.

Off Your Head
A new study reveals long-term cannabis use causes brain injury

Mind Over Matter
Computer modelling may predict treatment outcomes for epilepsy. Slave Petrovski’s work has formed a major component of a patent application which has sparked significant interest from international biotechnology and medical diagnostics companies.

Super Computer
Victoria to develop world’s largest Life Sciences supercomputing facility

An Infectious Personality
In the face of a listener clearly struggling to keep up with the finer points of his research into the body’s response to infection, Professor Bill Heath offers the following advice: “Just remember killer T cells. People like to hear they’ve got killer cells that attack viruses.”

Water Under the Bridge
Breakthrough technology will improve the efficiency of water distribution.

Drawing on Experience
The Melbourne Business School taps into our unconscious beliefs about leaders

The Evolution Revolution
Malaria’s evolution could be its downfall, according to Professor Geoff McFadden.

Transnational and Temporary – Building Communities
Living as part of a community is something many of us take for granted. Take a moment to think about where you live. Without realising it, you are probably more than in tune with your surrounds. Where do you go to play sport? Do you know who to ask if your rubbish bin isn’t being emptied? How about finding a short course, child care facilities or a health care centre? And how about locating a good cup of coffee?

Designing Smarter Schools
Investigating the influence of school design on students.

Putting it all on the line
Problem gambling is proving to be a complex and growing health issue, according to a recent study from the Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre, which conducts cutting edge research into new treatment strategies and clinical practices for problem gamblers.

Mum’s the Word
Lack of access to maternity leave and workplace discrimination are contributing to poor mental health in pregnant women.

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