Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 12, 2011

Saturday, 10th October 2011 – University research!

For many of us, university was more than a stepping stone to a career. It was a place and time where friends and mentors inspired us; where we could indulge our curiosity, open our minds, and contemplate all that was possible. A little different for me – as a part time student, usually attending late afternoon or evening lectures, I only came across fellow students on the odd occasion. Became friendly with a couple of others, but generally, didn’t get the opportunity for much social contact.

On another aspect, Melbourne University has always been renowned for the ‘research’ into various fields that came out of the place, and that obviously continues to this day, judging by a recent report from the institution.  Three University of Melbourne researchers have been awarded for their contribution to innovation, health and well-being and medical research in the National Health and Medical Research 
(NHMRC) Awards announced in Canberra this week.  Dr Katherine Kedzierska and Associate Professor Murat Yucel , as well as Professor Alan Cowman from the University and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute were among 19 of Australia’s top researchers honoured in the awards.  Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler congratulated the winners at an award ceremony in Canberra. University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Jim McCluskey said the awards recognised the depth, quality and range of research at the University of Melbourne “I congratulate our award recipients on their achievements and commend the hard work and dedication of these researchers as they strive to improve the health of all Australians,” he said.  Just a note on the three Melbourne University recipients in respect to their specific research.

 Dr Katherine Kedzierska received her PhD from Monash University in 2002, completing her postdoctoral studies in Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of Melbourne as an NHMRC Peter Doherty Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2006 she was awarded an NHMRC RD Wright Fellowship and established a research team at the University of Melbourne. Her research interests include human T cell immunity, viral escape and generation of immunological memory in influenza infection. This year she was awarded the Australian 2011 Scopus Young Researcher of the Year AwardAssociate Professor Murat Yucel, University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Murat Yucel is a clinical neuropsychologist in the Department of Psychiatry, and his work focuses on the field of neuropsychiatry. His research endeavours to understand the neural, psychological and pharmacological bases of impulsive and compulsive behaviours seen across substance-related and psychiatric disorders. He is also interested in the links between heavy cannabis use, the brain and psychosis. Through this research he hopes to identify improved treatments and educate students and researchers. He has more than 160 peer-reviewed publications.

Professor Alan Cowman is head of the Division of Infection and Immunity at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) and Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He is also a fellow of the NHMRC, the Royal Society and the Australian Academy of Sciences. Professor Cowman received his undergraduate degree at Griffith University and completed his PhD at the WEHI, followed by a NHMRC postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California. His work is aimed at understanding the function of proteins in the most severe form of malaria in humans.

Back to more ‘basic’ research – Day 2 of the Second Test between Australia and New Zealand  –  not a good extended pre-lunch session for the Australians who were chasing the meagre NZ score of just 150. By lunch after 150 minutes of tentative Australian batting, the Aussies had slumped to 7 wickets for 81 runs, still 69 behind the NZ score!!! Terrible performance, on what admittedly, appeared to be a green bowling wicket!!!  At lunch, I prepared to go out and watch a bit of local cricket. Sky partially overcast in warm conditions, and while some more ‘Saturday’ rain was forecast, hopefully if would hold off long enough for Adam’s  team to achieve a victory. Though overcast, it was quite warm & humid at Sunbury’s Clarke Oval,  as Adam indicated afterwards – warmer out on the field than he had anticipated.

His team came back in to bat at 1 wicket for 91 runs, just needing 3 more runs to secure a win. Adam was on a score of 26, and I hoped I would see him make a few runs.  He batted well, cautiously as is his style, and the runs started to accumulate  – from 26, he scored 44111213112 – and then, on 47, with a 50 in sight, he had a go at a ball he generally manages to score boundaries off, but mistimed his stroke, and was caught  –  on 47.  Had a bit of a chat with him later on –  Adam said that he got a gleam in his eye, when he saw that ball coming, but perhaps got too excited, and misjudged it. Anyway,. I congratulated him on that part of his innings which I had seen – he had come in as one of the openers, so had hung around for quite a while.  While I was at the local cricket, down in Hobart, the Australian bowlers put up a bit of a fight, but Australia were eventually all out for just 136 runs, 14 behind New Zealand. Soon after the tea break, in their second innings, the Kiwis had lost 2 for 36!   Certainly a low scoring match – 22 wickets down in less than 2 days. By stumps today, NZ were in a much stronger position, having consolidated their batting – at the end of Day 2, they were 3 wickets for 139 runs, a lead of 154 with 7 wickets in hand.

Susie out as usual tonight, don’t know where she goes, but actually went out twice, to different places.  Quiet Saturday night for Bill, a bit of reading, writing, and yes, listening to another live concert broadcast – tonight, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing, with a program of two Beethoven Symphonies – No’s 8 and 9. By coincidence, I am playing the first two movements of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, tomorrow morning on the radio, decided to spread it over two weeks for my listeners.

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