Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Laureate Fellowship

I received the exciting news last week that I have been awarded a Laureate Research Fellowship from the Australian Research Council. I flew to Adelaide on Friday for the Awards Ceremony, which was held at St Peter's College in Adelaide. This was an impressive venue, looking like it had been teleported through time from the 19th century.  I also learnt that St Peter's has more Nobel Prize winning graduates (3) than any secondary school outside of New York.

I'm now the proud owner of an ARC Laureate Fellow lapel pin, I'm not quite sure when I'm ever going to have cause to actually wear it. My Laureate Fellowship was awarded for my proposal "Building Virtual Cyanobacteria: Moving Beyond the Genomics Era". You can find a description of the project on my my ARC Laureate Fellowship bio page. There's also some further information in the Macquarie Uni press release. Time to go crack open some bottles of champagne!

The cats were very excited and congratulated me on the good news
Receiving congratulations from Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Education (and yes photographic evidence that I actually own a suit)

The successful 2014 ARC Laureate Fellows (we all look very very happy)

Thursday, 14 August 2014

My Kardashian Index is 0

Earlier this year, I blogged about metrics for measuring scientific output such as a H-index, AltMetric, etc. I just came across an entertaining little paper in Genome Biology by Neil Hall about a new metric- The Kardashian Index. Neil was wondering whether there are scientists who are like Kim Kardashian- famous for being famous. Or more specifically, whether there were scientists who are famous for their twitter feeds or blogs, but have not produced much in terms of published research papers of significance. So, he came up with the Kardashian Index- your number of twtitter followers divided by your number of citations from your published scientific papers.

I'm proud to say my Kardashian Index is 0 - since I have no Twitter followers, and 32,000+ citations. Ok, ok, since I am a conscientious objector to twitter, Facebook, etc, and have never tweeted in my life, it's probably not a relevant metric to me.

Fig. 1 from the Kardashian Index paper- identifying scientists who are highly active on social media but don't actually produce much scientific output. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Minions in Action!

Some of you may recall we received MinION sequencing devices from Oxford Nanopore as beta testers. It's taken a while, but Mike Gillings now has them up and running. Whether they can actually generate useful data is still something we're working out, but in the meantime here are some action photos.

The MinION is the USB device plugged into the laptop

Each dot on the screen represents a protein nanopore through which a DNA molecule is moving and being sequenced. The different colour of the dots indicates how the sequencing is going.

Who doesn't love bar graphs- this one shows the lengths of DNA molecules being sequenced. Some of our read lengths are up to 70,000 bps in size

Best Wishes Daniel

The Paulsen lab went on an outing Friday night to the University bar to farewell Daniel Farrugia. Daniel has just submitted his PhD thesis on genomic analyses of the opportunistic pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii, where he was investigating what is different between strains from hospital-acquired infections, community-acquired infections, and environmental isolates. Daniel has published papers in PLoS One and The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy; another paper about to be submitted to Nucleic Acids Research this week, and a couple more papers in earlier stages of preparation.

Daniel is moving to Malta with his family, and after a break to recover from his PhD is going to be looking for a postdoctoral position in the EU. We wish Daniel the best of luck for the future!

Paulsen group at the pub; Daniel is in the front of the photo holding a beer

I'm hiding up the back away from the camera

Thursday, 7 August 2014

There's more: Microbiology Faculty position available

In addition to the Synthetic Biology/Bioinformatic Faculty positions we just advertised, we also have a new faculty position available in Microbiology at Macquarie University. This would be a level B appointment (roughly equivalent to a new Assistant Professor in the USA). Again, applications close on Sunday 31 August 2014, 11:55pm.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

New faculty positions in Synthetic Biology/Bioinformatics

Building off our launch of the Yeast 2.0 Synthetic Biology project at Macquarie University, we have just advertised three new junior faculty positions (level B/C- roughly equivalent to Assistant Professor in the USA). Two of these positions are in Synthetic Biology and the third position is in Bioinformatics. We also have three postdoctoral positions to be filled on the Yeast 2.0 project. The plan with these appointments is to build a critical mass of researchers in Synthetic Biology at Macquarie, and position ourselves as leaders in this field in Australia. 

The Macquarie University web site tell me that applications for these positions closes on 11:55pm Sunday 31 August 2014, Australian Eastern Standard Time. If you are interested in one of these positions, I encourage you to apply or to contact me if you have any further questions.

While searching the internet for a suitable image, I came across this synthetic biology comic from Drew Endy and Chuck Wadey- full version here