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Dear <<First Name>>

We are delighted to announce today the appointment of Ms Maree Agiazis as the full time Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Head of Secretariat for EMBL Australia. 

The secretariat, based at Monash University, manages the operational aspects of EMBL Australia, and ensures that the network of group leaders, and local and international stakeholders are well connected and engaged. 

Maree comes to EMBL Australia with considerable experience in international relationship management, business development, and operational expertise from various roles including those held within the Defence Science Technology Group. As Maree connects with all of the group leaders and core stakeholders in the next few weeks, I’m sure you will join me in welcoming her leadership and expertise.

Whilst celebrating the arrival of Maree, we also reflect on the tremendous efforts of Mr Silvio Tiziani, EMBL’s departing COO. Silvio has been absolutely crucial for establishing the foundation, and business structure of EMBL Australia, from its conception, to what we have today. I would like to recognize Silvio’s role, acknowledge his dedication and skill in building and advancing EMBL Australia over the past eight years, and thank him for all his great work. Silvio will continue to be closely connected to EMBL Australia through his role as COO of ARMI. We would also like to sincerely thank Laura Crilley as Executive Officer and acknowledge her contributions and support.

On behalf of the EMBL Australia network – a heartfelt thank you to Silvio, and welcome Maree.

Earlier this month we also (on behalf of EMBL, EMBL Australia and EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Resource) submitted our response to the National Research Infrastructure Capability Issues Paper. Within this document we highlighted some of the key outcomes that Australia’s associate membership of EMBL is bringing and our outlook for the future. These include the internationalization of our research, sharing of expertise, access to key international infrastructure, access to European research funding, training the next generation of scientists, and revolutionizing our ability to handle extreme volumes of biological data. Collectively these activities substantially leverage our national research investment, and enable Australian scientists to address major future research and societal challenges.

This month as well as welcoming Maree, we showcase some of the work Professor Katharina (Kat) Gaus and her team at the University of New South Wales (EMBL Australia Partner laboratory) have been doing, as well as announcing the successful recipients of the travel grants to the EMBL PhD Symposium, L1f3 by Numb3r5, Heidelberg. 

We encourage all students to register for the EMBL Australia PhD student symposium, and for all researchers to view the training being offered at EMBL-ABR in their range of best practice workshops.

Best regards,

James Whisstock

In this month's newsletter:

Profile - Maree Agiazis, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Secretariat for EMBL Australia

Maree Agiazis head shotMaree's experience in the University and Defence research sectors has focused predominantly on external relationship management, operational management and strategic planning. In her most recent role as Director, Science and Technology Program at the Defence Science and Technology Group, she fostered a high performing culture of collaboration to deliver innovative science and technology outcomes. Program management, research governance, as well as management of intellectual property assets have also been responsibilities held by Maree, all of which will contribute to her new role at EMBL Australia.

Maree studied physiology and neuroscience at Monash University followed by a Masters of Business in Science & Technology (Monash University), and has recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Scientific Leadership (University of Melbourne).

Nanoparticle shape affects voyage through a cell

The Gaus research team has been working on an age-old question: How does nanoparticle shape affect the voyage through a cell? A new study led by EMBL’s Prof. Kat Gaus uncovered that nanoparticles shaped like rods and worms are more effective at moving to the center of a cell. The study, published in Nature Nanotechnology was conducted at the EMBL Partner Laboratory at the University of New South Wales. The team of researchers includes chemists, engineers and medical researchers working collaboratively on the project. 

This amazing new discovery has been uncovered not only as a result of applying a new microscopy technique to gather information and data, but also from developing new analysis procedures using said new information and data.

Read more about the discovery by the Gaus group on the EMBL Australia website.

Travel grants to EMBL PhD Symposium (Heidelberg) announced

I am delighted to announce that ten postgraduate students have been awarded travel grants to travel to EMBL Heidelberg, Germany, to attend the 18th EMBL student PhD symposium, L1f3 by Numb3r5, Towards Quantitative Biology. The symposium is being held November 17th–19th, 2016. 

There were 42 very high calibre applicants, and as usual it was very difficult to separate the students. The applicants were judged by the quality of their motivation statement and their curriculum vitae. Read more about the awarding of travel grants on the EMBL Australia website

Travel grants were awarded to five female and five male applicants, and from around Australia as follows: ACT (1), NSW (3), QLD (3), VIC (2) and WA (1). The student symposium is an excellent training opportunity as well as a great opportunity to develop international networks and alliances. 

Congratulations to all the successful recipients, we look forward to hearing about your experiences on your return.
EMBL Heidelberg logo

Registration open: 3rd EMBL Australia PhD student symposium

16-18 November, 2016

The EMBL Australia 2016 Postgraduate Symposium EAPS Committee would like to invite all research students to attend the 2016 EMBL Australia Postgraduate Symposium. The symposium is held November 16 – 18 in Adelaide, South Australia.

The symposium brings together students from a broad range of disciplines around Australia, and is a great opportunity to showcase your work in an open and friendly environment. We welcome all levels of research students: Honours, Masters and PhD. 

The symposium's keynote speaker is: Prof John Quackenbush, Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, USA. 

Each session will have three student presentation slots open to our EAPS 2016 delegates as well as an associated poster session - plenty of opportunities for students to get involved!

Registration and abstracts are now open, please visit the EAPS website and email any questions to

Find the EMBL Australia PhD Symposium on Facebook and Twitter, follow the conversation with #EAPS16.

Group Leader opportunity: EMBL Heidelberg (2)

We are seeking to recruit two outstanding group leaders who wish to carry out cutting-edge molecular cell biology research in cell biology and biophysics at EMBL Heidelberg, Germany. We also welcome applications to establish research or technology development groups, in the areas of chemical biology and fluorescent probes, bio-image informatics and computational modelling of complex dynamic biological processes. In addition to biologists, applicants with a strong background in (bio)informatics/mathematics, chemistry or physics, and a keen interest in cell biological applications are especially encouraged to apply.

The successful candidates should have a strong motivation to work in the multidisciplinary and collaborative environment of EMBL, grasping the opportunity to interact with many other research groups. In general, EMBL appoints group leaders early in their career and provides them with a very supportive environment for their first independent position to achieve highly ambitious and original research goals.

Interviews are planned for 22 to 24 November 2016.

For more information visit out positions available page

Further information about the position can be obtained from the Head of Unit Jan Ellenberg:

Postdoctoral opportunity in T cell signalling: Australia, NSW node

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral research position to join our team of cell biologists and biophysicists at the EMBL Australia Node in Single Molecule Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia ( and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging (

One of the major unsolved issues in cellular immunology is how an extracellular antigen recognition event is linked to the induction of intracellular signals on which T cell fate decisions are based. The overall goal of the project is to gain a better understanding of the nano-scaled organisation of T cell receptor (TCR) signalling by using 2- and 3-dimensional single molecule localisation microscopy (PALM, dSTORM) in conjunction with molecular control over ligand presentation (e.g. bilayers with receptor ligands, nanopatterned surfaces and nanoparticles modified with ligands and antibodies).

Specifically, we want to investigate whether a distinct spatial organisation of the TCR is responsible for signal initiation. Further, we would like to link TCR clustering to activation responses, using primary T cells and single cell assays.

For salary details, position description and more information click here

Postdoctoral opportunities in cell biology: EMBL Heidelberg

Dr Jan Ellenberg (Head, Cell Biology and Biophysics unit) has two exciting research opportunities for postdocs in his group at EMBL headquarters in Heidelberg. He is currently seeking outstanding early career scientists to join his group who want to pursue ambitious interdisciplinary research in molecular cell biology and have recently completed, or are about to finish their PhD.

Details of the Postdoctoral opportunities can be found on the EMBL website on the Ellenberg Group page.

AB3ACBS-2016 conference - registration and abstracts submissions now open

October 31 - Nov 9, Queensland University of Technology

The AB3ACBS national conference, Oct 31 – Nov 9, in Queensland, will bring together bioinformaticians and computational biologists, as a fusion of AB3ACBS with: Invited speakers include:
  • Ute Roessner, metabolomics specialist from the University of Melbourne
  • Simon Ho, computational evolutionary biologist from the University of Sydney
  • Kate Hertweck, bioinformatician and plant evolutionary biologist from the University of Texas at Tyler
  • Andreas Schreiber, expert in bioinformatics and cancer genomics, Centre for Cancer Biology, Adelaide
  • Ben Zakour, microbial bioinformatics specialist Nouri
  • Matt Richie, statistical bioinformatician and exponent of R, from WEHI, Melbourne
  • Terri Attwood as a special guest, renowned for her leadership of and contribution to major bioinformatics initiatives, including GOBLET, the Global Organisation of Bioinformatics Learning, Education and Training.
For more information, visit the ABACBS website.

Follow ABACBS on Twitter.

Information for students:
AB3ACBS has reserved a slot for the best student presentation delivered at the COMBINE Symposium.

Student travel bursaries:  AB3ACBS 2016 and the COMBINE Symposium aim to support student participation by awarding travel bursaries.

Students may apply using the abstract submission form.  The funds are limited, not all applicants will receive bursaries. Please note that bursaries may not cover all costs.  International travel will not be funded.

Bursaries will be allocated considering the quality of abstract, the likely cost of travel and the attendance at both COMBINE and AB3ACBS events.

EMBL-ABR Best Practice workshop series: the data life-cycle

24-28 October, 2016

Best practice data life-cycle workshop series, 24-28 October, Melbourne. Registration is now open. Please register your interest by sending an email to
International trainers Sandra Orchard (EMBL-EBI), Jyoti Khadake (Uni Camb), and Dan Bolser (Ensembl Plants) join Hub experts to deliver this workshop series aimed at life science researchers wishing to learn world's best practice in curating, annotating and publishing life science data.
Full program to be announced soon.
For further information and updates visit the EMBL-ABR website.

EMBL-ABR hosting Galaxy Australasia meeting

Melbourne, 3-9 February 2017

EMBL-ABR will be hosting the Galaxy Australasia Meeting 2017 in Melbourne from 3-9 February 2017 (GAMe2017). Galaxy is an open, web-based platform for data intensive biomedical research. It enables researchers to perform, reproduce, and share complete data analyses. It is also the platform upon which the Australian-made Genomics Virtual Laboratory is built.
This meeting creates opportunities for life scientists to attend a whole day workshop on using Galaxy, includes a conference for all who use or are interested in Galaxy, and ends with a 3-4 day workshop for administrators who service users around the Australasian region. For further information, visit the Galaxy website.
For the latest news on EMBL-ABR you can visit the EMBL- ABR website and read interviews by A/Professor Vicky Schneider on our most experienced bioinformatics practitioners and what they want EMBL-ABR to achieve. You can also find out more on the formation of the Science Advisory Group, bringing together a number of highly-regarded scientists from around the world to discuss and advise on EMBL-ABR strategy, activities and priorities.
Copyright © 2016 EMBL Australia, All rights reserved.

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