Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sally into the FameLab semi-finals

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Sally into the FameLab semi-finals!

Sally Hall8 March 2016

Congratulations to IA CRC PhD Candidate, Sally Hall, who has been selected to participate in the NSW semi-final of the FameLab competition.

Famelab is one of the biggest science communication competitions in the world designed to inspire, motivate and develop young scientists and engineers to actively engage with the public and stakeholders. As part of being in the semi-finals, Sally also gets to attend a training session with some of Australia’s best science communicators.

If you are in Sydney, you can cheer Sally on from between 6.30-8.30pm on the 7th April 2016 at the Powerhouse Museum. Seats are limited so please register via

You can learn more about Sally’s fertility control PhD project here –

IA CRC PhD student learns from experts at the Smithsonian

Friday, February 12th, 2016

IA CRC PhD student learns from experts at the Smithsonian

As part of the IA CRC PhD Balanced Research Program, all students are required to undertake a period of industry placement. One of these students is Aleona Swegen from the University of Newcastle who is working on developing an immunocontraceptive agent for feral horses.

Aleona graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (University of Sydney) in 2010 and moved to the Hunter Valley in order to work in mixed veterinary practice and pursue her interest in equine reproduction. She relocated to Newcastle in 2012 to undertake her PhD research under the supervision of Laureate Professor John Aitken.

AleonaSwegen_labDue to her strong interest in reproductive biology, Aleona recently spent six weeks at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington DC, working with expert researchers who are focused on preserving fertility in rare and endangered species.

During the six weeks, Aleona spent time in the lab helping with various projects, but also got to spend time at the US National Zoo and see some behind-the-scenes action, and visited the Smithsonian’s other research facility in Front Royal, Virginia which is an impressive 3,000 acre facility dedicated to conservation research.

Aleona said that during her experience she met some fantastic people and thanks Dr Pierre Comizzoli who was her host ‘supervisor’ while on placement.

“I definitely came back feeling inspired and knowing I’ve made the most of the Industry Placement and the opportunities it offers. It was a priceless experience and I’m very thankful to the IA CRC for encouraging us to get out of the comfort zone and for providing support and funding.”

Aleona has admired the Smithsonian and its renowned conservation work for a long time and is extremely grateful to have such an opportunity so early in her career!

Aleona hopes to submit her thesis in August of this year and we wish her the best of luck.

Tiger bones, rhino horns, and DNA forensic analysis: PhD candidate’s industry placement

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Tiger bones, rhino horns, and DNA forensic analysis: PhD candidate’s industry placement

Written by Elodie Modave – IA CRC PhD Candidate with the University of Canberra

I joined the University of Canberra in 2013 to undertake my PhD studying Tasmanian predators through DNA analyses of scats, under the supervision of Professor Stephen Sarre. I’m interested in their identification, diet and modeling through next-generation DNA sequencing (a lab based technique which offers an analysis of several distinct DNA fragments from a single sample) of their scats.

ElodieModave_lab3webAs part of the Invasive Animals CRC Balanced Research Program, I recently undertook my 5 week industry placement at the Australian Museum Research Institute in Sydney; working in their Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics under the supervision of Dr. Rebecca Johnson and Dr. Greta Frankham. I worked on two projects focusing on Tiger’s and Rhino’s, related to the illegal wildlife trade using forensics DNA identification of rhino horns and providing tools for agencies to recognise tiger bones when they are seized.

For the tiger project, I set up a 3D scanning protocol to scan Tiger bones from the museum collection. The long term aim of this project is to provide access to 3D scanned bones of vouchered museum material to enforcement agencies involved in trying to ID tiger (or other cat bones) and who may not have access to museum materials. This should allow rapid identification in the field of illegally traded bones. We also weighed and examined the bones under different experimental treatments, trying to mock how bones might be handled/treated prior to being sold, for example ethanol was used to represent wine as tiger bone wine is a popular item in the trade.  Bones in these different experimental conditions  were then DNA analysed and sampled for carbon dating to see if a treatment would affect their composition or conditions, thus better informing how forensics identifications may be made in future seizures.

As for the rhino horns project, I helped optimise a quick DNA extraction method from horns to identify three majorly traded rhino species. This will help a laboratory based in Hanoi, Vietnam, that the ACWG is already working with to improve the identification of horns seized in the illegal trade in Vietnam. This rapid extraction method complemented an already established rapid PCR protocol developed by the ACWG, to identify  horns to species level. The overall aim of the project is to get a species ID for a seized rhino horn in under a day thus allowing the authorities to take appropriate enforcement actions in a timely manner.

Not only has this placement made me see an industry-like type of environment focusing on forensics, it also allowed me to enhance my network and see what the post-PhD life would look like.

New Communications Officer: Minky Faber

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

New Communications Officer: Minky Faber
27 January 2016

MinkyFaber_webWe are pleased to welcome Minky Faber to the Invasive Animals CRC Communication Team. Minky Faber is a Canberra-based Science Communicator with a focus on (and passion for) Australia’s biodiversity and ecology. Minky has been the Communications Advisor to the Atlas of Living Australia, a Marketing officer for National Science Week, an Excited Particles performer at Questacon, and a Community Information Officer for the Department of the Environment.

Minky says her favourite part of her work is “learning about the challenges and triumphs that face the communities I’m connecting with, sharing the impact stories, encouraging public involvement, and explaining how the organisation I represent can help”.

Minky’s role will be focused on rolling out communication materials for the National Wild Dog Action Plan and PestSmart campaigns.

Minky will be based at out head office in Canberra and can be contacted at:

New Communications Manager: Ian McDonald

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

New Communications Manager: Ian McDonald
30 September 2015

IanMcDonald_webPlease welcome Ian McDonald as the Invasive Animals CRC Communications Manager. Ian is an established science communication professional with a strong background in research, education and community engagement. Some of you may recognise Ian’s name as he was also a successful graduate of the Invasive Animals CRC PhD Program – being awarded his PhD in early 2013 (part of Cohort 3).

Since submitting his PhD, Ian has been working in the not for profit and research sector in various communication roles, translating high level scientific information into easy to understand and digestible formats for various stakeholder groups. He also has significant experience in online content creation, media coordination and event management.

Ian is a prominent and engaged member of the Australian Science Communicators, the peak body for science communication advocacy in Australia and is currently completing his Masters of Science Communication with the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS) also based at ANU.

Ian is based at our head office in Canberra and can be contacted at:
Phone: 02 6201 2890
Mobile: 0429 985 643

Dr Dedee Woodside retires from IA CRC Board

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

DedeeWoodside_webDr Dedee Woodside to retire from IA CRC Board
June 2015

Dr Dedee Woodside announced her retirement from the IAL Board this week. Dr Woodside is stepping down after serving many dedicated years through the PAC CRC, IA CRC and IA CRC2.

Dedee wrote,“In leaving the organisation I feel a great sense of loss, as the success of the CRC is very important to me. Especially important is the fundamental impact of its programs on both the environment and agriculture. This organisation has been a large part of my professional life and dedication for the past 15 years. In leaving it behind, I trust that the organisation (including staff, partners and programs) as well as the end-users will have benefitted in some small way from my contributions over that long period.”

“We have certainly had to navigate some challenges during that time and I believe the excellent feedback during the recent IACRC Review has demonstrated that we have been very successful.”

In wishing the Board and the staff all the very best in establishing the enduring organisation beyond 2017, Dr Woodside also reflected “I am particularly pleased that I leave behind a well governed business structure and financial management system and innovative scientific program that includes human and institutional dimensions of invasive animal management in Australia.”

In recognising Dr Woodside’s substantial contribution as Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee and as Deputy Chair through the setting up period of the current IA CRC, IAL Board Chair, Helen Cathles also went on to highlight that “Dedee’s strong background in community engagement in natural resource management was instrumental in the formation of our very important Social Engagement Program.”

“The Board and management sincerely thank Dr Woodside for her valuable work and dedication to the IA CRC and the future CISS organisation. And in wishing her well, we look forward to her future direction to include working with the IA CRC and CISS.”

For those wishing to stay in touch, Dr Dedee Woodside’s contact details are or via LinkedIn.

Third year review

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

A word from the CEO – our third year review
June 2015

Recently our achievements in delivering on research outcomes and good management to build a strong collaborative organisation were recognised with a glowing report from a Federal Government appointed review panel.

It has been three years since the current Invasive Animals CRC began in 2012 with 27 participating organisations and 40 research projects that focused on land pests, commercial products, inland water pests and community engagement. Feedback at the review from participants highlighted that our collaborative approach will hold us in good stead to deliver on current research outputs and ensure a strong future.

Something that really marks this iteration of the IA CRC is the dedication and commitment of our researchers, the enthusiasm and initiative shown by our PhD students and the perseverance shown by our Board, Executive and staff. Many of our people have been with us since the first round of the IA CRC in 2005 so the breadth of knowledge in this organisation is outstanding.

With pest animals in Australia causing widespread landscape damage, extinctions and huge economic losses to agricultural productivity, the IA CRC has been integral in bringing together a diverse range of research bodies, universities, government agencies and SMEs to combat the problem. Our achievements have included breakthrough and innovative research in the areas of rabbit and carp biological control agents, wild dog management strategies, new toxins and products and community engagement for improved pest animal management outcomes.

We acknowledge that there is always room for improvement and look forward to receiving constructive recommendations in a formal report from the review panel soon, and we’ll take them on board with gusto to keep improving what we do.

The IA CRC is planning for a long-term sustainable future after our final stint as a Cooperative Research Centre comes to an end in 2017. This review in our third year certainly highlights that there is a strong need and future for pest animal research and management to continue in a collaborative way. We plan to continue to keep going post 2017 as a private commercial entity with a Prospectus to be presented this year outlining our business plan for the future.

We look forward to sharing our progress with you over the next two years and beyond.

Andreas Glanznig
CEO, Invasive Animals CRC

IA CRC Extension 2012-17 Launch

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Speech by Helen Cathles, Chair, Invasive Animals CRC

Parliament House, Canberra. Monday 15th October 2012

Neville Stephens: Senators: and everyone, you are all special guests.

Thank you Neville for launching the IA CRC2, it is a privilege to be a part of the greater CRC Association and the remarkable leaps in progress that the collective CRC’s make.

There is a fabulous air in the Hall tonight. This is the Joy and satisfaction of success – Congratulations!

The reward of a successful Extension Bid is due to your hard work and determination – your collaboration through the Vertebrate Biocontrol, Pest Animal Control & Invasive Animals CRC ‘s.

I would acknowledge in particular Peter Allen, Tony Peacock, Susan Duson, Glen Saunders, Steve Lapidge and Andreas Glanznig for their outstanding commitment to ensuring the success of the IA CRC.

Tonight we are Honouring the entire CRC, your achievement and your generosity of spirit. Because it is collaboration that got us here this evening and you cannot have collaboration without a generous spirit.

We have made collaboration work achieving 87% of our projected outputs making a sizeable imprint on invasive animal control Having said that …just picture in your mind the invasive animals space in 5, 10, 20 years – if we were not continuing. That is the landscape we would be operating in! And the only incentive we need to continue.

Look around at your colleagues and networks these are the people that are going to make the difference.

  • innovative & talented
  • dedicated
  • with great creative energy – stepping into tomorrow

Neville please take back to Minister Evans, the Department & DIISR our sincere thanks for the immense opportunity this Extension CRC affords us… and let him know that we do not take it for granted.

We are squarely focused on an ongoing institute – a can do organisation! A national & global business organisation. We’ve put our toe in the international R & D water and… in invasive species it works, time to focus on a nil boarders ongoing institute!

There is a great Dag Hammerscholl quote – Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road.

And our eyes are fixed…               Enjoy and celebrate this evening.