Monthly Archives: November 2008

Waste audit findings- important

Hi folks- we were waste audited today by the University Waste Management Officer. The good news is that we are generally OK in our streaming of waste according to the rules and regulations.

However we have committed a few serious breaches (all our bins were checked)

1) 2 containers of *absolute ethanol* were placed in the yellow bin near the water machine. Who put them in the bin?

2) 1 bag of *uninactivated* snail bodies- whose are these?

3) Tips placed in the sharps bins (despite bins clearly saying sharps only).

4) Gloves in the ‘normal’ waste bin (which appeared while we were having the inspection and despite the big label on the bin).

Putting tubs containing ethanol in a yellow bin bag- which could have leaked and caused a fire was particularly stupid.

You have *all* been inducted and know the local rules regarding waste (there is always plenty of support if you are unsure). You should also have done the Waste Management System Training and Assessment (of all of us only me and Gav have completed it). Charlotte Winnert has told me that you must do so by the end of the week (she will be reporting her findings to our HoD).



New lab printer

You’ll have probably noticed that we have a new lab printer! A simple way to find it/add it to your comp. is

1)go to
2)login and choose the relevant drop down menus
Category- Aacademic Depts
Department- Animal and pLant Sciences
Location-Alfred Denny

3) select aps-ljp3005-b71

Agree with whatever else it says to do!!


Call for contributions
Symposium on Biodiversity Hotspots
26-28 March 2009, MNHN Luxembourg


One of the key objectives of nature conservation is the protection of biodiversity hotspots – centres of high numbers of ecosystems, species and/or genes. This meeting focuses on the developement and status of areas with particularly high diversity, most of them not being adequately protected.

Programm and Registration:

The previewed programm is online available. Oral contributions and posters can become registered under the following website:

Job offers in Otago

RESEARCH TECHNICIAN – G08/741 close on Friday 28 November

POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW  – A08/150 close on Monday 1 December

For an application form, EEO, information Statement and a full job description go to: <>

Alternatively, contact the Human Resources: Division, Tel 03 479 8269, Fax 03 479 8279, Email <>

Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice

I would like to announce a call for applications to WildCRU’s new Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice, offered in collaboration with Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education.  This 8-month course is designed to equip conservation practitioners with the field, analytical, planning and reporting skills necessary for effective conservation research and action.  It focuses on the conservation techniques and issues commonly encountered in the developing world, giving particular attention to felids.  We hope to attract applicants from the developing world who may not ordinarily be able to attend Oxford University, and who will return to their home countries to use their new skills, preferably in felid-related conservation projects.  Candidates should have a first degree, or equivalent hands-on experience.


For more information on the course, including the curriculum and how to apply, please see  Applications must be made via post to Oxford University’s Graduate Admissions Office.  Varying levels of sponsorship are available to applicants from the developing world, and applicants should include a letter indicating their financial situation (i.e. why they cannot fund themselves), why they are worthy of funding, and for which level of sponsorship they would like to be considered.


You are welcome to contact the course coordinator, Dr Lucy Tallents, with any queries that are not answered online.  Her email address is

Technician and postdoc jobs in New Zealand – with Neil Gemmell at Otago

Te Whare Wananga o Otago



An exciting opportunity exists to work in the field of population genetics and molecular genetics/genomics in the Laboratory of Professor Neil Gemmell.
The position has two core roles: 1) to run a DNA sequencing and genotyping service for the University of Otago; 2) to provide technical support for the research projects and staff of the Gemmell laboratory.

We invite applications from candidates who have a BSc or equivalent tertiary qualification, experience in a research laboratory and skills and knowledge of molecular biology and genetics.  The ideal candidate will have an aptitude and desire to learn new skills, will be highly motivated, well organised, and able relate well to a wide range of staff and students. The successful applicant will be provided with full training in leading edge DNA sequencing technology and related training, as appropriate.

The position is available for a term of 12 months with an anticipated commencement date in late January/early February 2009.

Applications quoting reference number G08/741 close on Friday 28 November



Microsatellites are abundant, highly variable, repeated DNA sequences that are regarded as the most versatile genetic markers yet discovered. They are a cornerstone of the current biological revolution and are used in gene mapping, in DNA forensic work, and as population markers. Conclusions drawn from such studies in many cases depend critically on assumptions about how microsatellites evolve. Despite its importance, our understanding of microsatellite evolution remains surprisingly sketchy. Current models of microsatellite evolution are overly simplistic and almost certainly incorrect, potentially leading to widespread data misinterpretation. In particular, genetic recombination, whilst known to be the major generator of genomic variability, is widely regarded as a minor contributor to microsatellite evolution, if indeed it contributes at all. Here we seek to quantify the extent and nature of microsatellite mutation, and, for the first time, explicitly examine the role of sexual recombination in generating microsatellite variability, using near identical yeast strains that variously do and do not engage in sex, and thus recombination. If, as we suspect, recombination is an important force in microsatellite evolution, evolutionary models will need to be modified, potentially with far-reaching consequences for how we analyse and interpret microsatellite data and for our understanding of trinucleotide repeat disorders, such as Fragile X and Huntington¹s disease.

Applications are invited from postdoctoral candidates who have experience in molecular and population genetics.  The Department offers opportunity to work in studies using leading edge DNA technologies.  The successful candidate will have skills in molecular genetic techniques, particularly genotyping and sequencing, be highly skilled in analysis of genetic data and statistics, and be self-motivated and able to work alongside a wide variety of people.

The position is for at least two years, but the actual duration of the contract will depend on start date, with early 2009 being desirable.

Applications quoting reference number A08/150 close on Monday 1 December 2008.

Application Information

With each application you must include an application form, an EEO Information Statement, a covering letter, contact details for three referees and one copy of your full curriculum vitae.  For an application form, EEO Information Statement and a full job description go to:
Alternatively, contact the Human Resources
Division, Tel 03 479 8269, Fax 03 479 8279, Email

Equal opportunity in employment is University policy.

E tautoko ana Te Whare Wananga o Otago i te kaupapa whakaorite whiwhinga mahi.

DO NOT send original documents in support of your application – copies are adequate and preferred.  Documents will not be returned.

Please complete a separate application form and include a separate copy of your curriculum vitae and supporting documents for each vacancy you wish to apply for.

For ease of processing and to avoid cost and waste, we ask that applications are not presented in folders.

Specific enquiries of an academic nature may be directed to:

Professor Neil Gemmell, Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, Tel 03
479 6824, Fax 03 479 7254, Email

sauce pan

Dear lab,

Does anybody have an old sauce pan they don’t need? I need one for the lab.



We will be going to the red deer to celebrate Amy’s success after work. I’ve booked a table at Sheiks (west street) for 8pm and I’ve sent an email to those people who said they wanted to join us.

Accommodation – Wanted

a message from sophy who was at the course last week:

‘Hi, I’m coming to work at the Mol Ecol lab for a few months (2-5 months) in January, and need a place to live.  If anyone has a room available from early January could you let me know? I’m fully house trained, pet-friendly, and will even do a bit of gardening if you wish!  My email address is and my phone number is 07854 923 716.  Thanks, Sophy.’

Next TAB Group Meeting – Friday 28/11 10am – FINLAY ROOM

Hi guys,

a bit more notice than today’s meeting!  Please note the change of venue (B52 is not free) and the earlier time.

Remember, Morning Meetings = Cakes and Biscuits! so let’s put our baking aprons on!