School of Biology Internal Newsletter: 24 September, 2017
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School of Biology University of St Andrews

In this Newsletter


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Staff Publications

All staff publications are drawn from entries into the PURE research database, so if you need help with PURE, please do get in touch (dp61, x3626) Donna

A continued role for signalling functions in the early evolution of feathers
Ruxton, G. D., Persons IV, W. S. & Currie, P. J. (2017) Evolution. 71(3), p. 797-799. DOI: 10.1111/evo.13178
Assessment of enzyme inhibition: a review with examples from the development of monoamine oxidase and cholinesterase inhibitory drugs
Ramsay, R. R. & Tipton, K. F. (2017) Molecules. 22(7): 1192. DOI: 10.3390/molecules22071192
Biology, physiology and gene expression of grasshopper Oedaleus asiaticus exposed to diet stress from plant secondary compounds
Huang, X., Ma, J., Qin, X., Tu, X., Cao, G., Wang, G., Nong, X. & Zhang, Z. (2017) Scientific Reports. 7: 8655. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-09277-z
High suckling rates and acoustic crypsis of humpback whale neonates maximise potential for mother–calf energy transfer
Videsen, S. K. A., Bejder, L., Johnson, M. & Madsen, P. T. (2017) Functional Ecology. 31(8), p. 1561-1573. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12871
Pollinator importance networks illustrate the crucial value of bees in a highly speciose plant community
Ballantyne, G., Baldock, K. C. R., Rendell, L. & Willmer, P. G. (2017) Scientific Reports. 7: 8389. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-08798-x
Sterol 14α-demethylase mutation leads to amphotericin B resistance in Leishmania mexicana
Mwenechanya, R., Kovárová, J., Dickens, N. J., Mudaliar, M., Herzyk, P., Vincent, I. M., Weidt, S. K., Burgess, K. E., Burchmore, R. J. S., Pountain, A. W., Smith, T. K., Creek, D. J., Kim, D-H., Lepesheva, G. I. & Barrett, M. P. (2017) PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 11(6): e0005649. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005649

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Biology Equality and Diversity Committee

School of Biology Policy for Leave and Return-to-Work

Taking any type of leave is an important life-decision for an employee, and has the potential to complicate research, career progress, or ability to cope with work-life balance.

The School of Biology wishes to create a work environment that is supportive of the personal needs of all staff, and to that end have created a policy document, approved by Management Group, that describes our procedure to provide more support to staff members before, during and following leave that lasts more than 4 weeks.

This procedure is relevant to all staff and applies to leave taken for any justified reason, but most commonly for parental reasons, including maternity leave.

You can find the School of Biology Policy for Leave and Return-to-Work here and on biointernal, in both the “Shared Documents” and “Committees/Equality and Diversity” folders. You can also find links to additional resources on the School's Equality and Diversity web site.


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Successful Research Awards

Congratulations on new awards to...

Prof Andy Brierley, for his award from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) for "Mesopelagic Southern Ocean prey and predators", £44,490.

Dr Mark James, for his Scottish Natural Heritage award for "Assessing conservation objectives for flapper skate within the Loch Sunart to the sound of jura MPA", £90,000.

Prof Martin Ryan, for his BBSRC "Seeding Funding Award", £44,100.

Supervised by Dr. Fiona Tulloch, visiting scholars Dr. Jessie Wu and Ms. Lisa Lo from the Graduate Institute of Animal Vaccine Research, National Pingtung University of Science & Technology, Taiwan, have expressed native and secreted (C-terminally truncated, PK-epitope tagged) forms of the glycoprotein (G protein) of Bovine Ephemeral Fever Virus (BEFV). Prof. Rick Randall has shown the expressed, secreted, V5-tagged G protein can be purified from the cell media using Solid Matrix Antigen Antibody (SMAA) complexes formed using the anti-PK monoclonal antibody. These data lead us to propose extending this approach to see if we could make polyvalent vaccines by using the same expression strategy for the Bovine Viral Diarrheal Virus (BVDV) E2 glycoprotein. This approach will lead to the production of both mono-specific diagnostic reagents and, hopefully, polyvalent vaccines targeted against bovine and porcine virus pathogens circulating in S.E. Asia.


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Postgraduate Research Students Welcome Drinks Reception

Friday, 6 October, 4.30 pm
Bell Pettigrew Museum
The reception follows a series of induction talks to the students from Professor Thomas Meagher (DoPG), Dr Gerald Prescott (DoT), Dr Sascha Hooker (representing the School Equalities and Diversity Committee and members of BioNet.
All supervisors are invited to come along and meet with the new students.

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Explorathon 2017 - You're invited!

Explorathon is returning to St Andrews on Friday 29th September and you're invited!

Explorathon is an extravaganza of discovery, debate and entertainment taking place on European Researchers' Night. Researchers from the across the Arts, Humanities and Sciences are putting on a spectacular evening of activities, open to all. Join us as we explore climate change, dig up archaeology, go on a torchlight tour of the museum and much more. Activities for the general public start from 5pm and they are all free. More detail about what's happening can be found here:

School of Biology researchers are well represented in the diverse shows and research fair that Explorathon offers. For example, SMRU will test your ability to identifying individual whales, dolphins and seals using photographs and natural markings, and the ‘How We Think’ panel will explore intelligence and problem solving across the animal kingdom and beyond. View the full program for more (scroll down).

Please share this event with colleagues, pupils, friends and neighbours.


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Dolphins and Seals in the Tay Estuary

Thursday 28th September, 7:30 - 9:00pm

Come along to learn more about these marine mammals living right on your doorstep and the current research being conducted. All are welcome at this free talk followed by Q&A at Dundee University, Dalhousie Building, Lecture Theatre 4.

Book your free ticket on the website, choosing ‘Dolphins and seals in the Tay estuary


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Fun Places Fife

A Fun Palace is a free, local event using arts and science to celebrate each unique community and the skills, talents and interests of those who live there.

Fun Palaces in Scotland over the last few years have included a science and crafting lab in a Leith shopping centre; an artist and Edinburgh universities collaboration "Curiosity Forest" art installation; and tattoo art, pin-hole camera & felt-making workshops in Fife Libraries.

This year Fife Libraries are looking for researchers interested in being involved.

Email for more information or to get involved.


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School Manager Biology drop-in: SOI and HMB

SOI: Monday morning, 25th September, from 8.30am to 12.30pm in the small meeting room (2.26) and at coffee.

HMB: Thursday afternoon, 28th September, from 2.00pm to 5.00pm, in Dyers Brae seminar room 1.

All staff and students are welcome and invited to stop by with questions, complaints or for just a chat. Donna

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The Elizabeth Garrett Mentoring Programme

The programme has been created for women in senior levels of academia and aims to support women in, or aspiring to, academic leadership roles and to develop leadership capability.

Launch Event: Tuesday 10 Ocotber, 4:00 - 5:00pm Lower College Hall
For further guidnace click here.
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Public Lecture: Professor Dame Linda Partridge

Friday 10th November, Byre Theatre

Public Lecture: Professor Dame Linda Partridge

Rescheduled talk for the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science.  The School of Biology will host a public lecture on 10th November, highlighting the work of an eminent biologist and celebrating some of the outstanding science being done by women.

This year we welcome Professor Dame Linda Partridge, co-founder of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing and member of the Institute of Healthy Ageing at University College London to speak about ‘Ageing Healthily’. Professor Partridge’s work on the biology of ageing will be fascinating to a wide audience and we welcome researchers, students and members of the public alike (of any gender).

The talk will be held at the Byre Theatre at 1pm on Friday 10th November.  Tickets are free and available from the admin staff in the Harold Mitchell/Dyers Brae (Lianne Baker/Katrina Falkenberg), SOI (Jane Williamson) and BMS (Andy Cole), or at the Byre Box Office.

Professor Partridge holds a long list of honours, and we are very excited to be able to welcome such an outstanding scientist to St Andrews to speak about her work. She will be the first in what will hopefully become an annual event, with Professor Eleanor Riley scheduled to give the 2018 lecture. For more information, see Equality and Diversity News.

Click here for the Flyer


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Introduction to Unix

The St Andrews Bioinformatics Unit are running the next Introduction to Unix full-day training course in St Andrews at the BWD:4 – Butts Wynd Small Computer Classroom from 9am to 5pm on Tues 24 October 2017

This is a highly practical course for beginners and aims to give participants experience of using the Unix command-line to solve some common biological data-handling problems. At the end of the course, they will understand how to connect, navigate, access, view and organise their data in an efficient manner using the command-line.

The instructors shall be Joseph Ward and Ramon Fallon of the St Andrews Bioinformatics Unit and is free of charge for University of St Andrews students and staff. Lunch will be provided. 

The programme for this course will be available closer to the date and you may now register by filling out the following form.

Hope to see you there!


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University Professional/Personal Development: Sessions that might be of interest

The following are just two of the many sessions and workshops CAPOD is offering over the next few weeks. If you want to see other options, CAPOD's full listing is on the university's Personal Development Management System (PDMS) web site.

·Effective Lecturing

Wednesday 27 September 2017
14.30 to 17.00, C5 Seminar Room, Bute Building

Delivered by experienced academic staff from the School of History and the School of Geography and Sustainable Development, this interactive workshop provides an excellent introduction to lecturing and some key tips and techniques which can be used to lecture effectively.

If you are unable to attend on this date, another session will be held on Wednesday 14 February 2018

·Essential Cycling

Thursday 28 September 2017
11.30 to 14.00, Agnes Blackadder Hall, North Haugh

Are you looking for a bit of help to get back in the saddle? Cycling Scotland’s ‘Essential Cycling Skills’ course aims to give those new, or returning, to the saddle the necessary skills to negotiate on-road journeys.

This is a practical course for those who want to develop their confidence on a bicycle. It provides you with the necessary skills to negotiate on road journeys. The course covers the following: bike handling, cycling with confidence on the road and roadside repairs. 

Bring your own bike, or If you need to borrow one, please book one week in advance by emailing Alistair Macleod:

·Managing Research Information: Pure, hands-on training

Thursday 28 September 2017
10.30 to 12.30, Butts Wynd Small PC Classroom, Butts Wynd

This computer room based workshop will learners with a hands-on approach to using the Pure system, from adding a publication to recording external engagement and building a profile.  

Areas covered in the session:

  • Adding publications - shortcuts and tricks to make entry easier
  • Recording your activities - what to log and where
  • Storing impact activity
  • Tailoring your Research Portal profile - control what an external viewer sees first
  • Building a CV

Resilience in the face of change - part 1

Thursday 28 September 2017
14.00 to 17.00, C5 Seminar Room, Bute Building

This session will introduce staff to the concept of resilience in the workplace, and give you the opportunity to think about how you build resilience to cope with the constant change of modern working life.

If you are unable to attend this date, additional sessions will be held on: Tuesday 24 October 2017, Friday 26 January 2018, Friday 23 March 2018


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University Teaching Development Fund Semester One - Call for Applications

Applications are now invited for the semester one call of the Teaching Development Fund.

In the past, projects have focussed on work which has generally had a positive impact on learning and teaching and these are still warmly welcomed. However, the Proctor would also encourage any projects which relate to the following three topics which are currently of particular interest in the University.

  • Taught Postgraduate Provision: enhancements to taught postgraduate teaching and the student experience.
  • Moodle: to develop creative and innovative learning experiences for students, which may have cross-School applications, using Moodle and associated technologies, and to develop online activities using Moodle and associated technologies which support students as independent learners (these may be aligned with Independent Learning Week).
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS): to build on the current partnership with the RCS and identify ways in which this can be extended to include undergraduate and taught postgraduate provision.

Please note that the Teaching Development Fund can support substantial projects, but we are also really keen to see small projects. Perhaps for example, there is already an ongoing project in your School that requires some more funding to take to the next level.  This could also be a good opportunity to get students to collaborate with staff in your School (and also other Units and Schools).

The deadline for applications is Friday 27 October 2017.

Further information can be found on the attached poster and also on the Learning and Teaching Webpage.

Please circulate this email and poster within your School or Unit as appropriate.

The Proctor’s Office contact for the Teaching Development Fund is Katja Schubert who can be contacted via the <deansoffice> email account or on extension 3230.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Katja in the first instance.


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A Reminder for all staff submitting grant applications: Checklist and Equipment

Applying for grants can be a stressful time, and sometimes some simple and avoidable mistakes can make a big difference to whether a grant will be funded. It is also essential that we factor in ALL costs associated with our grants, and these can also sometimes be left out of applications.

The most recent 2017 version of the school's grant check-list is in the Research section of Biointernal, in the Research, Research Committee forms, Biology Policies and Regulations and ‘Grant Application Guides’ folders. This check-list is to help you and also the Research Committee to make sure that everything requested in your application is properly funded. Please note that this checklist is updated as needed and identifies the last date it was changed, so please do NOT use copies you have saved from previous years. The current version is "July 2017".

This checklist must be filled in as part of the application process by all staff regardless of seniority, and sent to the Director of Research ( and Head of School ( in order that we can keep a record.

Also, a reminder that if you request equipment on a grant, Research Council policy on all grant applications and fellowships, unless otherwise stated, is to only fund 50% of equipment costs for items between £10k and £138k. The full school and university policy on co-funding equipment is also posted in the Research section of Biointernal in the Research Committee forms and Biology Policies and Regulations folders. Please be sure you read the policy if you plan to request equipment costing £10k or more, as neither the school nor the university can automatically cover the 50% funding shortfall.

You will see that there are two alternative possibilities for covering this gap, and these models depend on whether the equipment is being used for only a single project or can be used by multiple research projects.

If you need more information on these or any other research issues, just drop and email to

This is an information update for anyone interested in supervising a student for the new Masters by research programme.

  1. Supervisors will be able to access up to £1,000 from the Provost for research support. An application is made to the Provost through a one-page request outlining the project, its objectives and the reason the support is required.
  2. The School will contribute up to an additional £1,000 from the Research Committee budget. Applications will be made on the standard-but-updated Research Committee application form, available in biointernal, accessible from the bottom of the Biology home page. As with all requests to the Research Committee, this will be a means tested process.
  • Open ERC Calls

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Can you give this wee boy a home?

Mazzy is a lovely boy--he was rescued from Hungary and brought over to Cats Protection a few years ago. He's had a tough time and if anyone deserves a good home, it's this boy. Mazzy was adopted by the current owner this past Spring, and has become so comfortable in his new home that he plays with his owner and ''helps" with the housework! Unfortunately, with his becoming comfortable has come a strong protectiveness towards his owner, and he has started attacking the other cats in her household. The owner and Cats Protection have been working for the last several months to find ways of deflecting his frustration with other animals, but have now come to the conclusion that Mazzy would be happiest in a home where he is the only cat.

He is a very young 11 years old, who acts like a kitten, has lots of energy and who would love a garden to go out and sun bathe in once he's settled. He is nervous of people at first, and prefers people to come to his level to earn his trust, but as the last few months have shown, once his trust is earned he is a friendly and playful companion.

If you might be interested in adopting Mazzy, know someone who might be, or would like more information, please get in touch with Donna at And thanks from both the owner and from Mazzy.





Current vacancies tagged for 'School of Biology' from the University Vacancies Feed are listed below:


Seminars and Events (24/09/17 to 25/10/17)

The Lake Victoria Fisheries Research Project
David Maclennan (Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen) Bute: LTD, 1:00 PM, 28 Sep 2017

Discard management and ecosystem-based fisheries management
Dave Reid (Marine Institute, Ireland) Bute: LTD, 1:00 PM, 05 Oct 2017

Penguins in an ecological trap
Richard Sherley (University of Exeter) Bute: LTD, 1:00 PM, 12 Oct 2017
School of Biology University of St Andrews

Contacting the newsletter editor:
Do you have any information that you would like people in the School to know about in the Friday Newsletter? Or do you have any news items which should be published to the School of Biology web site for public information? Items could be about events, new appointments, publications, grants, research news, or any other interesting work-related stories. Please send items to indicating if you think they should be published to the Newsletter, and/or as news items to the School of Biology public web site. The deadline for the Newsletter is Friday morning of the current week.

The current Newsletter also appears on a public web page, and earlier posts may be reviewed online as a monthly digest.

Head of School: Professor Malcolm White
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