ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES - Monash University

 
ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES - Monash University
ACADEMIC
PROSPECTUS
2018
MONASH
BIOLOGICAL
SCIENCES
ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES - Monash University
THE SCHOOL HAS A GLOBAL NETWORK OF COLLABORATORS
THAT INCLUDES THE UNIVERSITY SECTOR, NOT-FOR-PROFIT
ORGANIZATIONS, INDUSTRY AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES.
OUR NETWORK IS CONSTANTLY EXPANDING AND WE WELCOME
CONTACT FROM ANYONE WHO WOULD BE INTERESTED IN
WORKING WITH US
ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES - Monash University
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Message from the Head of School                               4    Dr Rohan Clarke                                                    14
                                                                   Seabird ecology and oil spill response
Associate Professor Sureshkumar Balasubramanian 5                  Unmanned aerial vehicles in ecological research
Thermal responses in plants                                        Threatened species recovery
Triplet expansions and transcriptional down regulation
Splicing code                                                      Dr Tim Connallon                                                   15
                                                                   Role of genetic constraints in evolution
Dr Jeremy Barr                                                6    Genetic transmission mode and evolutionary dynamics
Bacteriophage adherence to mucus (BAM)                             Evolutionary dynamics in species with separate sexes
Bacteriophage transcytosis
Phage therapy                                                      Dr Carly Cook                                                      16
                                                                   Decision triggers for proactive management
Professor John Bowman                                         7    Integrating evolutionary theory into species recovery plans
Evolution of land plants                                           How large do protected areas need to be?
Development of seed plant leaves
Evolution of life cycles                                           Associate Professor Damian Dowling                                 17
                                                                   Mitochondria, maternal inheritance and male health
Dr Rowan Brookes                                              8    Mitochondrial-nuclear interactions
Science education                                                  Understanding Ageing
Employability skills
Interdisciplinary education                                        Associate Professor Alistair Evans                                 18
                                                                   Evolution, function and development of mammal teeth
Associate Professor Rob Bryson-Richardson                     9    Control of serial structure development in animals
Neuromuscular disease                                              Cyberanatomy of Australian mammals
Chaperones as causes and modifiers of neuromuscular disease
Sarcomeric structure and function                                  Professor Ros Gleadow                                              19
                                                                   Regulation of cyanide deployment in tropical crops
Associate Professor Martin Burd                               10   Wild crop relatives as a source of genomic diversity and stress tolerance
Why did heterospory evolve?                                        Growth/defence trade-offs and chemical ecology
The evolution of floral color
The economics of leaf-cutting ant societies                        Dr Chris Greening                                                  20
                                                                   Microbial life in extreme environments
Dr Richard Burke                                              11   Energetics of human pathogens
Intracellular chloride transport in cell growth, survival          Role of microorganisms in greenhouse gas cycling
Animal models of copper transport diseases
Systemic control of zinc distribution in animals                   Dr Matt Hall                                                       21
                                                                   Sex differences and the evolution of infectious disease
Associate Professor David Chapple                             12   Invasion biology and host-pathogen interactions
Evolutionary ecology of squamate reptiles                          The consequences of global change
Macroecology of lizards
Conservation of global lizard biodiversity                         Dr Susie Ho                                                        22
                                                                   Interdisciplinary graduate education
Professor Steven Chown                                        13   Employability and sustainability
Antarctica in a global setting
Planetary well-being                                               Dr Kay Hodgins                                                     23
How life works                                                     The genomics of climate adaptation
                                                                   Adaptation to human-induced environmental change

                                                                        ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES                  1
ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES - Monash University
THE SCHOOL OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES HAS RESEARCH
     STRENGTHS IN FOUR BROAD DISCIPLINE AREAS:

         ECOLOGY AND ECOSYSTEMS                             EVOLUTION IN A CHANGING WORLD

         FORM AND FUNCTION OF LIFE                          GENETICS, GENOMICS AND HEALTH

2   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES - Monash University
TABLE OF CONTENTS (CONTINUED)
Dr Travis Johnson                                                   24   Associate Professor Anne Peters                                34
How do perforin-like proteins control cellular signalling pathways?      Effects of climate throughout the life cycle
Growth factor control in blood cell development                          Trade-offs between investment in sex or self-preservation
Humanising fly genes to study disease                                    Function and honesty of sexual ornaments

Dr Francine Marques                                                25    Dr Matt Piper                                                   35
Gut microbiota and their metabolites                                     Using genomics to design dietary amino acid ratios for optimal health
MicroRNAs in hypertension                                                How essential are essential amino acids?
Lipocalin-2 and the origins of heart failure                             nvestigating the molecular mechanisms by which limiting nutrients
                                                                         are traded off between life history traits
Professor Dustin Marshall                                      26
Eco-evolutionary consequences of evolutionary shifts in body size        Associate Professor Richard Reina                              36
Causes and consequences of nongenetic parental effects                   Sea turtle reproduction and conservation
Energy budgets in individuals, populations and communities               Interactions between sharks and commercial fisheries
                                                                         Penguin ecology and marine ecosystem state
Dr Mike McDonald                                                   27
Evolution with horizontal gene transfer (HGT)                            Associate Professor Carla Sgro                                 37
Co-evolution of bacteria and yeast                                       Genetic basis of adaptation to climate change
                                                                         Evolutionary enlightened conservation
Dr Matt McGee                                                28
Understanding vertebrate biodiversity via whole genome sequencing        Professor Paul Sunnucks                                        38
Phylogenomics of fishes                                                  Genetic rescue of Australian wildlife
Feeding kinematics                                                       Climate adaptation in Eastern Yellow Robins

Professor Melodie McGeoch                                          29    Professor Craig White                                          39
Improved methods for estimating biodiversity                             The evolution of biological scaling
Advancing the evidence-base for dealing with invasion                    The evolution of breathing patterns
Understanding biodiversity responses to global change                    The evolution of energy balance

Dr Christen Mirth                                                  30    Associate Professor Bob Wong                              40
Environmental regulation of body size and shape                          Sexual selection and parental care
How the nutritional composition of the diet alters traits                Behavioural responses to human-induced environmental change
Genetic variation in plasticity                                          Behavioural ecotoxicology

Dr Keyne Monro                                                     31
Evolutionary consequences of environmental change
Phenotypic plasticity
Life history evolution

Dr Joslin Moore                                                    32
Resource allocation for conservation management
Predicting landscape-scale wind dispersal
Grassland ecology and conservation

Professor Moira O’Bryan                                            33
The importance of microtubule in male germ development
The genetic causes of human male infertility
Novel mechanisms of protein transport

                                                                              ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES              3
ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES - Monash University
MESSAGE FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL
    THE SCHOOL OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES HAS RESEARCH STRENGTHS IN FOUR BROAD
    DISCIPLINE AREAS:
    ECOLOGY AND ECOSYSTEMS;
    EVOLUTION IN A CHANGING WORLD;
    FORM AND FUNCTION OF LIFE; AND
    GENETICS, GENOMICS, AND HEALTH.
    Research within, and across, these areas addresses key problems in biology that encompass:
    molecular and cellular genetics; evolutionary genetics of life histories, disease causality, adaptation
    to environmental change and disease resistance; community ecology and ecosystem functioning;
    the impacts on biodiversity, and strategies to mitigate major environmental challenges. Simplistically,
    we are interested in all forms of life, the interactions between the environment and genetics / genomics
    and strategies to improve human and environmental health.

    This research is undertaken in freshwater, marine, and terrestrial environments, from the tropics to
    the Antarctic, and in state-of-the-art laboratory settings. Investigations span a range of organisms,
    from unicellular algae and bacteria to plants, invertebrates and vertebrates including humans. Members
    of the School contribute to the work of several international conventions and agreements, and play
    leading roles in professional societies spanning evolution, ecology, developmental biology, the
    environment, and human health.

    The School has a global network of collaborators that includes the university sector, not-for-profit
    organizations, industry and government agencies. Our network is constantly expanding and we
    welcome contact from anyone who would be interested in working with us.

    MOIRA K. O’BRYAN
    Professor and Head

4    ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES - Monash University
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR SURESHKUMAR BALASUBRAMANIAN
PHENOTYPES TO GENES AND MECHANISMS RESEARCH GROUP
Email: sureshkumar.balasubramanian@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                              RESEARCH AREAS
My lab aims to understand how plants sense and respond      Thermal responses in plants
to changes in temperature and how they adapt to varied
environmental conditions at the molecular and mechanistic   My group is interested to understand how plants sense
level.                                                      and respond to changes in ambient temperatures. Even
                                                            minor changes in temperature can affect plant growth and
AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                          development and we know very little about the underlying
                                                            mechanisms for this response. We use Arabidopsis to address
Molecular biology, genetics and genomics                    this question.
QTL analysis, gene cloning and characterisation             Triplet expansions and transcriptional down regulation
Arabidopsis genetics and natural variation
                                                            Triplet expansions in introns can cause transcriptional down
Omics approaches                                            regulation and lead to diseases such as Friedreich’s ataxia,
                                                            a debilitating disease with no treatment options. We use
Interdisciplinary computational approaches                  Arabidopsis as a model to understand how repeat expansions
                                                            can cause transcriptional down regulation at the molecular level.

                                                            Splicing code

                                                            Splicing is a critical process and majority of the eukaryotic
                                                            genes undergo alternative splicing. It is unclear as to how
                                                            the specificity of splicing is achieved. We use Marchantia
                                                            polymorpha, due to its reduced complexity to understand
                                                            and develop the splicing code that determines the specificity
                                                            of splicing.

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ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES - Monash University
DR JEREMY BARR
     BACTERIOPHAGE BIOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
     Email: jeremy.barr@monash.edu

     RESEARCH FOCUS                                                   RESEARCH AREAS
     The Barr lab studies bacteriophage–viruses that infect           Bacteriophage adherence to mucus (BAM)
     bacteria– and the tri-partite symbioses formed between
     bacteriophage, their bacterial hosts and eukaryotic cells        The bacteriophage adherence to mucus (BAM) model provides
     and surfaces. Bacteriophages control bacterial populations,      a ubiquitous, but non-host derived, immunity mediated by
     prevent infection, and have important roles in the human body.   phages that is applicable to all mucosal surfaces. The BAM
                                                                      model protects mucosal epithelium from bacterial infection
                                                                      and disease via phage-mediated affects.
     AREAS OF EXPERTISE
     Phage biology                                                    Bacteriophage transcytosis

     Microfluidics                                                    Bacteriophage cannot infect eukaryotic cells in the same way
                                                                      they infect their bacterial host cells. We demonstrate that
     Mucosal surfaces                                                 phages are endocytosed and transported across epithelial
                                                                      cell layers. Cell biology experiments reveal novel mechanism
     Phage-eukaryote symbioses                                        of phage-eukaryote interactions.

                                                                      Phage therapy

                                                                      Antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections are one of the greatest
                                                                      biological threats of the coming century. Here we use phages
                                                                      to treat bacterial infections that are completely resistant to
                                                                      all antibiotics and investigate the genetic, molecular and
                                                                      biochemical changes associated with these treatments.

6   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES - Monash University
PROFESSOR JOHN BOWMAN
LAND PLANT RESEARCH GROUP
Email: john.bowman@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                                  RESEARCH AREAS
The origin of a land flora profoundly altered earth’s geology   Evolution of land plants
and the evolution of life. We utilize genetic and genomics
approaches to understand the evolution and development          We use comparative genomics and genetics to ascertain the
of land plants using both angiosperm (Arabidopsis) and          function and evolution of genes and genetic networks across
liverwort (Marchantia) model systems.                           land plant diversity. We utilize the flowering plant Arabidopsis
                                                                thaliana and the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha as model
                                                                systems as each is genetically tractable.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Land plant development                                          Development of seed plant leaves

Land plant evolution                                            Seed plants leaves evolved from an ancestral shoot system
                                                                and therefore likely retain genetic programs that have been
Leaf development                                                modified from their original role in directing shoot development.
                                                                We are characterizing the genetic networks that direct leaf
Comparative genomics                                            lamina development and elaboration.
Eukaryotic life cycles                                          Evolution of life cycles

                                                                The eukaryotic life cycle alternates between haploid and
                                                                diploid stages, punctuated by gamete fusion and meiosis.
                                                                The transition to a diploid gene expression regime is regulated
                                                                in a similar manner across eukaryotes and we are exploring
                                                                how this system was co-opted to pattern development in the
                                                                land plant diploid stage.

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ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES - Monash University
DR ROWAN BROOKES
     SCIENCE EDUCATION RESEARCH GROUP
     Email: rowan.brookes@monash.edu

     RESEARCH FOCUS                                               RESEARCH AREAS
     We are an interdisciplinary research group broadly focused   Science education
     on education for social change. Our areas of interest span
     across gender in science education and the development       We partner on research projects to enhance science
     of employability skills in science graduates through to      education at universities. Current projects include exploring
     experiential and design-orientated educational practices.    the cost and value of introducing new pedagogical approaches
                                                                  and examining the gendered experience of science students.
     AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                           Employability skills
     Education for Social Change
                                                                  We are interested in questions related to the development
     Science Education                                            of employability skills through the undergraduate science
                                                                  curriculum. Our questions focus on the development of
     Employability Skills                                         leadership and teamwork skills to support work and life ready
                                                                  science graduates.
     Interdisciplinary Education
                                                                  Interdisciplinary education

                                                                  We have an interdisciplinary collaboration with the Monash
                                                                  Design Department and the WonderLab research group
                                                                  focused on a design-led exploration of education for social
                                                                  change. Current projects explore themes of embodiment and
                                                                  social intelligence in education.

8   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ROB BRYSON-RICHARDSON
NEUROMUSCULAR DISEASE RESEARCH GROUP
Email: robert.bryson-richardson@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                                   RESEARCH AREAS
The Bryson-Richardson lab focuses on neuromuscular               Neuromuscular disease
disease, spanning the spectrum from identification of new
disease genes, to determination of the underlying biological     We are interested in studying the causes of muscle weakness
mechanism, and subsequently evaluation of potential therapies.   in inherited muscle disease. We then apply the knowledge we
                                                                 learn towards the identification of potential therapies. We currently
                                                                 investigate a wide range of myopathies and neuropathies with
AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                               a particular interest in nemaline and myofibrillar myopathies.
Zebrafish
                                                                 Chaperones as causes and modifiers of neuromuscular
Genome editing                                                   disease

Microscopy                                                       We are investigating neuromuscular diseases resulting from
                                                                 mutation of chaperone proteins. We are also interested in
Drug screening                                                   the role of chaperones in protecting against misfolded and
                                                                 damaged protein and their potential to modify disease severity.
Video tracking
                                                                 Sarcomeric structure and function

                                                                 We are interested in how muscle structure is established and
                                                                 maintained. In particular the M-line and Z-disk, the sites of thick
                                                                 and thin filaments attachment respectively.

                                                                      ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES              9
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR MARTIN BURD
      EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
      Email: martin.burd@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                                   RESEARCH AREAS
      Evolutionary ecology is the study of the ecological context      Why did heterospory evolve?
      of adaptations and innovations in the history of life. The
      Evolutionary Ecology Lab studies reproductive evolution in       Heterospory is the equivalent in land plants of the male-female
      land plants, leaf function in eucalypts, and collective social   distinction present in the gametes of eukaryotes. It led to
      behaviours in ant colonies.                                      the evolution of the earth’s current dominant seed-plant
                                                                       vegetation, but there are no good explanations for why it
                                                                       evolved. With ARC support, we are making important new
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                               insights into the origin and function of heterospory.
      Mathematical optimization modelling of fitness-related traits
                                                                       The evolution of floral colour
      Pollination ecology and plant-pollinator interactions
                                                                       Flowers advertise to their animal pollinators. This communication
      Phylogenetic comparative analysis                                must be understood in the context of the perceptual abilities
                                                                       of the pollinators. We collaborate with vision scientists and
      Biogeographic analysis of fitness-related traits                 modellers at RMIT University and the Monash IT Faculty to
                                                                       investigate how this complex interaction has produced the
      Self-organized social behaviour in ants
                                                                       floral colours of the angiosperms.

                                                                       The economics of leaf-cutting ant societies

                                                                       Leaf-cutting ant colonies have the natural societies most
                                                                       similar to human cities: roads, factories, and jobs that sustain
                                                                       millions of inhabitants in a single place. Over three decades,
                                                                       we have studied how this system works and the cost/benefit
                                                                       basis of resource flows in their colony economies.

10   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
DR RICHARD BURKE
ION TRANSPORT AND METABOLISM RESEARCH GROUP
Email: richard.burke@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                                  RESEARCH AREAS
To determine the regulation and biological roles of inorganic   Intracellular chloride transport in cell growth, survival
micronutrients such as zinc, copper, and chloride in animal
health and development.                                         Loss of endolysosomal chloride transport via the voltage-gated
                                                                Chloride Channel (ClC) proteins results in diseases as diverse
                                                                as kidney failure, neurodegeneration and fragile bones. Using
AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                              mutations generated in Drosophila ClC proteins, we are
Metal ion transport and homeostasis                             determining the role of intracellular chloride transport in the
                                                                growth and survival of epithelial cells.
Animal models of neurodegeneration
                                                                Animal models of copper transport diseases
Drosophila developmental and molecular genetics
                                                                Mutations in the human ATP7A and ATP7B copper export genes
Drosophila male germline development                            result in a variety of disorders including copper deficiency,
                                                                copper toxicity and motor neurone diseases. We are modelling
                                                                the effects of several of these pathogenic mutations in Drosophila
                                                                and screening for drugs able to enhance the activity of mutant
                                                                ATP7 proteins.

                                                                Systemic control of zinc distribution in animals

                                                                Zinc is an essential nutrient required as a catalytic or structural
                                                                cofactor for thousands of proteins. We are investigating how
                                                                neuropeptide signals emanating from the animal gut may be
                                                                regulating systemic responses to dietary zinc excess or deficiency.

                                                                    ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES             11
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DAVID CHAPPLE
      EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY OF ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE RESEARCH GROUP
      Email: david.chapple@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                                   RESEARCH AREAS
      I examine the evolutionary ecology of environmental change.      Evolutionary ecology of squamate reptiles
      I use a range of approaches to examine the response of animals
      to both historical and contemporary (i.e. human-induced)         I use the delicate skink (Lampropholis delicata) as a model
      environmental change. I investigate species that expand their    system for examining a range of key questions and hypotheses
      ranges and those that decline their ranges.                      in behavioural and evolutionary ecology. The topics span life
                                                                       history, invasion ecology, morphological evolution, reproduction,
                                                                       the maintenance of genetic variation.
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE
      Evolutionary and behavioural ecology                             Macroecology of lizards

      Conservation biology                                             I use a comparative database of the distribution, life history,
                                                                       ecology, and morphology of the world’s lizard fauna to
      Invasive species and biosecurity                                 address a range of key evolutionary, biogeographic and
                                                                       macroecological hypotheses.
      Phylogenetics and biogeography
                                                                       Conservation of global lizard biodiversity
      Lizards
                                                                       I am working with the International Union for Conservation
                                                                       of Nature (IUCN) to assess the conservation status of the
                                                                       world’s lizard fauna. This knowledge is used to conduct
                                                                       comparative analyses to identify the drivers of extinction risk,
                                                                       conservation hotspots, and prioritise conservation efforts.

12   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
PROFESSOR STEVEN CHOWN
THE CHOWN LAB
Email: steven.chown@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                                  RESEARCH AREAS
Our research is concerned with the processes and                Antarctica in a global setting
mechanisms underlying variation in the diversity of life
through space and time, and the applied value of this           Antarctica and the Southern Ocean encompass 30% of the
understanding for societal benefit. We work in conservation,    planet’s surface. We are providing foundational knowledge
agricultural and urban settings in Australia, Southeast Asia,   about Antarctic biodiversity and its global significance,
Antarctica, and Africa. My experience includes leadership       and for policies to mitigate and manage the impacts of
in University, NGO and Government settings.                     environmental change.

                                                                Planetary well-being
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
                                                                Most of us now live in cities. Even more of us will do so in the
Organizational Leadership
                                                                future. How we achieve sustainability both for ourselves and
Science and Sustainability Policy                               for the diversity that is the hallmark of this planet is a major
                                                                focus of our research. Revitalising Informal Settlements and
Basic and Applied Ecology                                       their Environments is a core, interdisciplinary project.

Physiological Ecology                                           How life works

Interdisciplinarity                                             We have a fundamental interest in how life works – from the
                                                                way in which animals and plants adapt to their environments,
                                                                to the outcomes of their interactions with each other and their
                                                                environments. Some of this work is an exploration of life’s
                                                                fundamental beauty. Some of it has application in conservation,
                                                                engineering and medicine.

                                                                    ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES          13
DR ROHAN CLARKE
      ORNITHOLOGY AND CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT RESEARCH GROUP
      Email: rohan.clarke@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                                 RESEARCH AREAS
      We work to secure biodiversity, especially as it relates to    Seabird ecology and oil spill response
      restoration of natural systems and recovery of threatened
      species. We have a vertebrate ecology focus, with particular   We work with industry to better understand seabird ecology,
      expertise in avian systems.                                    gather baseline population data and guide response
                                                                     monitoring in the event of an oil spill. We have particular
                                                                     expertise in Australian settings with current projects in both
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                             tropical and temperate marine waters.
      Avian ecology
                                                                     Unmanned aerial vehicles in ecological research
      Vertebrate conservation biology
                                                                     Across the physical sciences UAVs have the potential to act
      Seabirds and oil spill monitoring and response                 as disruptive tech. From enhanced spatial sensing of most
                                                                     environmental attributes, significant gains in precision and
      Unmanned aerial vehicles in ecological research                accuracy for monitoring, through to improved logistics and
                                                                     field safety UAVs will change the field. We work with these
                                                                     tools to improve outcomes in ecological research.

                                                                     Threatened species recovery

                                                                     We work with conservation partners to improve the conservation
                                                                     management of threatened species. A key goal is to provide
                                                                     solutions for onground managers through applied research.
                                                                     We have particular expertise with seabirds and woodland birds.

14   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
DR TIM CONNALLON
BIODIVERSITY RESEARCH GROUP
Email: tim.connallon@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                            RESEARCH AREAS
Mathematical models of genetic variation and evolution.   Role of genetic constraints in evolution

                                                          Potential for adaptive evolution depends on both the pattern
AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                        of natural selection on traits, and the availability of genetic
Mathematical modelling                                    variation for trait combinations that are favoured by selection.
                                                          Genetic constraints arise when genetic variation is lacking,
Evolutionary theory                                       and the existence of such constraints can have important
                                                          implications for evolution and extinction.
Population genetics
                                                          Genetic transmission mode and evolutionary dynamics
Quantitative genetics
                                                          Different regions of a genome have different modes of genetic
Genome evolution
                                                          transmission, and these transmission differences can affect
                                                          evolutionary dynamics. I am particularly interested in how
                                                          transmission differences between sex chromosomes, autosomes,
                                                          and mitochondria leads to distinct patterns of genetic diversity
                                                          and evolutionary divergence.

                                                          Evolutionary dynamics in species with separate sexes

                                                          Genetic variation can have different effects on the traits
                                                          expressed by females and males. This established fact has
                                                          implications for the evolution of sex differences, the genetic
                                                          architecture of female and male phenotypes, and the evolutionary
                                                          and ecological dynamics of species with distinct sexes.

                                                              ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES          15
DR CARLY COOK
      CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT RESEARCH GROUP
      Email: carly.cook@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                                 RESEARCH AREAS
      The Cook Lab is particularly interested in evidence-based      Decision triggers for proactive management
      decision making, both understanding barriers to the use of
      evidence and developing decision support tools to facilitate   How do managers know when to intervene in system they are
      the evidence-based decisions.                                  managing? This project focuses on how to use monitoring
                                                                     data to identify thresholds that can trigger management action
                                                                     when a system moves outside of an acceptable state. This
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                             project blends an understanding of ecology and conservation
      Protected areas                                                with strong quantitative skills.

      Private land conservation                                      Integrating evolutionary theory into species recovery plans

      Evaluation                                                     Despite the strong relevance of evolutionary theory to
                                                                     threatened species management decisions, these concepts
      Social research methods                                        are rarely used to inform management. This project will
                                                                     investigate the degree to which evolutionary concepts are
      Evidence synthesis
                                                                     being considered within threatened species recovery plans
                                                                     and what predicts the levels of adoption.

                                                                     How large do protected areas need to be?

                                                                     Progress in building protected areas is judged according to
                                                                     the total area protected and the number of species they contain.
                                                                     This project will consider whether these areas are likely to
                                                                     enable the species they contain to persist there over time.
                                                                     Skills in spatial analysis will be an advantage in this project.

16   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DAMIAN DOWLING
THE EXPERIMENTAL EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
Email: damian.dowling@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                                  RESEARCH AREAS
Damian Dowling’s research group uses evolutionary               Mitochondria, maternal inheritance and male health
approaches to resolve some of the biggest puzzles in life.
Puzzles such as why do males and females evolve striking        Maternal inheritance of mitochondria means natural selection
differences in physiology and longevity, and what role do the   can only shape the mitochondrial DNA through females
mitochondria play in contributing to these sex differences.     (males are an evolutionary dead-end for the mtDNA). This
                                                                enables mutations to accumulate in mitochondrial genes
                                                                that harm males, but leave females unscathed. We study the
AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                              evolution of these mutations, and their effects on male health.
Evolutionary biology
                                                                Mitochondrial-nuclear interactions
Mitochondrial evolution and contribution to health
                                                                Life’s most important function -- energy production -- is
Mitochondrial-nuclear interactions                              encoded by genes that span two obligate genomes; nuclear
                                                                and mitochondrial. Thus, mito-nuclear interactions are predicted
Sex differences and sexual conflict                             to play a key role in mediating the evolution of eukaryote life.
                                                                We study the contribution of mito-nuclear dysfunction to
Evolution of ageing
                                                                infertility, early ageing, and obesity.

                                                                Understanding Ageing

                                                                One of life’s enduring puzzles is understanding why we grow
                                                                old, and furthermore why males generally live shorter lives
                                                                than females. We use a combination of evolutionary theory,
                                                                and genetic and ecological techniques, to help understand
                                                                the evolutionary processes that have led to female-biases
                                                                in longevity.

                                                                    ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES          17
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ALISTAIR EVANS
      EVOMORPH RESEARCH GROUP
      Email: alistair.evans@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                                 RESEARCH AREAS
      The Evans EvoMorph Lab explores the many aspects of            Evolution, function and development of mammal teeth
      biology that influence the shape or morphology of animals -
      evolution, development and function. We gain fresh insights    Teeth are the main tool used by mammals to catch, kill and
      into the biology of living and extinct animals by looking at   process food. We examine how they develop in the embryo,
      embryology, biomechanics and behaviour.                        how they work through biomechanics, and how they evolve
                                                                     by looking at fossils. Our findings enable us to make predictions
                                                                     about their development and evolution.
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE
      3D imaging and analysis                                        Control of serial structure development in animals

      Biomechanics                                                   Segmented or serial structures like teeth, limbs and body
                                                                     segments appear to have common mechanisms that control
      Teeth                                                          their development. We are examining this mechanism, the
                                                                     inhibitory cascade, in trilobites, mammals and humans,
      Mammal palaeontology                                           showing how default patterns of development influence the
                                                                     evolution of these structures.
      Evo-devo (evolution and development)
                                                                     Cyberanatomy of Australian mammals

                                                                     Australia has been home to many extinct mammals, including
                                                                     megafauna from the Ice Age and the recently extinct thylacine.
                                                                     Often all we have of these animals is their fossil bones or
                                                                     preserved specimens. We use high-resolution 3D imaging
                                                                     and analysis to put flesh back on these bones and reconstruct
                                                                     the life and times of these enigmatic fauna.

18   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
PROFESSOR ROS GLEADOW
PLANT ECOPHYSIOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
Email: ros.gleadow@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                                RESEARCH AREAS
We study the impact of climate change on food security        Regulation of cyanide deployment in tropical crops
by analysing how environmental challenges affect trade
-offs between growth and defence. The focus is on plants      We study how growth and composition of crops are affected
that make cyanide that cause death and illness in animals,    by rising sea levels, temperatures, CO 2 and drought using
including humans, cattle and koalas in order we can develop   whole plant and molecular methods. Crops include cassava,
safer crops.                                                  sorghum and taro.

                                                              Wild crop relatives as a source of genomic diversity and
AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                            stress tolerance
Whole plant phenomics and dynamic imaging
                                                              Wild crop relatives are an important source of genetic
Plant growth analysis and photosynthesis                      diversity to improve cultivated crops. This project examines
                                                              the diversity of the wild relatives of sorghum as a model for
Genetic technologies (mutagenesis, CRISPR, qPCR, cDNA,        understanding how and why cyanogenesis evolved.
sequencing etc.)
                                                              Growth/defence trade-offs and chemical ecology
Biospectroscopy (Raman, FTIR)
                                                              The trade-off in investment in growth or defence is a function
Chemical analysis (HPLC, GCMS, colorimetry etc.)              of the environment and evolutionary history. This research
                                                              area assesses the relative costs of synthesising chemical
                                                              defence under different environmental conditions in native
                                                              and invasive plants in the field.

                                                                  ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES        19
DR CHRIS GREENING
      INTEGRATIVE MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
      Email: chris.greening@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                              RESEARCH AREAS
      Our research investigates how microorganisms persist in     Microbial life in extreme environments
      extreme environments. We use interdisciplinary approaches
      to determine how environmentally and medically important    Microorganisms are abundant and diverse in many of the
      bacteria stay energised in their persistent state.          most extreme ecosystems on earth. Our research, spanning
                                                                  ecosystems as diverse as Antarctic deserts, oil reservoirs,
                                                                  and hot springs, is investigating how microorganisms stay
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                          energised and generate biomass in such environments.
      Bioenergetics
                                                                  Energetics of human pathogens
      Microbial physiology
                                                                  Tuberculosis, now the leading killer from infectious disease
      Microbial ecology                                           worldwide, is a disease of persistence. We’re investigating how
                                                                  this superbug stays energised in its notoriously difficult-to-kill
      Greenhouse gases                                            latent stage, providing foundations to develop next-generation
                                                                  antibiotic treatments.
      Tuberculosis
                                                                  Role of microorganisms in greenhouse gas cycling

                                                                  We have shown that soil microorganisms survive nutrient
                                                                  starvation by consuming the climate-relevant atmospheric
                                                                  trace gases hydrogen, methane, carbon monoxide, and
                                                                  carbon dioxide. We are performing a range of studies to
                                                                  better understand the biochemistry, physiology, and ecology
                                                                  of these processes.

20   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
DR MATT HALL
EVOLUTIONARY GENETICS RESEARCH GROUP
Email: matthew.hall@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                                   RESEARCH AREAS
Our research focuses on the evolution of host-pathogen           Sex differences and the evolution of infectious disease
interactions, with a focus on the causes and consequences
of variation in host susceptibility and pathogen virulence. A    Sex differences in the intensity of infection are universal.
key theme is to understand the impacts of male and female        One sex is often described as the “sicker sex”, with females
differences on the evolution and spread of infectious disease.   typically more susceptible to infection in invertebrates, versus
                                                                 males in mammals and birds. We aim to understand how
                                                                 such differences have evolved and the consequences they
AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                               have for the epidemiology and evolution of disease.
Quantitative genetics
                                                                 Invasion biology and host-pathogen interactions
Host-pathogen interactions
                                                                 The edge of an invading population coincides with low
Sexual dimorphism                                                population density and high resource availability. These
                                                                 altered conditions cause rapid evolution, leading to modified
Ageing and life-history theory                                   dispersal and in the case of a pathogen, altered virulence.
                                                                 We are exploring infectious disease in light of the altered
Invasion biology
                                                                 demographic dynamics that occur in vanguard populations.

                                                                 The consequences of global change

                                                                 Global change has been linked to the increased occurrence
                                                                 of diseases, but any change in the severity or occurrence
                                                                 of disease will depend on the form of climate change and
                                                                 specifics of the host-pathogen system. We seek to identity
                                                                 the condition that lead to pathogens or hosts becoming
                                                                 evolutionary winners or losers.

                                                                     ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES          21
DR SUSIE HO
      COURSE COORDINATOR, MASTER OF ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY
      Email: susie.ho@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                                   RESEARCH AREAS
      Higher Education is evolving to reflect our rapidly changing     Interdisciplinary graduate education
      world. To advance sustainability, innovative curriculum should
      develop boundary-spanning capacity. Our focus is technical       The modern learning environment should harness student
      and professional skills development for effective work across    diversity and pre-existing professional skills sets. This is an
      disciplines, sectors and geographic boundaries.                  important factor in a curriculum that enables a variety of
                                                                       future career paths and students’ capacity to work across
                                                                       disciplines and sectors. We examine effective interdisciplinary
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                               curriculum for diverse global cohorts.
      Interdisciplinary education
                                                                       Employability and sustainability
      Work integrated learning and employability
                                                                       Sustainability-related professionals must negotiate multi-sector
      Sustainability education                                         work and complexity. Capacity to negotiatie real-world
                                                                       issues should embedded through work integrated learning
      Field-based learning                                             at all levels, from authentic assessment to placements, and
                                                                       in partnership with practioners. We focus upon exploring
      Application of ecological theory to education design
                                                                       effective methods for developing future leaders.

22   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
DR KAY HODGINS
PLANT ECOLOGICAL GENOMICS RESEARCH GROUP
Email: kathryn.hodgins@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                               RESEARCH AREAS
Our research focuses on understanding genetics basis of      The genomics of climate adaptation
adaptation in foundation and invasive species. Key themes
include understanding when and how plants rapidly adapt to   Research in our lab focuses on identifying the regions of the
new environments and the constraints and biases that drive   genome involved in climate adaptation in plant species. We
convergence in the genetic basis of adaptation               are particularly interested in understanding the factors that
                                                             impact the genetic architecture of adaptation and the constraints
                                                             and biases that might limit adaptation to particular genes.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Climate adaptation                                           Adaptation to human-induced environmental change

Ecological genomics                                          Human activities have caused unprecedented alterations to
                                                             the environment - from changes in climate, to the introduction
Invasive species                                             of alien species. We are interested understanding why some
                                                             species adapt and even thrive under human-altered conditions,
Plant reproductive strategies                                and the genetic changes underlying such rapid evolution.
Comparative genomics

                                                                 ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES           23
DR TRAVIS JOHNSON
      DEVELOPMENTAL CELL SIGNALLING RESEARCH GROUP
      Email: travis.johnson@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                                      RESEARCH AREAS
      Our goal is to identify and understand the mechanisms that          How do perforin-like proteins control cellular signalling
      control communication between cells during development.             pathways?
      For this we use the model organism Drosophila melanogaster
      (aka the fruit fly) and a range of powerful genetic, biochemical,   Perforin-like proteins are molecular weapons deployed to
      and cell biological tools and methodologies.                        kill foreign cells for immunity, however several have evolved
                                                                          developmental roles. To better understand these, we are
                                                                          studying Torso-like, a perforin-like protein that controls
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                                  multiple signalling events in patterning, morphogenesis,
      Drosophila Genetics                                                 growth and proliferation

      Developmental Biology                                               Growth factor control in blood cell development

      Gene editing technology                                             Cells circulating in the bloodstream, like cells within tissues,
                                                                          require extracellular cues that tell them when to divide,
      Microscopy                                                          differentiate, and die. Where do these come from and how
                                                                          are they controlled? We are investigating these questions
      Growth factor signalling
                                                                          by looking at the development of blood cells in the fly larva.

                                                                          Humanising fly genes to study disease

                                                                          Over 75% of human genes that underlie disease have a fly gene
                                                                          counterpart. The goal of this work is to use the fly to study
                                                                          how human genes function and understand what goes wrong
                                                                          in disease. We are using new genetic technologies to allow
                                                                          human gene expression and patient mutation testing in flies.

24   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
DR FRANCINE MARQUES
HYPERTENSION RESEARCH GROUP
Email: francine.marques@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                                     RESEARCH AREAS
High blood pressure is a highly prevalent chronic disease and      Gut microbiota and their metabolites
is the main risk factor for cardiovascular death. We investigate
the molecular mechanisms behind hypertension, with focus           Consumption of a diet high in fibre increases gut microbiota
on disease identification and prevention.                          populations that generate short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). We
                                                                   have determined that a diet rich in fibre or SCFA modulates gut
                                                                   microbes and prevents the development of cardiovascular
AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                                 disease.
High blood pressure
                                                                   MicroRNAs in hypertension
Heart failure
                                                                   MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that post-transcriptionally
Genomics                                                           regulate gene expression. We study miR-181a, which is
                                                                   dysregulated in the human hypertensive kidney, and miRNAs
Non-coding RNAs                                                    that regulate the noradrenaline transporter gene.
Microbiome                                                         Lipocalin-2 and the origins of heart failure

                                                                   Our previous work pinpointed that lipocalin-2 (LCN2) is a
                                                                   key molecule in both the origins and progression of cardiac
                                                                   hypertrophy. We are now determining if LCN2 is stable in blood
                                                                   and what environmental factors modulate it.

                                                                      ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES          25
PROFESSOR DUSTIN MARSHALL
      MARINE EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
      Email: dustin.marshall@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                                RESEARCH AREAS
      The Marine Evolutionary Ecology Group is developing and       Eco-evolutionary consequences of evolutionary shifts
      testing a new theory for how and why organisms grow.          in body size
      Our focus is on how the net flux of energy (energy acquired
      through food, photosynthesis, or chemosynthesis minus the     Body size is declining in many natural animal populations as
      energy lost to metabolism) changes with size, whether it be   a result of human behaviour, including the harvesting of large
      cell size or total body size.                                 individuals and increasing temperatures. This project will
                                                                    use the tractability of marine study species’ to discover how
                                                                    evolutionary shifts in body size alter biological processes.
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE
      Marine ecology                                                Causes and consequences of nongenetic parental
                                                                    effects
      Experimental ecology
                                                                    Fathers have been assumed to transmit nothing more than
      Life history theory                                           their genes to offspring. We are investigating how the paternal
                                                                    environment (experienced by developing sperm) influences
      Evolutionary theory                                           reproductive and offspring success. Using an externally
                                                                    fertilised marine invertebrate we investigate this without the
      High throughput phenotyping
                                                                    confounding effect of the maternal environment.

                                                                    Energy budgets in individuals, populations and
                                                                    communities

                                                                    We predict that organism size is governed by a combination
                                                                    of mechanistic constraints and their evolutionary optimisation,
                                                                    with changes in energy flux dictating patterns of growth,
                                                                    reproduction, disease resistance, and environmental tolerance.
                                                                    We use experimental and quantitative approaches to investigate
                                                                    energetics from individuals to ecosystems.

26   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
DR MIKE MCDONALD
EXPERIMENTAL EVOLUTION RESEARCH GROUP
Email: mike.mcdonald@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                                     RESEARCH AREAS
Our lab specialises in the direct observation of microbial         Evolution with horizontal gene transfer (HGT)
adaptation in the lab. Our current challenge is to build
complex experimental ecologies so that we can study the            Most microbes adapt by transferring genes between
molecular details of evolution in realistic conditions, with the   individuals (HGT), yet no experiments have shown the
aim to maintain and construct stable microbial ecosystems.         conditions where HGT can be beneficial. We have built an
                                                                   experimental model to explore how adaptation is different
                                                                   in population with individuals that can exchange and pick
AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                                 up new genes.
Evolutionary biology
                                                                   Co-evolution of bacteria and yeast
Molecular evolution
                                                                   E. coli and bakers yeast are arguably the best understood of
Yeast and bacterial genomics                                       all organisms, and many evolution studies have exploited this.
                                                                   We are evolving co-cultures of E. coli and yeast to study how
Yeast and bacterial evolution                                      adaptation proceeds in populations that need to grow in the
                                                                   presence of another species.
Evolution of mutation rates

                                                                      ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES         27
DR MATT MCGEE
      BEHAVIOURAL STUDIES RESEARCH GROUP
      Email: matt.mcgee@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                                  RESEARCH AREAS
      My research utilizes experimental studies of behaviour in       Understanding vertebrate biodiversity via whole genome
      conjunction with modern genomic techniques to understand        sequencing
      the phenotypic and genotypic dynamics of ecological
      speciation, evolutionary innovation, and convergent evolution   My lab sequences whole genomes of fishes to understand
      in fish communities.                                            how evolution has shaped adaptation to abiotic and biotic
                                                                      factors.
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                              Phylogenomics of fishes
      Whole genome sequencing
                                                                      We examine the full diversity of fish groups, from slowly
      Comparative phylogenetic methods                                evolving groups to some of the fastest known speciation
                                                                      events in animals, using techniques that examine ancestry
      Speciation                                                      across the entire genome.

      Machine learning                                                Feeding kinematics

      Functional ecology                                              We study how fish feed using a combination of high speed
                                                                      video and functional morphology. We have generated the
                                                                      most extensive datasets of this kind in animals, with hundreds
                                                                      of species represented.

28   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
PROFESSOR MELODIE MCGEOCH
ECOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
Email: melodie.mcgeoch@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                                 RESEARCH AREAS
Better measuring and modelling biodiversity to understand      Improved methods for estimating biodiversity
and forecast its responses to global change, for the purpose
of more effectively protecting and managing it.                Biodiversity is changing faster than we can measure it, not
                                                               enough is invested in monitoring, and available data are
                                                               inadequate. More effective ways to model biodiversity are
AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                             needed - we develop, test and refine models based on
Biodiversity science                                           occurrence and abundance, and using ecoinformatics, to
                                                               estimate species populations, distributions and interactions.
Theoretical ecology
                                                               Advancing the evidence-base for dealing with invasion
Conservation biology
                                                               The invasion of natural systems by alien species drives
Biological invasions                                           biodiversity loss and alters ecosystem function. Because
                                                               biological invasion is a cross-border problem, information
Bioindicator development
                                                               is needed across multiple spatial and temporal scales to
                                                               effectively manage it. We work on improving information
                                                               systems and indicators for tracking biological invasions.

                                                               Understanding biodiversity responses to global change

                                                               Many environmental problems are the result of species
                                                               populations either declining, increasing or moving. We work
                                                               on improving the evidence base available for conservation
                                                               decisions by better understanding how species and
                                                               communities respond to climate change, habitat loss,
                                                               invasion and their interaction.

                                                                  ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES        29
DR CHRISTEN MIRTH
      DEVELOPMENTAL RESPONSES TO ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE RESEARCH GROUP
      Email: christen.mirth@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                                  RESEARCH AREAS
      The environment in which animals develop profoundly             Environmental regulation of body size and shape
      shapes their morphology and behaviour, a process known as
      phenotypic plasticity. Research in my lab aims to uncover the   A multitude of environmental conditions alter animal growth to
      genetic mechanisms regulating phenotypic plasticity and to      generate variation in body size and shape. Our work aims to
      understand how plasticity evolves.                              understand how environmental conditions alter the synthesis
                                                                      of key developmental hormones to control body and organ size.
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                              How the nutritional composition of the diet alters traits
      Evolutionary developmental biology
                                                                      Diet plays an important role in animal health and life history,
      Mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity                             impacting important traits like developmental time, body
                                                                      size, lifespan, and fecundity. We explore the mechanisms
      Regulation of body size and shape                               through which different components of the diet, principally
                                                                      carbohydrates and protein, affect animal development and
      Nutritional geometry                                            physiology to shape these traits.
      Developmental physiology                                        Genetic variation in plasticity

                                                                      Although environmental conditions are known to alter
                                                                      developmental processes, not all individuals respond to the
                                                                      same conditions in the same way. We aim to determine how
                                                                      naturally-occuring genetic variation alters plastic responses
                                                                      to environmental conditions, and to further explore how this
                                                                      variation dictates how plasticity evolves.

30   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
DR KEYNE MONRO
EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
Email: keyne.monro@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                            RESEARCH AREAS
Our goal is to understand and predict the evolutionary    Evolutionary consequences of environmental change
consequences of environmental change, especially in the
sea. Key themes include:                                  Environmental change has profound consequences for
                                                          population and evolutionary dynamics. We are exploring
how environmental change affects natural selection        how environmental change alters the patterns of selection
                                                          and genetic variation for key aspects of whole-organism
how environmental change affects genetic variation        performance (e.g., reproductive success, survival, morphology,
                                                          phenology) that underpin these dynamics.
how life cycles are shaped or constrained as a result.
                                                          Phenotypic plasticity
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
                                                          Phenotypic plasticity is the expression of different phenotypes
Evolutionary ecology                                      in different environments, and is an important mechanism
                                                          by which populations can respond to environmental change.
Selection and inheritance of quantitative traits
                                                          We are using a range of experimental approaches to explore
Phenotypic plasticity                                     the adaptive value of plastic responses to biotic and abiotic
                                                          sources of environmental change.
Impacts of environmental change
                                                          Life history evolution
Mixed models and multivariate analyses
                                                          Marine organisms have amazingly diverse life histories.
                                                          For example, some are external fertilisers while others are
                                                          internal fertilisers, some have free-swimming larvae while
                                                          others don’t, and some have separate sexes while others
                                                          are hermaphrodites. We are interested in the ecological and
                                                          evolutionary forces that shape this diversity.

                                                          ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES             31
DR JOSLIN MOORE
      PLANT ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION RESEARCH GROUP
      Email: joslin.moore@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                               RESEARCH AREAS
      The Moore group uses ecological theory and models to         Resource allocation for conservation management
      solve and inform applied ecological problems to aid in the
      conservation and sustainable management of our natural       My group works with agencies to develop decision analysis
      resources.                                                   tools that help managers allocate resources to maximise
                                                                   the benefit of management. Applications include managing
                                                                   multiple threats to endangered alpine peatlands, controlling
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                           willow invasion and comparing the effectiveness of humans
      Plant community ecology                                      and dogs when searching for an invasive plant.

      Ecological modelling
                                                                   Predicting landscape-scale wind dispersal
      Decision theory and optimisation                             The capacity for organisms to spread depends on their ability
                                                                   to disperse. Wind dispersal has the potential to move small
      Collaborative problem solving with managers (using           particles (seeds, pollen, spores) large distances. Our group is
      structured decision making)                                  combining fine scale models of seed production and escapoe
                                                                   from the canopy with landscape-scale weather models to predict
      Integrating data and theory
                                                                   seed dispersal across the landscape.

                                                                   Grassland ecology and conservation

                                                                   Grasslands are among the most threatened ecosystems
                                                                   globally. I participate in a long-term global experiment aimed
                                                                   at understanding the effect of global change on grassland
                                                                   structure and function. My group also undertakes experiments
                                                                   to better understand the opportunities for increasing biodiversity
                                                                   in degraded grasslands.

32   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
PROFESSOR MOIRA O’BRYAN
MALE INFERTILITY AND GERM CELL BIOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
Email: moira.obryan@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                                    RESEARCH AREAS
We aim to identify key mechanisms required for male germ          The importance of microtubule in male germ
cell development, the aetiology of human male infertility and     development
the interplay been fertility and health. This is achieved using
a range of genomic, biochemical and cell biological methods       Microtubules are key regulators to both sperm head shape,
including the development of unique model systems.                via the manchette, and function, via the tail. Within this project
                                                                  we aim to identify the mechanisms underpinning microtubule
                                                                  dynamics and how they contribute to the formation of
AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                                hydrodynamically efficient and fertile sperm.
Flagellum / cilia development and function
                                                                  The genetic causes of human male infertility
Microtubule regulation
                                                                  In partnership with ‘the International Male Infertility Genomics
Male fertility / infertility                                      Consortium’ we are identifying genetic mutations that lead
                                                                  to human male infertility. In order to validate causality we are
CRISP proteins                                                    modeling these genetic variants in animal models. In doing
                                                                  so, we are providing diagnostic certainty and identifying novel
Genetics
                                                                  pathways required for fertility.

                                                                  Novel mechanisms of protein transport

                                                                  Elongate spermatids are high polarised, transcriptionally
                                                                  silent cells, thus making them an ideal system within which
                                                                  to identify novel mechanisms of protein transport, including
                                                                  those involved in centriole regulation and sperm tail (cilia /
                                                                  flagellum) development.

                                                                      ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES            33
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ANNE PETERS
      BEHAVIOURAL AND EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY OF BIRDS RESEARCH GROUP
      Email: anne.peters@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                                    RESEARCH AREAS
      We investigate evolutionary explanations for variation in         Effects of climate throughout the life cycle
      life-history of animals against the background of their natural
      ecology. We want to understand why and how animals                We investigate how climate variation affects individuals at every
      distribute limited resources between competing demands,           life-stage, from development, through to adulthood and
      using long-term individual-based studies of free-living birds.    senescence. We focus on behavioural and physiological coping
                                                                        strategies. We integrate across the life-cycle, incorporating
                                                                        long-term effects of early-life conditions on adult physiology
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                                and lifetime reproductive success.
      Behavioural ecology
                                                                        Trade-offs between investment in sex or self-preservation
      Avian life-history
                                                                        We investigate how animals balance investment in reproduction
      Climate change adaptation                                         with investment in defense against diseases and repair of
                                                                        damage from wear and tear. We follow free-living individuals
      Cooperative breeding                                              throughout life, and measure their reproductive success,
                                                                        immune defenses and molecular biomarkers of aging
      Ecological immunology and telomere dynamics
                                                                        (telomere dynamics).

                                                                        Function and honesty of sexual ornaments

                                                                        Conspicuous sexual ornaments are often important for fitness
                                                                        but also highly variable, probably because ornaments are costly.
                                                                        We investigate fitness benefits of ornaments and various costs,
                                                                        in particular pleiotropic effects of testosterone, increased risk
                                                                        of predation, and behavioural counter-adaptations to mitigate
                                                                        energy expenditure.

34   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
DR MATT PIPER
NUTRITIONAL PHYSIOLOGY AND AGEING RESEARCH GROUP
Email: matthew.piper@monash.edu

RESEARCH FOCUS                                             RESEARCH AREAS
Understanding the mechanisms by which nutrition promotes   Using genomics to design dietary amino acid ratios for
health throughout the lifecourse.                          optimal health

                                                           In silico translation of a consumer’s genome can define its
AREAS OF EXPERTISE                                         optimal dietary amino acid ratio for growth and reproduction.
Insect nutrition                                           We are assessing the effects of transcriptome weighting
                                                           these “exome matched” diets to enhance animal recovery
Ageing                                                     from stress.
Drosophila melanogaster                                    How essential are essential amino acids?
Genomics                                                   Essential amino acids are strictly required for growth and
                                                           reproduction. Surprisingly, we have found that some can be
Metabolic biochemistry
                                                           completely dispensible for Drosophila lifespan and others
                                                           can reduce stress tolerance. We are investigating what these
                                                           phenoptypes can reveal about the mechanisms of ageing
                                                           and health.

                                                           Investigating the molecular mechanisms by which
                                                           limiting nutrients are traded off between life history traits

                                                           Life History Theory explains how organisms optimise resource
                                                           utilisation for fitness. Using non-ecological diet balances can
                                                           break these rules and so inform about the mechanisms of diet
                                                           utilisation for health.

                                                              ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES          35
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR RICHARD REINA
      ECOPHYSIOLOGY AND CONSERVATION RESEARCH GROUP
      Email: richard.reina@monash.edu

      RESEARCH FOCUS                                                  RESEARCH AREAS
      We study animal responses to challenges from their              Sea turtle reproduction and conservation
      environments and from human activity to understand how
      they deal with different these stressors. The purpose of this   Sea turtles come ashore to lay eggs that incubate in the sand
      research is to apply our improved knowledge to conservation     of tropical beaches and make long-distance migrations each
      and management                                                  few years to do this. Our research investigates this reproductive
                                                                      process and the impact of the conditions under which eggs
                                                                      and hatchlings develop.
      AREAS OF EXPERTISE
      Shark biology                                                   Interactions between sharks and commercial fisheries

      Sea turtle biology and conservation                             Our research investigates what happens when sharks are
                                                                      captured and any subsequent release, to better understand
      Penguin ecology                                                 the tolerance of different species to capture, and to better
                                                                      predict what will happen to them if released. Species studied
      Fisheries science                                               include bronze whaler sharks, hammerhead sharks, gummy
                                                                      sharks and elephant fish.

                                                                      Penguin ecology and marine ecosystem state

                                                                      We investigate the interaction between little penguins and
                                                                      their marine environment, in order to understand how their
                                                                      foraging strategies, reproduction and behaviour are impacted
                                                                      by environmental variability.

36   ACADEMIC PROSPECTUS 2018 - MONASH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
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