Asian Correspondent » Murdoch University Asian Correspondent Thu, 21 May 2015 02:07:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Journalism at Murdoch University Mon, 29 Mar 2010 10:10:33 +0000 My name is Carmelo Amalfi.
I teach journalism at Murdoch University in Perth and work as a freelance journalist for a number of Western Australian and national publications including ScienceNetworkWA (, Australian Broadcasting Corporation and The Australian and The Sunday Times newspapers. I also am regularly commissioned to write and/or edit for a number of State and Federal government agencies including WA Fisheries and the CSIRO, Australia’s premier science research organisation.

Until 2005, I worked for 18 years at The West Australian newspaper in Perth, specialising for most of that time in science and environment, history, higher education and defence.

My job has taken me around Australia and the world, the most recent destination the Copenhagen climate change conference in Denmark in December 2009.

I was fortunate enough to have been the only WA journalist/journalism teacher accredited to attend the international conference where I also supervised three journalism students, whose work was published by The Sunday Times’ leading WA online news site, PerthNow (

I also created a blogspot ( to provide independent news coverage to this important event, both for the public and the media, having posted in just over a week 33 stories totalling more than 12,000 words.

Having enjoyed a highly successful career in journalism in which I hold several local and national journalism awards, I feel it is very important to pass on my skills and experience to the next generation of ‘journo’ whose responsibility it is, now more than ever, to ‘educate and inform’ people about issues which affect how they live, work and think. Though I believe traditional forms of information such as newspapers and radio will continue to provide the public with its daily diet of news stories, it is the online medium that challenges journalists, young and old, to adapt to the changing media menu in which blogs, twitters and facebook are very popular.

At Murdoch, student journalists are exposed to all facets of the profession, from creating newspapers or news ‘sheets’ to producing online works incorporating elements of radio (audio), tv (video) and print into one independent ‘Newsroom’. In 2010, the journalism school at Murdoch will launch a new web site that will publish a variety of works by students and staff, including blogs, vlogs and features reflecting the rapidly growing world of online journalism.

My teaching responsibilities also include placing high-achieving third-year students into different newspaper and online workplaces where they can practise what they are taught at Murdoch. Some have already been employed and/or published by these organisations. Others have moved overseas to work for international media groups such as the BBC.

From second semester 2010, I will also coordinate a news investigative reporting unit at Murdoch and the Global Environmental Journalism Initiative between four Australian and European universities. Presently, we have four students placed in prestigious media schools in Finland and Greece, recent placements held in Denmark and Britain.

I encourage anyone interested in learning more about the Murdoch University journalism program to visit or, as they say, Google me. 8-)

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New frontiers of science Wed, 17 Mar 2010 02:36:48 +0000 G’day, my name is Gerrard Eddy Jai Poinern and currently I am the Director/Project leader of a very exciting group of researchers and graduate students involved in generating new frontier science on a number of fronts in nanotechnology and nanoscience. I am very interested in direct applications of Nanotechnology, thus the name of the group, Murdoch Applied Nanotechnology Research Group which was created in 2005.
I also teach several Nanotech units such as PEC 261 Applications of Nanotechnology and Nanotechnology Laboratory and in PEC 363 Nanotechnology Laboratory, students are taught a wide range of techniques that enable them to manufacture nanoparticles and use Nanotools to image the produced nanoparticles. Teaching is an enriching experience as it allows you to meet people from different cultural backgrounds and transfer knowledge to the next generation so that they can bring about positive changes in science for their nation.

In a nutshell, Nanotechnology is the application and development of techniques and processes that involve matter which ranges in size from one to 100 billionth of a meter, one nanometer being 1 x 10-9m. This range in size is equivalent to placing two atoms side by side. It has only been in the last decade with the advent of nanotools (instrument capable of seeing atoms or assemblies of atoms) that nanotechnology and nanoscience research has really taken off.

Currently, at Murdoch University I have several research projects on the go, each with an emphasis on the commercialization of nanotechnology. A recent example was the collaboration with the Royal Perth Hospital group headed by Professor Fiona Wood with Dr Mark Fear and my PhD student Mr. Leigh Parkinson, in which we pioneered/developed a biocompatible inorganic nanomembrane for skin regeneration for skin burns. The commercialization of this project resulted in a US Patent and the company Cellumina.

Another exciting project we have developed at Murdoch University is the creation of nanohydroxyapatite, nanoHAP, a synthetic bone material. Natural bone is made up of little ceramic rods about 40mm long and organic materials such as collagen and gelatine. The aim of this project is to mimic nature first and then improve on it. To this end my PhD student, Mr. Ravi Brundavanam uses ultrasound/microwave techniques to make nanoHAP with different compositional shapes and size and then investigates its novel properties. Ravi started his research as an Honours student; and due to his diligence and hard work, he was rewarded with a First Class honours and a Royal Society Prize of Western Australia. Due to his efforts he was able to secure a PhD scholarship from the University to continue his research into the development nanoHAP.

The impact of this research will be of great significance, especially if we consider that Australia has an aging population that is predicted to increase in the near future and coupled with large numbers of sport related injuries, the need for biocompatible materials, like nanoHAP, for bone replacement and implants will be of critical importance. The progress of this research has attracted both national and international media interest.

Recently another PhD student of my group, Ms Ngoc Xuan Le won the Prime Minister’s 2009 Endeavour Award for her research into engineering a nanopolymer structure that contains a drug that can be used for the prevention of stroke. On the graduate side; my nanotechnology students, Mr. Tim Thomson, Mr. Paul Brockbank, Mr. Trent George-Kennedy and Mr. Jurek Malarecki have won the West Australia Premier’s Innovation Awards in Nanotechnology.

At Murdoch University, students are an integral part of our research programs and we have a comprehensive graduate and post-graduate program that will put you in the forefront of current research in the field of nanotechnology. The Murdoch Applied Nanotechnology Research Group currently has several new exciting projects on offer.  If you are interested in finding out more about nanotechnology or science programs in general at Murdoch University, visit

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The Pursuit of Knowledge Wed, 03 Mar 2010 05:24:48 +0000 Why do students seek a university education these days? Are there any that go to University simply for the love of learning and pursuit of knowledge? To study simply because they have an interest in something and they want to delve more deeply into it? Is it a privilege to be able to do this?

Why do we ask small children what they want to be when they grow up? Such an unfair question when the possibilities are often limitless? Do they have to be restricted to one course of study or one career? Do we find one area and stick to it?

Universities were originally places to pursue knowledge, discuss ideas, and make discoveries. It is not only about having the ability to be a successful student but having the inspiration to learn.

One of the most attractive features of studying at Murdoch University is the flexibility of the degree courses. We offer over 80 undergraduate degree courses, and the option of picking and mixing your options to create a course that really suits your aspirations. The beauty of this is students can pursue study which will lead to a secure career, as well as, study which inspires their personal growth. Let’s face it sometimes these two things can be very different. To look at it another way- could anyone be as passionate about accounting as they may be about literature?

Bibiana Venosa

Murdoch University Graduate

Currently- Murdoch University Liaison Officer- International


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Studying abroad – An unforgettable lifetime experience Mon, 01 Mar 2010 02:18:50 +0000 Studying Abroad and overseas exploration is essential for a broad-minded university student. The chance to leave home and mix it with students from all over the world is an opportunity that few people take up, why? – one can only wonder!

Hi, My name is Carol and I’m the regional manager for Europe and the Americas at Murdoch University in  Perth, Western Australia. As part of my job here at Murdoch, I am fortunate enough to promote Murdoch’s wonderful Study Abroad program.

Murdoch’s Study Abroad program has been running for approximately 20 years and the popularity of the program grows from strength to strength each year. The program gives international students the opportunity to spend one or two semesters of their undergraduate degree in Perth, whilst earning credit which can be transferred back to their home country university.  The strength of the program can be attributed to a number of reasons; the flexibility, structure, range and quality of Murdoch courses, the ease of which students can transfer credits back to their home country and simply the gorgeous destination that is Perth and Western Australia!

Murdoch has an impressive and diverse student population, with over 90 countries represented on campus. The Study Abroad and Exchange program is mostly represented by North American and German students, with smaller cohorts of students from countries such as Malaysia, Scandinavia, UK, Switzerland, Austria and South Africa.

Contradictory to the name, ‘Study Abroad’ is not just about study. Murdoch University aims to provide a total experience that is second to none. Part of the Study Abroad experience is our unique 10-day fun-filled trip to the rugged North West of Western Australia. All those TV commercials you may have seen with spectacular landscapes and magnificent beaches are yours to experience first-hand.

You will visit unique remote outback, World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef (Western Australia’s answer to the Great Barrier Reef), the breathtaking gorges, flora and fauna of Karijini National Park, the World Heritage listed Monkey Mia in Shark Bay (where dolphins swimming close to the shore and greet you, hoping to be fed) and much more!  Students often comment that the “North West” trip was the highlight of their trip to Western Australia.

So, come join us for a truly outstanding academic and cultural experience you won’t ever forget! Murdoch University-Study Abroad!

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The tale of an international student’s experience in Perth Mon, 22 Feb 2010 07:34:37 +0000




These were the feelings I had when I first arrived in Perth, Western Australia, as a student, in cold winter weather some years back. I had never left my family before, and as I was in a foreign land for the first time all by myself, these feelings were inevitable. But everything changed within a day, and my experience from then on has been nothing but amazing.

My name is Fozzil, I am from Singapore and I first came to Perth as an international student. I have since graduated from my Bachelor of Business and Master of Management Information System degrees, and I have taken up permanent residency, to continue living and working in the beautiful city of Perth. What I experienced above when I first arrived is very normal for any students who move to a new environment to continue their education. But for many of these students who come to Perth, their fear and anxiety are quickly diffused. This is due to the warm and friendly people in Perth, and a great lifestyle that this city has to offer.

Perth is probably the most culturally diverse city in Australia, with more than 140 nationalities living, working and studying in the city, speaking over 170 languages and practicing over 100 religions. International students in Perth are a vibrant mix from Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East.  Living in such a highly diverse city has benefits, as people become very culturally receptive and appreciate one another’s cultural practices. Regardless where you are from, you always feel welcomed and respected. Getting friendly greetings from strangers while waiting for the bus, running around the park, or sitting at a cafe are a norm and certainly part of the lifestyle here.

The other thing I like about this city is the weather. It offers a Mediterranean climate with perfect blue skies in summer.  The temperatures average at 30 – 33 degrees in summer and 5 – 15 degrees in winter, which are quite manageable. One of the things I look forward to in summer, other than dressing down to my shorts to hit the beautiful beaches, is the festivals. Summertime is the perfect backdrop for festival and fun. There are heaps of local and international music and arts festivals that take place from December right through to April. Being a music lover, I always look forward to attending some of these festivals to catch my favourite singers and bands.  Best of all, some of the outdoor festivals are even FREE!! So if you are going to be in Perth during this period, make sure you pencil some of these festivals on your calendar, and you will realise that Perth is definitely not a ‘boring’ place, in fact it is one of the most ideal places that offers a balance between studying and an active social lifestyle. Check out some of these events in Perth.

See you soon!!!!

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Research in the School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology at Murdoch University Fri, 19 Feb 2010 08:09:40 +0000 Hi there! My name is Lambert and I teach Cell Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry to undergraduate students at Murdoch University. I love the teaching that I do because I get to meet so many people from all parts of the world and I am able to do my part to help them achieve the best they can during their time here at University. I am also a researcher at the Centre for Rhizobium Studies at Murdoch University where we work with soil bacteria and investigate their role in affecting plant growth in agricultural systems.


Numerous species of soil bacteria which flourish in the soil around the roots of plants (the rhizosphere) can stimulate plant growth and are collectively known as PGPR (Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria), sometimes also called Biofertilizers.


Direct plant growth promotion by PGPRs can result from plant growth promoting substances that are synthesized by the bacterium. These include plant growth regulators like indole acetic acid or organic acids and enzymes that solubilize minerals such phosphate. The indirect mechanisms by which PGPR promote plant growth include antagonism against soil root pathogens such as fungi and nematodes. The idea of using these bacteria to enhance plant growth is to be less dependant on using chemical fertilizers, pesticides or fungicides. This is good for the farmer as it can save them money and good for the environment as means we are putting fewer chemicals into the soil. As we are all becoming more conscious about our impacts on the environment, these PGPR can be an effective way to maintain good farm productivity without using quite so many chemicals.


I have been working with PhD students Rebecca Swift and Sharon Fox on PGPRs suitable for Australian farming systems. Rebecca’s research has focussed on isolating novel PGPR from WA soils that will promote the growth of cereal crops (in particular wheat) by releasing the plant growth hormone indole acetic acid and by solubilizing mineral phosphates. Sharon has been working with soil bacteria (also isolated from WA) that can assist in the symbiotic relationship between rhizobia (soil bacteria that can make atmospheric nitrogen available to plants) and their legume plant hosts. Her research has shown that introducing the PGPR along with the rhizobia can resulted in greater legume growth and this means more nitrogen is available for next year’s crop and less fertilizer is required.


Some of these bacteria are now being trialled in the glass house and the field in the agricultural regions of Australia to see how effective they are.


If you’re interested in finding out more about science programs at Murdoch University, visit

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What do South East Asian students want to know about studying in Perth? Sun, 14 Feb 2010 18:01:41 +0000 Hi.  My name is Holly and I’m the Regional Manager for South East Asia at Murdoch University. As part of this job I am fortunate to travel throughout South East Asia, and beyond on occasion, providing information to students (and their families) interested in studying in Australia.  It’s also great that I can work for a University I really believe in and that I am in a position to provide prospective students with vital information that will inform their decision of where to study – one of the most important decisions they may ever make! 

When I speak to students from South East Asia, there are a series of questions that I get all the time.  Over the next few weeks I’ll discuss these in this blog. 

One of the main questions students ask is “What is Perth is like?”

Quite often, the decision about where to study is as important as which university and what to study.  Students want to choose somewhere they’re going to enjoy living and be comfortable and feel safe living in.  Usually, students have heard that Perth is pretty quiet and there’s not much going on.  Perth, while not being one of the largest cities in Australia, sometimes can sit in the shadow of Sydney or Melbourne, but things are definitely changing. 

Due largely to the mining boom of recent times, Western Australia has one of the strongest economies in the country bringing with it plenty of opportunity.  Lots of people are moving to Perth from the East Coast of Australia to take advantage of the job opportunities and high salaries the boom has created.  There is also a great deal of migration to Western Australia from other parts of the world.  People come to WA to take advantage of not only the job opportunities but our great lifestyle and climate.  All of this means that WA is one of the fastest growing and most cosmopolitan states in Australia and that there’s heaps going on around town.  Just take a look at what’s coming up in Perth in March

Until next time,



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