Ecolab’s Bee Yan and Marcus in NUS Giving Report 2010-2011

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Hennig XXVIII @ Singapore Botanic Gardens, Uniquely Singapore

We had the privilege of hosting the 28th annual meeting of the Willi Hennig society at the Singapore Botanic Gardens this year, making us the first Asian host for this international conference. Lasting from the 22nd to the 26th of June, it saw the active participation of its members, who contributed talks and posters relating to the science of phylogenetic systematics.

As evidenced by this photo, much fun was had by all.

The Willi Hennig society also awards up to three prizes for outstanding student presentations at each annual meeting. These include the Willi Hennig Award, the Lars Brundin Award and the Don Rosen Award. For Hennig XXVIII, the awardees were Maria-Theresa Aguado (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain), Sujatha Narayanan Kutty (NUS, Singapore) and Gwynne Lim Shimin (NUS, Singapore) respectively. This marks the third year in a row where students from Evolab have attended Hennig meetings and consequently won at least one of these awards for their presentations.

Hennig XXIV (2005):  Kathy Feng-Yi Su (Hennig award), Farhan B Ali (Rosen award), Nalini Puniamoorthy and Shiyang Kwong (Honorable mentions)

Hennig XXVI (2007): Kathy Feng-Yi Su (Brundin award)

Congratulations to Sujatha and (more awkwardly) myself! You can see us proudly displaying our awards during the banquet below.

More information about the conference and the associated mini-symposium “Darwin, Wallace and Evolution: Celebrating a major paradigm shift in science” can be found at NUShub and on Reuters’ Environment Blog.

Nalini’s videos to be used in UNSW Evolution class

One of the reviewers for Nalini’s recent submission to BMC Evolutionary Biology Journal was so taken by her exquisite video rendering of the subtle intricacies of sepsid fly courtship that he shed his anonymity in order to call her study “brilliant”, offer her a Ph.D or postdoc position at his lab AND request for her permission to show these videos during his evolution classes at UNSW.

Reviews of Nalini’s yet-to-be-published paper include:

“This is a really excellent manuscript….. I know of no other comparative study of sexual conflict that includes this many species….I firmly believe that this paper will be cited numerous times….The study is sound. The conclusions derived appropriate…. I have not seen this in a manuscript before and was very impressed. I recommend that this manuscript be published with priority.” – Reviewer #2

“This is a beautifully detailed piece of work reminiscent of the more careful biology of generations past…. These findings will be of interest to evolutionary biologists, and certainly deserve to be published.” – Reviewer #1

This is the second time Nalini’s videos have been featured to rave reviews (the first being an entire exhibit to her own at the Zoological Museum of Zürich), proving yet again that sexy fly sex sells.


Incidentally the fly species Perochaeta dikowi is a new one described by Ang et al., Mr. Ang Yuchen is an honours undergraduate in our lab. It’s in Systematic Entomology, currently in press.

CPR and AED familiarisation

There have been two casualties of heart failure in NUS in the past year. One staff member failed to revive despite rapid response and first aid application and another did not receive any CPR assistance. NUS regrets their loss and this series of CPR and AED familiarisation is a first step in improving the capability of staff and students.

The AED unit near the Biodiversity Group is located in the loading bay between blocks S2 and S1A. Would I know how to use it effectively? So last Wednesday I attended a CPR and AED familiarisation course. The confidence and efficiency of the class (myself included) increased dramatically during the two hour session. The two 30 minute sessions of practical training with the mannequin and AED device were really helpful!

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The practise sessions were conducted in small groups at a 1:5 ratio with instructors from OSHE, Wellness and a few other places. Collectively the instructors effectively answered all the queries posed, which were certainly varied! It made for a very effective session.

While this is not a first aid course, it equips individuals with enough knowledge to provide proper CPR assistance to family or lab members – the correct administration of CPR pushes blood to the brain in lieu of a pumping heart and improves the chances of victim survival. The complimentary (and not replacement) role of AED was explained and as we practised, we learnt to keep our focus when the AED arrives and is setup. Improper use may not only impede assistance but possibly even contribute additional problems, so this short training is indeed very useful.


Bondi lifeguards apply CPR and use the AED
and you can observe the whole sequence right to recovery position.
And feel the relief when they say, “It’s okay mate…”
and Takahiro Ono remembers his name!
From Bondi Rescue Series 1, Ep 4 (2006);
see also Australian Screen’s Teacher’s Notes.

In the video above, it was lucky the lifeguards all happened to be nearby; it’s used for teaching in many schools now, including this NUS course! For further inspiration, read about Esther Tan’s timely intervention at Holland Village: “Student saves heart attack man in Holland Road,” by Ong Rui Lin. The Electric New Paper, 26th February 2006. ‘I was still shaking back in school’. And read more at “When Hearts Stop: CPR & Defibrillators”.

NUS Staff and students can sign up for a session of the CPR and AED familiarisation course at this webpage.