Saturday, June 18, 2016

Help improve the lives of Tassie devils and continuing professional development for vets

Puppy senior dog maltese terrier
Phil met (but did not endorse) a miniature version of himself last week.

Have you ever crowdfunded anything? Here at SAT HQ we’re big supporters of citizen science. The more people feel like they have a stake in science, the more they'll get it, and the more high quality, animal- and human-helping science we can do. We’re also fans of crowdfunding campaigns. For the price of a cup of coffee (or two) you can be part of something huge, and have a little ownership and insight into science that makes a difference.

Our Sydney University colleagues are raising money to travel to the remote south-west of Tasmania to study devils in the area. PhD student Bec Gooley has been able to successfully extract DNA from devil scats (the technical term for Tassie Devil crap) that were collected by a bushwalker. This showed that not only are devils present in the area, but that they have new alleles that are not found across the rest of the devil range. One of the problems with the Tassie Devil population at the moment is they aren’t particularly genetically diverse, making them terribly susceptible to diseases like devil facial tumour disease. These new genes will enable the researchers to do some genetic rescue to boost the genetic diversity of the species in captivity (for release back into the wild). If you think that’s a good cause, head on over here to be part of it.

Are you interested in continuing veterinary education? Friend and colleague Lis Churchward from the Centre for Veterinary Education is undertaking a really important survey about what the CVE offers, how they can improve and so on. Please support her by completing the survey – it will help Lis with her masters, it will help the CVE devise continuing education resources you want, and you can win some excellent prizes (call me a nerd, but the chance to win enrolment in their TimeOnline courses or a $2K CPD voucher is better than winning some sort of household appliance!!!). Check it out here.

If you happen to be in Sydney this weekend, make sure your non-human companions are warm and dry. There is yet another stormageddon predicted.