Celebrating success

Associate Professor Chris Delaney, Dr Oliver Ayres and Dr Edward Travers have been involved in performing a surgical first, while Dr Sunita Ramesh is producing more resilient chickpeas, Associate Professor Danielle Clode reviews koala populations in a new book, and Dr Colette Mrowa-Hopkins analyses Skype exchanges to promote intercultural learning.

A Flinders surgical first

Associate Professor Chris Delaney

Associate Professor Chris Delaney, Dr Oliver Ayres and Dr Edward Travers from the College of Medicine and Public Health have been involved in a recent medical first, taking part in breakthrough keyhole surgery for kidney disease that has been implemented for the first time in the southern hemisphere.

The surgeons from Flinders Medical Centre are leading the implementation of endovascular AV fistula creation – a procedure that connects an artery to a vein in preparation for dialysis – using tiny magnets and electrical impulses. The surgery will allow patients to receive less painful access to treatment and reduce the need for repeat surgeries. The procedure is so far proving promising, with hopes the surgery can soon be rolled out nationwide.

Grant to produce more resilient chickpeas

Molecular and microbial biology lecturer Dr Sunita Ramesh, from the College of Science and Engineering, will lead a three-year grant to identify drought-resilient chickpeas.

Flinders and Murdoch University researchers will work with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics to select high-performing chickpea variants with low water and nitrogen requirements for increased drought tolerance and reduced fertiliser use.

The Australian Government funding, provided through the Australia-India Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was announced this week by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Penny Wong. Chickpeas are an important pulse crop with global annual production of more than 14.2 million tonnes. Australia is the world’s largest exporter (650,000 tonnes annually).

Dr Ramesh is part of a College of Science and Engineering team launching a plant science degree in 2023.

Time to snuggle up with a good book 

Worldwide popularity of the koala has seen this animal’s conservation status highlighted in recent years – especially as NSW, Queensland and the ACT has declaring it an endangered species due to habitat loss, disease and other factors.

Biologist and natural history writer, Flinders University Associate Professor Danielle Clode, has published a comprehensive review of koala populations across Australia, covering the devastating 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires and the effects of overpopulation in some parts of Australia. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book, Koala: A Life in Trees, will go towards supporting wildlife conservation efforts in Australia.

The book is available on pre-order in Australia by Black Inc and will be distributed in the US and UK by WW Norton.

Peter Menkhorst, from Australian Book Review, read an advance copy of the book, and described it as “… natural history and science writing at its best.” Read the full review here.

Communicating between cultures and languages

Dr Colette Mrowa-Hopkins

Dr Colette Mrowa-Hopkins from the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, has been published in the Journal of Intercultural Communication. Dr Mrowa-Hopkins’ paper, titled An Analysis of Skype Exchanges for Promoting Intercultural Learning and Understanding Among University Language Students, reports the findings of a project designed to promote intercultural learning and understanding between language students across three universities in Australia, Mexico and Germany. It examines students’ self-recorded Skype exchanges and assesses them within the debate over the inclusion of inter-culturality in language learning and teaching.

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