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Serpentarius contains important information about what is happening in the Department and staff news. It is published fortnightly on Wednesdays during term-time.

Wednesday 11th March 2015

In this issue

Department News

 University News


Department News

Congratulations to Tracey Brazier

Congratulations to Tracey Brazier on running an impressive time of 1h 45 minutes in the Cambridge half-marathon on Sunday 8 March.


Congratulations to the Pt II Open Day team

Congratulations to the organizers of Monday's Pt II Open Day, which was well-attended by students and staff. Thanks are offered to Becky Ramshaw, Alice Jago, student reps (Le Qin Choo and Jamie Cranston) and all the module organisers. 


Departmental induction meeting Monday 23 March 2015

Staff, students and visitors are warmly invited to attend the next Departmental Induction meeting.  This will be on Monday 23 March at 11am in the first floor seminar room, main Zoology building.  The meeting lasts about 45 minutes.

The Head of Department has indicated that he expects all newcomers to attend one of these sessions.  Please encourage new colleagues in your team/lab to attend.

Although the meeting is mainly intended for new staff, students and visitors, everyone is welcome to attend; please let me know in advance if you intend to come along.


Equality and Diversity on-line training

As part of the Department's continued commitment to equality and wellbeing, we are asking every member of the department to take 20 minutes to complete an online course offered by the University.

To begin the module, go to:

On the right hand drop-down menu, select "E&D Online Training".  Then login using Raven.

The course is interactive, including videos of workplace situations and a quiz at the end.  As many of you will recall from Tom Welton's lecture in January, self-awareness is an essential step toward making positive group changes.  The Equalities and Wellbeing Committee hopes that everyone in the Department will take the time to complete this worthy module.

Tim Weil and The Equalities and Wellbeing Committee


New stationery templates

Many of you will know that the University provides templates for most stationery needs, letterheads, compliments slips etc, including logos which you might need for posters etc (

You can find these customised for use within Zoology at Please note that we have recently added a business card template, if you wish to produce your own cards.


Library News

Due to the continuing fire safety issues in the Department, there will be no access to the Library outside of normal opening hours until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Due to scheduled work on the power supply at the University Information Services data centre, all online library services will be unavailable on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March. This will include Newton, LibrarySearch, the University Library web pages, the Libraries gateway, CamTools, DSpace, Janus, and the system supporting access to ejournals and eresources off campus via the ejournals@cambridge and eresources@cambridge gateways. While access via the above services is unavailable, readers are advised to use publishers' websites directly for access to ebooks, ejournals and eresources. To obtain access via a publisher's website to content you may be entitled to as a member of the University, look for the *Shibboleth* login link on publishers' websites.   To login remotely via Shibboleth select "UK Access Management Federation", then "University of Cambridge" from the drop-down list of institutions.  You will be prompted to enter your Raven credentials.

The Balfour & Newton Libraries have a rare book collection of over 8,700 volumes, spanning the 15th to the 20th Centuries, which include many interesting and varied items. Here is a link to the Special Collections section of our website

The Library is offering a tour of the collections to members of the Department on Friday 20th March at 10:45am. The tour will last approximately an hour. There are six places available which are offered on a first come, first served basis. If you would like to come on the tour, please contact Jane Acred as soon as possible.


Museum News

The University Museum of Zoology staff have chosen to support Comic Relief this year. After investigating the theme for 2015 the staff decided that simply making our faces ‘funny for money’ wasn’t enough and so they are making their whole bodies funny by dressing up as the Entomology Collection, pins and all on Friday 13th March. The department can keep an eye out for members of staff dressed up as mosquitos, flies, butterflies, dung beetles and more! We’ll bee dressed up all day, buzzing about and working hard on the redevelopment.

We could really use your help to get as many sponsors as we possibly can. Please sponsor us on my Red Nose Day Giving Page today, it’s instant and secure and will help make the world of difference to people’s lives. We will also be selling cakes in the main tea room from 10.30 so please feel free to come along and buy a cake in aid of fundraising.


University News

Leadership programmes for postdoctoral researchers

Emerging Research Leaders' Development Programme (ERLDP)

WHEN: May - October 2015
WHERE: Postdoc Centre, 16 Mill Lane
ELIGIBILITY: Postdoctoral researchers/research staff in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics (STEMM) disciplines. To be eligible for the programme, it is expected that you will have applied or are aiming to apply for independent research funding and that you are currently responsible for managing/supervising students or others (officially or unofficially). You will also need to demonstrate your motivation for wanting to be a participant on the programme.
DEADLINE: 9am, Thursday 19th March 2015

The Emerging Research Leaders' Development Programme (ERLDP) has been designed for you as a postdoctoral researcher/member of research staff if you are aspiring to achieve research independence in order to lead your own research group and/or to become a research leader in your field through a variety of career pathways including academia. It is a unique opportunity for you to develop and reflect upon your personal leadership style in the context of those who you lead in either an official or unofficial capacity. We will provide tailored training workshops and one-to-one coaching sessions so you can develop solutions relating to your current situation and your future needs.


Leadership in Action 

WHEN: 15 – 17 June 2015
WHERE: Centre for Mathematical Studies, University of Cambridge
ELIGIBILITY: Postdoctoral researchers with up to two years of postdoctoral experience
DEADLINE: Midnight, Friday 20 March 2015

Leadership in Action is a new three day intensive programme led by a director and team of tutors. Every participant will experience leadership in action through case studies in small groups in a supportive, reflective, coached environment. Participants will have the opportunity to explore and develop their leadership potential and the programme focuses on identifying and honing your own leadership styles. Please direct any queries about both programmes to


Bioinformatics Training Events

All scheduled courses currently taking bookings can be found at:

Courses that are currently open and have places free:

Fri 13 Mar 2015 - Bioinformatics: Analysing mapped NGS data with SeqMonk

Mon 16 Mar 2015 - Bioinformatics: Network Analysis - Cytoscape and PSICQUIC

Mon 23 Mar 2015 - Bioinformatics: Using the Ensembl Genome Browser

Tue 24 Mar - Wed 25 Mar 2015 - Bioinformatics: An Introduction to MATLAB

Tue 31 Mar 2015 - Bioinformatics: R object-oriented programming and package development

Thu 9 Apr - Fri 10 Apr 2015 - Introduction to genome variation analysis using NGS

Tue 14 Apr - Wed 15 Apr 2015 - Bioinformatics: An Introduction to Solving Biological Problems with PERL

Thu 16 Apr - Fri 17 Apr 2015 - Bioinformatics: Protein Structure Modelling

Wed 20 May 2015 - Bioinformatics: Introduction to Metabolomics

Thu 28 May 2015 - Bioinformatics: Genome Annotation with Artemis

CULP Language Courses - Easter Enrolment Now Open

Enrolment is now open for Easter Term language courses at the Language Centre.  Open to all current staff and students of the University, the CULP (Cambridge University Language Programmes) courses could be valuable for future employability, open up overseas placement or study opportunities, enhance academic options, or simply enhance your future travel experiences. Courses are available in 12 languages* and in a variety of levels from Basic to Advanced.

To book a place, please visit the online booking system.

* The following languages are available during Easter term.  Others will be available again from Michaelmas 2015.


Life Sciences entrepreneurship programme

An opportunity to get support for your Life Sciences startup

Accelerate Cambridge and AstraZeneca have combined their expertise in entrepreneurship and life sciences to help you start and succeed in your own startup. Whether you are developing a software to design new medicines, building an exciting medical device, or discovering a life-saving drug – apply to our programmes. AstraZeneca will also be highlighting areas of particular interest and focus, as well as general challenges for the Pharma industry that new entrepreneurial ventures might wish to tackle.

If you are interested, but do not have a startup idea yet - come along – we will help you meet like-minded people!

Our events:

What’s on in bio-business – Thursday, 19th March 18:00

o   Listen to AstraZeneca about the new challenges in bio-business and tips on how to become a successful bio-entrepreneur
o   See the programme, and register here

Bio-Startup Weekend – Friday-Sunday 20-22 March:

o   Meet your teammates (if you don’t have the team yet, or if you’re looking for a team to join)
o   Test and launch your bio-business in 54 hours or…
o   …if you don’t have the idea yet – we will inspire you to come up with ideas
o   Click here to read more and register, and enter the DEPT code to get a discount

Pre-Accelerate Programme in Life Sciences: 25th April – 25th June

o   3 months bio-entrepreneurship programme, with life sciences experts to help you create a sustainable bio-business
o   You will be mentored directly by experts from AstraZeneca and others
o   The programme is free of charge
o   Preview the programme, and apply here

If you have any questions, please contact us directly at:


Can you help research into the impact of visual literacy at Cambridge?

I am in the process of researching the impact of visual literacy at Cambridge in connection with a paper that I will be giving along Tanya Zhimbiev, my colleague at Architecture and History of Art, at a conference which will be held in Newcastle on the 8th April.  Our contribution will form part of a panel session which is entitled 'A Picture's Worth: Visual Literacy as a Key Component of Information Literacy' (other panelists include: Megan O'Hearn of ARTstor and Clare Hills-Nova and Victoria Brown of Oxford).

What Tanya and I would like to present is an overview of the ways in which visual literacy is being used in teaching and research specifically at Cambridge and we also hope to assess whether there has been a substantial growth in recent years in such usage. Various questions which spring to mind include the following:

  • The various image sources being used at your faculty/department
  • Where are students and academic staff discovering or obtaining  images or other forms of visual media?
  • How are images/visual media being used, generally?
  • What have you observed to be the value of using images/visual media in university education and research? How can visual resources enhance or even surpass text-based learning?
  • How visually literate do you find your students?
  • How might improved visual literacy enhance student output?
  • Are there any challenges involving the above topics (for example, do students have difficulty identifying the need for images in research, navigating copyright issues, or citing images? Do faculty struggle to find useful images for lectures?)

If you would be willing to reply to any or all of the above in the context of your own experience, it would be very much appreciated.

Also, anything you may care to add/any thoughts/suggestions would be very welcome.

With best wishes, Susanne Jennings