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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 June 2014

In this issue

Department News

Library News

Museum News

University News


Department News

Congratulations to..

Many congratulations to Chris Jiggins on the award of a Personal Professorship, and Walter Federle on the award of a Readership in this year's Academic Promotions exercise.

A great achievement. Well done both.


Madingley BBQ - 13 June -  tickets and taxis still available!

Tickets for the traditional annual BBQ at Madingley this Friday 13th June are still available from reception (£4) , and if you would like to go by taxi, they will leave Zoology at 5.30pm and return from Madingley at 9pm - please email to sign up!


Special Seminars in Ecology and Evolution

The Department of Zoology will be hosting a special seminar series in Ecology and Evolution between the 13th and 27th June.

All will be held in the Main Lecture Theatre at 12pm, and everyone is welcome to attend. They cover a diverse range of topics, and promise to be fascinating.  


Fri 13th JuneProfessor Nina Wedell, Professor of Evolutionary Biology, University of Exeter (Penryn Campus)

‘Selfish genetic elements and insect mating systems.’

**Postdocs and graduate students are requested to attend a free sandwich lunch in the First Floor Seminar Room following this talk**

Wed 18th June  - Professor Eske WillerslevProfessor and Director of Centre of Excellence in GeoGenetics, National History Museum, University of Copenhagen

Modern and ancient genetics as a means to understand migrations, population dynamics and environmental changes.’


Fri 20th June  - Professor Andrew Balmford, Professor of Conservation Science, University of Cambridge, Department of Zoology

 ‘Feeding the world without costing the earth.’


Tue 24th JuneProfessor Rebecca Kilner, Professor of Evolutionary Biology, University of Cambridge, Department of Zoology

‘Life after death: Social evolution in a grave.’

Fri 27th June - Professor Anne Yoder, Professor and Director of the Duke Lemur Centre, Duke University

‘Why are there so many mouse lemur species? Complexities and conundrums in linking genotype to phenotype.


Request for Cabbage white eggs

Hannah Rowland would like to ask those of you with vegetable patches, allotments etc., to search your brassica plants for eggs and caterpillars of the large white butterfly (see photos).

If you find any please either contact Hannah or, better still, take the leaf with the eggs attached and bring it into work.


Library News

There is a new rare book on display in the Library. For further information, see the post on the Library blog.












Museum News

Saturday 14 June, 11am-5pm - Arbury Carnival 

Come and have a look into the jaws of animals from the circle of life at our Lion King marquee, as part of Arbury Carnival’s ‘Musicals’ theme. Free, drop-in, family activities.

Friday 27 June, 5pm – Saturday 28 June, 5pm - BioBlitz 2014

This year’s 24 hour nature survey will be held in the beautiful grounds at Madingley Hall. Come along for pond dipping, insect hunting, moth trapping and much more, all with experts on hand to talk to. Free, bookable and drop-in activities for all. Bookings are now live 

Saturday 5 July, 12pm-5pm - Fun Lab

Keep an eye on the Cambridge University What’s On page for this year’s programme. There will be free, drop-in activities for all the family on Parker’s Piece as Cambridge prepares itself for the Tour de France.

Inside the Cocoon blog:

Animal Bytes website:

Store Stories blog:


University News

WOMEN FIT FOR AMBITION: Opting Out or Being Left Out - Do women really lack ambition?


Following last year’s popular talk ‘Uncovering the Glass Cliff’, Professor Michelle Ryan, University of Exeter, returns to present a series of studies to contradict the claim that women actively choose to opt-out of particular roles and particular sectors due to an innate lack of ambition and commitment. Michelle will demonstrate that women's ambition erodes over time because perceptions of fit and belonging reduce with experience.

To book:


British Council Film of Cambridge in 1945

A charming video showing footage of the University and colleges in 1945:


PI Research Grant Training: Full Economic Costing and Income Allocation Policy briefing sessions

As part of the Research Operations Office Training Strategy (ROOTS) and co-presented by Finance; following sessions are scheduled for:

Wednesday 18 June 09:30-11:00am at Clinical School, Seminar Room 3
Repeated Thursday 19 June 09:30-11:00am at Mill Lane Lecture Theatres, Lecture Room 7

The briefing is relevant to all staff involved in research grants, particularly those new to the University or wishing to increase their understanding of University policy and its impact on research grants. Content includes:

      • Clarity on definitions of Direct costs and Indirect costs
      • What the PI should be aware of at application stage
      • What information might the Head of Department need to know before approving the application
      • What questions the Departmental Administrator may ask before submitting the application
      • How the Income Allocation Policy apportions overheads between the Department and the University

It is not necessary to book for this event, please just turn up!

2014 Biotechnology YES - Call for Applications Open

YES is an innovative competition for early career researchers which raises awareness of the commercialisation of ideas from the biosciences.

The Biotechnology YES competition encompasses different themed workshops such as BioMedical YES, Chemistry YES, Food YES and Plant, Microbial and Environment.

Key Features:

* Participants form teams of 4 or 5
* Each team devises a business plan for a company based on hypothetical science
* The team presents their plan to a 'panel' of investors

Application deadline - 13 June
Briefing session to introduce the scheme - 13 August
A three day workshop encompassing presentations and mentoring sessions from leading figures in industry - workshops held in October and November.

Register at

A14 Carriageway and Lane closures - Junctions 31 to 32 (Girton to Histon Pinch-point Scheme)

You may recall receiving ‘Works Information Notices’ about the start of the above works and a series of overnight lane and carriageway closures to prepare for the establishment of site traffic management, safe designated working areas and the commissioning of temporary speed cameras for the construction of an additional lane in each direction. 

The project start-up or enabling works are now complete and the planned widening works will continue during normal day-time working hours and behind the recently installed safety barriers.  As the work progresses two narrow lanes will be maintained in both directions with a 50 mph speed limit that will be enforced with average speed cameras.

The work programme should now continue without night-time carriageway closures for some months before the final resurfacing works and project demobilisation. However, should further night-time closures be required you will be informed with good notice.

Regular updates on progress throughout construction can be found on the Highways Agency website -

The Impact of Gender

Thursday, 19th June 2014

2pm to 4pm

Marquee on Senate House Lawn, Senate House Hill, Cambridge

Hosted by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, the Impact of Gender will review the work of the University in progressing gender equality and explore the career experiences and perspectives of individuals from different professions.

Speakers include:

      • Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders
      • Olympian, Anna Watkins
      • Author of ‘The Meaning of Success’, Jo Bostock
      • University Gender Equality Champion, Professor Dame Athene Donald
      • Pro Vice Chancellor (Institutional Affairs), Professor Jeremy Sanders

To book a place, please visit:-

All members of the University are welcome to attend this event.

If you have any questions about access or individual needs please contact Diane Jeffery on  or on (01223) 765 304.

The World in Cambridge

Thursday, 19th June 2014

5pm  to 7.30pm

Marquee on Senate House Lawn, Senate House Hill, Cambridge

Marking the launch of InterConnect, an initiative to celebrate the breadth of Cambridge’s cultural diversity, The World in Cambridge is an evening of music, performances and talks from around the world.  

To book a place, please visit:-

Contributors and Performers include:

      • Dr Julian Huppert MP
      • Jake Bowers, Journalist and historian
      • Professor Roel Sterckx
      • Kusam Leal
      • Colm McGonigle, Harpist
      • Liting Cai, Pipa player
      • Irish Dancers
      • Daljit Nagra, Comedian
      • Greek Poetry
      • Justina Ogunseitan, Singer 
      • Chinese Lion Dance
      • French and Spanish music
      • DJ Shaun ‘The Spats’ Owen / Cambridge Heavy Soul

All are welcome to attend this event. A drinks reception will follow with canapés reflecting the different food cultures from around the globe.

If you have any questions about access or individual needs please contact Diane Jeffery on  or on (01223) 765 304.


CU Students: Summer Schools Offer 2014

Following the success of their 90th Anniversary, the University of Cambridge International Programmes are once again offering University of Cambridge students the chance to join their short, specialist Summer Schools taught by renowned academics from Cambridge and other guest subject specialists. This is a unique opportunity for students to study alongside people of all ages and from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Courses are being offered at a significant discount (40% off for current University of Cambridge students in full-time education), on a non-residential, first come, first served basis.

Completed applications and full payment must be received before 24 June 2014. Contact for further details. Full course details and course outlines are available on the website: