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Curtin University
Note to staff

23 May, 2008


Disasters in Burma and China

Our deepest sympathy to those with family or friends affected by the cyclone devastation in Burma or the earthquake in China.

Tens of thousands of people have died and many remain unaccounted for in both tragedies. Thousands have lost their homes, their families and all their possessions. The devastation experienced in these countries has touched the world, and I encourage you all to consider supporting the various aid agencies which are providing assistance to people in extreme need.

Help is available for any members of the Curtin community personally affected by these tragedies. The University Counselling and Health Services will give priority to students and staff seeking support because of these events and can be contacted on 9266 7850 or

Professor Michael Alpers elected Fellow of the Royal Society

I am very pleased to advise that Professor Michael Alpers of the University’s Centre for International Health has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. This appointment is a rare honour, and recognises researchers who have made an outstanding contribution to science.

Professor Alpers joins only a handful of Australians who have received this award. They include Nobelists Howard Florey and John Eccles, and Australians of the Year Gus Nossal and Frank Fenner, who led the effort to eradicate smallpox. Other noted Fellows include Isaac Newton, Christopher Wren and Charles Darwin.

Professor Alpers was a major contributor to the unravelling of the mystery of prion disease. Prions are proteins whose abnormal forms cause a group of diseases including mad cow disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and kuru. He worked closely with Nobelist Carleton Gajdusek on the kuru problem in Papua New Guinea (PNG) from the early 1960s, and built the PNG Institute of Medical Research in Goroka into a national institution which he led for 23 years. As well as his work on prion diseases, Professor Alpers’ major research interests include malaria, respiratory diseases (pneumonia, asthma), viral diseases of the tropics, and filariasis.

This honour recognises Professor Alpers as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century, and we applaud his many contributions to the advancement of tropical medicine.

Safety on Campus

I would like to extend my appreciation to staff from Curtin Security whose quick responses resulted in arrests by the WA Police following two incidents on campus last week.

Last Wednesday an offender who allegedly stole a wallet from an office in Building 407 was detained by Curtin Security officers before being arrested by Police. On Thursday – with help from the Library’s new closed circuit TV cameras (CCTV) – Security officers tracked down an offender who allegedly stole a student’s lap-top computer from the Library.

It is pleasing to see these positive outcomes from the new technology installed as part of the $2.5 million project to make the campus safer and more secure for students and staff.

In this context, please remember to dial 5 in the event of an emergency, including medical emergencies, to ensure a coordinated and timely response from emergency services personnel. If for any reason you can’t access this number or when calling from a mobile phone, dial 9266 4444. Please remember to also make use of services such as security escorts to cars and the Campus security bus. For these services please call 9266 4444.