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How are birds faring In our cities?

Young researchers discuss their diverse work on the behaviour of urban wildlife and mimicking our digestive systems to create better detergents

In our annual PhD episode, we chat with two young researchers on their diverse investigations. We hear from bioscientist Anne Aulsebrook, who is looking at how urban lighting and light pollution is impacting the health and behaviour of wild birds that make their home in our cities. We also speak to chemical engineer Mitcholl Nothling about his research into how enzymes like those found in our digestive systems could be harnessed to create sustainable and more efficient detergents.

Presented by Dr Andi Horvath.

Full transcript and more information available here.


Mitchell D. Nothling is a final year PhD candidate in the Melbourne School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Luke Connal. He is a John Stocker Postgraduate Scholar and an Endeavour Research Fellow and has recently returned from an extended research visit at the University of California Santa Barbara in the laboratory of Prof. Craig Hawker. Mitchell gained his undergraduate degrees at the Queensland University of Technology, before joining a large, multi-national mining company in various engineering and technical advisory roles. Mitchell has broad research interests in catalysis, biomimicry, chemical education and communication. As a PhD candidate, Mitchell is conducting novel synthetic chemistry research yielding new catalytic materials for industry based on the function of nature’s best catalysts – enzymes.

Anne Aulsebrook is a PhD candidate from the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne. Her research, supervised by Professor Raoul Mulder, Dr Therésa Jones (University of Melbourne) and Dr John Lesku (LaTrobe University), is currently exploring how artificial light at night affects urban birds. She is particularly interested in how streetlights affect circadian (day-night) rhythms, including sleep. Anne has been interviewed for ABC Radio National, 3RRR, ABC Adelaide and Lateral Magazine, and has written articles for scientific engagement platforms such as Wild Melbourne and Pursuit. In 2016, Anne was awarded Runner Up in the University of Melbourne Three Minute Thesis Competition.

Banner image: Darren Copley/Flickr

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