Intersect News #24 September 2010

2 Sep 2010

University of Western Sydney joins Intersect

The University of Western Sydney (UWS) has joined Intersect, becoming the ninth university member.

UWS’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), Prof Andrew Cheetham says, “It is clear that eResearch techniques are the way of the future and that our ability to maintain close national and international research collaborations will depend on our eResearch infrastructure.  UWS is very keen to start working in collaboration with Intersect to pursue mutually advantageous strategic priorities in particular to ensure connectivity and exposure of research carried out at UWS”.

Intersect CEO Ian Gibson says, “We welcome the University of Western Sydney to Intersect. UWS brings its research strengths in society, health and the environment, along with a strategic focus on deploying eResearch solutions across its six campuses. We look forward to working with UWS and hope that UWS sees the same high value from Intersect as our other members”.

Breast Cancer Microscopy project update

Research into the prevention and treatment of breast cancer has stepped up with the deployment of Intersect’s latest project. The Breast Cancer Tissue Bank (BCTB) has a strong human tissue-based research focus and is building a large collection of breast cancer specimens to be used for future research.

Built for the University of Sydney, the Westmead Institute for Cancer Research and the Breast Cancer Tissue Bank, and funded by the Australian National Data Service, the project has delivered two major functionalities that save time and optimise the research undertaken by the Westmead Institute for Cancer Research and the BCTB. The first is an image splitter that automates the old time-consuming process of opening a very large image file, and magnifying, selecting and exporting individual tissue image files. Intersect’s automated system splits the files, saves the parts in an industry-standard format, saving many hours in the processing of each file.

The second part of the project automatically creates image thumbnails which can be viewed, zoomed and panned by researchers using the Tissue Bank web interface. The BCTB can now fulfill their aim of making these materials available to researchers.

NCW Beadle Herbarium project begins

The NCW Beadle Herbarium collection contains some 80,000 plant specimens, but the  database that manages this collection can only be used by a single user at a time and cannot be shared with the wider research community. Intersect is upgrading the existing database to a web based relational database that will provide easy access to multiple users, with defined privileges, both on and off campus. The risk of data loss will be eliminated, data errors will be reduced and printing labels will be simplified. The new database will also allow for linking to images in other web based databases as well as the ability to enter latitude-longitude data and output the data in the range of required formats. The new system will be hosted by Intersect.

The technology developed for this project provides a model for other herbaria wanting to solve similar problems.

University of Melbourne to lead $47M Super Science project

A major component of the Super Science Initiatives will now be led by the University of Melbourne. The $47 million four-year National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources (NeCTAR) project will develop infrastructure to boost national eResearch collaborations and simplify the combined use of instruments, data, computing and analysis applications. Prof Geoffrey Taylor, from the University’s School of Physics, has been appointed Interim Director of NeCTAR.

The eResearch components of the Super Science initiative are intended to enhance collaboration, improve networks, manage massive data assets and support sharing of more data, with faster analysis and better modeling. For more information see: and

National Research Network announced

In response to growing research needs, the Commonwealth Government announced the allocation of $37 million to extend and upgrade the Australian Research and Education Network (AREN) in the 2009-2010 Budget.  After consultation earlier this year the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research has now identified and released the priority investments, published here:


Intersect seeks a Business Development Manager, software engineers and eResearch analysts. For more information, see

kind regards
Leonie Hellmers

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