Want to see what a normal distribution looks like?

This “statistics in slow motion” video is the best visual example that I have seen for understanding how statistics and probability work! It is highly unlikely that all of the beads will end up at the edges in any experiment – most will end up in the middle (i.e. normal distribution).

Wild Populations of Tasmanian Devils Continue to Decline, Study Shows | Biology | Sci-News.com



Devils + jellyfish + molecular biology = immunology tools

Lighting up fluorescent proteins in person is more fun, but images from the prototype #fluorobox I designed for #ScienceWorthSeeing event give you the idea.


Listen to the ABC radio interview of @WildImmunity for the Science Worth Seeing event


The #ScienceWorthSeeing event was a huge success. Click here to listen to Andy’s ABC radio interview leading up to the event.

Thanks to the University of Tasmania (@UTAS_), Inspiring Australia (@inspiringaus), IMAS (@IMASUTAS) and all Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary (@BonorongTAS) for hosting the event.

Latest news from the field about the Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease #DFTD

Important take aways from a long-term analysis of devil facial tumour disease #DFTD
1. “these results indicate that plasticity in devil life history traits, that are triggered by reduced densities, have allowed them to persist with the disease to date”
2. “results show that prevalence increased in 1-year-old devils with years since DFTD. Our results support the idea that the frequency of encounter in young devils increases as they breed younger and therefore increases their chances of contracting DFTD”
3. “precocial breeding may be a powerful offset to DFTD. We suspect that the rate of precocial breeding and the number of pouch young per female may be near maximum capacity in response to the reduced densities caused by DFTD”

Short radio interview on ABC radio Hobart about our devil facial tumour research


Click here to listen to the interview @abchobart. Skip ahead 1 hour 45 minutes to hear about the Tasmanian devils.

Let’s learn about the Remarkable Tasmanian devil together on Sunday, Feb 4 at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery! 


Dr Andrew Flies @WildImmunity will be presenting and learning about the iconic Tasmanian devil @TasMuseum  @UTAS_ @ResearchMenzies

We will be investigating checkpoint molecules and cytokines in a 3 year ARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellowship for Dr Andrew Flies

Generalized schematic of checkpoint molecule structure and expression, and the balance between stimulatory and inhibitory signaling

Looking for motivated students for Tasmanian devil immunology research

Title: Tipping the balance from tolerance to anti-cancer immunity in Tasmanian devils

Project description:

A transmissible cancer first identified in 1996 has been the primary driver for an 85% decline in wild Tasmanian devils. Recently a second type of transmissible tumour was discovered in wild devils and further threatens the long-term persistence of wild Tasmanian devils. These two transmissible tumours offer a unique opportunity to learn how tumours avoid being killed by the immune system, and the knowledge we acquire from studying these transmissible tumours could have help us to understand cancer and transplant rejection in humans and other species. We have recently developed cutting-edge molecular tools (i.e. recombinant cytokines and checkpoint molecules) for studying and manipulating the devil immune system. The goal of this project will be to assess functional responses of tumour cells and immune cells to cytokines and manipulation of checkpoint molecule and cytokine signalling pathways at the RNA and protein levels. Bioinformatics skills are highly desirable, but not essential.


1. Determine most effective methods for stimulating anti-tumour immune responses using

existing tools.

2. Identify novel immune evasion pathways using RNA-seq


Dr Andy Flies (andy.flies@utas.edu.au)

ARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellow

The Tasmanian devil immunology team stars in a Betta Milk commercial

Thanks to Betta Milk (Frank) for help to Save the Tasmanian Devil. https://bettamilk.com.au/gallery/save-tassie-devil/