Welcome to the first edition of the ASBTE newsletter for 2011. In this edition we profile two laboratories – the CSIRO labs and Michael Mucalo’s lab at the University of Waikato. We also have a short column on Professor Peter Kingshott who has recently returned to Australian shores after time spent in the US and Europe. In the regular ASBTE student column the reps give a run down on all the exciting activities planned for the upcoming conference in Queenstown, New Zealand (advertisement on the back page). Strangely bungie jumping is not on the list. The students do, however, introduce the ASBTE to the “new media” with an “ASBTE Student and Early Career Researcher Facebook” group which you are encouraged to join. Now we all have an excuse for having Facebook open at work! It’s interesting to see how the Web 2.0 is now being used by scientists not just for serious stuff like the Journal of Visualized Experiments and Robert Langer lectures but as an outlet for scientists with a bit of creative flair such as the recent viral YouTube video “Bad Project” and the “Chicken chicken chicken” presentation (which was a conference presentation of a paper on the same topic). As a final remark, our thoughts go out to those affected by the natural disasters which have hit Christchurch and almost all states in Australia in the last few months. You’ll all be glad to know that our colleagues in Christchurch are reported to be okay after the February earthquakes. There was one humorous story which came out of the US when CNN reported that cyclone Yasi hit Tasmania which was labelled as Queensland on their map. This mistake came about after a reporter googled “Queenstown Australia” which returned the town in Tassie. Of course none of us will make the same mistake when we meet up in Queenstown, New Zealand for the conference in April!