Monday, 18 September 2017

3MT video: Aidan Kashyap talks about his research into diaphragmatic hernia

"The cry of a newborn baby is a symbol of hope", says Aidan Kashyap, PhD candidate in the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS).  Aidan who won the Junior category of the 2017 SCS 3MT competition, talks about his research into diaphragmatic hernia in newborn babies.

SCS researcher—and first woman—receives Excellence in Stroke Award

Professor Thrift
Professor Amanda Thrift from the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health has been recognised for her lifetime contribution to stroke research and overall contribution to the field, receiving the Stroke Society of Australasia’s (SSA) Excellence in Stroke Award.

As part of the Award, Professor Thrift delivered the Excellence in Stroke Oration at the SSA annual scientific meeting in Queenstown, New Zealand last month.

During Professor Thrift’s post-doctoral work, she undertook a large incidence study of stroke in the northern suburbs of Melbourne (the North East Melbourne Stroke Incidence Study: NEMESIS).

“This work resulted in more than 50 publications, contributed to 7 PhD completions and also led to a number of international collaborations, including further work in Iran and Viet Nam, as well as some data pooling studies of individual patient data, one of which included 13 studies in 11 countries,” Professor Thrift said. 

In her Stroke Oration, Professor Thrift presented an overview of the work she has led, including the NEMISIS and STANDFIRM (Shared Team-Approach Between Nurses and Doctors For Improved Risk Factor Management) studies.

One of the key focuses of Professor Thrift’s research is stroke and other chronic diseases in under-privileged settings.

“The study I conducted in Iran was a replica of NEMESIS, and demonstrated the enormous burden in that country, with people having their strokes about a decade earlier than in Australia,” Professor Thrift said.

“Aboriginal Australia also suffers a disproportionate burden of stroke—some of the messages from the Aboriginal people we interviewed for our early research studies were very powerful.”

“One man who lived in a remote community, had no access to rehabilitation, and so he devised his own program which involved riding his bicycle about 120 km per week. His resilience, innovation, and determination was truly remarkable.”

Professor Thrift’s oration also included an overview of how improvements in health can be made in settings where resources are limited.

“In India we taught health workers about hypertension (and other risk factors), and provided them with the skills to teach their local communities how to manage their hypertension—to reduce their chances of having stroke or heart disease,” Professor Thrift said.

Professor Thrift said she was overwhelmed by the honour and recognition of the Award. All prior four awardees have been neurologists.

“I’m particularly honoured to be the first woman to receive the Award, and the first epidemiologist!”

“I’ve been very fortunate to have great colleagues, collaborators and PhD students,” she added. “I would like to acknowledge their enormous contribution as, in reality, this award is not mine alone, but is recognition of our combined research efforts.”

SCS staff recognised in 2017 Dean’s Awards for Excellence

Dr Simone Gibson
Two staff from the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health were recognised recently with Dean’s Awards for Excellence.

Dr Simone Gibson from the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Education (Quality of Teaching) while Ms Ruth Fantozzi, from the Department of Medicine received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Administration.

Dr Gibson, a senior lecturer in the Nutrition and Dietetics courses said of her teaching, she optimises clinical and professional skill development to equip nutrition and dietetic students for work-integrated learning and employment after graduation.

“This award is great in that it recognises the importance of quality teaching at Monash University,” Dr Gibson said.  “I am very humbled as I know there are fantastic educators in our Faculty.”

Ms Ruth Fantozzi
“Achieving this award would not have been possible without the amazing and supportive team in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food,” she added.

Ms Fantozzi provides high-level Executive Assistant support to Professor Peter Ebeling in his role as the Head of the Department of Medicine, as well as for his role as Chair of the Division of Medicine at Monash Health.

Ms Fantozzi said winning this award would not have been possible without the inspiration she’s received from her seniors and colleagues, for whom she has the deepest respect.

“In particular, I would like to thank my boss, Professor Peter Ebeling and our School Manager Dr Eugene Fredericks who have enabled me to challenge myself and perform better at each stage,” Ms Fantozzi said.

Monash researchers’ rebuttal about PCOS overdiagnosis in MJA

Professor Helena Teede
A recent BMJ commentary proposed that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a common and distressing condition affected reproductive aged women, is over-diagnosed.

Monash University and Monash Health researchers Dr Melanie Gibson and Professor Helena Teede from the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation published a rebuttal article last week in the Medical Journal of Australia, along with patients affected by the condition, arguing that the commentary ignored the extensive evidence on PCOS prevalence, delayed diagnosis, complications and PCOS related distress. 

“We have demonstrated that there is no direct evidence that PCOS is over-diagnosed, rather there is substantive literature that PCOS is under-recognised,” Professor Teede said.

“We have compelling evidence that delayed diagnosis and inadequate information provision can be distressing for affected women.”

The research team also outlined an international initiative to improve PCOS diagnosis and outcomes, including a new statewide service of excellence starting at Monash Health in the near future.

Latest Ritchie Centre success stories

Dr Courtney McDonald, Professor Alistair Gunn and
Madison Paton in Osaka
PhD student Madison Paton from The Ritchie Centre participated in the prestigious Australian Academy of Science "Falling Walls Lab Australia Program", an innovative forum for young researchers, last week in Canberra.

Established in 2009, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Falling Walls Lab is an international forum that promotes interdisciplinary connections between aspiring academics, innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and professionals, known for the excellent work.

Participants are given three minutes to present their work.

Madison presented her research into the use of stem cells to assist brain injury in preterm babies. Watch Madison's presentation HERE (go to 1 hour, 19 mins and 30 seconds).

In further news, Madison Paton and Dr Courtney McDonald took out the two major awards at the 44th Annual Meeting of the Fetal and Neonatal Physiological Society Meeting in Osaka, Japan last week.

Madison received the Tanya Gunn prize for best oral presentation by a PhD Student for her talk entitled “Assessing human umbilical cord blood therapy as an early treatment for preterm brain injury”; while Courtney took out the Tanya Gunn prize for best oral presentation by a Post Doc for her talk entitled “Differential effects of umbilical cord blood cells to reduce neuroinflammation following neonatal Hypoxic-Ischaemic brain injury.

Courtney and Madison were ably supported by other members of The Ritchie Centre who gave excellent oral and poster presentations, including a memorable keynote lecture by Flora Wong, Department of Paediatrics and Ritchie Centre entitled “Cerebral haemodynamic functional response in fetus and neonate”

Get ready for the annual SCS trivia extravaganza

As we gear up for the annual SCS Trivia Extravaganza in December, here are some questions to whet your appetites. The first instalment this week is based on TV characters and their shows.  Answers will be published in e-News next week. Enjoy!

MHTP Student Open Days 19 & 20 September

All prospective research students are invited to explore the postgraduate research opportunities (Honours, Masters and Phd projects for 2018 intake) available to you at the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP)

We invite you to two events next month, to discover our research opportunities:

o Tuesday 19 September: MHTP Open Day information session,  4.30pm - 6.30pm, Monash University, Banquet Hall, Campus Centre, Clayton

o Wednesday 20 September: Tour our facilities / meet our supervisors,  4.00 pm - 6.30 pm, Translational Research Facility, (meet at MHRP Building foyer, 43 - 51, Kanooka Grove, Clayton)

For catering purposes, please register for one or both of the events HERE.  

For further information, please contact
o School of Clinical Sciences and Monash Health:
Ms Katherine Marks: E: P: 8572 2595
o Hudson Institute:
Ms Ann Pukallus: E: P: 8572 2699

In the meantime, please take a glance at our available research projects HERE.

And more information about postgraduate studies at MHTP is HERE.