Monday, 2 November 2015

Monash Translational Research Symposium


The inaugural Monash Translational Research Symposium hosted by Central Clinical School on 30 September was a big success, with outstanding clinician-researchers telling the stories of how basic science is necessary to inform the development of successful therapeutic and clinical interventions. 

The 2016 symposium will be hosted by the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health.

See more:

Photo of the week

Click on the image, for an enlarged version

Monash researchers receive $1.1 million for dementia research

Samantha Barton
Two researchers at the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP) were awarded highly competitive grants for dementia research in the latest round of NHMRC and ARC funding announcements.

Dr Chris Moran and Ms Samantha Barton have both received joint National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) - Australian Research Council (ARC) Dementia Research Development Fellowships totaling more than $1.1 million.

A geriatrician at Monash Health, Dr Moran is an Early Career Clinical Fellow and senior lecturer in the Stroke and Ageing Research Group, School of Clinical Sciences.
Dr Chris Moran

Dr Moran’s research focuses on the relationship between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia.


“In my previous research I have shown that diabetes is associated with brain shrinkage and that this may be due to processes similar to that seen in Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr Moran.

To date, I’ve examined the links between diabetes and brain shrinkage at a single point in time and this fellowship will allow me to examine whether diabetes affects brain shrinkage over time.”

Dr Moran will also investigate new mechanisms such as the role of inflammation, and oxidative stress as well as how genes may contribute to the increased risk of dementia in those with type 2 diabetes.
“Better understanding of these mechanisms will help guide prevention and treatments of dementia,” he added.

Also at MHTP, Samantha Barton who has recently completed her PhD at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research will investigate causative mechanisms involved in frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common type of dementia.

“FTD is a progressive, incurable and ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disease,” said Ms Barton.

“An improved understanding of the biology involved in FTD is required in order to develop neuroprotective and reparative treatments that will slow, stop and ultimately repair neurodegeneration.”


Current research has identified the degeneration of the brain in FTD may not be entirely due to nerves themselves and could actually be partly attributed to the surrounding cells within the brain. One of these cell types are oligodendrocytes, critical for nerve maintenance and myelination.

“To date, oligodendrocytes have been highlighted as playing a role in other neurodegenerative diseases but haven’t yet been investigated in FTD and my research will investigate the role of oligodendrocytes in FTD,” added Ms Barton.

Thanks to this fellowship, Ms Barton will spend two years at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, UK and then two years at the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Division, The Ritchie Centre in Melbourne, investigating the use of stem cell therapy for nerve damage in FTD.
Ms Barton said she aims to help patients suffering these debilitating illnesses and give them hope by identifying the underlying causes of dementia.

“It is only through identifying cause of disease that we can identify potential therapeutic targets.”

Monash haematologist recognised for leading myeloma research

Associate Professor Shortt
Monash haematologist and researcher Associate Professor Jake Shortt was awarded the prestigious Myeloma Australia prize for the top preclinical myeloma research presentation at the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand (HAA) meeting in Adelaide last week.

Associate Professor Shortt is clinical lead for leukaemia and myelodysplasia at Monash Health and Head of Haematology Research at the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP).

At the HAA annual meeting, Associate Professor Shortt presented his new research findings in the Presidential Symposium. 

“My research group has discovered a new epigenetic mechanism of action for thalidomide analogues, which are used widely in the clinic to treat myeloma,” said Associate Professor Shortt.

“Despite many years of clinical use, and the infamous causation of birth defects over half a century ago, the way thalidomide worked at a molecular level was unknown for many years.”

By looking at the way certain genes change in myeloma cells after thalidomide treatment, Associate Professor Shortt’s group identified that the thalidomide analogues target a key epigenetic ‘reader protein’ for destruction.   This impairs the ability of a myeloma cell to access critical regions of DNA.

“MHTP through the Department of Haematology was very well represented at the HAA meeting, with seven oral and 18 poster presentations,” added Associate Professor Shortt.

Also an acknowledgement of the research strength at the precinct, Unit Head of Clinical Haematology at Monash Health, Associate Professor Stephen Opat was appointed President of the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand (HSANZ).


Monash doctor and refugee advocate receives Distinguished Alumni Award

Associate Professor Andrew Block
Associate Professor Andrew Block was recognised at the University’s Distinguished Alumni Awards this week for his outstanding work with refugees and disadvantaged people.

Awarded by Chancellor of Monash University Dr Alan Finkel AO on 28 October, Associate Professor Block was one of 11 faculty recipients of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards that celebrate the outstanding achievements and exceptional qualities of Monash alumni worldwide. 

A clinician-leader with joint appointments at Monash Health and the University in the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Associate Professor Andrew Block was was appointed as Director of General Medicine at Dandenong Hospital in 2006.  In 2010 he began as Director of Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health at Dandenong Hospital.

“I have enjoyed the privilege of being a Monash alumnus for the last 19 years, and particularly the last nine years as an active contributor to the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, said Associate Professor Block.

“I have always found Monash University to support innovation, be agile with opportunity and embody the culture and spirit of inquiry needed for the nation's future thought leaders.”

Associate Professor Block said that recent developments with Monash Partners and the Academic Health Science Centres see us poised to take a place amongst the world's elite learning institutions.

Read more about Associate Professor Block and his work with refugees here.


Monash National Diabetes Centre of Excellence

Professor Helena Teede
A new Centre of Excellence in diabetes at Monash has been accredited by the National Association of Diabetes Centres (NADC).

Monash Diabetes in association with the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI), a collaborative Centre across the School of Public Health Monash University and Monash Health, have been accreditation as a ‘National Diabetes Centre of Excellence’.

“Accreditation recognises Monash Diabetes and MCHRI as a provider of excellence across all categories including clinical care, education, service advocacy, research and national leadership in the area of diabetes,” said MCHRI Director Professor Helena Teede.

Already acknowledged as a leader in diabetes research, Professor Sophia Zoungas is Chair of the NADC and Monash Health / MCHRI hold the federal government contract for national data collection, quality indicators, benchmarking and reporting.

“We are now accredited for four years and are the only accredited Centre of excellence in Victoria. Our work was specifically cited for consumer engagement in research and clinical care design and delivery,” added Professor Teede, who is also Executive Director Monash Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre.

“Our success in attaining this accreditation can be attributed to all the members of the Monash Health and Monash University team who work very hard to deliver in all critical areas.” said Deputy Director Dr Georgia Soldartos.
“Special thanks must go to Helena Teede for her vision and leadership,” said Diabetes Clinical Director, Dr Jennifer Wong.

“Together we have transformed Monash Diabetes over the last ten years and established and grown the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation.” Professor Teede noted.

Ten years ago Monash Diabetes included one inpatient service, three ambulatory care services at Monash Medical Centre and a small pharmaceutical research program.

“We have built this to five inpatient and 26 ambulatory care services and have co-developed these services with our partners and patient groups to increase services overall by 800%,” said Professor Teede.

Monash Diabetes now provide approximately 40,000 episodes of care per year from Monash Link in the community Health setting to Koo Wee Rup in a regional hospital setting.

While rapidly expanding their services to patients, Professor Teede and her team have also developed an internationally recognised and competitively funded research program within MCHRI, and the team has a significant national and international leadership profile.

“We remain one of the only operationally integrated interdisciplinary units in the country with no staff working in silos.” said Lorraine Marom, Monash Diabetes Nurse Practitioner.


The Monash Diabetes team would like to acknowledge the support of Monash Health, Monash University and Monash Partners over this time.

Monash University ranked 35 in the world in Clinical medicine

Clinical medicine at Monash University has continued its rise in the international rankings, according to results released this month by Times Higher Education.

Ranked an impressive 35 in the world in clinical, preclinical medicine and health, Monash has jumped from 46 last year, while the University overall rose to achieve a ranking of 73, out of 800 institutions in the 2015-16 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Professor Eric Morand, Head of Monash University's School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health observed we have improved our performance across all five performance pillars: teaching, research, citations, industry income, and international outlook.

Professor Morand said the rankings rise reflected the University’s consistent focus on excellence in research and teaching, and international and industry engagement.

The University recognises its education and research partnerships with its major teaching hospitals as an absolutely key component of its ongoing success in the world rankings.”

Monash Health is the university's largest clinical placement partner,” added Professor Morand.  

“Both sides of this partnership not only contribute to this success, but ultimately benefit from it—virtue of the effect of rankings attracting better students who become the health professional staff of Monash Health.”


“The leadership of Monash Partners Academic Health ScienceCentre has been pivotal in this result,” said Dean and Academic Vice-President of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University, Professor Christina Mitchell.

Monash sleep researchers well represented at Sleep DownUnder

Dr Sarah Biggs
Researchers from The Ritchie Centre’s Infant and Child Health group and the Melbourne Children's Sleep Centre, Monash Children’s Hospital attended Sleep DownUnder, the annual scientific meeting of the Australasian Sleep Association and the Australasian Sleep Technologists Association held at the Melbourne Convention Centre last week.

In the largest meeting ever held, the group of Monash researchers presented 14 of the 49 Paediatric sleep presentations, including a plenary talk by Associate Professor Gillian Nixon and two researchers winning prizes.

“Sleep DownUnder saw over 700 expert sleep clinicians and scientists from Australia and New Zealand come together to share the latest advancements and innovations in the world of sleep science and clinical practice,” said conference Chair Dr Sarah Biggs from The Ritchie Centre.

The diverse five-day program included a variety of professional development courses across a number of specialties such as dentistry, surgery, occupational health and safety, nursing, and cardiology.

“There were also three solid days of presentations by both international and local experts on every facet of sleep health from sleep apnoea, insomnia, and narcolepsy through to the damaging effects of stimulants and using electronics in the bedroom on sleep,” added Dr Biggs. 

Neonatal trainee Dr Katharine Jamieson who worked this year in the Melbourne Children’s Sleep Centre at Monash Children’s Hospital won the best poster prize for the advanced trainee section.

Dr Jamieson’s project, ‘Understanding respiratory compromise on the first post-operative night after paediatric adenotonsillectomy- the contribution of downloadable oximetry recordings’ aims to understand more about the serious respiratory complications that some children have during their recovery from adenotonsillectomy for obstructive sleep apnoea.

“We measured children’s oxygen levels overnight on the first night after their surgery and compared the result to the tests they had before the surgery, allowing us to see how quickly the sleep apnoea improves after surgery,” said Associate Professor Nixon.

“It also helps us better predict who might run into trouble with their breathing during their recovery from surgery and helps us plan the care of children having this operation in the future.”

This work is part of ongoing collaboration between specialists in the departments of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, ENT and Anaesthesia at Monash Health that aims to optimise care of children having adenotonsillectomy for obstructive sleep apnoea.

Also acknowledged at the meeting for her research, Dr Lisa Walter from The Ritchie Centre was awarded the Early Career travel award to attend the American Sleep Meeting in Denver in 2016.

Professor Rosemary Horne congratulated conference Chair Dr Sarah Biggs for organising a fantastic meeting.





Tour through the new TRF

The newly completed bridge link
connecting the TRF to MMC.
Join one of the weekly tours through the newly completed Translational Research Facility, every Friday.

Weekly tours will depart from outside Lecture Theatre 1 at Monash Medical Centre. Tours depart 10:05am sharp every Friday and are one hour in duration. Bookings are not necessary, just show up by 10am.

Tours will be guided by either Steve Bouralexis or Eddie Law or both depending on numbers and will showcase the design elements, occupancy and purpose behind the TRF.

For more information, contact Steve Bouralexis, MHTP Operations and Facilities Manager on 9594 4325.

Increase your media coverage – update Expertline

Message from the Provost and Senior Vice-President Professor Edwina Cornish AO.
As you know, a key element of our strategic plan is to improve our brand reputation through global recognition of our research and expertise. One way we are able to do this is to ensure we generate a high level of media coverage both domestically and internationally.
Our media team, and external journalists, rely upon Expertline; a searchable database of staff who are willing to talk to the media on their areas of expertise.
By being available for media comment, you are building your external profile as well as further enhancing our reputation by promoting the teaching and research capabilities across the University.
I encourage you to either update your details if you already appear on Expertline, or add yourself to the database to participate in media activity in the future.
Please include a mobile number so that we are able to more easily contact you. Rest assured that mobile numbers are stored securely and we will not share externally without checking with you first.
I appreciate your input and thank you for taking the time to update Expertline.
Kind regards,
Professor Edwina Cornish AO
Provost and Senior Vice-President

SCS calendar news - subscribe now!!


What's on for the week (2-6 Nov)

Wed04/11/201511:00 AMSCS Postgraduate Student Open Forum #3
Wed04/11/201512:30 PMGrand Rounds: The Art and Science of Seizure Management: A Journey through Wonderland
Thu05/11/201509:00 AMFRLP Module 8 - Project Closeout (ECRs)




Forthcoming events (7-22 Nov)

Mon 09/11/2015 12:15 PM ECR symposium
12:00 PM WEHI Centenary Seminar Series: Dr Eric Betzig "Imaging life at high spatiotemporal resolution"
12:00 PM WEHI Centenary Seminar Series: Dr Eric Betzig 
Tue 10/11/2015 01:00 PM PhD Pre-Submission Seminar - Anita Pinar
01:00 PM CiiiD Seminar Series
Fri 13/11/2015 09:00 AM Monash/Alfred Quality Improvement: Measurable and Immeasurable, challenges for the Generalist 
03:00 PM SCS staff meeting followed by drinks
Tue 17/11/2015 01:00 PM CiiiD Seminar Series
Fri 20/11/2015 12:15 PM PhD Student Showcase Symposium





Tue 03/11/2015 01:00 PM CiiiD Seminar Series





CID seminar tomorrow: "Therapeutic targeting of MR signaling in kidney disease".

The next CID Seminar will be held on Tuesday 3rd November from 12:00-13:00 in the Medicine Seminar Room Located on Level 5, Block E MMC.

Dr Greg Tesch will be presenting:  "Therapeutic targeting of MR signaling in kidney disease".

Grand Rounds Wednesday 4 November "The Art and Science of Seizure Management: A Journey through Wonderland"

Neurology/Stroke Unit presents Dr Udaya Seneviratne,
The Art and Science of Seizure Management: A Journey through Wonderland

Wednesday 4 November 12.30-1.30pm
Main Lecture Theatre, MMC

Flyer attached here with details.

Hudson Seminar and student pizza lunch: Thursday 5 November (LT1, 4-5pm): Prof Andrew Perkins

Next week's (Thurs 5 November) Hudson Seminar will be held from 4-5 pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Monash Medical Centre.

The speaker will be: Prof Andrew Perkins, Head of Blood Cancers Program, Mater-Uni Qld and Translational Research Institute.

There will be two events associated with his visit:
  • Student Pizza lunch: 1pm-2pm, de Kretser concourse, level 3, Hudson Institute (all students welcome)
  • Seminar: 4-5pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Monash Medical Centre
Talk title: "Kruppeling erythropoiesis: new insights into human congenital anaemias from genomics".


Light refreshments to follow presentation outside the Lecture Theatre.

https://drive.google.com/a/monash.edu/file/d/0B92XpnsEpkxYWEttbFE0S2JLRzg/view?usp=sharing

Statistics for Clinical Research, 12 November at AMREP

Professor Vaux
Help for the desperate: Statistics for Clinical Research, presented by the Victorian Clinician Researcher Network (VCRN).  Speaker: Professor David Vaux, WEHI

Thursday 12 November, 5 - 6.30pm at the Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct, 55 Commercial Rd, Prahran

Flyer attached here with details.

Kaarene Fitzgerald Public Lecture 7 December: "Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy: 2015 update"

This year's Kaarene Fitzgerald public lecture will be held at Monash Health, Clayton campus, Monday 7th December, 2015 from 7 - 9pm.

Guest speakers include Professor Ed Mitchell and Professor Jeanine Young.

Professor Ed Mitchell  will present:
  •         Left is right: Should we advise pregnant women to sleep on the left?
  •         Hot off the press:  recent advances in SUDI research        
Professor Jeanine Young will present:
  •         Safe sleep advice to safe sleep action; enabling safe infant sleep thorough delivery of culturally competent care for high risk Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in urban, regional and remote QLD
If you would like to register, please email lisieux.jones@monash.edu or see flyer here for additional details.

Women in Medicine and Science: "Unconscious bias and the role of men in levelling the playfield"

Professor Wood
The next session of the Women in Medicine and Science Program is to be held on 12 November from 12-1 pm in Lecture Theatre 1, Monash Medical Centre.
The topic is unconscious bias and the role of men in levelling the playfield.

The session will be presented by Professor Robert Wood from the Melbourne Business School and will be moderated by Prof Helena Teede.

Details are in the attached flyer.

Gender Equity and STEMM

Monash University's participation in Athena SWAN pilot

Monash University has been selected to participate in the Science in Australian Gender Equity (SAGE) Pilot of the Athena SWAN Charter. The Charter, led by the Academy of Science, aims to address under-representation of women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine) disciplines through a transparent, evidence-based system of gender equity accreditation.
Monash is now commencing its work under Athena SWAN to qualify for the Bronze institutional award, in recognition of the University’s commitment to bolster women’s leadership roles within STEMM fields. The pilot aligns with the University’s strategic focus on improving the representation of women in STEMM and will allow us to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement, which will be as subject to rigorous peer-review from mid-2017.

An opportunity to find out more
An open session for staff and students to learn about the aims of the pilot, facilitated by Dr Zuleyka Zevallos, Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Project Manager, will be held on: Monday 9 November 2015 from 10am-12pm at South One Lecture Theatre, 43 Rainforest Walk, Clayton.

Topics will include: ·         Changing the gender equity landscape in STEMM ·         Objectives of the SAGE Pilot ·         Purpose and benefits of Athena SWAN Awards ·         Bronze Institutional Application process and the SAGE Pilot program ·         How students, faculty members, staff and leaders can get involved.

To register your attendance, please RSVP through this link.

NHMRC Standard Equipment Grants for 2015 - CALL FOR APPLICATIONS


NHMRC Standard Equipment Grants are now open for application and we have been advised that a sum of $599,485 has been allocated to FMNHS for 2015.  

The NHMRC has clearly defined objectives for awarding Equipment Grant funding, which are:

The need for institutions to be strategic in the purchase of larger items of equipment that will benefit health and medical research in Australia; 
Institutions are encouraged to support equipment that will be used collaboratively; and
Where possible, Australian-made equipment should be purchased.

DoD Neurotoxin Exposure Treatment Parkinson's Research Program

Defense Health Program 

Neurotoxin Exposure Treatment Parkinson's Research Program
Funding Opportunities for Fiscal Year 2015


The Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) Defense Appropriations Act provides $16 million (M) to the Department of Defense Neurotoxin Exposure Treatment Parkinson's Research (NETPR) Program to provide support for research of exceptional scientific merit leading to an understanding of the cause, prevention, and treatment of the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the Substantia nigra that result in Parkinson's disease (PD). Applications to the FY15 NETPR Program will be solicited by the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA). The managing agent for the anticipated Program Announcements/Funding Opportunities is the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). 

PhD Pre-Submission Seminar - Anita Pinar

Title: The Role of the Inflammasome and Interleukin-1beta in Inflammatory Disease

Main supervisor: Dr Ashley Mansell
Associate supervisor: A/Prof Grant Drummond
Panel chair: Prof. Michael Hickey
Independent assessors: Dr. Anthony Sadler and Dr. Jim Harris
Date:Tue 10 Nov 2015 13:00 – 14:00
Venue:Hudson Institute, Level 3 Boardrooms, MIMR Building

Yoga classes at MMC starting this Wednesday. Register TODAY

You are invited to participate in a Staff Wellbeing and Activity Program (SWAP) being held for Faculty of Medicine Staff at Monash Medical Centre.  Suitable for all fitness levels this is a great opportunity to get active and stretch those tired muscles at work.  

Yoga: increases strength, energy and vitality through dynamic movement with meditation designed to improve body awareness, physiological and anatomical alignment.

 Dates:  4, 11,18,25 November 2,9 December  from 12.05-12.50pm
VENUE:  Boardroom A & B level 3 MIMR/ Hudson Building, Monash Medical Centre

Cost:  $28.50 for the first SWAP class for the year or $57 full price

To register, follow the process below (registrations and payment due by close of business TODAY):

New low disease activity target defined in SLE

Eric Morand in Nature Reviews Rheumatology.

Read article here.

Nurses' resilience and nurturance of the self

David Kissane et al. published in the International Journal of Palliative Nursing.

Read article here.

Low rates of endocarditis in healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia suggest that echocardiography might not always be required

Tony Korman et al. published in the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Read article here.

Ontogenetic Change in the Regional Distribution of Dehydroepiandrosterone-Synthesizing Enzyme and the Glucocorticoid Receptor in the Brain of the Spiny Mouse (Acomys cahirinus)

Hayley Dickinson et al. published in Developmental Neuroscience.

Read article here.

Potential cost-savings may be considerable with management of hypertension according to updated US hypertension guidelines, but for women aged 35-44 years these benefits are unlikely

Dominic Cadilhac et al. published in Evidence-Based Medicine.

Read article here.

Physical Activity in Vietnam: Estimates and Measurement Issues.

Velandai Srikanth et al. published in PLoS One.

Read article here.

Dummy/pacifier use in preterm infants increases blood pressure and improves heart rate control

Flora Wong et al. published in Pediatric Research.

Read article here.

The perfusion index of healthy term infants during transition at birth

Stuart Hooper et al. published in the European Journal of Pediatrics.

Read article here.

Combination therapy targeting ribosome biogenesis and mRNA translation synergistically extends survival in MYC-driven lymphoma

Jake Shortt et al. published in Cancer Discovery.

Read article here.

Stent Thrombosis in Drug-Eluting or Bare-Metal Stents in Patients Receiving Dual Antiplatelet Therapy

Ian Meredith et al. published in JACC Cardiovascular Interventions.

Read article here.

Encephalitis-Associated Human Metapneumovirus Pneumonia in Adult, Australia.

Ronil Chandra et al. published in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Read article here.

Incidence and Characterisation of Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection as a Cause of Acute Coronary Syndrome - a Single-centre Australian Experience

Ian Meredith et al. published in the International Journal of Cardiology.

Read article here.

Identification of important placental nutrient transporters in intrauterine growth restriction and preeclampsia using various strategies

Hayley Dickinson et al. published in Placenta.

Read article here.