Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Monash research sheds light on chronic liver disease

Dr Sahhar, Dr Ha, Professor Sievert and Dr Le
Cirrhosis related ascites is a common and complex medical condition associated with increased morbidity, mortality, healthcare utilisation, and reduced quality of life.  It is estimated that up to 0.5% of the general population have cirrhosis and according to the World Health Organisation it is the 6th leading cause of death worldwide.

While other chronic diseases such as heart failure are well managed by a range of health professionals and a dedicated ambulatory care service, there is no comprehensive model of care for people living with cirrhosis. 

Published recently in the prestigious American Journal of Gastroenterology, a team of researchers at Monash University and Monash Health have shown for the first time that early intervention using diuretic therapy or paracentesis (removing fluid from the abdomen) for patients with cirrhosis and ascites significantly reduces hospital readmission and mortality. 

“Cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, is commonly caused by alcohol and viral hepatitis. 50% of cirrhosis patients develop ascites, the most common complication of this debilitating disease” said gastroenterologist and lead researcher Dr Suong Le.

Ascites is the build-up of fluid in the abdomen and results from scarred liver tissue unable to filter substances in the body.

“Some of our patients present in the emergency department looking like they’re nine months pregnant; they can’t breathe; they can’t walk and they’re extremely sick,” said Dr Le.  “We often drain 5 to 10 litres of fluid from their abdomen.”

While there is no cure for cirrhosis related ascites other than liver transplantation, it can be managed to improve quality of life.

“Our study found that giving patients diuretics as early as possible lowers 90-day mortality, and early paracentesis lowers 30-day hospital admission rates,” said Dr Le.

Senior author and Monash University Professor of Medicine William Sievert said 70% of patients initially hospitalised for new onset cirrhotic ascites were being readmitted within 90 days because of recurrent ascites.

“People with cirrhotic ascites have a higher mortality rate than those with cirrhosis who have never developed ascites, and 30 day readmission was a very strong predictor of 90 day mortality,” said Professor Sievert, who is also Director, Gastroenterology and Hepatology Unit at Monash Health.

“We found that if patients had a paracentesis within 30 days of the diagnosis of ascites or during their initial hospitalization then those patients were significantly less likely to be readmitted for recurrent ascites and that early initiation of diuretics significantly lowered the risk of mortality at 90 days.”

“Adherence to these two quality of care indicators had the greatest benefit for patients, which was especially important given that 40% of the unplanned 30-day readmissions were to the ICU,” said Professor Sievert. Dr Le said there’s a lack of awareness in the community about cirrhosis and patients and medical staff need to be educated that these simple and early interventions will extend and significantly improve quality of life.

“One of the most shocking findings of our study was that 58% of patients did not even know they had liver disease until they presented to hospital with ascites,” said Dr Le.

“These patients have previously had no formal diagnosis—cirrhosis is a long process, taking 10 to 20 years to develop and progress.”

More than 300 patient records were analysed for the research study, revealing that most patients with the disease were men who lived alone, with a mean age of 57 years. 

The Monash research team included Dr Phil Ha, Dr Lukas Sahhar, Dr Julian Lim and Dr Tony He, all of whom were medical students when the project commenced.

Dr Tony He said he had a particular interest in gastroenterology and was keen to help facilitate better management of patients with chronic liver disease and their complications. 

Of the research project, Dr Lukas Sahhar said he’d learnt about the conduct and application of real-world medical research.

“It was a very satisfying experience working with doctors and researchers at Monash Health and Monash University and we are all grateful to Dr Le and Professor Sievert for the opportunity,” said Dr Sahhar.

Monash Health intern Dr Phil Ha said it was a fascinating project that assessed the degree to which current practices had followed best practice guidelines.
“Investigating whether higher adherence to evidence-based medicine translates into better outcomes for patients with advanced liver disease was a fantastic learning experience,” said Dr Ha.

In 2014, then medical student Phil Ha undertook at Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours) under the supervision of Professor Sievert to investigate the use of a smartphone app to improve outpatient care for patients with cirrhotic ascities.

“In Dr Le’s research project, we found there was a particularly high readmission and mortality rate for patients with advanced liver disease, and strategies to identify outpatients at risk of deteriorating could improve these outcomes,” said Dr Ha. 

“For my BMedSc research project, I developed and implemented a remote monitoring system for outpatients with cirrhotic ascites using a smartphone app, enabling the transmission of real-time information to the treating team.” 
Simple indicators such as weight and symptoms suggestive of decompensation were transmitted via the smartphone app to the liver team, and abnormal values were automatically flagged, and prompted a telephone consultation with the patient.

Dr Ha said they trialled the system with nine patients and found some promising results.

“Future studies will evaluate the potential benefits of using this technology to improve patient outcomes.”

SCS researcher and Early Career Practitioner Fellow receives VC Commendation

Dr Chris Moran
Congratulations Dr Chris Moran, recipient of the 2015 Vice-Chancellor’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence.

Under the supervision of Professor Velandai Srikanth and Professor Thanh Phan from the Stroke and Ageing Research Group in the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Chris investigated the links between type 2 diabetes and dementia.

“With our ageing population and obesity epidemic, diabetes and dementia are both very common diseases,” said Dr Moran, a geriatrician at Monash Health.

“Around 10 to 15 years ago, we started to realise diabetes increases the risk of dementia,” said Dr Moran. “I’m interested in the how and the why that happens.”

Dr Moran hopes that gaining an understanding of these pathways may help explain why dementia is so common, and not just in people with diabetes.

“This Commendation is an honour and a testimony to the great support I received from my supervisors and the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health,” said Dr Moran.  “And my wife deserves special thanks for putting up with me during thesis writing!”

Having recently received postdoctoral support as an NHMRC-ARC Early Career Dementia Research Fellow, Dr Moran is continuing his work into exploring the mechanisms through which type 2 diabetes contributes to an increased risk of dementia.

“This recognition by the Faculty of Chris' work reflects his enthusiasm, curiosity, and hard work in a new and exciting field,” said Monash Health Specialist Geriatrician and Head of Stroke and Ageing Research Professor Srikanth.

“It is richly deserved and underscores the tremendous value of young and aspiring clinical academics.”


Dr Moran is also a recipient of the SCS Early Career Practitioner Fellowship, a scheme that enables early career practitioners to have protected research time.

Internationally renowned Professor of Radiology to visit MHTP

Professor Ahuja
Professor of Diagnostic Radiology and Organ Imaging Dr Anil T. Ahuja will visit the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP) next month to meet with clinicians and researchers with a view to future collaborations.

 “I hope to interact with academic and clinical members of the department with a view towards exchanging ideas about research, undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, and newer clinical applications of our specialty,” said Professor Ahuja, Chairman of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Organ Imaging at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Chief of Service at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong.

Having obtained his radiology training in India and England, Professor Ahuja began his academic career at the Department of Imaging and Interventional Radiology at the Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1988.  He has a keen interest in the imaging of head and neck diseases and his research is focused on neck masses, lymph nodes, thyroid, parathyroid, salivary gland, and neck and head tumours.

Professor Ahuja said he is honoured and humbled to spend time at MHTP.
“Australia has always been known for high quality medical research and its translation into practical daily clinical practice.”

Professor Ahuja hopes to learn from the experience of MHTP clinicians and researchers.

“On a personal note, I am a passionate supporter of the Australian cricket team, except when they play India!”

“We are delighted to host Professor Ahuja, a world-renowned expert in ultrasound imaging,” said consultant radiologist and Head of Women’s Imaging at Monash Health Dr Monica Pahuja.

“Professor Ahuja is the team leader for the upcoming new ultrasound publication to join the rest of the best-selling Diagnostic Imaging reference series.”

Professor Ahuja has published extensively in peer reviewed medical journals, lectured at international conferences and is Assistant Editor for Clinical Radiology. He has edited ten books on radiology and authored numerous book chapters.

“I have always found Australia to be warm and welcoming and am looking forward to my visit there in May,” said Professor Ahuja.

Professor Ahuja will spend four days at MHTP in the Department of Imaging, from 9 – 12 May.  His academic visit is sponsored by the Australian Sonographers Association (ASA), who are holding their scientific meeting 13-15 May.


See flyer here about details of education sessions Professor Ahuja will present on 10 and 11 May at Monash Medical Centre.

Monash Critical Care Research Forum success at MHTP


Associate Professor Parkin
Head of Critical Care at MHTP Professor Yahya Shehabi hosted a highly successfully Monash Critical Care Research Forum last week in the Translational Research Facility (TRF).

Attended by more than 50 participants, some of the highlights included presentations by Professor Rinaldo Bellomo, Associate Professor Michael Bailey and Ms Karen Goulding from the ANZCA Clinical Trial Network.

A number of participants commented on Associate Professor Geoffrey Parkin’s presentation, ‘Making cardiac output measurements continuous-novel methods for capnotracking’, as a ‘real hit’.  

“Associate Professor Parkin is always entertaining and his talk inspired, motivated and educated everyone in the audience,” said Intensive Care Unit Research Manager Ms Pauline Galt.

The multidisciplinary and collaborative forum featured many presentations from anaesthesia, intensive care, general medicine, respiratory and other Health Networks and included guest speakers from Austin Health, Alfred Centre and the ANZCA Clinical Trials network.

Professor Shehabi said the highlight of the meeting was the afternoon session with presentation challenging dogma in critical care, setting the direction for high quality high impact research and collaborative clinical trials networks.

The forum provided a future direction for critical care research with opportunities for feedback and networking.






Grand Round Presentation - Gastroenterology- 27 April

Unit: Gastroenterology and Hepatology               
Presenter: Professor William Sievert
Topic: “Eliminating Hepatitis C in Australia”        
Wednesday 27 April 2016, 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Main Lecture Theatre, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton.

NOTE: For instructions on how to view Grand Round recordings from previous sessions please see document “Grand Rounds on LMS” ATTACHED HERE.


Hudson seminar 28 April "Sex, genes and human evolution"

Hudson Seminar 28 April 12-1 pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Monash Medical Centre.

Prof Jennifer Graves, Distinguish Professor at La Trobe University will present “Sex, genes and human evolution".

There will be 2 events associated with her visit:
  • Morning Tea: 10.30-11am, Breakout Space, level 6, MHTP (all students welcome)
  • Seminar: 12-1pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Monash Medical Centre
Light refreshments to follow presentation outside the Lecture Theatre.  Seminar flyer attached.

Sleep apps, trackers – good or bad? 11 May public forum

Many children and teenagers use an iPhone sleep app or a wristband sleep tracker, but how effective are these devices at monitoring sleep and picking up abnormalities?

A free public lecture hosted by The Ritchie Centre - Hudson Institute of Medical Research and Monash University, will examine the role of these devices in children’s sleep.

The lecture, titled “Healthy Sleep in School Aged Children – the role of commercial sleep trackers: Good or Bad?” will take place at Monash Medical Centre on Wednesday, May 11.

Children’s sleep experts from The Ritchie Centre and the Melbourne Children’s Sleep Centre, as well as top visiting US paediatric sleep expert, Hawley Montgomery-Downs, will present their research on the topic.

Children’s sleep researcher at the Ritchie Centre - Hudson Institute and Monash University, Professor Rosemary Horne, says the usefulness of sleep trackers in recording sleep patterns may vary.

“Many children and teenagers now sleep with a smartphone app ticking over under their pillow, or a movement tracker on their wrist, with the intention of getting a better night’s sleep,” Professor Horne said.

“However, not all commercial sleep trackers have been clinically proven to be effective in monitoring sleep patterns, or in detecting underlying sleep conditions.

“Disrupted or short sleep, due to an underlying condition like sleep disordered breathing or simply too busy life styles, can affect all aspects of a child’s day-to-day life, including their behaviour, school performance and psychological well-being.

“An accurate assessment of sleep, is the first step towards helping children and their parents seek appropriate treatment for sleep disorders,” she said. We need to understand how these new sleep trackers contribute to the assessment of children’s sleep.

The forum is open to all members of the public, in particular, parents of school-aged children and general practitioners.

The forum will take place on Wednesday, May 11, from 6pm – 7.30pm at the Monash Medical Centre, Lecture Theatre 1, Level 2 (main entry from 246 Clayton Road).

To register attendance, or for further information, please contact caroline.menara@hudson.org.au or call: (03) 8572 2877.

Kristy Sheridan
Communications Officer

Hudson Institute of Medical Research

Explore ‘Immunology heroes and villains’ at the annual Day of Immunology 29 April 2016

Immune cells at work - Dr Michaela Finsterbusch,
Centre for Inflammatory Diseases, Monash University
Celebrate and learn more about the immune system with public lectures, tours and ‘vaccination café’.

Since 2005, The Day of Immunology has celebrated and explored the highly sophisticated human immune system, the mysteries of which are still being unravelled. The complex system guards against infection, but can also attack the body it is designed to protect. The Day of Immunology aims to strengthen awareness on the importance of the immune system and promote scientific research.

Monash University, a proud sponsor of the event, has a strong foothold in immunology research, spanning multiple locations including the Department of Immunology and Pathology at Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct (AMREP), the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI), the Hudson Institute for Medical Research and the Centre for Inflammatory Diseases at Monash Health.

This year’s public lecture, to be held at the Peter Doherty Institute, Melbourne, and chaired by Professor David Tarlinton, is “Immunology heroes and villains”. The lecture will showcase three of Melbourne’s top immunologists, including Dr Maria Liaskos (the Hudson Institute for Medical Research and an inaugural veski inspiring women fellow), Dr Susanne Heinzel (WEHI) and Professor Dale Godfrey (the University of Melbourne).

Professor Tarlinton is the newly-appointed head of the Department of Immunology and Pathology at AMREP, which studies the regulation of the immune system to develop better therapies for disease. This includes immune deficiencies, complications of diabetes, allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and vaccinations for infectious disease and cancers.

Professor Tarlinton said the immune system has the ability to recognise and react to a vast array of different pathogens and their potentially toxic products. Having once responded, the system has the ability to remember its successes, and thus protect against reinfection.

“This memory can last a lifetime, and protects us from being infected again by the same or a very similar pathogen, which is also how vaccines work,” said Professor Tarlinton. “If, however, that memory is from an anti-self immune reaction and is part of an autoimmune disease, then it needs to be targeted to treat the disease. This is an area addressed by my work.”

Dr Gabriela Khoury of the Department of Immunology said this year’s Day of Immunology has expanded on its previous offerings.

“The organising committee is particularly excited as we have expanded our laboratory discovery tours to both the Clayton campus and surrounding Monash affiliated research centres,” Dr Khoury said.

The Day of Immunology, in collaboration with the Immunisation Coalition, the Melbourne Primary Care Network and the Royal Institute of Australia will be holding its own vaccination campaign in the form of a free vaccination café at the Melbourne Town Hall. Free seasonal flu shots and whooping cough boosters (eligible individuals) will be provided to the public, who are also welcome to enjoy a St Ali coffee.

The Monash BDI will be opening its doors for public tours and both the Hudson Institute for Medical Research and the Centre for Inflammatory Diseases will be engaging future generations of immunologists by running school group tours. Melbourne-based aspiring immunologists will be able to further indulge their passion at the International Congress of Immunology, which Melbourne will host in August 2016. For more information on Day of Immunology visit www.dayofimmunology.org.au

To follow the DoI's activities, see:

Monash Future Thinkers, May 7

Monash Future Thinkers, May 7 2016 9am-5pm, Monash University Clayton Campus.


How will our society look in the year 2050? How will technology change the way we interact? What will drive economic growth? What will the jobs of the future be like? How could we power the future? How can we care for an ageing population?

We need to make some urgent decisions about the future of our nation.
We are thrilled to launch Monash Future Thinkers: Australia in 2050, our inaugural event to be held on May 7th designed to foster the interdisciplinary conversation we need to have about our future.

You’ll meet some brilliant people, hear from experts at the cutting edge of their fields, and learn about innovative developments that could become commonplace in just a few years.

Speakers include Chief Scientist of Australia, Dr Alan Finkel AO, Molecular Geneticist Dr Marco Herold, Artificial Intelligence expert Prof Marcus Hutter and Monash Vice-Chancellor Prof Margaret Gardner AO, among many more.
Registration for the full-day event (lunch and refreshments included) is just $15 for students.

We look forward to seeing you at Monash on May 7th, ready to kick off the#FutureThinkers movement!

Find more speakers and detailed information at futurethinkers.org.au or register at monashfuturethinkers.eventbrite.com.au

More info & registration http://www.futurethinkers.org.au/

2016 School of Personalised Immunology at MHTP, 23-24 July

All staff and students are invited to attend the second "School of Personalised Immunology".


The Centre for Personalised Immunology has put together this program of teaching in genomics which will equip trainees and established physicians with the skills necessary to understand and apply genomics into daily practice. 

This year we will consolidate and extend last year’s school, which aimed to demystify the role of genomics in the field of immunological disease, including autoimmunity and immunodeficiency. 

The program will include formal teaching as well as tutorial group discussions, and there will be ample opportunities to interact with speakers. For trainees, it will be an excellent opportunity to consider and discuss PhD projects in the area of Personalised Immunology, particularly facilitated by the Centre of Personalised Immunology, which has been supported by the NRMRC as a Centre of Research Excellence.

Invitation to Monash Medical Orchestra's Autumn Concert - Transfusions (ft. Beethoven's 5th Symphony), 15 May


Top 5 under 40 - Giving a voice to Australia’s new generation of science thinkers

All ECRs are encouraged to consider this exciting opportunity.

Are you a young scientist with a flair and passion for communicating your research?

UNSW and ABC RN have teamed up again for Top 5 under 40, an exciting initiative to discover Australia’s next generation of science communicators and give them a voice.
Applications are now open for outstanding early career researchers under 40 who are working in Australian universities and research organisations across science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical research.
Following a nationwide call out, the 10 most promising science communicators will be shortlisted for interview by a panel of judges. The Top 5 winners will undertake a two-week media residency in Sydney at RN, the ABC’s national ideas network, supported by UNSW, one of Australia's leading universities. 
To find out more and to apply go to:

FOCUS Series: Information research and academic skills workshops for research students, 30-31 May

Focus Series is a set of workshops especially designed for Higher Degree Research students in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Its aim is to assist with the development of advanced information research skills, including researching and composing Literature Reviews, using EndNote, managing research data and maximising research profiles. The series will be run at the Hargrave-Andrew Library (HAL) on 30 and 31 May 2016. For further information, please contact Anne Young (Anne.Young@monash.edu) or Tomas Zahora (Tomas.Zahora@monash.edu).

Participants can attend the entire series or select individual workshops, to suit their individual requirements. The workshops can be booked through the Library Booking System, using the search term ‘focus series’: https://my.monash.edu.au/news-and-events/bookings/library/    


Incoming Graduate Research Students in BMS and Psychological Sciences who wish to take these workshops for credit towards their PhD will need to complete an attendance register provided at the sessions. 


Monday 30 May 2016: TEACHING ROOM 2, HAL

9:30-11:00am

Searching the medical literature
Develop comprehensive search strategies to uncover relevant literature for your project.  Discover important resources and powerful search features, including results management and current awareness tools.  Learn how to find literature using cited references.
11:10am-12:40pm

Introduction
to EndNote X7
Learn how to use this software to manage your references. This hands-on session will cover creation of an Endnote library of references, importing database records into an Endnote library and applying Endnote styles to a bibliography.
1:30-3:00pm
Effective reading and note taking
In this workshop we will look at managing large reading lists, prioritising reading, skim reading and noting from reading. A theme in this workshop will be to build strategies for dealing with the reading load in a smarter and more confident way that encourages critical thinking rather than information overload.
3:10-4:10pm
Using mind maps to improve writing
Mind maps, whether hand-drawn or created using mind mapping software, are a powerful tool for generating thoughts and logically organizing large amounts of material. In this workshop we will explore the possibilities of mind mapping by using Free Mind software.

Tuesday 31 May 2016: TEACHING ROOM 2, HAL

9:30-11:30am

Doing the literature review
Analysis, critical evaluation, review matrix, synthesis, and maintaining your voice as a writer while maintaining academic integrity—these will be the main themes in a class aimed to simplify and improve your literature reviewing process.
12:30-1:30pm

Manage your research data

Gain an overview of some common research data management issues experienced throughout the research process and research data lifecycle. Discover best practice guidelines for creating, preparing, storing and sharing data.
1:40-2:40pm
Evaluate and maximise your research impact
Explore the benefits of developing a targeted publishing strategy to maximise research impact, including avenues for dissemination and researcher profiles. Discover methods to review your impact and profile after publication. 


Calling all Victorian medical research students! 7th ASMR Victoria Student Research Symposium, 3 June


As part of this year’s Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) Medical Research Week® in Victoria, we are proud to present the 7th ASMR Victoria Student Research Symposium.

This showcase symposium is open to ALL Victorian medical research students (UROP, Undergraduate, Honours, Masters, PhD, and more) to present their work to an audience of their peers, listen to some of Victoria’s top medical researchers, and network in a friendly environment.

Students can present oral and/or poster presentations, as well as the popular ‘3 minute thesis’ styled presentations. For each educational level, many prizes and awards* are given including a ticket to the prest...igious ASMR GALA dinner, where the awardee will have an opportunity to dine with well-known researchers.

Registration and abstract submission are NOW open.   See flyer here.

ABSTRACT SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: Friday 29 April, 5pm
Note that only abstracts with PAID registrations will be reviewed (see below).


Abstract submission is open for all honours, graduate and post graduate science research students in Victoria. Undergraduate students (excluding honours) may register at a discounted price after signing up for an ASMR membership (which is free of charge).

REGISTRATIONS CLOSE: Thursday 2nd June 2016, 5pm
Please pay for your registration at Trybooking

Link to Abstract Submission and Registration:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1HC5U7nvjujZtIJMMGoKobNUa9LSQFtUloesqMGtrjQg/viewform

Registration costs for 2016 symposium (includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea):
ASMR Members: $35
Non-members*: $120

*Please note that only ASMR members are eligible for awards/prizes at the symposium. Members also have access to a mentoring program for early career researchers, discounts for a professional development workshop, conference travel grants for national meetings and research travel grants to visit other labs. You can sign up to join the society at https://asmrfiles.org.au/membership/

Full-time student membership for the 2016/2017 financial year is $70.50. Should you need someone to second your nomination to become a member of the society, please contact us at asmr.vicstudents@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing you at the symposium!

For more information, visit our website at http://www.asmr.org.au/MRWVic.html and https://www.facebook.com/events/1020676481352611/


If you have any problems with registering or submitting your abstract, please email us at asmr.vicstudents@gmail.com.

Confirmation of candidature milestone review, Gregory Ong, 29 April "The Mineralocorticoid Receptor in Heart Failure and Hypertension"

All staff and students are invited to attend a confirmation of candidature milestone review for General physician/endocrinologist Dr Gregory Ong, PhD student at Hudson Institute.

Title:  The Mineralocorticoid Receptor in Heart Failure and Hypertension

29 April at 2pm, 4th Floor seminar room, Block E, MMC
Supervisors: Morag Young and Peter Fuller
SAC/Panel Chair: Megan Wallace
Two independent assessors: Marcel Nold, Ashley Mansell

ALL WELCOME.

Department of Defense (DoD) PH/TBI Research Program Upcoming Funding Opportunity

The FY16 Defense Appropriations Act provides $125 million (M) to the Department of Defense FY16 Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (PH/TBI) Research Program to support to support innovative research committed to complement and further ongoing DoD efforts to ensure the health and readiness of our military forces. As directed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, the Defense Health Agency, Research, Development and Acquisition (DHA RDA) Directorate manages the Defense Health Program (DHP) Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) appropriation.  The managing agent for the anticipated Program Announcement/Funding Opportunity is the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) with strategic oversight from Joint Program Committee 5 (JPC5)/Military Operational Medicine Research Program (MOMRP).

The PH/TBI Research Program is providing the information in this pre-announcement to allow investigators time to plan and develop applications. The Cognitive Resilience and Readiness Research Award (CR3A) Program Announcement and General Application Instructions for the following award mechanism are anticipated to be posted on the Grants.gov website in May 2016.   Pre-application and application deadlines will be available when the Program Announcements are released.  This pre-announcement should not be construed as an obligation by the government.

The Cognitive Resilience and Readiness Research Award (CR3A)
  •   Independent investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent)
·        A pre-application is required; application submission is by invitation only
·        The FY16 CR3A intent is to support applied and clinical biomedical research focused on the biomedical basis of cognitive resilience and readiness in Service members.
         
  • The Program Announcement seeks research applications intended focused on (a) tools and strategies to confer robustness and adaptability in cognitive performance and (b) translation of cognitive resilience to military operational performance and Service member health.
·        The anticipated funding limit is $3M total costs.
·        The anticipated maximum period of performance is 3 years.


A pre-application is required and must be submitted through the electronic Biomedical Research Application Portal (eBRAP) at https://eBRAP.org prior to the pre-application deadline.  All applications must conform to the final Program 

Announcements and General Application Instructions that will be available for electronic downloading from Grants.gov.  A listing of all CDMRP funding opportunities can be obtained on the Grants.gov website by performing a basic search using CFDA Number 12.420.

Full applications must be submitted through the federal government’s single-entry portal, Grants.gov.  Submission deadlines are not available until the Program Announcement is released.  Requests for email notification of the Program Announcement release may be sent to help@eBRAP.org.  For more information about the PH/TBI or other CDMRP managed programs, please visit the CDMRP website (http://cdmrp.army.mil).

Point of Contact:
CDMRP Public Affairs

Department of Defense (DoD) Multiple Sclerosis Research Program Funding Opportunities

The FY16 Defense Appropriations Act provides $6 million (M) to the Department of Defense Multiple Sclerosis Research Program (MSRP) to support innovative, high-impact multiple sclerosis (MS) research.  As directed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, the Defense Health Agency, Research, Development, and Acquisition (DHA RDA) Directorate manages the Defense Health Program (DHP) Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) appropriation.  The managing agent for the anticipated Program Announcements/Funding Opportunities is the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP).

FY16 MSRP Program Announcements and General Application Instructions for the following award mechanisms are posted on Grants.gov
Pilot Clinical Trial Award – Preproposal due 5/26/16
Independent investigators at or above the level of Assistant Professor (or equivalent).
All applications submitted in this funding opportunity must address the Treatment of MS Symptoms.
  • Symptoms may include: Pain, Fatigue, Cognitive Dysfunction, Visual Impairment, Motor Impairment, Impaired Mobility, Loss of Bladder Control, Sexual Dysfunction, Depression, and Anxiety.
Note: Studies of disease-modifying or regenerative therapies that secondarily impact symptoms will not be considered for funding.
  • Supports early-phase, proof-of-principle clinical trials to investigate hypothesis-based, innovative interventions that have the potential to result in a profound impact on the management of multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Pre-application submission is required; application submission is by invitation only.
  • Scientific rationale and/or preliminary data required.
  • Investigational New Drug or Investigational Device Exemption approvals, if applicable, must be in place before an award will be made.
  • Preclinical and correlative studies are not allowed.
  • Anticipation is that budgets will not exceed $600,000 in direct costs.
  • Period of performance not to exceed 3 years.

Exploration - Hypothesis Development Award (New for FY16)- Preproposal due 5/26/2016
Independent investigators at or above the level of Assistant Professor (or equivalent).
All applications submitted in this funding opportunity must address the Biology, Measurement, or Treatment of MS Symptoms.
  •  Symptoms may include: Pain, Fatigue, Cognitive Dysfunction, Visual Impairment, Motor Impairment, Impaired Mobility, Loss of Bladder Control, Sexual Dysfunction, Depression, and Anxiety.
Note:  Studies of disease-modifying or regenerative therapies that secondarily impact symptoms will not be considered for funding.
  • Supports the initial exploration of innovative, high-risk, high-gain, and potentially groundbreaking concepts in the MS research field.
  • Pre-application (Letter of Intent) submission is required.
  • Projects involving human subjects or human biological substances must be exempt under 32 CFR 219.101(b)(4) or eligible for expedited review under 32 CFR 219.110 or 21 CFR 56.110.
  • Preliminary data is not required.
  • Clinical trials not allowed.
  • Anticipation is that budgets will not exceed $150,000 in direct costs.
  • Period of performance not to exceed 2 years.

Investigator-Initiated Research Award – Preproposal due 5/26/2016
Independent investigators at or above the level of Assistant Professor (or equivalent).
All applications submitted in this funding opportunity must address Obstacles to Remyelination in MS.
Note: Projects addressing the mechanisms of demyelination will not be considered for funding.

Supports highly rigorous, high-impact research with the potential to make an important contribution to MS.

Department of Defense (DoD) Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program Funding Opportunities

The FY16 Defense Appropriations Act provides $50 million (M) to the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) to support innovative, high-impact cancer research.  As directed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, the Defense Health Agency, Research, Development, and Acquisition (DHA RDA) Directorate manages the Defense Health Program (DHP) Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) appropriation.  The managing agent for the anticipated Program Announcements/ Funding Opportunities is the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP).
FY16 PRCRP Program Announcements and General Application Instructions for the following award mechanisms are posted on the Grants.gov website. 
Congressionally Directed Topic Areas:  To be considered for funding, applications for the FY16 PRCRP must address at least one of the Topic Areas as directed by Congress.  Research applications in the areas of breast, prostate, lung (excluding mesothelioma), or ovarian cancer will not be accepted. 
The FY16 PRCRP Topic Areas are listed below:
·         Bladder cancer (New for FY16)
·         Liver cancer
·         Pancreatic cancer
·         Colorectal cancer
·         Lymphoma (New for FY16)
·         Pediatric Brain Tumors (New for FY16)
·         Immunotherapy* (New for FY16)
·         Melanoma and other skin cancers
·         Stomach cancer
·         Kidney cancer
·         Mesothelioma

·         Listeria vaccine for cancer
·         Neuroblastoma

*As derived from the National Cancer Institute Dictionary of Cancer terms1: Immunotherapy is a type of biological therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer.  Cancers studied under this topic area should be within the scope of the Congressional language and the intent of the Program Announcement(s).
The FY16 PRCRP Military Relevance Focus Areas are listed below:
To address the cancer health needs of both deployed and non-deployed personnel, their dependents, retirees, and Veterans, the FY16 PRCRP seeks to support studies that are responsive to the Military Relevance Focus Areas listed below:
  • Militarily relevant risk factors associated with cancer (e.g., ionizing radiation, chemicals, infectious agents, and environmental carcinogens)
  • Gaps in cancer prevention, screening, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and/or survivorship that may affect the general population but have a particularly profound impact on the health and well-being of military members, Veterans, and their beneficiaries
Applications that address exposures, conditions, or circumstances that are unique to the military, or disproportionately represented in a military beneficiary population, are the highest priority, though any applications that address the above focus areas will be considered.
Career Development Award- Preproposal due 6/8/16
Principal Investigator (PI): Independent early-career investigator within 10 years after completion of his/her terminal degree (excluding time spent in residency or on family medical leave) by the time of the application submission deadline.
Designated Mentor: Investigators at or above the level of Associate Professor (or equivalent); must have a proven publication and funding record in cancer research. 
·         Preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
·         Supports independent, early-career investigators to conduct impactful research with the mentorship of an experienced cancer researcher
·         Must address at least one of the FY16 PRCRP Topic Areas
·         Strongly encouraged to address at least one of the FY16 PRCRP Military Relevance Focus Areas
·         Preliminary data not required
Clinical trials are not allowed
·       Maximum funding for the entire period of performance is $360,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs)
·       Maximum period of performance is years

Idea Award with Special Focus – Preproposal due 6/8/16
Independent investigator with a faculty-level appointment (or equivalent).
·         Preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
·         Supports innovative, untested, high-risk/potentially high-reward concepts, theories, paradigms, and/or methods in cancer research that are relevant to Service members, their families, and other military beneficiaries
·         Emphasis on innovation and military relevance/impact
·         Must address at least one of the FY16 PRCRP Topic Areas
·         Must address at least one of the FY16 PRCRP Military Relevance Focus Areas
·         Preliminary data not required
Clinical trials are not allowed
·       Maximum funding for the entire period of performance is $400,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs)
·       Maximum period of performance is 2 years

Translational Team Science Award – Preproposal due 6/8/16
At least two and up to three PIs must partner in one overarching correlative or translational research study.

At least one of the PIs is encouraged to be a military or Department of Veterans Affairs investigator.
·         Preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
·         Supports translational correlative studies associated with an ongoing or completed clinical trial and/or translational study that can lead to a future clinical trial or clinical application in cancer research that is relevant to Service members, their families, and other military beneficiaries
·         Not intended to support high throughput screenings, sequencing, etc.
·         Must address at least one of the FY16 PRCRP Topic Areas
·         Must address at least one of the FY16 PRCRP Military Relevance Focus Areas
·         Preliminary data is required
Clinical trials are not allowed
·       Maximum funding for the entire period of performance is $1,000,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs)
·       Maximum period of performance is 3 years

A pre-application is required and must be submitted through the CDMRP electronic Biomedical Research Application Portal (eBRAP) website (https://eBRAP.org) prior to the pre-application deadline.  All applications must conform to the final Program Announcement(s) and General Application Instructions available for electronic downloading from the Grants.gov website.  Applications must be submitted through the federal government’s single-entry portal, Grants.gov.  The application package containing the required forms for each award mechanism will also be found on Grants.gov.  A listing of all USAMRMC funding opportunities can be obtained on the Grants.gov website by performing a basic search using CFDA Number 12.420.
Requests for email notification of the Program Announcement(s) release may be sent to help@eBRAP.org.  Email notifications of funding opportunities are sent as a courtesy and should not be used as a sole source of notification; applicants should monitor Grants.gov for official postings of funding opportunities.
For more information about the PRCRP or other CDMRP-administered programs, please visit the CDMRP website (http://cdmrp.army.mil).
Point of Contact:
CDMRP Help Desk