Links to individual Departments' headline pages
Public symposium: Fostering Swiss-Australian scientific collaboration
Nobel Prize winners Professors Rolf Zinkernagel and Peter Doherty speaking at a public symposium on 2 May hosted by the Swiss Australian Academic Network, respectively on "Vaccines against infections" and "Science in the public space: distinguishing truth from falsehood". RSVP essential, to email@example.com, by 24 April. SAAN's current Secretary is Professor Rob Medcalf, ACBD, who will make the closing remarks for the evening. See attachments for biographical detail and the evening's program. Posted 23/04/2013.
Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal for Dr Michael Roche
Dr Michael Roche has been awarded the 2012 Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Michael completed his PhD thesis last year in CCS’s Department of Medicine, supervised by Associate Professors Paul Gorry and Melissa Churchill, Heads respectively of the Burnet Institute’s Laboratories, HIV Molecular Pathogenesis and HIV in the CNS. His thesis title is: “HIV-1 Envelope protein determinants of viral tropism and antiviral drug resistance.” Posted 26/03/2013.
Dr Hao Lu receives Young Investigator Award for HIV research
Dr Hao Lu, Dept of Infectious Diseases, received the Young Investigator Award at the Conference for Retrovirology and Opportunistic Infections 2013. See his poster abstract, Mechanism of HIV Latency and Reactivation. He is working on how histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) stimulate latent, or resting, HIV to become active. Histones are proteins which structure DNA. HDACs are enzymes which allow histones to wrap DNA more tightly. HDACis block the wrapping action, and affect gene expression, hence their interest for Hao’s project of ‘waking up’ resting HIV. HDACis are being investigated worldwide for their possible therapeutic application, not only for HIV, but for cancers and inflammatory diseases. Posted 26/03/2013.
beyondblue funds Rebecca Segrave's depression research
Dr Rebecca Segrave, MAPrc, was recently awarded a beyondblue Victorian Centre of Excellence in Depression and Anxiety’s Early Career Researcher Award 2013 ($97,598). Her research involves the combined application of neuroscience (such as EEG and fMRI), brain stimulation (such as DBS and tDCS) and neuropsychological techniques to better understand the biological psychiatry of major depression and develop improved treatment options for this condition. See Rebecca’s Monash Researcher profile for more information, and the MAPrc website for more information about MAPrc research: www.maprc.org.au. Posted 26/03/2013.
PhD teases out enzyme role in arterial thrombosis
Dr Jessica Mountford, formerly of ACBD, was awarded her PhD in December 2012 and has taken a postdoctoral research position at the University of Western Australia. Her thesis was “Defining the role of class II Phosphoinositide 3-Kinases in platelet function”. Platelets are the principal blood cell responsible for the development of arterial thrombosis. Jessica’s thesis investigates the signalling pathways of an intracellular enzyme, Class II PI3K, involved in cell signalling events. The Class I enzymes are well understood, but little is known about the Class II enzymes. Jessica’s research demonstrated that PI3K-C2α regulates the function of cell surface platelet adhesion receptors. She was supervised by Prof Shaun Jackson in the Thrombosis Research Unit. Posted 26/03/2013.
Dr Lachlan Gray wins awards for research on how HIV affects the brain
Dr Lachlan Gray, Dept of Infectious Diseases, won the Ian Potter Foundation Travel Grant 2012 ($2000) and the Geoffrey Connard Travel Fellowship 2012 ($2600). Lachlan also won the first prize ($250) in the 24th Alfred Week Research Poster Display, held at Alfred Hospital, Melbourne in October 2012. His research interests focus on understanding HIV brain infection and its role in the development of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. See more about Lachlan at his Monash Researcher profile. Posted 26/03/2013.
Infectious Disease researchers make HIV wake-up call
Infectious disease researchers have moved a step closer to finding a cure for HIV by successfully luring the “sleeping” virus out of infected cells. The researchers, led by Professor Sharon Lewin, have shown in a human trial that the cancer drug vorinostat alters how HIV genes are turned on and off and in effect wakes up “sleeping” virus that persists in patients on standard HIV treatment. Prof Lewin, who is Head of Monash’s Department of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at The Alfred, said that the results from the study are very promising and showed that we can ‘wake up’ the virus in nearly all patients who took vorinostat. The results will now inform the design of further studies to find a way to possibly cure HIV. For more, see story link. Image: Dr A. Harrison; Dr P. Feorino. Posted 04/03/2013.
Immunology outstanding for mentoring postgraduate students
The Department of Immunology was identified in 2012 as an outstanding unit for postgraduate mentoring and supervision. The Department was ranked second in the entire University in the Postgraduate Research Student survey, and in the top ten for the 2011 Postgraduate Research Supervision Survey. The culture in the Department of Immunology is one of great commitment to its students, to encourage them to present and publish and provide them with support and advice during the research. Pictured: PhD students in Prof Magdalena Plebanski’s lab. Posted 28/02/2013.
Master of Medicine in perioperative medicine in high demand
The Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine has launched a Master in Medicine in particular for the area of perioperative medicine. The course description says, "Surgical patients are getting older and sicker." Which makes their care more complex, hence the demand for this course. The first unit starting this semester is fully subscribed with a wait list. See more detail about the course at www.masters.periopmedicine.org.au. The Department has also been running a short course in Perioperative Medicine, which is now in its fifth year, and is also highly successful. See more at www.periopmedicine.org.au. Enquiries to Aushra.Saldukas@monash.edu. Pictured: Prof Paul Myles with a patient. Posted 28/02/2013.
Grant to further heart transplant research
Professor Frank Rosenfeldt, Department of Surgery, has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Health Market Validation Program (Health MVP) to continue his research on transplant donor heart preservation. The research is currently in the pre-clinical stage. The grant will be used to further develop the device for a donor heart to be resuscitated and evaluated for transplant. Hearts are easily damaged, and this device works to revive and keep a heart healthy after the donor has died and before transplant. See detail of grant program at Health MPV. Posted 13/02/2013.
CCAF Fellowship grant for cancer researcher Smitha Georgy
Dr Smitha Georgy has won a $100,000 grant to further investigate the mechanisms of head and neck cancers, in particular the signalling pathways to control proliferating cells. Smitha is a Senior Research Officer in the Epidermal Development Laboratory, Department of Medicine. The grant was awarded by the Cure Cancer Australia Foundation (CCAF). Smitha's background is in veterinary science, ideal for working with and further refining the mouse models required for the study of molecular basis of oesophageal cancer. She started working with Professor Steve Jane in 2009. See CCAF Media release for detail of award and funding partnerships.Posted 13/02/2013.
Smart phone app for IBS sufferers
A new smartphone app developed by the Department of Gastroenterology provides an on-the-go reference to help the one-in-seven adults who suffer irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) avoid the foods that trigger their symptoms. The app was launched 18/12/12 and has in its first 6 weeks sold over 2,500 downloads. For more about about the app, see med.monash.edu.au/news/2012/fodmap- app.html, monash.edu/monashmag/articles/a-smart-phone- option-for-ibs-sufferers.html. For more about FODMAP research, see www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/ or contact Dr Jane Muir, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted 13/02/2013.
Plasma cell survival research
Research on plasma cell survival by Associate Professor Mark Wright, Department of Immunology, and colleagues, published in Science Signalling, was highlighted in a recent Nature Immunology research review. Mark’s research is on the role of an protein called CD37 in the tetraspanin family of proteins. CD37 is formed on the surface of B cells and together with many other tetraspanins, it organises traffic through the cell membrane. The CD37 protein interacts with, and organises various other important proteins to behave as required for the cell’s health, survival and productivity. See review article, www.nature.com/ni/journal/v14/n1/full/ni.2505.html. See original article. See more about Mark's research at (a href="http://www.med.monash.edu.au/immunology/research/lmp-lab.html">Leucocyte Membrane Protein Laboratory. Posted 21/01/2013.
Window to optimise HIV-1 therapy
Dr Edwina Wright, an infectious diseases physician and clinical researcher in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Monash and at The Alfred with a program at The Burnet, had an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Patients who are started on antiretroviral therapy for HIV-1 infection within four months of estimated infection date — and who have higher counts of CD4+ T-cells at the initiation of therapy — demonstrate a stronger recovery of CD4+ T-cell counts than patients in whom therapy is started later. The study offers insight into the optimal timing of therapy. See NEJM article) and Monash story www.monash.edu.au/news/show/early-therapy-for-hiv-vital. Posted 17/01/2013.
'Positive Outlook' for men with HIV
Ms Tanya Millard, a PhD student in the Department of Infectious Diseases, was interviewed by JOY FM 94.9, Melbourne’s gay & lesbian community radio station, on her work with HIV+ men. Tanya’s research project is “The Development and Evaluation of an Online Self Management Program for Men Living with HIV,” called ‘Positive Outlook’. The program is currently being evaluated using a randomised controlled trial. For details about the trial, see www.positiveoutlook.org.au/ or email email@example.com. For interview, go to JOY podcast page. Search ‘Positive Outlook’. Posted 17/01/2013.
2012 'Best Doctoral Thesis' award
Dr Bernadette Fitzgibbon, Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc), was awarded the 2012 'Best Doctoral Thesis' award from Monash's School of Psychology and Psychiatry. She is currently a Research Fellow at MAPrc in the Psychiatric Neurotechnology team. Bernadette completed her PhD in 2011 where she conducted the first clinical and neurophysiological studies into a new pain phenomenon in amputees. Her current research involves the use of neuroscientific techniques (MRI, TMS, tDCS) to explore chronic pain, autism spectrum disorder and mirror neurons. For more detail of MAPrc research see www.maprc.org.au/our-research-0. Posted 14/01/2013.
Zane Kaplan wins ASTH medal
Dr Zane Kaplan, a PhD student in Shaun Jackson’s Thrombosis Research Unit within the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, and a haematologist at the Alfred Hospital, was awarded the Australasian Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ASTH) medal for his research at the recent international meeting of HAA (Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand – HSANZ, the Australian & New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion – ANZSBT, and the ASTH), See ASTH newsletter (pp.7-8) for detail. For more about the research, see Thrombosis Research Unit. Posted 14/01/2013.
Rosie Worsley wins Equity Trustees grant
Dr Rosie Worsley, Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, has won a grant through Equity Trustees – from the Preston & Loui Geduld Trust Fund, to do a study investigating the effect of metformin treatment on depression. Rosie also won the Maturitas 2012 New Investigator Award. Maturitas is a prestigious Endocrinology Journal and Rosie has been awarded this honour for her paper on perimenopausal depression. See more about MAPrc research at www.maprc.org.au. Posted 14/01/2013.
‘Clinicians Online’ launch: a telehealth initiative
‘Clinicians Online’ was recently launched, led by the Department of Health, Victoria and the Cystic Fibrosis service, headed by Professor John Wilson, at the Alfred and Department of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine at Monash. Prof Wilson drove the development of the research consortium and funding for the new service, which will enable clinical-grade, video- conferencing and real time transfer of image files including patient records and test results. The service uses the National Broadband Network’s high speed network, enabling improved access for rural and regional cystic fibrosis patients who would otherwise have to travel to metropolitan hospitals. Alfred Health Link Summer 2012-13 edition. Posted 10/01/2013.