Monday, 14 August 2017

MonashHeart and Monash University research into coronary artery disease wins trifecta of prizes

Dr Ihdayhid and Associate Professor Ko
MonashHeart interventional cardiology fellow and Monash University PhD candidate Dr Abdul Ihdayhid was recognised for his ground-breaking research into coronary artery disease, receiving two highly prestigious awards in Perth last week, following on from winning the Young Investigator Award at the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography last month in Washington D.C.  

Dr Ihdayhid was awarded the most highly regarded Ralph Reader Prize at the annual scientific meeting of the Cardiac Society of Australia & New Zealand (CSANZ) as well as the prestigious Geoff Mews Memorial Fellows’ Prize at the Australia & New Zealand Endovascular Therapies Meeting (ANZET) for his research into assessing the functional significance of coronary artery disease.

Patients with suspected angina (chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart) usually need further tests to determine if they have coronary artery disease, as well as the functional significance of the narrowing of the arteries.  

“The functional significance represents the degree to which a narrowing affects blood flow to the heart muscle—and this is a strong predictor of long term outcomes and the benefit from potential treatments,” said Dr Ihdayhid. 

The current accepted gold standard for assessing the blood flow and functional significance of a coronary narrowing is using fractional flow reserve (FFR), only obtained during invasive coronary angiography using a specialised pressure wire inserted into the coronary artery.

Dr Ihdayhid said CT coronary angiography (CTCA) is rapidly becoming the first-line test for investigating coronary artery disease. 

“It is an excellent test for ruling out disease, however in the presence of a narrowing it has limited ability at determining the degree of blood flow limitation.”

“Patients often need undergo further tests to determine the functional significance, associated with potential side effects, inconvenience to the patient and overall cost to the health system,” Dr Ihdayhid said. 

In a world-first, Dr Ihdayhid’s research has shown an alternative technique, known as CT Derived Fractional Flow Reserve, is a novel and non-invasive method for determining FFR with superior diagnostic performance, and importantly, with no potential side effects and reduced cost to the health system.

“There are two emerging techniques that provide us with the ability to assess both anatomy and function using a CTCA: CT Stress Myocardial Perfusion (CTP) and CT Derived Fractional Flow Reserve (CT-FFR).”

“CTP requires two scans performed 20 minutes apart and a medication to maximise coronary blood flow.   This is associated with increased side-effects, contrast and radiation exposure to patients,” Dr Ihdayhid said. 

Dr Ihdayhid’s research investigated CT-FFR as a novel non-invasive method for determining FFR.

“Current CT-FFR techniques require the use of a supercomputer and external off-site processing with a turn-around time of around 24-48 hours, hence reducing its clinical utility.”

“MonashHeart has been collaborating with Toshiba Medical Japan in developing a world-first point of care CT-FFR technique that can be performed on-site and within 30 minutes of CTCA acquisition.”

“Our recently published work has demonstrated that it is highly accurate when compared to FFR determined invasively.”

Dr Ihdayhid said their results demonstrated that CT-FFR had superior diagnostic performance at detecting functionally significant disease when compared to CTP and they achieved these results in less time and with less contrast and radiation exposure.  

“These results take us one step closer to utilising a resting CTA in delivering both anatomical and functional information in a single, rapid, safe and accurate investigation,” Dr Ihdayhid said. 

The Monash research team has finished recruiting 500 prospective patients with suspected coronary artery disease in whom they will perform a CT-FFR analysis to assess the real-world feasibility and utility of this cutting-edge technique. 

Dr Ihdayhid said if the results are promising, their next step will be a multi-centre randomized control trial. 

Dr Ihdayhid acknowledges the tremendous and ongoing support of his PhD supervisor, Associate Professor Brian Ko, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at MonashHeart.

Save the dates: MHTP Open Days for prospective research students 19 and 20 September

This year's Open Days for prospective research students (Hons, Masters and PhD) will be held over two nights - 19 and 20 September.

The 19 September event will take place at the university's main Clayton campus in the Campus Centre, where prospective students will hear presentations about research opportunities at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) and the Hudson Institute of Medical Research. Supervisors will also be able to talk to students and promote their projects.

The following evening, students will be invited to tour our labs and meet supervisors at the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP).

If you are interested in recruiting a student for 2018 and are interested in attending, please keep these dates free.

We would like you to promote these events to prospective students you currently teach.  Please find attached a powerpoint slide (HERE) that you can present in class.

Please contact Katherine Marks ( if you would like more information.

Diversity & Inclusion Week 2017

Diversity & Inclusion Week is an opportunity for the university community to come together to celebrate our diverse community and strengthen our inclusive culture. This year, Diversity & Inclusion Week will be the biggest that Monash has seen, with events for staff and students across the Caulfield, Clayton Parkville and Peninsula campuses. 

There will be a range of events and activities, including:
· Workshops for academic and professional staff on LGBTIQ inclusion
· A Human Library event where people of different backgrounds and experiences share their stories
· Cultural food festivals at all campuses
· Walk a mile in my shoes, a MADA interactive installation at Caulfield 
· Workshops and forums at Parkville across the week
· A poetry workshop with Abe Nouk, self-taught spoken word poet

See the full event schedule at

Biostatistical education series: How not to analyse and present data, 15 August

Tuesday 15 August, 1-2pm, TRF seminar room 3

Presenter:  Associate Professor Arul Earnest, Biostatistics Unit
Senior Biostatistician, Registry Sciences Unit
Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University

 Does the statistics in the report you read appear dodgy? This talk will highlight some of the common pitfalls in the study design, analysis and presentation of data in journals, conferences and published reports. The audience will learn to avoid some of the common mistakes when publishing a paper.

 Platform Manager

Arul’s research interest is in Registry Sciences, risk adjustment and Bayesian spatio-temporal models. For more than 15 years, Arul has provided consultative and collaborative methodological input to clinicians and hospital administrators. The outcome for some of this work has been more than 125 publications in a variety of peer-reviewed international medical journals, including BMC Health Services Research, BMJ and JAMA.  
He has extensive experience in conducting talks on biostatistics and research methodology.

Monash Haematology Journal Club, 16 August

16 August, 7.30am Breakfast & 7.45am Presentation
Monash Medical Centre, Level 2 - Lecture Theatre 3

Topic: ‘Snake in the Grass’

Presenter: Dr Susan Brown

MHTP Functional Genomics: What pooled screening can do for you, 15 August

Tuesday 15 August, 12:00 - 1:00pm, Seminar Room 1, TRF Building

Presented by Dr Catherine Itman
Manager, Functional Genomics Facility
Monash Health Translation Precinct

Catherine has a long-held interest in life sciences, with a broad background spanning research, education and business operations.  She completed her PhD in male reproductive biology at MIMR and went on to hold lectureship positions and lead a research group before taking up the position of Manager of the newly established MHTP Functional Genomics Facility in March of this year.

The Functional Genomics Facility is strategically co-located with other platform technologies at the MHTP, allowing investigators to accelerate research through the wealth of expertise and comprehensive range of established and nascent technologies available on site.  The Functional Genomics facility offers pooled screening for unbiased, systematic, high-throughput gain-of-function and loss-of-function screens in human and mouse cells and, capitalizing on the latest in pooled CRISPR/Cas9 and bar-coded ORF libraries, provides a complete gene discovery and characterization pipeline.  Catherine will present an overview of this new facility today, including the services offered and examples of how pooled screening has advanced basic and clinical research.

CiiiD seminar: 'The importance of the cGAS pathway in DNA damage-driven inflammation.' 15 August

CiiiD's Tuesday seminar this week, 15 August, will feature Dr Genevieve Pepinpost-doctoral research scientist and FRSQ Fellow from CiiiD's Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity Group, headed by Dr Michael Gantier.

1-2pm, Tuesday 15 August
Seminar Room 1, Level 2, TRF
Chair: Dr Michelle Tate

At 12pm in Seminar Room 1, Level 2, TRF, CID will hold its weekly seminar. The CID seminar schedule can be found here:  

For your diaries: CID special seminar, Wednesday 23 August, likely 11am (TBC)

Prof Adrian Liston, ASI Visiting Speaker
Professor of Translational Immunology
University of Leuven, Belgium
VIB, Belgium

More information: