Friday, 28 November 2014

We want your news!

Have you attended or presented at a conference recently? Published a paper? Given a poster presentation? Won an award? Received a grant? Invented a new medical device? Or merely discovered the cure for cancer?

Your colleagues at SCS want to share your success.  Please forward your stories to Katherine Greenberg.  (Even if you don't think your story is interesting, others do!!)

And you can always tell us about a colleague's success if they're too shy to come forward themselves.

Lions Club generosity to help arthritis patients

Eric Gittins and Eric Morand with the
M1000 Pro multifunctional plate reader
Rheumatoid arthritis patients will benefit from research enabled by state of the art equipment donated by the Lions Club to the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS).

Thanks to the generous donation of $78,000 from the Victorian Lions Club, Australian Lions Foundation and Lions Clubs International Foundation, the Arthritis Research Group in the Centre for Inflammatory Diseases at SCS has been able to purchase a Tecan M1000 Pro multifunctional plate reader.

The Victorian Lions Club has been raising funds for over 30 years for the Victorian Lions Rheumatism & Arthritis Medical Research Foundation, said Lions Club representative and Past District Governor Mr Eric Gittins. In the last 12 years we have donated well over $300,000 to Monash University for various equipment and facilities.

Researchers shed new light on the genetics of memory performance

A/Prof Srikanth
In the largest study of the genetics of memory ever undertaken, an international research team including scientists from the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) has discovered two common genetic variants believed to be associated with memory performance.

Published last week in Biological Psychiatry, the findings are a significant step towards better understanding how memory loss is inherited.

Longer life spans and the increased prevalence of memory impairment and dementia world-wide underscore the critical public health importance of efforts aimed at deciphering the underlying mechanisms of human memory.  

The Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium was developed to facilitate the study of the entire genome through pooling of data from research centers all across the world. Nearly 30,000 participants who did not have dementia were included in the study. Each participant completed memory tests, such as word recall, and their entire genome was genotyped. Using sophisticated statistical analysis, the genome was examined for segments that were associated with low memory scores.

Funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Head of Stroke and Ageing Research at SCS Associate Professor Velandai Srikanth and his team of Australian collaborators contributed to this analysis and report using data from the Tasmanian Study of Cognition and Gait (TASCOG).

Language competence and the link to antisocial behaviour

A/ Prof Pam Snow
Research in the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) highlights the long-term social, behavioural and educational implications of poor language skills among disadvantaged children and the benefits of teacher professional development (PD).

Recently published in the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Department of Psychiatry’s Associate Professor Pamela Snow collaborated on a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) that examined the impact of teacher PD aimed at improving children’s oral language skills and early literacy success.

“Reduced oral language competence in the early years compromises psychosocial development and has been shown in overseas research to predispose to mental health problems,” said Associate Professor Snow.

“Language difficulties in childhood and adolescence are also linked with externalising behaviour disorders.”

CID meeting TOMORROW 12-1pm: Molecules to medicine, commercializing anti-fibrotic drugs for the treatment of chronic kidney disease

Presented by Professor Darren Kelly, Director Biomedical Research, Department of Medicine 
University of Melbourne

Medicine Seminar Room, Level 5, Block E

MIMR-PHI Special Seminar - TOMORROW 12pm-1pm From endosymbiont to intercellular mitochondrial trafficking - the unfolding story of mitochondria

Speaker:  Professor Mike Berridge, Malaghan Institute of Medical Research

Level 3 Boardrooms, MIMR-PHI building

See attached flyer for details.

SCS Launch of new Postgraduate Training Program – 8th December

Monday 8th December,  2.30pm - 3.30pm
MIMR-PHI Boardroom, MIMR Building Level 3
Who Should Attend: SCS/MIMR-PHI supervisors of HDR students

This will introduce the new precinct-wide format for management of SCS HDR training and provide information to all SCS/MIMR-PHI supervisors about the new Monash Doctoral Program for PhD training which begins in January 2015.
Further information:

Getting to know our ECRs - Dr Clare Westhorpe

Can you explain your research?
I work with Prof Michael Hickey and Prof Richard Kitching in the Centre for Inflammatory Diseases (Dept of Medicine). We are looking at how different types of immune cells damage the kidneys during autoimmune disease. We are able to image cells moving about in the kidney in live, anaesthetised mice, which is really cool. We're hoping to work out how to turn off the immune pathways that cause kidney damage.

What skills do you have that you could share with your colleagues?
Intravital imaging on the multiphoton microscope and flow cytometry. 

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Even when I was a kid, I wanted to be a scientist. What a nerd! 

What do you enjoy doing outside work?
Taking my kids to sport! I have two young boys, Jack who's in prep and Charlie who's 2 years old (that's him in the pic). 

Something your work colleagues probably don’t know about you?
I also help run a kindergarten committee, which has shown me a lot about people, business and government.

Three Ritchie Centre clinician/PhD students recently received the following awards

Dr Sebastian Hobson
RANZCOG Luke Proposch Perinatal Research Scholarship
The role of melatonin in mitigating oxidative stress in preeclampsia.
2015 $20,000

Dr Shavi Fernando 
RANZCOG Ella Macknight Memorial Scholarship 
Melatonin and infertility: Can we improve outcomes of assisted reproductive technology - a placebo controlled randomised controlled trial.
2015/2016 $50,000

Dr Luke Larmour
RANZCOG Mary Elizabeth Courier Research Scholarship
Factors influencing the progression of high-grade cervical dysplasia to invasive carcinoma. 
2015/2016 $60,000

Quiet Achiever Nominations now OPEN - to be awarded at 5 December staff meeting

The Quiet Achiever Award is given to a staff member to reward and recognise their achievements and contribution to the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health.  
A $200 shopping voucher will be awarded to the winner.  Download nomination form here.

SCS staff meeting will take place 12pm, December 5 at the Monash Club, Clayton campus.

Black Start TOMORROW 7-8am

Monash Health have scheduled a site wide Black Start exercise for Tuesday 2nd December 2014 between the hours of 7:00-8:00am.

The purpose of a Black Start is to test and demonstrate that the emergency power supply performs as an integrated system and continues to deliver power to critical services. Black Starts also demonstrate the orderly restoration of supplies once normal source power has been restored.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

SCS learns from Harvard Medical School

While attending the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston last week, School of Clinical Sciences Head, Professor Eric Morand, accepted an invitation to visit Harvard Medical School (HMS).

Professor Morand met with Jane M Neill, Associate Dean for Medical Education Administration and Planning, Harvard University to learn about the HMS medical education precinct.

These discussions were timely given SCS is planning to develop a major health care professional education precinct at Monash Medical Centre, said Professor Morand.
Professor Morand and
Jane M Neill

"Harvard recently upgraded their clinical skills centre and Monash is keen to learn from the best around the world."

Monash and Harvard Medical Schools are both research-intensive environments where most teachers are also hospital clinicians, added Professor Morand.  Importantly, we share similar values about education and teaching patient-centred care.

Professor Morand reported he learned what Harvard believes they got right, what they would do differently, and what the future looks like.

Beyond the discussions about building a medical education precinct and building on the links between the two organisations, Professor Morand discovered that Monash's links to Harvard have a long history.

Foundation Professor of Anatomy at Monash, and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine from 1977 to 1988, Emeritus Professor Graeme Schofield was an anatomy instructor at HMS and some of his former students, who are current HMS staff, remember him fondly as an outstanding teacher.

CID meeting TODAY, 12 - 1pm

Medicine Seminar Room, level 5,  Block E, MMC

Dr Michaela Finsterbusch will be presenting:
Monocyte recruitment and interactions with neutrophils in the inflamed glomerulus

Dr Sarah Snelgrove will be presenting:Ischaemia reperfusion injury induces morphological, phenotypic and functional changes in renal dendritic cells

MIMR-PHI seminar - Wednesday 26 November

Presented by Dr Ron Firestein, Genentech, USA.

"Spliceosome dysregulation in cancer: opportunities for therapeutic intervention"

26 Nov, 4pm-5pm, Level 3 Boardrooms, MIMR-PHI Building  Details here.

MIMR-PHI seminar, Tuesday 2 December

Prof Mike Berridge, Malaghan Institute, New Zealand. 

"From endosymbiont to intercellular mitochondrial trafficking - the unfolding story of mitochondria"
2 December, 12pm-1pm, Level 3 Boardrooms, MIMR-PHI Building.

CTI research grant applications now open

CTI submissions close in mid-January, however, you are strongly recommended to submit before the end of the year.
Please discuss your submission with Peter Ebeling or John Morrison

See pre-submission cover sheet and pre-proposal template here.

Applications open - Monash-Newcastle Partnership seed fund

The Vice-Provost Office for Research & Research Infrastructure have announced the second round of strategic funding for small projects inline with the Monash-Newcastle strategic aim.  This call for applications is to encourage research proposals in the areas of Cancer, Infection, Immunity and Developmental Biology. 

The guideline, including eligibility and submission instructions, are attached. Note the closing date for submissions is 9am (UK time), Wednesday 9th December.   Application form here.  Any questions please contact the Vice-Provost Office - 99020435 or email:

Early Career Scientists' Networking Conference on Integrated Science

The third Future Earth early career scientists' networking conference on integrated science will be on the theme of “Future Sustainability — the role of Science in the Sustainable Development Goals".

The International Council for Science (ICSU), International Social Science Council (ISSC) and the German Research Foundation (DFG) invite applications for participation from post-doctoral researchers interested in integrated science and collaboration between the social and natural sciences. The conference will bring together senior and leading scientists and researchers with a diversity of perspectives to identify priority questions for future research on the topic. It will provide an opportunity to interact and network with peers and senior researchers, forging new collaborations and fostering innovative integrated research.

The Conference will take place at Villa Vigoni, the German-Italian Centre for Cultural and Scientific Exchange at Lake Como in Italy, from 24-30 May 2015.

The closing date for applications is 22 December 2014. Read more and download the call for applications.

Announcing the Research Bazaar: free training conference for researchers

The Research Bazaar is an academic training conference presented by Research Platforms and the University of Melbourne. Research students and early career researchers from all disciplines can come to acquire the digital skills (e.g. computer programming, data analysis) that underpin modern research.

There will be a range of tools on offer, including Python, R and  mapping. Training will be provided by teachers accredited by Mozilla Science Software Carpentry. The conference will also be an opportunity to meet and network with researchers from around the country from a huge range of disciplines. Applications close November 30. Women and researchers from diverse backgrounds are particularly encouraged to apply.

When: February 16-18 2015
Where: University of Melbourne

How much: Free!
Apply here:

Lorne Infection and Immunity Conference 2015, 18-20 February

The 2015 Lorne Infection and Immunity Conference organising committee invites you to register for the 5th annual conference.  Join infection and immunity scientists from around Australia and overseas for three days of networking and science.  See program and registration details here.
50 Complimentary Student Registrations
2015 will see the Lorne Infection and Immunity Committee continue to foster the development of the next generation. This year, we will be offering 50 FREE STUDENT REGISTRATIONS. The offer is capped to the first 50 student who register by the poster abstract deadline (5 December 2014) for the Lorne Infection and Immunity Conference. More details here.


It is that time of year when the silly season is starting to kick in so why not add to the string of social engagements and join us in RICHMOND......yes you read right.

So don't be a stranger and come join us for pre-XMAS drinkies and nibbles THIS FRIDAY 28th NOVEMBER @ MAEVE FOX starting 5:30pm. Its right next to East Richmond station or a 10 min walk from Richmond so plenty of PT access.

Mobile Early Voting - Victorian State Election

The following information in regards to early voting at MMC.
What is happening?

·         The Victorian Electoral Commission will be at Monash Medical Centre from Tuesday to Thursday, November 25-27, 2014, to operate an Early Voting Service for the State Election being held on Saturday November 29, 2014.

Who can vote at this Early Voting Service?

·         Patients, staff, visitors or carers may use this service to cast an early vote where they may experience difficulty attending a voting centre on Saturday November 29.

Where will the voting take place?

·         The Early Voting team will be based in the area outside Lecture Theatre 2 each day from 9:30am – 12:30pm and 1pm – 4pm.
·         The early voting team will visit patients on-ward where they are unable to travel to the Early Voting Service.

RItchie Centre research may save babies from cerebral palsy

MELBOURNE researchers are devising the formula for what type and how much cord blood should be given back to babies after birth to prevent cerebral palsy.

See full Herald Sun story here.     

The language of justice

Many of us take communication for granted. But a conference at Edith Cowan University (ECU) will hear how those with poor language skills face a multitude of problems, from missing out on health care to higher incarceration rates.

The Language as a Social Justice Issue conference will be held at ECU’s Social Justice Research Centre on 25 and 26 November.

The conference will hear from leading ECU experts in the field of language and social justice. During the event Monash University’s Associate Professor Pamela Snow will also deliver the Just World Lecture.  Full story here.

OHS conference - podcasts and images

Following the recent OH&S Conference, we have now uploaded on the OH&S conference website, speaker podcasts and presentations.  A gallery of photos from the conference is also available on this site. 

I would particularly like to point out a presentation by Dr Simon Brown regarding complacency in the workplace. Simon suffered personally due to his own complacency and is now a Workcover Victoria inspector. I think there are lessons for all in his presentation.
Dale Cary
CIIID and SCS Laboratory Manager