Monday, 9 February 2015

Your brain on meditation

Left images show brain during concentrative meditation, while
images to the right show the brain during nondirective meditation.
(Image courtesy NTNU, story here)

Are you having difficulty paying attention?  Are you fully engaged in what is happening around you? 

Mindfulness is about living in the now and being more aware and awake in every moment of your life.   Read more.

Try a 5 minute mindfulness activity now (download audio file here).   You will find improvements in your  health, wellbeing and cognitive performance!

Leading critical care physician and researcher appointed to Monash

Professor Shehabi
Renowned critical care physician and researcher Professor Yahya Shehabi has been appointed Program Medical Director Critical Care at Monash Health.

Highly regarded in the critical care community internationally, Professor Shehabi’s professional experience includes being an examiner of both the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) and College of Intensive Care Medicine (CICM); Immediate past Chairman of the Intensive Care Foundation of ANZ; Chair of the NSW Regional Committee for CICM; Director Australian New Zealand Intensive Care Society; Chair Practice and Economic Committee for Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) and he has actively participated in the ANZICS Clinical Trials Group (CTG) research network.

“After spending the bulk of my professional and research life at the Prince of Wales Hospital, the transition to Monash opens a whole new world of challenges and achievements through collaborative and successful engagement with critical care colleagues at Monash,” said Professor Shehabi.

New appointment will lead to improved outcomes for patients with prostate cancer at Monash Health

Dr Azad
Professor Peter Ebeling AO, Head, Department of Medicine is delighted to announce that medical oncologist and researcher Dr Arun Azad, will take up appointments at Monash Health and Monash University’s School of Clinical Sciences (SCS) in the second half of 2015 to focus on pre-clinical and clinical translational research in genitourinary cancers.

Dr Azad’s translational research will focus on the role of new chemotherapeutic agents on castration-sensitive prostate cancer, leading to lead to improved outcomes for patients with prostate cancer at Monash Health in the near future.

An early-career medical oncologist and translational researcher in genitourinary malignancies, Dr Azad currently leads cutting-edge work investigating mechanisms of therapeutic resistance and response in advanced prostate cancer patients through genomic analysis of circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) at the British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, Canada.

Celebration afternoon tea for Professor Peter Ebeling AO

Monash Health Chief Medical Officer Erwin Loh, Monash Health Chief Executive Shelly Park, Department of Medicine Head Professor Peter Ebeling and School of Clinical Sciences Head Professor Eric Morand at the celebration afternoon tea last week.

Peter was made an Office (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medicine in the field of bone health, through academic contributions and research initiatives in a range of administrative, executive and professional roles.   Detailed story here.

2015 Vice-Chancellor's Diversity and Inclusion Awards - applications now open

Applications for the Vice-Chancellor's Diversity and Inclusion Awards are now open, due on Friday 31 July 2015.
You are encouraged to nominate a colleague, a student or a team who has demonstrated a contribution to Monash's inclusive environment and social justice.  The application may address equal opportunity for women, Indigenous engagement, people with disability, student equity, diverse genders and sexualities, intercultural inclusion or other social justice initiatives.

RAMACIOTTI AWARDS: 2015 Biomedical Research Award

As trustee of the Ramaciotti Foundations, Perpetual Private is pleased to advise that applications are now open for the 2015 Ramaciotti Biomedical Research Award. This $1 million grant is awarded every two years to a group or individual undertaking biomedical research within universities, public hospitals, medical research institutes or other similar organisations.

Applicants for the 2015 Award must be based outside of NSW.  The award funds projects including personnel, equipment, major infrastructure improvements or new laboratories that help an existing, well-funded program of research or enable a major new program to begin. Traditionally, it funds a need that would not attract funding elsewhere.

The current application process starts with an EOI application which is to be no more than one page and must be submitted by the 13 March.  Short listed applications will be invited to submit full applications in April.

Applications Invited: 2015 Advancing Women’s Research Success Grant Program

The University's Equal Opportunity for Women Committee is pleased to announce that applications are now being sought for the 2015 Advancing Women's Research Success Grant Program.

The grants form part of Monash's Gender Equity Strategy 2011-2015 and support the University's commitment to improving the representation of women in senior academic roles.

NHMRC Minimum Data Requirements and Budget Advice

1. Minimum Data Requirements
Minimum data for the 2015 Project Grants scheme consists of the following:
Note: The above information will be used to identify review panels and assessors. Applicants are advised that any change made to the above fields after 18 February 2015 may impact the review of the application.
Queries should be directed to the MRO Medical and Health SciencesTeam (

SCS ECRs - Faculty Travel Grants 2015 - applications now open

Under the Faculty Travel Grant Scheme 2015, the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health has been allocated funds sufficient for 10 travel grants of $1000 each.  This grant is to be used to support early to mid-career researchers (Levels A-C) for their international conference travel, and allocation is contingent upon abstract acceptance.

We now wish to invite applications from eligible SCS staff via the attached form.  Please read the attached guidelines, and submit your application by Friday 27th February 2015 to

(The SCS travel grant report form is also attached, if required by last year's travel grant recipients.)
Applications will be jointly assessed by the SCS Executive and you will be notified of the result of your application.   Note: MIMR-PHI employees are not eligible to apply.

Book signing and presentation, The Honourable Tim A. Fischer AC

Maestro John Monash, Australia's Greatest Citizen General.

25 February at 12pm.  Lecture Theatre 1, MMC.
 Details here.

Workshop Invitation : Arab Cultural Competence - 8 Rules of Engagement Monday 16 February

This briefing workshop for academic and professional staff addresses key cultural attributes and gives 8 methods for positive engagement with students and the broader community and will cover:

  • Heritage world view
  • Faith practice
  • Arabic language
  • Pedigree and names
  • Status, hierarchy and avoidance
  • Gender issues
  • Pedagogy
  • Academic aspirations

Date: Monday 16 February
Time: 12:30 - 4:30 pm

John Colvin Opthalmology Lecture Series starts on the 21st February

Please see flyer for details.

Registrations are now open for Science Pathways 2015

The EMCR Forum’s national meeting, Science Pathways 2015 - Effective science communication for EMCRs, will be held in Adelaide at ‘The Braggs’ Lecture Theatre, The University of Adelaide on 23-24 April 2015. The event will bring together EMCRs and senior scientists as well as representatives from industry and government. Making science more accessible to a wider audience is essential, especially with the heavy reliance on government funding for research. Effective communication of new scientific ideas and breakthroughs to the wider community can be a real challenge for many scientists. Science Pathways 2015 will be an opportunity to learn new skills in the important area of science communication. This may also open up new career opportunities for EMCRs looking to use their research experience in a different way.

Approximately 150-200 delegates from around Australia and neighbouring countries are expected to attend the two-day meeting.

Meet our ECRs - Dr Sarah Jones

Can you explain your research?
I have always had a nerdy attachment to B cells - the cells that make antibodies, which are protective in immunity and harmful in autoimmunity.  Now I’m studying the ways in which the protein GILZ controls B cell behaviour. GILZ is induced by glucocorticoids (or steroids), which are prescribed to around 70% of lupus patients and still used in around 50% of rheumatoid arthritis patients to try to gain some control over the disease. GILZ appears to mimic many of the same anti-inflammatory effects of glucocorticoids (for example, by inhibiting B cell production of antibodies), but without causing the same harmful side effects. We are investigating the potential for GILZ to be a safe and effective alternative treatment for autoimmune diseases. 

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
Crew on a container ship or an icebreaker, marine pilot guiding large ships into port, forest ranger, immunologist.

What do you enjoy doing outside work? 
Vaccinating lambs and calves - real world immunology! We spend lots of weekend time tending to stock, orchards, vines and our own need for fun (swimming in the dam, riding motorbikes, playing with all the dogs) at the family farm. 

Something your work colleagues probably don’t know about you? 
I’m a senior science textbook editor and author in my 'spare time'. If your son or daughter takes up biology in year 11 or 12 in Victoria or the rest of Australia from this year onwards, chances are they will be working from my books (I dare you to find a mistake!).

ECR Mailing List 2015

The Faculty Research Office disseminates email alerts to ECRs including information about grant/fellowship schemes that specifically target ECRs, seminars, events/workshops, useful publications and mentorship.

If you would like to SUBSCRIBE to the Faculty ECR Mailing List, please click here.
Should you wish to UNSUBSCRIBE from the Faculty ECR Mailing List, please click here.

Note: The Faculty definition of an ECR is a staff member who is appointed at Levels A-C and within 10 years of the award of their PhD.  Whilst you may subscribe to this list if you are not an ECR, the information, schemes and programs advertised may not be relevant or available to you.
Information on Faculty ECR activities and useful ECR links can be found on the ECR Gateway website here 

Early Career Fellowship Workshop Recording Available

A video recording of the Early Career Fellowship Workshop run recently by the Monash Research Office can be found on the MRO intranet here

New MV Scholarship and Co-supervision Opportunities

Monash and Museum Victoria (MV) are excited to be strengthening their partnership through the launch of new PhD and Honours scholarships, as well as continuing to offer co-supervision opportunities.

The scholarships include two new PhD top-up scholarships each valued at $5,000 per year over three years (with a possible six-month extension), and two new one-off Honours scholarships each valued at $1,000.


Please review this important news for postgraduate students nearing thesis submission.
The requirement to submit four copies for examination no longer applies. We have also streamlined and updated some of our forms to make them more user-friendly.
From 1 January 2015, students are required to submit two thermal (soft) bound copies of the thesis for the purposes of the examination.
  • To assist with timely processing, students are also required to submit a PDF copy of the thesis to within 24 hours of submitting the thermal bound copies. PDF submissions are to be emailed with the following subject line: PDF file for student name, Degree, ID No.

New thesis submission requirements for Graduate Research Students

There have been an number of changes to the PhD examination requirements as of 1 January 2015.

For pre-2015 students, the PhD thesis length should not exceed 100,000 words.  For new PhD students commencing from 1 January 2015, the maximum thesis length is now 80,000 words.

For Masters by Research thesis word lengths, please refer to

The requirement to submit four copies for examination no longer applies.

Three parent IVF

Prof Kovacs
Professor Gabor Kovacs, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Professor John Carroll, School of Biomedical Sciences and Dr Damian Kimon Dowling, School of Biological Sciences, comment on the UK Parliament having voted in favour of creating IVF babies with DNA from three people.  Full story here.

Happy Max bounces back ... and all he needed was a good night’s sleep

Associate Professor Margot Davey and the Melbourne Children’s Sleep Centre, at Monash Children’s Hospital.

Full Herald Sun story here.

The way we teach most children to read sets them up to fail

Associate Professor Pamela Snow, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, suggests the way we teach most children to read sets them up to fail.   

Full story in The Conversation

Cord Blood Registry Announces Formation of Scientific & Medical Advisory Board

Emeritus Professor Alan Trounson, MIMR-PHI Institute, to be on the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board.  Full story here.