Monday, 14 September 2015

Efficacy and safety of cyclic pyranopterin monophosphate substitution in severe molybdenum cofactor deficiency type A: a prospective cohort study

Flora Wong et al. published in The Lancet.

Read article here.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus and biomarkers of neurodegeneration

Velandai Srikanth et al. published in Neurology.

Read article here

Head of Haematology Research starts at MHTP

Associate Professor Jake Shortt
Monash University and Monash Health are excited to announce renowned haematologist Associate Professor Jake Shortt will lead haematology research in a newly created role at the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP).
Associate Professor Shortt is clinical lead for leukemia and myelodysplasia at Monash Health and principle investigator on a number of leukemia and bone marrow disorder studies within the clinical trials unit.

“My scientific research focuses largely on lymphoma, leukaemia and myeloma and with our increased understanding of what drives these diseases at a molecular level, we can now rationally target the survival pathways and abnormal genetic programs operating within cancer cells,” said Associate Professor Shortt.

Most recently, Associate Professor Shortt’s research has involved combining drugs that work on epigenetic pathways with immune-modulators.

“If the DNA of a cell is its hardware, epigenetic pathways constitute the software, and software is re-programmable with drugs,” he explained.

“Epigenetic drugs can change or kill cells in such a way that they become more visible to the immune system and therefore you can prime a patient’s tumour and immune system concurrently to gain major therapeutic responses.”

“It is no exaggeration to say we have seen miraculous responses in the clinic at Monash, using approaches gleaned from our laboratory-based research.”

Until recently a Senior Research Fellow at Peter Mac, Associate Professor Shortt has relocated to MHTP to be at the ‘coal face’ of translational research, allowing him to conduct basic scientific research in tandem with clinical trial activity.

“It is a very exciting time in haematology and cancer biology at the moment,” said Associate Professor Shortt.

“We are seeing a revolution in our understanding of tumour biology at the genomic and epigenetic level.  Concurrently there has been a paradigm shift in the therapeutic application of immuno-oncology.”

In his new role at MHTP, Associate Professor Shortt plans to further develop his pre-clinical and translational research rationally, applying targeted therapies within appropriate genomic and epigenetic contexts.

“This new role will better allow me to link these concepts with clinical trial activity and from a broader perspective I would like to develop Haemato-Oncology at Monash into an internationally competitive program, building the academic reputation of both the Haematology department and Haematology research at the School of Clinical Sciences.”

“The major advantage Monash Health and the MHTP has over other cancer hospitals is its proximity to patients, and I feel I am taking my science to where the patients are, in an area of real growth and potential.”

“I’m really excited about the prospects at Monash—being embedded in a state-of-the-art facility with a really positive and progressive group of clinician scientists is a recipe for success,” added Associate Professor Shortt.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to stake a claim in the future of haematology and cancer medicine in Victoria.”

Monash doctor and PhD student wins Young Investigator Award

Dr Jonathan Dick
Congratulations Dr Jonathan Dick who received the prestigious Young Investigator Award for basic science at the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology (ANZSN) Annual Scientific Meeting in Canberra last week.

A PhD student with the Kidney Disease and Vasculitis Research Group at Monash University’s Centre for Inflammatory Diseases, Dr Jonathan Dick holds a Clinical Academic Training Fellowship from Monash Health.

Jonathan presented his findings that proteins in the complement system could help in more targeted treatments for people with severe kidney disease caused by vasculitis.

“This form of severe kidney disease is hard to treat and current treatments affect a variety of other tissues in the body,” said Jonathan.

“I showed data demonstrating that complement proteins are important in stimulating the underlying immune response that causes the vasculitis and kidney inflammation, increasing our understanding of how we should target complement in kidney disease.”

“This may have relevance to the use of complement therapeutics in other diseases.”

Jonathan said it was very satisfying to have his hard work recognised.

“I had help from so many lab members on different aspects of the work and this award is also recognition for the time and expertise that many of them have contributed to make the project a success.” 

Members of the kidney research groups at Monash Health and the Monash Centre for Inflammatory Diseases have won this highly prestigious award, given to only one person each year, for the past seven years.

Peter Ebeling and Helena Teede appointed to the NHMRC Research Committee

Professor Ebeling AO
Congratulations to two Monash leaders on their appointments to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Research Committee.

Head of Department of Medicine, Professor Peter Ebeling AO and Professor Helena Teede, Executive Director of Monash Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre, Head of the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation, School Public Health and Preventive Medicine and an Endocrinologist at Monash Health have both been appointed to the
NHMRC Research Committee.
Professor Teede

Covering the spectrum of health and medical research, the NHMRC Research Committee is the principal national health and medical research committee and awards grants on the basis of scientific quality as judged by peer-review.

It also provides research support through a variety of mechanisms, including support for individual research projects, broad programs of research, training awards and fellowships and special research units.

 “It’s a great honour to be nominated to the research committee and a great honour for Monash University and the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health for me to be their representative on the committee,” said Professor Ebeling.

“As a research committee member I will push for the importance of translational research, and particularly the research we are able to undertake at the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP) with our new facility.”

Professor Teede has served two recent terms on the NHMRC Health Care Committee and now transfers to the principal research committee.

“It is an honour to be able to contribute to the health and medical research sector through this vehicle,” said Professor Teede.

“This is a challenging time for health and medical research and the strategies that emerge from the NHMRC over the next three years will be vital in shaping the future of this sector in Australia.”

The NHMRC plays a key role in advising government on the future direction of research and on facilitating knowledge exchange to translate evidence into policy and practice.  Professor Teede said she looks forward to contributing to this vital agenda moving forward.

“Another key opportunity for health impact is our newly NHMRC accredited Academic Health Sciences Centres, including Monash Partners,” added Professor Teede.

“These will play a key role in the integration of health and medical research and are ideally placed to innovate and to drive pace and scale in both research and translation, with measurable impact on practice and policy.”

Professor Ebeling said he also intends to lobby for more research funding overall in Australia.
“The future medical research fund does create an opportunity although it is uncertain how this funding will be administered,” added Professor Ebeling.

“I think the NHMRC should have a role in the peer review of fund distribution from this new research fund and it’s important to push that agenda with government.”

Attn ALL researchers/supervisors: Student queries from this year's student open day

Attention all researchers/supervisors  

As a follow-up to this year's MHTP Student Open Day, the organising committee would like to know how many prospective students have since contacted supervisors regarding projects for next year.

This information is important for us to obtain, so if you had a project listed for next year please spare a few seconds from your busy day to respond. (Please email Lisa Walter:  Thank you.

Hudson Seminar 16 September: Neuroscience of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

This week's (Wed 16 September) Hudson Seminar will be held from 4pm-5pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Monash Medical Centre. NB. This is a WEDNESDAY.
The speaker will be: Prof Mark Bellgrove - Cognitive Neuroscience, Director of Research, School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University

Talk title: "Neuroscience of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder"

Light refreshments to follow presentation outside the Lecture Theatre.
                                   Flyer with details here.

The Ritchie Centre Colloquium: 21-22 October

The Ritchie Centre of Hudson Institute of Medical Research, in collaboration with Monash University and Monash Health is holding it's annual Ritchie Centre Colloquium on 21 and 22 October 2015.
The Ritchie Centre is the research arm of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Department of Paediatrics, Monash University.  Our research activities are clustered into four distinct but integrated themes, namely Women's Health, Fetal and Neonatal Health, Infant and Child Health and Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine. 
Each year the Colloquium addresses the research activities of one of those themes - Infant and Child Health this year.  The 2015 Ritchie Colloquium will focus on aspects of child health and will be of interest to paediatricians, family physicians, maternal and child health nurses and health researchers in the field.

See program and further information here.

SCS-MHTP Student Showcase Symposium, Nov 20th

SCS-MHTP Student Showcase Symposium

Nov 20th, 2015, 12.30pm - 5pm, in Lecture Theatre 1, MMC Clayton, starting with lunch

This will initiate a key annual event, showcasing the best of SCS-MHTP 2nd/3rd year PhD students from different disciplines in 15 minute talks.

Women in the Science Research Workforce: Identifying and Sustaining the Diversity Advantage

A report on “Women in the Science Research Workforce: Identifying and Sustaining the Diversity Advantage” by Sharon Bell and Lyn Yates  was launched at the University of Melbourne last week.

The research was supported by an ARC Linkage Grant and copies are available at 

Invitation to Monash Care Anniversary Celebrations: Guest Speakers: Lt Gen (Ret'd) David Morrison AO, former Chief of Army and Mr Graeme Campbell, Vice President, RACS

You are invited to celebrate the one year anniversary of Monash Care: the Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Monash Doctors

Wednesday 7 October 2015 12.15pm-2pm Monash Medical Centre, Lecture Theatre 1

Guest Speakers for the event are:

1.      Lieutenant General (Ret’d) David Morrison AO speaking on Leading Cultural Change: Lessons from the Army
2.      Mr Graeme Campbell, Vice President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons speaking on Findings of Expert Advisory Group and the College’s plans to address them.

Dandenong Women in Medicine workshop - Navigating Discrimination & Optimising Equality

The next workshop in our ‘Women in Medicine’ initiative is now live for enrolment on the Monash Health LMS!
DI Meeting Room (Level 1 near ED) Dandenong Hospital, 15 Sept, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Follow this link​ or search for ‘Women in Medicine’ on the LMS.

Navigating Discrimination & Optimising Equality:
·        Discrimination, whether blatant or covert will never be acceptable. Today opportunities for women have increased significantly and legally women have equal status and rights in workplaces. Professions like the Army, Aviation, Medicine and Law that were once regarded as “Men’s work” now have an equal number of Women entering their workforce. However there is still some ground to cover to ensure that gender is not a barrier for anyone in attaining their desired professional goals.

This session will explore the challenges that women face due to their gender in the modern workplace and will provide participants with information to navigate those barriers successfully.

Presented by:
·        Dr Anjali Dhulia: Director, Medical Services
·        Nicki Ursu: Senior HR Business Partner for Monash Sector & Medical
·        Gaylene Giles: Manager of Employee Relations, People & Culture
·        Rosemary McKemmish: Monash Doctors’ Wellbeing Officer

2015 Victorian Cancer Agency Funding Round - Health Services Research Funding Scheme Now Open

We are pleased to announce the Health Services Research Funding Scheme Expressions of Interest application round is now open and will close at
2pm on Tuesday 13 October 2015.

The Health Services Research Funding Scheme will be run as a two step process with those successful in the expression of interest application round invited to submit a full application in November 2015.

More information on this funding opportunity can be found at:

ARC Funding Rules now available - Linkage (LP, ITRP, LIEF) & Discovery (FL, DE, DP, IN) Programs

The ARC have just released funding rules and announced dates for the Linkage and Discovery Programs. This includes the following schemes:

Linkage Program
Industrial Transformation Research Hubs (2015) - OPEN NOW
Industrial Transformation Research Centres (2016) - OPEN NOW
Linkage Projects (2016)
LIEF (2017)

Discovery Program
Australian Laureate Fellowships (2016)
DECRA (2017)
Discovery Projects (2017)
Discovery Indigenous (2017)

Please find links to the relevant ARC web pages below.

We will email further information regarding the Monash process for submitting applications and internal close dates.

Please email all enquiries to

ARC ITRP applications now open in RMS

Applications for ARC Industrial Transformation Research Program (including Research Hub and Training Centres) are now open in RMS and close 5pm on Thursday 10 December.

1. Please find attached 
2. Please note the Industrial Transformation Priorities are:
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Food and Agribusiness
  • Oil, Gas and Energy resources
  • Mining Equipment, Technology and services
  • Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals

2015 Victorian Cancer Agency Workforce Funding Schemes - 3 weeks to go!

The workforce funding schemes, being offered as part of the 2015 Victorian Cancer Agency Funding Round, will close in 4 weeks at 2pm on 6 October 2015:
  • Early Career Seed Grants
  • Clinical Research Fellowships
  • Mid-Career Research Fellowships 
The Victorian Cancer Agency Translational Research Project Funding Scheme will close at 2pm on 27 October 2015.

More information on these grants can be found at:

NHMRC Development/Partnership Project Grant info session - presentations

The School of Psychological Sciences recently hosted an information session on NHMRC Development and Partnership Project Grants.

For those unable to attend, please find attached presentations given by:
  • Professor Matthew Gillespie: here 
  • Tessa Jones: here  
  • Professor Peter Ebeling: here 

2015 Bupa Emerging Health Researcher of the Year Award

The Bupa Heath Foundation seeks nominations for the 2015​ ​Emerging Health Researcher of the Year Award.

This award recognises the valuable contribution of emerging health researchers to health outcomes for all Australians by providing the winner with help to pursue research in their chosen area.

A total $25,000 will be offered to the winner to pursue their chosen area of research. This will be presented as a cheque after the event.
​ ​
In addition, profiling of the winner and the nominating organisation will take place across internal and external media.
​ Selected finalists will be invited to attend the annual event on 18 November 2015, where the overall winner will be announced.​

To be eligible, nominated researchers must be:​​

Professional Skills for Research Leaders (PSRL) Workshop #1 - Introduction (correct date - 15 September)

All ECRs are invited to participate in our first Professional Skills for Research Leaders (PSRL) workshop.

In this first workshop we will establish the priorities for an ECR, learn how to identify gaps in our own career development, and establish a strategic plan for a successful career using the tools we have available to us.

As the workshop is based on the PSRL Introduction Module, we highly encourage all ECRs to complete this module if possible (link below). 

What: PSRL Workshop #1 - Introduction
When: Tuesday 15th September, 2015
Time: 11:30 - 1:00pm
Where: Hudson Level 3 Boardrooms (nibbles on DeKrester Concourse to follow)

Flyer is attached here.

Global Young Academy - applications for membership now open

You are encouraged to consider applying for membership of the Global Young Academy for 2016.

The Global Young Academy (GYA) aims to be the voice of young scientists around the world. The academy empowers early-career researchers to lead international, interdisciplinary and intergenerational dialogue by developing and mobilizing talent from six continents. The GYA promotes active collaborations between the developed and developing world, stimulates transnational research, advocates for innovations in science policy and raises the profile of science in society through outreach activities.

The GYA works to strengthen international networks of researchers. GYA members are regularly invited to represent young scientists at external meetings, providing input to international organizations such as UNESCO, the WEF, and the UN Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board. The GYA cooperates with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC).

Young scientists (generally up to 10 years post-PhD) are appointed to the GYA on a competitive basis, considering (i) their demonstrated research excellence, and (ii) their commitment to improving the state of science and its links to broader society. Members serve a five-year term and currently come from over 50 countries.

More information about the call for applications is available via (call closes on Sept 27th)

Tips for dealing with the media

Dealing with the media can be a challenge.  The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) has developed a website to make it easier, including videos and tip sheets.  They also have really useful information about using social media.
Go to:

Changes in pelvic organ prolapse mesh mechanical properties following implantation in rats

Caroline Gargett et al. published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Read article here.

Mindfulness and perinatal mental health: A systematic review

Christine East et al. published in Women and Birth.

Read article here.

Cranioplasty outcomes and associated complications: A single-centre observational study

Poh Yi Gan et al. published in the British Journal of Neurosurgery.

Read article here.

Evaluation of consultation-liaison psychiatry referrals from a critical care unit of an outer suburban hospital

David Clarke et al. published in Australasian Psychiatry: bulletin of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Read article here.

The control of mitochondrial DNA replication during development and tumorigenesis

Justin St John et al. published in Annals of the New York Academy of Science.

Read article here.

Relationship between epicardial fat and quantitative coronary artery plaque progression: insights from computer tomography coronary angiography

Ian Meredith et al. published in the International Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging.

Read article here.