Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Monash research giving hope to stroke patients

Dr Connie Wong
Stroke is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide but current treatments do not address a key issue in stroke patients—infections.

For the first time, researchers at Monash University are examining how stroke affects the immune system, resulting in significantly increased risk of infection.

Dr Connie Wong from the Monash Centre for Inflammatory Diseases in the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) believes the susceptibility to infection of stroke patients can be prevented or treated with selective drugs that modulate the immune system.

“Up to now, the development of novel pharmacological approaches to treat stroke patients has focused on overcoming the disruption of blood flow to the brain,” said Dr Wong.

“However, emerging evidence indicates that the major cause of death after stroke is actually bacterial infection.”

“It is now recognised that brain injury caused by stroke disrupts the delicately balanced interconnections between the nervous and immune systems, resulting in suppression of the immune system and profound susceptibility to infection.”

Dr Wong’s research aims to discover the mechanisms that underlie this immune impairment and identify strategies to strengthen the host antibacterial defence to limit infections after stroke.

“We hope to identify a completely novel pharmacological approach for reducing bacterial infection in stroke patients that is not reliant on antibiotics, thus bypassing the growing problem of antibiotic resistance,” added Dr Wong.

Dr Wong is the recipient of a Career Development Fellowship and Project Grant in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding announcements.

“Thanks to this funding, my research will enable us to develop better and targeted treatment regimens for stroke patients, ultimately improving patient outcomes,” added Dr Wong.

Unexpected health benefits of coffee revealed

Dr Alex Hodge
Drinking two or more cups of coffee a day may have significant health benefits, according to latest research at Monash University.

Dr Alex Hodge, a consultant gastroenterologist and liver disease specialist at Monash Health revealed his findings this week at The Liver Meeting in San Francisco, the annual scientific meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

“My research interest is in liver disease and the results of my latest study shows that coffee intake has a positive effect on a number of diseases, and in particular, liver diseases,” said Dr Hodge, who also holds an early career practitioner fellowship in the Centre for Inflammatory Diseases at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS), Monash University.

 “We collected data from over 1100 liver clinic patients at Monash Medical Centre over 18 months and found that drinking coffee reduced liver stiffness (a measurement of liver disease) in patients with hepatitis C, hepatitis B and fatty liver,” said Dr Hodge.

“These findings were noted even when confounding factors such as weight, alcohol and smoking habits were taken into account.”

Dr Hodge’s study did not find the same results when he analysed liver patients’ consumption of tea. 

“The most striking results were found in patients with hepatitis C,” added Dr Hodge.  “Two or more cups of coffee led to an improvement in their liver disease.”

This research adds to the growing body of evidence of the health benefits of coffee, in particular for those with liver diseases including the most common liver disease, fatty liver.

Outcomes for stroke patients set to improve

Dr Monique Kilkenny
Researchers at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health are analysing national data on patients with stroke for the first time to improve patient outcomes.

Senior Research Officer in the Stroke and Ageing Research Group Dr Monique Kilkenny has been awarded an Australian Public Health and Health Services Fellowship to investigate the variation in clinical care and outcomes of patients with stroke in Australia.

“Stroke is a major cause of death and disability and evidence-based stroke care is proven to reduce death and disability and is cost effective,” said Dr Kilkenny.  

According to the 2013 National Stroke Foundation Acute Services Report, evidence-based care is not always provided in clinical practice and up to 40% of patients do not receive treatments proven to be effective.

“Adherence to guidelines by medical practitioners is variable, ranging from 7% for thrombolysis to 94% for ECG on admission, and this disparity in adherence is concerning, as variation in clinical care has been shown to affect patient outcomes,” said Dr Kilkenny.

“In addition, there is limited research on variation in clinical practice and the consequences of outcomes for specific sub-groups, for example non-English speaking background or young adults with stroke.”

Dr Kilkenny’s project will describe the gaps in clinical stroke care in hospitals and determine if these are associated with differences in outcomes for specific sub-groups.

“For the first time, we will analyse a national linked dataset, including 40 hospitals and 17,000 patients to understand the continuum of stroke care including emergency presentations and admission episodes.”

“I will use the outcomes of this research to inform the design of future interventions to reduce variations in care delivery, and reduced deaths, disability and recurrent strokes through improvements in stroke care,” added Dr Kilkenny.

Dr Kilkenny has personally seen how a stroke can affect individuals and families.

“Stroke can happen at any age including in-utero—this grant enables me to undertake epidemiological and health services research to provide important evidence to improve the quality of life of stroke survivors and reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in the community.”  

Dr Kilkenny would like to acknowledge and thank Head, Translational Public Health and Evaluation Division, Associate Professor Dominique Cadilhac; Head, Epidemiology and Prevention Division Professor Amanda Thrift; and the research staff in the Translational Public Health and Evaluation Division for their ongoing support.

SCS fundraiser for Medecins Sans Frontieres

Dr Michaela Finsterbusch and
Roleen Sharma
Our fundraising lunch and raffle was a huge success last Friday, thanks to the enormous efforts of event organiser Michaela Finsterbusch.

A total of $881 was raised on the day, and the money has already been transferred to Medecins San Frontieres.

Thank you to everyone involved.

SCS calendar - what's on this week

Did you know that SCS events, lectures, seminars and more are scheduled in the SCS calendar?  You can subscribe to our calendar, ensuring you will receive invitations and never miss another event or meeting.
Just click on any of the scheduled events and you can easily add it to your own calendar.
The SCS calendar is on the front page of SCS eNews: (scsenews.blogspot.com.au). You can also add the SCS calendar to your list of calendars by clicking on the +Google calendar button.

What's on for the week (16-20 Nov)

Tue 17/11/2015 01:00 PM CiiiD Seminar Series
Wed 18/11/2015 12:30 PM Grand Rounds: A comprehensive approach to the evaluation and management of unexplained Syncope
Fri 20/11/2015 12:15 PM PhD Student Showcase Symposium

Forthcoming events (21 Nov-6 Dec)

Grand Rounds 18 November: “A comprehensive approach to the evaluation and management of unexplained Syncope”

Presenter: Dr Suneet Mittal
Topic: “A comprehensive approach to the evaluation and management of unexplained Syncope” 
Date: Wednesday 18 November 2015
Time: 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Venue: Main Lecture Theatre, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton

Gender and Sexuality Workshop 23 November

The Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences is offering a workshop addressing sexual orientation and gender equity issues in health care training and delivery.

Monday 23 November, 9.30am - 12.30pm, Room C119, 10 Chancellors Walk, Clayton campus.  Register here.

Key issues in training and clinical settings for both health care workers and their patients will be explored.   See flyer here with details.

Wednesday, November 25 - Professor Ralph Tripp

Speaker: Professor Ralph Tripp, Professor and GRA Chair of Vaccine and Therapeutic Development, Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia

Wednesday, November 25, 4pm - 5pm
Peter Doherty Institute Auditorium, 792 Elizabeth St, Melbourne
Contact: Steve Turner (sjturn@unimelb.edu.au)

Flyer with details here.

Dame Valerie Beral: Preventing Breast Cancer, 26 Nov

The National Breast Cancer Foundation hosts its inaugural Scholar in Residence, Dame Valerie Beral.

WEHI at 2.30pm on Thursday, 26 November

Flyer with details here.

OHSE TRF Inductions

Due to unforeseen circumstances we have to cancel the Tuesday and Wednesday planned OHS seminars in the TRF.

These seminars will be rescheduled in early December.

For staff moving into the TRF we ask that you consult the wall mounted evacuation diagrams and emergency booklets placed beside your phone.

Monday, 16 November 2015

In-kind Support for NHMRC Fellowship Applications

The Research Development Team at MRO have received strategic advice from an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (ECF) peer review panel member:

"They mentioned that host institution in-kind support had been quantified in the Executive Summary of some NHMRC ECF fellowship applicants. They referred to it as an "X factor" that helped to differentiate funded from un-funded applicants." 

Although Monash University encourages NHMRC applicants to demonstrate funding sources (including local sources) when discussing feasibility of aims in their Grant Proposal PDF, we have not previously encouraged applicants to quantify in-kind support in the summary sections. We now think this is a missed opportunity, not only for our ECFs, but particularly CDFs and RFs, for whom competition is extremely fierce.

We would like to encourage applicants for the next round to quantify the in-kind support coming to them from Monash University. They will all have some as a matter of course (on-costs, equipment access, etc) - and some will be able to add in-kind cash for direct costs, such as support for stipends, research consumables, etc. 

Defense Medical Research & Development Program - Military Infectious Diseases Research Program Preannouncement

The Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Joint Program Committee 2 (JPC-2)/Military Infectious Diseases Research Program (MIDRP) is funded with Defense Health Program appropriations through the Defense Health Agency, Research, Development, and Acquisition Directorate to support targeted research efforts to ensure the health and readiness of our military forces. Program announcements will be administered by the US Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity. The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) Defense Medical Research and Development Program (DMRDP) will be the managing agent for program announcements and subsequent awards, with strategic oversight from JPC-2/MIDRP.

DAAD Scholarships: Research Stays, Study Visits & Re-Invitation Program

Are you looking for possibilities to fund a study or research stay in Germany?
The DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) is Germany's largest scholarship-awarding organisation and runs several programs to support academic exchange between Germany and all parts of the world. These programs range from short-term exchanges for research or teaching purposes to doctoral scholarships lasting several years. The scholarships offered by the DAAD are awarded to younger university graduates from all academic disciplines as well as from the fields of music and art. Support is also available for young academics and scientists, university teachers and groups completing study visits under the guidance of a university teacher. This support is largely financed from public funds made available by the German Federal Foreign Office.
For more information please refer to the website of ​the DAAD​  Information Centre Sydney: http://ic.daad.de/sydney/scholarship.htm

Applications are now open for the following programs:

Creating strong leadership within Higher Education

Over the years the answer to "What makes a succesful leader in Higher Education?" has changed dramatically, never has the need for individuals to hone their skills been so paramount.

The National Higher Education Women's Leadership Summit 2016 (
15-17 February in Melbourne) is the premier event for leaders in the sector, and seeks to provide practical solutions and inspiration for women seeking to improve their leadership impact and potential in this unique environment.

View the Online Agenda for more information  Receive $300 off registration if you register and pay by 17 November 2015

Defining Moments

Throughout a career there are defining moments, ignition points that spark innovation and inspiration and propel us on the path towards leadership. But how do you recognise them? How can you create them? And do you prepare to take the next step? We have invited these inspirational senior executive women to share their own leadership journeys, and reflect on those sometimes tiny, sometimes unexpected turning points that can become our career, and life, defining moments. 

Rotary Health PhD Scholarships

Rotary Health is offering scholarships for PhDs in a diverse range of areas relating to health and medical research, including epigenetics, melanoma, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, and the medical applications of grapheme.

Applications close on 11 December 2015. More information is available at: http://www.australianrotaryhealth.org.au/Research/Current-Opportunities/Funding-Partner-PhD-Scholarships.aspx

RSVP for the annual Student Xmas Party- Don't miss out!

The Hudson Institute Student Society would like to invite ALL STUDENTS to our annual Student Christmas Party.

Our event this year will be a fully catered Beach BBQ.

When: Friday 27th November, 3pm, Elwood Beach.  Tickets: $5

All food and drinks are included in ticket price. We'll be providing Meat and Vegetarian options, as well as alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages.
Our chef for the afternoon will be serving up some of the following:

- Slow cooked beef ribs
- Lamb burgers
- Falafel burgers
- meat and vegetarian skewers
- A variety of summer salads

Thanks to our fundraising efforts through the year, we've been able to subsidise the costs involved in this event, to keep ticket prices at a minimum.

So we can try to organise our catering as soon as possible, please try to RSVP by Wednesday 18th November through the Surveymonkey link below:

As this is the last event for the year, we'd love to have as many of you attend as possible! So please spread the word about our event.

Any further details (e.g. transport/ carpooling options) will be provided soon. 

Mandatory OHS on-line training for ALL staff

Before staff and students commence relocating across the Monash Health Translation Precinct, we are required to ensure that everyone has completed the mandatory on-line compliance training. This includes all University staff, as well as all Hudson Institute staff who have an Adjunct or Affiliate appointment with the University. 

Staff and students are required to have an understanding of the University legal obligations and responsibilities relating to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) , Equal opportunity (EO), Privacy, and Ethical Behaviour.  The mandatory on-line compliance training requirements can be found here: http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/staff-development/ws/work/essential/ 

Please review the information below and if you find that you have not completed these brief on-line training modules during the required valid time periods of either two or three years, then at your earliest opportunity as a matter of urgency, please complete them by following the links below.

Endometrial stem/progenitor cells: the first 10 years

Caroline Gargett et al. published in Human Reproduction Update.

Read article here.

Cerebral Blood Flow Measurements in the Neonatal Brain

Flora Wong et al published in Prenatal and Postnatal Determinants of Development.

Read article here.

MIF: Implications in the Pathoetiology of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Tali Lang et al. published in Frontiers in Immunology.

Read article here.

Audit of demand for after-hours CT scanning services in RANZCR-accredited training departments

Stacy Goergen et al. published in  the Journal of medical imaging and radiation oncology.

Read article here.

Analysis of Mitochondrial DNA Copy Number and Its Regulation Through DNA Methylation of POLGA

Justin St John et al. published in Methods in Molecular Biology.

Read article here.

Oxycodone/naloxone preparation can cause acute withdrawal symptoms when misused parenterally or taken orally

Andis Graudins et al. published in Clinical Toxicology.

Read article here.

Cluster randomized controlled trial of TIA electronic decision support in primary care

Thanh Phan et al. published in Neurology.

Read article here.

Objectively Measured Daily Steps and Subsequent Long Term All-Cause Mortality: The Tasped Prospective Cohort Study

Velandai Srikanth et al. published in PLoS One.

Read article here.

Randomized controlled trial to compare sleep and wake in preterm infants less than 32weeks of gestation receiving two different modes of non-invasive respiratory support

Rosemary Horne et al. published in Early Human Development.

Read article here.

Respiratory transition in the newborn: a three-phase process

Stuart Hooper et al. published in Archives of Disease in Childhood - Fetal and Neonatal edition

Read article here.