Monday, 14 December 2015

SCS Xmas party trivia extravaganza

Prof S's school for the gifted
The second annual SCS Christmas party trivia quiz lunch was an overwhelming success last Friday.

Photos of everyone in their best costumes can be viewed here.

Associate Professor Jake Shortt and co-authors recognised for research excellence

Assoc Prof Shortt
Clinician Researcher at the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP), Associate Professor Jake Shortt and his co-authors are recipients of the 2015 Joseph Sambrook Award for Research Excellence.

The Sambrook Award is awarded to the researchers at Peter Mac who were the principal authors of a paper considered by an independent panel to be the 'best' published from Peter Mac in a peer-reviewed journal over the two previous calendar years (in this instance, 2013 and 2014).

The criteria for award are research excellence, actual or potential clinical impact and work considered to be of 'paradigm shifting' nature.

Until a few months ago a Senior Research Fellow at Peter Mac, Associate Professor Shortt 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.

Associate Professor Shortt is now running a translational research group in malignant haematology at the MHTP and is clinical lead at Monash Health for leukaemia and myelodysplasia.

The paper for which Associate Professor Shortt received the Sambrook Award is: The drug vehicle and solvent, N-methylpyrrolidone is an epigenetic immunomodulator and anti-myeloma compound. Cell Reports 2014; 7:1009-19.

“Our paper reports the surprising discovery that N-methylpyrrolidone, which has been used to formulate a wide variety of drug preparations for many years and had been considered relatively biologically inert, has significant activity in a preclinical myeloma model,” said Associate Professor Shortt.

“We explored the mechanism and identified that NMP has immunomodulatory activity and modifies gene expression through an epigenetic mechanism and this work has since led to a Phase I clinical trial of NMP in refractory multiple myeloma and a drug development program that aims to produce more potent anti-cancer agents based on NMP.”

Monash research to improve pregnancy care for at-risk populations in Australia

Dr Gibson-Helm
Three different at-risk populations with evidence of poor pregnancy outcomes are the focus of Dr Melanie Gibson-Helm’s research program, funded by an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship.

In collaboration with Monash Health clinicians and Monash University researchers Dr Jacqueline Boyle and Professor Helena Teede, Dr Gibson-Helm from the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI) leads research aiming to improve pregnancy care for women of refugee background, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

“There is considerable evidence that women in these populations can experience poorer health than the general population, are at greater risk of long-term health problems, and may not receive the health care they need,” said Dr Gibson-Helm.
MCHRI, a partnership between Monash University and Monash Health, is the only Centre in Australia with dedicated women’s public health research programs in refugee health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and PCOS.

Dr Gibson-Helm said high-quality and appropriate pregnancy care is of particular importance for women who may have poor general health, experience barriers accessing health care generally or may benefit from support to change health behaviours.

“Pregnancy is a period of frequent contact with a level of health care not typically accessed otherwise and is also an opportune time to initiate lifestyle change.”

One study in this program that recently received a Monash University Faculty Strategic Grant and Monash Health seed funding aims to address a current gap in pregnancy care delivery in Victoria by designing, implementing and evaluating a mental health screening program in pregnancy for women of refugee background.

“A key gap we have previously identified is a lack of screening and facilitated referral pathways for diagnosis and management of anxiety and depression in pregnancy, despite screening being part of recommended pregnancy care for all women in Australia.”

“Under-recognition of anxiety or depression may mean that women do not receive the support and treatment they need and this is a challenge for many health services in Australia.”

 “Providing high-quality, appropriate pregnancy care can be complex, but also presents a vital opportunity to improve both short and long-term wellbeing of women and their babies,” added Dr Gibson-Helm.

Dr Gibson-Helm’s project will be conducted at Monash Health and was co-developed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers and clinicians at MCHRI, Monash Women's Maternity Services, Monash Refugee Health and Wellbeing and the Monash University Centre for Developmental Psychiatry & Psychology.

Nutrition and Dietetics student recognised for her research into the link between gut microbiota and kidney disease

Congratulations Rachel Clarke, Hons student in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics who was awarded second place for her student oral presentation at the Nutrition Society of New Zealand and Nutrition Society of Australia ASM earlier this month.

In research undertaken during her Honours year, Rachel presented her study, "Dietary Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) induce chronic kidney disease (CKD) and changes in gut homeostasis".

"My research used a mouse model to look at the effect of  dietary advanced glycation end-products (compounds that are present in heat-treated processed food) on gastrointestinal health and kidney function," said Rachel.

"The results suggest that these compounds may adversely affect both the gut and the kidney."

"This is important as the gut and gut microbiota are now thought to play a role in the development and progression of kidney disease," added Rachel.

Call for Research Projects for BMedSc(Hons) 2016 Feb Indonesian intake

The BMedSc (Hons) office is calling for a limited selection of ~30 projects to be included in a project booklet that will be sent to prospective medical students from the University of Indonesia (currently 7 potential candidates). The aim is for the Indonesian students and Monash supervisors to have agreed on a project before the students arrive in Australia in mid February. 
  • Deadline to submit projects for the mid-year International cohort is: 5pm Thursday December 17th, 2015 to
  • All candidates from the University of Indonesia have instruction in English and will have finished their third year of medical studies (equivalent to at least the end of the second year Monash MBBS).
  • These students will be fully integrated with the domestic MBBS students undertaking their BMedSc(Hons) from February 2016 until November 2016, but will also have access to the Student Academic Support Unit (SASU) who provide assistance with written English language skills.
  • Information regarding eligibility requirements, course structure and outline are at:
  • An orientation program will be held in Feb 2016 including EndNote, writing skills, literature search skills and other learning workshops. Student attendance at the orientation program is mandatory.
  • The BMedSc program (MED4301 and MED4302) consists of the following assessment tasks:
1.     Progress report
2.     Literature review
3.     2 x Departmental oral presentations
4.     Minor thesis (up to 15,000 words)
5.     Faculty oral and poster presentations

Supervisors are required to meet all costs associated with training the candidate.

We thank you in advance for your involvement in BMedSc(Hons).

For any information about this program, please contact Megan Wallace in the Ritchie Centre.

ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) - EoI Process for LE17

Professor Ian Smith, Vice-Provost (Research and Research Infrastructure) has provided the following advice about the Expression of Interest (EoI) process for LE17:

The EoI for ARC LIEF grants has opened and in this context, we would like to both streamline the process for evaluating and endorsing the EoI's as well as trying to ensure requests for equipment align with the university/faculty strategic research priorities.

We would expect that the overall cash contribution from the university would total between 40% and 60% of the total request for funds and that this would likely comprise one third from the faculty, one third from the relevant School/Department and one third from Central. 

To secure this funding for Monash led bids, it is important that each funding group signs off on their commitment (thus confirming the strategic importance of the request) before any EoI can be lodged and importantly, before any potential partners are asked to support the application.

For non-led bids there needs to be signed approval by the lead Institution before sign off by the relevant School/Department and Faculty regardless of contributions.

The timelines:
Monday 14 December 2015
VicLIEF portal opens
Monday 8 February 2016
VcLIEF portal closes (open for 8 weeks)
Weds 17 February 2016
DVCR meeting 
Thurs 18 February 2016
RO’s notify outcomes
Thurs 18 February 2016*
RMS opens
Thurs 9 April 2016*
RMS closes
  *RMS dates indicative

Please find attached a helpsheet which outlines the LE17 EoI process and includes instructions on the use of the online EoI portal.

Please direct all queries about LE17 to Helen Partridge, Manager, ARC Team at MRO (

2016 Platform Access Grants (Round 2) - APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN

The Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences is pleased to announce a call for applications for a second round of Platform Access Grants (PAG) for funding commencing in 2016. The timing of this round has been offset by 6 months from the PAG (Round 1) scheme administered under the Strategic Grants Scheme (SGS 2016).

We invite proposals from individuals or small teams (max. 3 members) requesting Service Fees to access FMNHS Technology Research Platforms (including Biostatistics and Bioinformatics), or to purchase Products of these platforms.  Grants of up to $15,000 will be available for this purpose.  Please note that the “Service Provider” does not have to be a collaborator on the grant, and if they are not, they must not be listed as a Chief Investigator.  
Registrations and applications for the 2016 PAG (Round 2) scheme are NOW OPEN at: 

PAG Applicants may find it useful to print out and refer to the attached 2016 PAG (Round 2) - Guidelines and 2016 PAG (Round 2) - Instructions to Applicants documents, prior to and whilst completing the online application form.

Application Closing Date:  Thursday 17 March, 2016 at 5:00PM (AEDT)

All queries related to the 2016 PAG (Round 2) scheme and the online application form should be directed to the Faculty Research Office by email to, or telephone (03) 990 58409.

NHMRC Nominations

Monash University has once again been asked by NHMRC to nominate people to participate in various parts of the review process next year. There are two call-outs as per below. 

1. For ECRs to observe and/or participate in the 2016 Project Grants Grant Review Panels.

The Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences is allowed to nominate up to three ECRs to serve as observers for the 2016 Project Grants Grant Review Panels.

The Deputy Dean (Research) therefore require Heads of School and Department to nominate ECRs who meet the parameters outlined by NHMRC and are available in the nominated timeframe.

When nominating an ECR, please consider the following parameters (also see attached):

NHMRC Research Tracker update 11 December

Key application dates

  • Centres of Research Excellence: Minimum data due 16 December
  • Development Grants: Minimum data due 20 January 2016
  • NHMRC - NIH BRAIN Initiative Collaborative Research Grants: Applications close 20 January 2016
  • Partnership Projects: Applications for Peer Review Cycle #1 open 20 January 2016
  • Practitioner Fellowships: Applications close 3 February 2016
  • Research Fellowships: Applications close 3 February 2016
  • Project Grants : opens in RGMS 13 January 2016
The funding calendar is available on the NHMRC website.

Read all updates here.

MRO UPDATE - Discovery Projects 2017 now open in RMS

Applications for ARC Discovery Projects 2017 are now open in RMS and will close 5pm on Wednesday 3 March 2016.

1.    Please find attached the Instructions to Applicants and FAQsfor Discovery Projects 2017
2.    If you are intending to apply for DP17, please initiate your proposal in RMS as soon as possible so that we are aware of your intent to submit a proposal and can keep you informed with any updates.
  1. Download the Funding Rules and changes to the program from last year. These and other key documents pertaining to this scheme are available also available from the the ARC website ( We will also be posting updates, certification forms, as well as templates to assist you with completing your application on the MRO Discovery Projects web page
  2. Updates will also be sent to the DP mailing list - sign-up here:
  3. Please direct any questions that you have to the ARC Pre-award team at
Discovery Projects closing dates:

DP 2017
MRO close date
ARC close date
Funding Rules 10 Sept 2015
Open in RMS 9 Dec 2015
Proposal closing date
4 Feb 2016
5pm 3 March 2016
Request Not to Assess
10 Feb 2016
5pm 17 Feb 2016
Rejoinder Process
June 2016
June 2016

Oct/Nov 2016

Li Yi presubmission seminar Wednesday 16 December

Date 16/12/2015 Wednesday
Time 11:30am- 1:00pm

Venue Surgery Seminar room MMC Block E

Li Yi's presentation will be 40 minutes followed by 20 minutes question time. All invited.

Grand Rounds-Quiz -16 Dec 2015

Presenters: Dr James Robertson and Dr Cameron McLaren        
Date: Wednesday 16 December 2015
Time: 12.30pm to 1.30pm
Venue: Main Lecture Theatre, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton

Monash University Animal Ethics Information Session - “Animal Use in Research & Teaching” 23 February

Monash University requires that:
• All new research staff and students using live animals complete the information session “Animal Use in Research and Teaching”.
• Researchers, Teachers and students must have attended or enrolled in the next available session to be named on an animal ethics application.

Date: Tuesday 23 February 2016
Time: 10am – 12:30pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre Central 1, 25 Exhibition Walk, Clayton Campus

Register on-line -


Statistical Services for HDR Students

Statistical help and training offered are available to all PhD students by the Monash Statistical Consulting Platform.

During the year we offer 14 statistical workshops on a variety of statistical methods including regression analysis, methods survey analysis, experimental design, methods of multivariate analysis and more. These workshops are free, but students need to register via GRAMS.

Also, each HDR student is eligible for 5 hours of free one-on-one statistical consultation.  More details about our services are in the attached flyer.

Please feel free to contact Julia Polak or (ph 9905 9111) for any additional enquiries.

Animal house holiday hours

The animal house staff will be working reduced days and hours over the Monash University Shutdown Period commencing Dec 23rd 2015.

This week (Mon 14th to Fri 18th Dec) will be the last week that staff will be accepting and performing task and transfer requests. We will endeavor to complete any requests received this week by Friday, but those received later this week may not be able to be completed before the shutdown period, depending on the request type and what is involved.

Staff hours for the next two weeks will be as follows at both E and B Block. Staff will be performing all basic animal husbandry duties only during this time.

Mon 21st Dec & Tues 22nd Dec - All staff in 8am to 4pm
Wed 23rd Dec - All Staff in 7.30am to 12.30pm.

Mon 28th - Wed 30th Dec - All Staff in 7.30am to 12.30pm

One or two staff members per area will be rostered on daily to perform basic husbandry checks on the days in between the all staff in days, similar to weekends. Staff will be in at various times on these days and be here for about 3-5 hours until all checks are completed as required.

Facility Manager Monika Generowicz will be away from Wed Dec 23rd until Monday 4th January so for any queries during this time please speak to;

Jo Howden - SPF Supervisor E Block  x41781
Jess Eberbach - Conventional Supervisor B Block x41606

All staff will re-commence normal business hours from Monday 4th January 2016 and requests will be accepted and completed as per usual from this date.

From all of us at MMCAF, we hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year. We look forward to working with you again in 2016.

New ESS Leave Service

The Monash Employee Self Service (ESS) online system will be upgraded effective from Monday 14 December 2015.

Staff members eligible to submit leave requests via ESS (i.e. Fixed Term and Continuing staff) will notice a new ESS leave service with an improved interface and usability that includes a new team calendar and a new function to attach documents, such as medical certificates for personal leave requests.

Day of Immunology - call for members

We are seeking new members for the Day of Immunology Committee for 2016. PhD students and post-docs are more than welcome to join.

To find out more and/or if you would like to participate in the committee, please contact Alison West

MHTP Translational Research Facility Emergency Code Response

As the MHTP Translational Research Facility opens, it is essential that all stakeholders are aware of the appropriate action required in case of an emergency occurring.

Please carefully review the attached document to ensure you are familiar with the appropriate emergency response.

Human papillomavirus vaccination and primary ovarian insufficiency: an association based on ideology rather than evidence.

Jim Buttery et al. published in Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Read article here.

A High-Throughput Assay for the Detection of α-Dystroglycan N-Terminus in Human Uterine Fluid to Determine Uterine Receptivity

Beverley Vollenhoven et al. published in the Journal of Biomolecular Screening.

Read article here.

The relationship between interfragmentary movement and cell differentiation in early fracture healing under locking plate fixation

Peter Ebeling et al. published in Australasian Physical & Engineering Sciences in Medicine

Read article here.