Monday, 5 September 2016

Amanda Vincent receives highest award for research into premature menopause and bone health

Associate Professor Vincent and Professor Ebeling
Monash University’s Associate Professor Amanda Vincent received the highly competitive Osteoporosis Australia / Amgen Research Award at the joint Annual Scientific Meetings of the Endocrine Society of Australia, the Society for Reproductive Biology and the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society on the Gold Coast last month.

Presented by Medical Director of Osteoporosis Australia Professor Peter Ebeling from the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS), Associate Professor Vincent, who is also an endocrinologist at Monash Health, received the award worth $40,000 for her research into premature menopause and bone health.

Associate Professor Vincent’s project aims to improve bone health and fracture prevention in women with premature menopause via novel imaging techniques and educational resources for consumers and health professionals.

Premature menopause (PM) is defined as menopause occurring in women under 40 years of age.

“PM may occur spontaneously, encompassing premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) or occur secondary to medical treatment including bilateral oophorectomy or chemotherapy,” said Associate Professor Vincent, a research fellow at the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI).

“Spontaneous POI affects 1% of women, with medically induced PM affecting up to 10% of women.”

The causes of spontaneous POI include genetic abnormalities such as Turner Syndrome, however, in most women the cause of POI is unknown.

“Monash Health is unique in that it conducts the only dedicated PM and adult Turner Syndrome clinics in Australia within the multidisciplinary Menopause Unit,” said Associate Professor Vincent.

PM places women at increased risk of osteoporosis, however, Associate Professor Vincent’s previous research has shown that optimal treatment of bone health remains elusive with health professional and patient knowledge gaps.

I am very honoured to receive this award and also excited at the opportunity that this provides to combine both my research and clinical activities to advance understanding and clinical care for women and health professionals about PM, a condition that is relatively common and can have potentially devastating effects on both psychological and physical health.”

Associate Professor Vincent’s project also builds on the strengths of Monash Partners, combining the expertise of clinicians at Monash Health and researchers based at the MCHRI, Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) and Hudson Institute of Medical Research.

Creatine – a vital breakthrough for baby health

Dr Hayley Dickinson
A research team from the Ritchie Centre (Hudson Institute and Monash University) have shown the links between a mother’s creatine levels during pregnancy and her baby’s size at birth, in a paper published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology last week.

The finding has prompted a world-first study of 900 pregnant women at Monash Health, to determine optimum creatine levels during pregnancy.

Dr Hayley Dickinson, Head of the Embryology and Placental Biology Research Group at the Ritchie Centre and lead researcher said the discovery is a major breakthrough for understanding the importance of maternal diet and its impact on an unborn baby’s growth.

“Our study shows for the first time that a mother’s creatine levels affect the growth of her baby in the womb,” said Dr Dickinson.

Creatine is essential for our cells’ energy generation and supply. Half our daily creatine requirement comes from fish, meat and dairy products. The other half is made by the body from the amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine.

“These are incredibly exciting results and raise the possibility that improvements in maternal diet, or supplementation with creatine, could protect a baby from poor growth, brain injury and, in the most severe cases, even death,” Dr Dickinson said.

In the study of 270 women, the team found that pregnant woman who had less creatine in their urine, gave birth to significantly smaller babies.

The next step is the study of 900 pregnant women, which will track changes in maternal creatine levels throughout the length of pregnancy.

The findings may inform development of new dietary guidelines, including a minimum recommended creatine intake during pregnancy.

“We believe a woman’s need for creatine increases during pregnancy and, if this can’t be met by her normal diet, a simple creatine supplement could be used to support her health and the health of her baby before and even after birth.

“It’s early days though, we aren’t ready to recommend that women start taking creatine supplements. We just don’t know enough yet. It’s vital for both mothers and babies that we get this right, it’s not something that can be rushed,” Dr Dickinson said.

“This is completely new ground. Our focus is on finding safe and potentially beneficial levels of creatine during pregnancy,” Dr Dickinson said.

“In the meantime, it’s a reminder that a balanced diet is crucial during pregnancy.”

Renowned sonologist and researcher joins MHTP

Clinical Associate Professor Fabricio Costa
The Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP) welcomes Fabricio Costa and congratulates him on his appointment as Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor in the ​Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, ​School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University.

Associate Professor Costa is a consultant sonologist at Monash Medical Centre and the newly appointed Medical Director of Monash Ultrasound for Women.

Having moved from the Royal Women’s Hospital and University of Melbourne where he was Deputy Director Ultrasound Services and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Associate Professor Costa moved to Perinatal Services, Monash Medical Centre early this year to establish a clinical and academic first trimester screening program at Monash Health.

“Monash Health uniquely integrates in one organisation primary, secondary and tertiary health services, as well as world renowned research and teaching facilities at Monash University and the Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute,” said Associate Professor Costa.

“It’s very exciting for a mid-career clinician and researcher like myself to be part of these cutting edge organisations.”

Associate Professor Costa’s clinical and research interests are in the use of ultrasound in maternal-fetal medicine, especially pre-eclampsia, fetal growth restriction and preterm labour (the major obstetrical syndromes).

“I have special interest in first trimester screening, including non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT).”

Currently the first trimester scan between 11-13 weeks is becoming a key point of antenatal care and Associate Professor Costa aims to develop new tools to predict and prevent pregnancy complications throughout a combination of ultrasound and biomarkers at this period.

Associate Professor Costa said he looks forward to supervising Honours and PhD students at Monash University and the Hudson Institute.

“This appointment will allow me to collaborate with scientists at the MHTP and wider university to generate translational research in the field of women’s health.”

Associate Professor Costa has over 70 peer-reviewed publications and is a frequent speaker at national and International conferences concerning ultrasound in obstetrics and gynaecology and maternal-fetal medicine.

He is a member of the Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine (ASUM) Council and an Ambassador of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG) to Brazil and Australasia.

Home coming for Monash medical student Isabelle Hau

While Isabelle Hau has come a long way, she’s almost back where she started.
The Monash University final year medical student was born at Monash Medical Centre in 1994 and will begin her medical career as a junior doctor at Monash Health next year.

“I chose to study medicine after taking a psychology elective in high school, when I decided I wanted to become a psychiatrist,” said Isabelle.

“The other driving factors for becoming a doctor are my curiosity in people, a desire to help others and a need for intellectual stimulation.”
Isabelle’s undergraduate medical training included clinical placements at Monash Medical Centre, Moorabbin Hospital, Dandenong Hospital and Casey Hospital. In Year 3 she was also the Monash University Medical Undergraduates’ Society (MUMUS) Clinical School Student Liaison.

“My placements have shown me that Monash Health creates supportive work environments and employs genuinely caring staff—these experiences have left a positive and lasting impression on me,” said Isabelle.

While she’s still keeping an open mind about her future medical career, Isabelle is considering specialising in critical care as she particularly enjoyed her emergency medicine and anaesthetics rotations.

“I’m very excited to start work as a junior doctor and learn amongst friends at Monash health in 2017.”

“It will be a privilege to give back to Monash Health and the Monash community.”

Isabelle thanks and acknowledges the tremendous support she’s received from her family, friends and doctors who have nurtured and guided her.

SCS staff meeting 15 September

If you would like to nominate a colleague for the Quiet Achiever Award, please complete the nomination form attached here.

Leadership for Women Workshops - Don't Miss Out!

Tracey Ezard
The Women in Medicine Steering Committee initiative includes a series of workshops to provide access to leadership training and support for women in medicine to achieve their maximum potential.

On behalf of the Committee, we are pleased to announce that the ever engaging, informative and motivating educator, Tracey Ezard, will return to Monash Health to run the following workshops.

“Leader as Coach: Workshop for Women”.  This one-day workshop will be held at Monash Medical Centre on Thursday 8th Sept and Dandenong Hospital on Thursday 15th Sept.

“Develop the Leader in You”. This workshop will be held at Monash Medicine Centre over 3 days, 11th Oct, 25th Oct and 22nd Nov.

Registrations can be made by visiting the Monash Learning Site. The workshop is open to ALL Monash Health staff. 

Further details are attached:  
  • Flyer with registration details HERE
  • September 8 and 15 workshop information HERE
  • October workshop information HERE

  These workshops are not only offered to female staff, males are also welcome to attend!​

Faculty ECR Services Review - Please complete the survey

The Faculty Research Office is committed to providing workshops, seminars and resources to fulfil the needs of our Early Career Researchers and enhance their career development.  

Recently we have noticed a lack of engagement of the ECR's in the Faculty and we are therefore reviewing the type of services we provide to Early Career Researchers, including adjunct staff and PhD students. 

To provide feedback on the types of services and resources that are most valuable to you as an Early Career Researcher please complete the survey here.

The survey will remain open until Tuesday 20th September.

Please contact Tania Wilmann at if you have any questions or feedback that is not addressed by the survey.

Upcoming Prizes and Awards

Please refer to the attached list (here) of upcoming prizes and awards for which researchers may be eligible to apply.  ECRs will need to check the definition of "Early Career Researcher" provided by each of the agencies, as it may differ.

Researchers intending to apply for one of these prizes or awards are encouraged to contact the Faculty Research Office ( at least one month before the submission closing date, as they may be eligible to receive editorial assistance with their proposal from Mind Your Way.

Request for Tender - National Mental Health and Wellbeing Study of Police and Emergency Services

beyondblue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to reduce the impact of anxiety, depression and suicide in Australia.

They are seeking tenders from suitably qualified and experienced Service Providers to conduct two inter-connected national research studies on the mental health of police and emergency services personnel in Australia.

This research will establish essential baseline measures and explore issues associated with mental health and suicide risk among police and emergency services personnel in Australia. It will involve collaboration with the police and emergency services sector to translate the research findings into practical actions that will lead to better mental health and decreased suicide risk for police and emergency services personnel.

Closing date for tenders: 5.00pm (AEST) Friday 23 September 2016. Late applications will not be accepted.

To obtain the Request For Tender documentation, please visit

Learning and Teaching Travel Grants Round 1, 2017

The Deputy Dean - Education is pleased to announce the next round of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Learning & Teaching travel grants has been released. The scheme is designed to assist academic staff to attend and/or present papers at conferences that will develop their educational skills and teaching and learning research activity.

The grants are allocated by the Office of the Deputy Dean (Education) on a competitive basis.

The closing date for applications is 30 November 2016.
Round 1, 2017 will cover attendance at conferences commencing between: 1 January 2017 and 30 June  2017.

The guidelines and application form can be accessed under Teaching Grants and Outcomes section of Staff Resources via

Please note: Staff from Malaysia are eligible for travel grants, however, there are restrictions applied. The restrictions are that it can be up to $1,000 and for travel to Australia to attend a conference or collaborate with Monash AU staff.

PLEASE NOTE: completed applications will need to be sent to the  DDE Applications email address: 

Student Recruitment Information Session for SCS Supervisors, 20 Sept

There will be an information Session for all interested SCS Supervisors to help with student recruitment.

20 September 2016 3.00 - 4.00 pm 
MMC-HUDSON Board Room Level 3, 27-31 Wright Street Clayton

Items to be discussed:

1. Faculty's Mandatory Quality Check Toolkit - Kate Loveland

2. Enrolling Honours Students - Mark Hedger
    Available Honours programs, differences in enrollment processes/requirements and student    
    management during the Honours year.

3. Enrolling PhD Students - Peter Stanton

    What makes a student competitive for a scholarship?
    What are my options if a student does not get a scholarship?

If you are interested in attending, please email Victoria Kasapidis at

Faculty Roadshow for Monash Health Translational Precinct - How to Manage Unsatisfactory Progress

Please Note: Attendance to this Roadshow will be credited towards Level 2 Supervisor Accreditation

The Faculty is committed to providing support to supervisors of graduate research students and improving candidature completions. One are which is a constant challenge for supervisors is how to manage students who are showing unsatisfactory progress. 

This roadshow is designed to highlight various options available to supervisors to assist them in this process. 

The following topics will be covered:
  • How to manage a student who is showing unsatisfactory progress, both within and outside the milestone framework
  • Administrative support available for managing unsatisfactory progress
  • Case study examples of academic issues relating to unsatisfactory progress 

Date: Thursday 6th October 2016
·         Time: 3.30 - 4.30 pm (approx 1 hour duration) 
·         Venue: Hudson Institute, Level 3 Boardrooms, 27 - 31  Wright St Clayton
·         Location: Monash Medical Centre
Please register your attendance via the Booking System online via the following link:

GRAMS will be replaced in early 2017! Come and have a look at the new system that will be replacing it.

Monash Graduate Education (MGE) is partnering with eSolutions and Monash HR to replace the Graduate Research Activity Management System (GRAMS) in early 2017.

GRAMS is an online system used by graduate research students to manage their professional development activities.
You are invited to a lunchtime webinar (‘Showcase’) to see a demonstration of the system replacing GRAMS, the Cornerstone Learning Management System (LMS). There will be two Showcases this semester. This is an opportunity for us to update you on progress and seek your feedback on the new system.

Date:  Thursday, 22 September 2016
Time: 1.00 - 2.00 pm
Venue:  Online webinar using Zoom technology
Registration is essential.

You will receive an email and google calendar invite with the webinar connection details in the week commencing 12 September.

Who should attend?
This is a webinar for interested graduate research students, supervisors, academic management (such as Associate Deans Graduate Research, Prog​r​am Coordinators and Directors) and professional staff.

You will have an opportunity to provide feedback to the project team on your initial impressions of the features of the system via an online survey.  Your feedback will help the project team to understand from a graduate research student perspective, what would optimise the student user experience.
What will be showcased?

The project team will demonstrate features of the Cornerstone LMS from a graduate research student user perspective:
·        view and navigate the Welcome page
·        search/browse for training
·        register/deregister training
·        view your calendar
·        adding yourself to a waitlist

Joining the webinar on the day
Joining the webinar on the day is as simple as clicking on the link you will receive by email and google calendar invite.
You can join using a PC (desktop/laptop), Mac (desktop/laptop) or iPad.

Can't attend?
The presentation slides and a recording of the demo will be made available via the Cornerstone LMS (GRAMS replacement) google site following the event.


If you have any questions about the upcoming Showcase, please feel free to contact me or Michelle Kett (email:

CID Weekly Seminar: Tuesday 6 September 2016

Dr Holly Hutton
12:00 - 1:00pm, Seminar Room 1, Level 2, TRF Building

Clinical Phenotyping of COPD exacerbations
Dr Martin MacDonald
Respiratory and Sleep Physician at Monash Medical Centre
Postgraduate Student
Centre for Inflammatory Diseases
Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are the second leading cause of hospitalization in Australia.  They can result from a variety of distinct aetiological triggers but in clinical practice these are not systematically evaluated.  We have investigated the utility of comprehensive phenotyping of exacerbations using both routine biomarker analysis and cutting edge CT technology.  Martin is a Respiratory and Sleep Physician at Monash Medical Centre.  Undergraduate and basic clinical training was undertaken in Glasgow, UK before migration to Melbourne in 2006.  My Specialty interests are in complex airways disease and heart-lung interaction.

Targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome in ANCA vasculitis
Dr Holly Hutton
Nephrologist at Monash Medical Centre
Postgraduate Student
Centre for Inflammatory Diseases
Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome has been implicated in a range of autoimmune and kidney diseases. This talk examines the potential for a pathogenic role of the inflammasome in ANCA associated vasculitis, which is the subject of my PhD research. As there are specific blocking therapies available, the NLRP3 inflammasome may represent a specific and appropriate target in the treatment of ANCA-associated vasculitis.
Future Seminars
Tuesday 13 September - Dr Fabien Vincent
Tuesday 20 September - cancelled
Tuesday 27 September - Prof David Nikolic-Paterson

CiiiD seminars (Tuesdays at 1:00pm) - if you would like to be notified of the CiiiD seminars, please send an email to
A light lunch is served prior to the seminar at 11:45am in the seminar room foyer, level 2, TRF Building.

Further information available from CID Weekly Seminar Series website []

CiiiD Tuesday seminar, 6th September

Steven Cho
This week's CiiiD Tuesday seminar, 6th September, will feature two speakers, both PhD students from the Nold labs.
Steven Cho will present on Interleukin-37 and immunity in necrotising enterocolitis.

Christine Bui will give a talk titled Blocking IL-1: Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist prevents murine bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

Dr Eveline de Geus will chair the seminar, which will be held 1-2pm in the TRF Seminar Room 1.

The CID seminar will be held from 12-1pm in the same room.  Two postgraduate students will speak: Dr Holly Hutton and Martin MacDonald. More information about the CID seminar series can be found here:

Grand Round Presentation - Infectious Diseases-07/09/2016

Unit: Monash Infectious Diseases         
Presenters: Dr Claire Dendle and Dr Ben Rogers
Topic:  “The immunocompromised patient service”
Date: Wednesday 7 September 2016
Time: 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Venue: Main Lecture Theatre, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton

Imaging and Medical Beamline - FREE training in high resolution cardiovascular imaging (13-19 September 2016)

The Australian Synchrotron Imaging and Medical Beamline allows researchers to perform in vivo imaging of lungs, liver, kidneys, heart, brain and generally cardiovascular systems with a feature resolution down to 30┬Ám.

From 13-19 September 2016 they offer training for interested scientists whose research would benefit from using the new tools on offer. This training is FREE. Participants  cover their travel costs and free accommodation is provided.

Participants will join a team of experts led by Prof James Pearson, Director of the Department of Cardiac Physiology of the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Centre in Osaka. This team has 14 years of experience in small animal micro angiography. Participants  will perform arterial imaging and compare the suitability of 6 different anesthesia regimes for imaging blood flow in the brain, heart, lung, kidney and hind limbs. This will enable participants to become users of the Australian Synchrotron to advance their research in their ields of expertise.

For questions and registration, please contact   Flyer with details HERE.

Say NO to Racism workshops

Say NO to Racism workshops encourage and enable participants to take safe and constructive action against racism. The training covers interpersonal racism and its impacts, barriers to bystander action, the potential of bystander anti-racism and practical skills and tools to help people take action. Training activities are based on experiential learning and forum theatre where participants are encouraged to learn and reflect by doing. This approach allows participants to put themselves in a realistic situation with the opportunity to experience and overcome the barriers to intervention in addition to learning and practising the tools and language required for safe and constructive intervention.
After completing the training, participants should:
·        be able to understand the individual and ambiguous nature of everyday and casual forms of racism
·        have an increased understanding of the impacts of racism
·        be aware of the barriers to bystander intervention
·        acquire practical strategies and language skills to take safe and constructive action against racism
·        recognise the potential of bystander action in creating anti-racist social norms

Tuesday 20 September
9.30 am - 4.30 pm
Campus Community Division Seminar Room
Level 1, Western Extension, 21 Chancellor's Walk (Campus Centre)

Thursday 29 September
9.30 am - 4.30 pm
C1 Conference Room
Ground Floor, Building C

Measuring global health and the Global Burden of Disease Study, 7 September at the Doherty Institute

Presented by Professor Christopher Murray
Professor of Global Health, University of Washington; Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

7 September, 3.30-4.30pm, Auditorium, The Peter Doherty Institute, 792 Elizabeth St, Melbourne

The Global Burden of Disease Study originated in the early 1990s in order to quantify premature death and disability worldwide from various causes, initially as a key input into the 1993 World Development Report of the World Bank. Annual updates now involve over 1500 collaborators worldwide, with the findings published in the Lancet and other leading journals. The Study has had a major impact on debates about global health priorities with numerous national and subnational applications to inform planning. This talk will focus on the origins of the study, and briefly review the many reactions from the global public health and scientific community to the study and its potential applications. A summary of the key findings from the 2015 GBD Study will also be presented using data visualisations.

More information and registration here

Monash Animal Research Ethics Update – August 2016

1.    Animal Ethics Information Sessions
2.    On-Line Animal Ethics Applications – Ethical Research Management, Infonetica
3.    Minor Amendments
4.    MARP AEC Meetings
5.    MMC AEC Meetings
6.    Monash Biomedical Imaging – New contact details
7.    Reminders
8.    Animal Ethics Regulations, Guidelines, Codes, Training & Information
9.    Targeted Consultation. Draft NHMRC “Best practice methodology in research involving animals”

Available from: