Monday, 17 October 2016

3MT presentation - PhD student William Berry talks about pancreatic cancer and personalised medicine

                                                                                 Watch William Berry talk about the potential of personalised medicine to treat pancreatic cancer.

Monash doctors use simulation to teach obstetric and neonatal emergency management skills in rural India

Dr Kumar (right) with local doctors, nurses and midwives
Monash doctors recently visited rural India, where they upskilled local health workers to help prevent deaths associated with difficult births.

Monash Health obstetrician Dr Arunaz Kumar and neonatologist Dr Atul Malhotra—who are also Monash University senior lecturers—piloted the combined maternal and neonatal simulation workshops in rural Punjab last month. 

“Complications associated with difficult obstetric and neonatal situations can be prevented in rural India,” said Dr Kumar, who has extensive experience in leading interprofessional simulation workshops both at Monash University and Monash Health.
Dr Malhotra (left) with local doctors, nurses and midwives

“We used low technology simulation equipment to educate community health workers, doctors and nurses.”

The workshop covered common child birth emergency scenarios including obstructed labour, postpartum haemorrhage and perinatal asphyxia.

“Postpartum haemorrhage and perinatal asphyxia are the leading causes of maternal and neonatal mortality in the developing world,” said Dr Malhotra.

Drs Kumar and Malhotra conducted three workshops over two days with the help of local medical leaders and regional collaborator Assistant Professor Tarundeep Singh from the School of Public Health, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Research, Chandigarh.

Dr Malhotra said around 70 participants attended the workshops, involving hands-on skills training with the help of manikins.

“The workshops incorporated discussion of various scenarios, and local resources and knowledge was factored into patient management,” said Dr Malhotra.

“The staff had never been exposed to simulation training before and loved the experience of being able to practise child birth and neonatal resuscitation in a safe environment.”

The pilot work was supported by a grant from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. The team hopes to continue this training regularly and is seeking local and international public and philanthropic funding to sustain the initiative.

Monash research team gives hope to patients with spinal factures

Alexander Rodriguez and Dr Jasna Aleksova
at the ASBMR annual scientific meeting
Monash researchers made significant contributions towards improving pain management associated with spinal fractures at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) annual scientific meeting last month in Atlanta.

Chair of Medicine at Monash Health and Head, Department of Medicine at Monash University Professor Peter Ebeling led the ASBMR Taskforce reporting on vertebral augmentation and was joined by his PhD students Dr Jasna Aleksova and Mr Alexander Rodriguez at the Georgia World Congress Centre in Atlanta.

“1.5 million vertebral compression fractures (fracture in the spine) occur every year in the USA and there is a similar high prevalence in Australia,” said Alexander. 

“Current therapies are inadequate as they only treat the pain rather than the
underlying fracture causing the pain.”

Alexander said their research showed that kyphoplasty (a type of surgery that restores cracked vertebrae in the spine by inflating a balloon and then injecting cement into the vertebral body) is effective at relieving pain and disability compared to standard therapy of pain medications and physical therapy.  However, kyphoplasty was not more effective than other types of surgical interventions for painful vertebral fractures.

“These findings are significant because clinicians will now have an evidence base in which to discuss treatment options with their patients,” said Alexander.

The research team’s findings form part of the ASBMR Taskforce on Vertebral Augmentation, which is being compiled as the Society’s clinical guideline for clinicians and patients.

First year PhD student and Monash Health endocrinologist, Dr Aleksova, was selected from a highly competitive international cohort of researchers to attend the Endocrine Fellows Forum on Metabolic Bone Disorders prior to the ASBMR annual scientific meeting.

“Participating at the conference was an incredible opportunity to learn from international experts as well as meet and discuss research ideas and aspirations on an individual level,” said Dr Aleksova.

Fellow member of the ASBMR Taskforce and PhD student Alexander has co-authored a meta-analysis on outcomes of kyphoplasty to treat back pain from compression fractures in the spine. His study formed the bulk of the Taskforce report on kyphoplasty presented at the meeting.

“I’m very proud of both Jasna and Alex,” said Professor Ebeling.

“They both acquitted themselves with great professionalism and were not daunted by the size of the ASBMR meeting and rose to new challenges—they both have bright futures ahead in clinical practice and research, with growing international networks.” 

CID weekly seminar, Tues 18 Oct

Dr Alhomrani
A light lunch is served prior to the seminar at 11:45am in the seminar room foyer, level 2, TRF Building.

Defining the interactions between amnion epithelial cells, stellate cells, macrophages and liver progenitor cells during liver injury
Dr Majid Alhomrani
Postgraduate student, Centre for Inflammatory Diseases
Scientist, Monash University

Mr Majid Alhomrani is a scientist at Monash University where he is currently in his second year of PhD. He is a lecturer in the department of internal medicine at the faculty of medicine, Taif University, Saudi Arabia. Mr. Alhomrani received his Master degree in Laboratory Medicine from RMIT University, Australia. Mr. Alhomrani completed his Bachelor degree in Laboratory Medicine at the faculty of Medicine, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. Mr. Alhomrani research focuses on investigating the potential of human amnion epithelial cell based therapies in liver fibrosis.

Can immunological biomarkers predict infection in kidney transplant recipients?
Dr Claire Dendle
Postgraduate student, Centre for Inflammatory Diseases
Physician, Infectious Diseases, Monash Health
Director, Immunocompromised Patient Service

Dr Claire Dendle is an Infectious Diseases physician and the Director of the Immunocompromised Patient Service at Monash Health. Claires’ research interests include vaccination, as well as the use of immunological biomarkers to determine the net state of immunocompromise in transplantation. Claire is interested and involved in undergraduate education at Monash University, with a particular focus on the design and implementation of the Infectious Diseases Curriculum.

Further information available from CID Weekly Seminar Series website []

The CiiiD Tuesday Meeting is held directly after at 1:00pm.  Madelynne White, Karyssa Arendt and Darren Tran (students) will be presenting on Tuesday 11 October.

Grand Round Presentation -MonashHeart - 19 Oct 2016

Unit: MonashHeart             
Presenters: Professor Ian Meredith
Topic:  "Digital Platform & Device Innovation on Cardiovascular Care to 2030"
Date: Wednesday 19 October 2016
Time: 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Venue: Main Lecture Theatre, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton.

“Role of histone variant H3.3 in telomere maintenance and tumorigenesis." Thursday 20 Oct

Hudson Seminar -Thursday 20 Oct
12-1 pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Monash Medical Centre.

Our speaker will be A/Prof Lee WongCancer Program Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI)Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Australia.

Light refreshments to follow presentation outside the Lecture Theatre.

A/Prof Wong is a group leader at Monash University, Australia. Her long-standing research interest is to identify new chromatin factors that control chromosome stability and genetic transmission. In particular, her team aims to uncover basic epigenetic mechanisms that regulate centromere and telomere function. Recent studies have identified the frequent mutations of histone variant H3.3 and its chaperone ATRX in human cancers, especially, in telomerase null cancer that use an ALT (Alternative Lengthening of telomeres) for telomere elongation. Their current projects aim to define the function of histone variant H3.3 and ATRX in controlling transcription silencing at the telomeres and in the global genome. They also investigate genome-wide epigenetic defects associated with H3.3 mutations and the loss of ATRX function in human cancers.

BMS Honours students final seminar, 20 October - ALL staff encouraged to attend

BMS Hons student Kathryn Kumar
The School of Clinical Sciences / Hudson Institute Bachelor of Biomedical Science Honours students will be presenting their final seminar on Thursday, October 20 from 9am in the Hudson Level 3 Board Rooms.

This seminar will be followed by the BMS Hons mid-year intake students Seminar 1 at 3.15 pm.  

All staff and students are asked to attend at least part of either seminar during the day to support our Honours students, and to assist in assessing their presentations. 

Students are required to give a 20 minute presentation with 5 minutes question time.  

Assessment sheets will be available on the day.  The program is below:  

Strategic Researcher Sessions & Turbo charge your publications, 28 Oct and 14 Nov

We are delighted to have Dr Maria Gardiner (Thinkwell) present the highly sought after Strategic Researcher sessions and Turbocharge your Publications workshops at the Hudson Institute.
Dr Maria Gardiner BA (Hons) MPsych (Clinical) PhD is a leading coach, psychologist and researcher. She has worked with many of Australia's academic and medical leaders over the last fifteen years. She particularly specialises in the psychology of high performance and works with leading research groups at universities around Australia.

The Strategic Researcher workshop Fri 28 Oct & Mon 14 Nov  (2 sessions: Staff only – 35 max) will look at:
·        managing your time in a busy research environment
·        publishing strategically
·        using the team (or others) to increase publication productivity
·        keeping track of publications to increase motivation and accountability
·        managing your publication “resources” for maximum output
·        attributes of a successful (and highly productive) research leader/team
3rd session Turbocharge Your Publications Mon 14 Nov (Staff & PhD Students – unlimited no’s)
This workshop will help you to understand:
·        why it can be hard to get started
·        how we deliberately use distractions to slow down writing
·        the principles of quick starting
·        why snack writing is generally more productive than binge writing
·        how to deal with the internal committee that slows down writing
·        how to set achievable goals by writing in a silo
·        how to double (or more) the number of actual words you produce
·        how to clarify your thinking and improve the quality of your work

Limited places are available so please see below link to reserve your places:
Friday 28 October Strategic Researcher Session 1 (9am-12pm) Staff Only
Monday 14 November Strategic Researcher Session 2 (9am-12pm) Staff Only
Monday 14 November Turbocharge your publications (1pm-4pm) Staff& PhD Students

International seminar: Embedding collaborative research into healthcare and evidence translation into practice, 7 November

Women in Health Research Leadership forum, 15 November

We invite you to attend a forum next month focused on realities, challenges and opportunities for women with careers in health and medical research, with a particular focus on early career stages. This session is brought to you by the Monash Postgraduate Association in partnership with Monash Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre and AMREP Early Mid-Career Researcher Committee.

Tuesday 15th November
9:00 breakfast, 9:30-11:00am seminar
AMREP Education Centre Lecture Theatre 
89 Commercial Rd, Melbourne 

The seminar includes an introduction by Monash FMNHS Dean, Christina Mitchell, a presentation by Prof. Helena Teede, Executive Director Monash Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre, and a Q&A panel of Monash Partners research leaders including:
  • · Prof. Flavia Cicuttini (Monash Uni/Alfred Health) 
  • · Prof. Rachelle Buchbinder (Cabrini/Monash Uni)
  • · Assoc Prof. Dianna Magliano (Baker IDI/Monash Uni)
  • · Prof. John Catford (Epworth/VicHealth)
  • · Prof. Sophia Zoungas (Monash Health/Monash Uni)  

Breakfast will also be provided.  Please register here:

Invitation: "Write Yourself to Success"

Women in Medicine and Science are invited to register for a pilot program "Write Yourself to Success", starting in November 2016. 

The program is designed to help you further develop your writing skills and help you succeed in preparing grant applications, papers and awards. 

If you are planning to work on a research grant, fellowship or award application in late 2016/early 2017, this program aims to provide you with professional guidance and assist you in developing your draft. 

For more information and how to register, please visit

The program consists of three half day sessions, held at Clayton campus between November 2016 and February 2017. To participate in this program, you need to commit to attending all three sessions. 
We will be running two parallel groups:

Group 1
Session 1:  2 November, 9.30am-1pm
Session 2:  7 December, 9.30am - 1pm
Session 3: 1 February 2017, 9.30am-1pm

Group 2
Session 1:  4 November, 9.30am-1pm
Session 2:  9 December, 9.30am - 1pm
Session 3:  3 February 2017, 9.30am-1pm

Cost: free

We have only 15 places available in each group so register early.

If you have any questions, please email or contact Dr Lucie Joschko, Senior Advisor, Policy & Staff Equity on (03) 9902 0246. 

SCS Social club event, 28 Oct

Healthy pursuit of research and medical practice

Professor Leech
Read Professor Michelle Leech's opinion piece, published in The Australian, 12 October 2016:

There is an interesting figure in the annual survey conducted by the Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand. A little more than 60 per cent of last year’s 2500 final-year medical students questioned expressed an interest in medical research. While the figure is slightly lower than in 2014, the overall five-year trend points to an increase in this specific area.
Increasingly, medical students are taking on research projects. Some conduct clinical research that flows from their studies. Some are first authors of high-impact papers, while others are involved in clinical trials.
These students are likely using their after-hours, summer vacations and those rotations with friendlier hours to complete their projects.
The question is why? One reason may be that they embrace research as a consequence of our oversupply of medical graduates, and the concomitant need to make your resume different from those vying for the same job.
It’s probable that many new graduates with research experience under their belts never conduct research again once their busy practices get going. Between 1997 and 2008 the Australian clinician medical labour force increased by 45 per cent, while the non-clinician medical labour force, which includes clinical academics, grew by only 14 per cent.
So there is a clear disconnect between the 63 per cent of graduates who want to pursue research compared with the actual number of doctors who continue in these areas when further along in their careers.
In 2011, MDANZ published a review of the clinical academic workforce — or clinicians who also undertake regular research — recommending the development of an integrated training pathway for clinical academics. Then last year the deans, with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, published a paper in the Internal Medicine Journal warning that “the ageing clinical academic workforce in Australia and New Zealand is being outstripped by the growth and demand for medical education. Unless steps are taken to train a sustainable clinical academic workforce better, it may not be possible to maintain healthcare standards or overcome the many healthcare challenges we face.”
Given that it is these people who train the next generation of doctors and who contribute significantly to the body of world-class, evidence-based research for which Australia is globally recognised, then this drop-off in teachers and scientists with medical training is concerning.
Research enables medical students to understand evidence-based practice which, in turn, leads to best clinical practice. Unless medical students understand research methodology, and the strengths and weaknesses of clinical research, they will never comprehend the significance and relevance of new standards of care and change in clinical practice based on new studies.
So how do we harness this growing pool of medical students who actively pursue research, for whatever reason, and keep that expertise at least in part in the research sector?
Recently Monash University joined the growing band of medical schools offering MDs rather than MBBS degrees.
Similar to the US model, it will allow students who have a talent for or love of research to pursue it as well as a career in medicine without having to disrupt their clinical training careers following their graduation. These PhD programs will have the added advantage of providing the necessary research training for medical students to enter directly into hospital physician training programs and establishing a new generation of clinician scientists for our fast-evolving healthcare system.
We aren’t the only medical school offering innovative ways to introduce research to our future clinicians and to ensure they continue being involved in research throughout their careers. Remember there are 1500 of last year’s medical graduates who expressed an interest in research. What benefits would they bring to our health system and academe if most of them committed to a lifetime of both research and medicine?
Michelle Leech is deputy dean of the Monash faculty of medicine, nursing and health sciences.

Animal Research Ethics Update – October 2016

1.    Animal Ethics Information Sessions
2.    On-Line Animal Ethics Applications – Ethics Review Manager, Infonetica
3.    ROPES – temporary access
4.    2016 Reporting
5.    2017 AEC Meeting dates
6.    MARP & MMC AEC Meetings
7.    Reminders
8.    Updated – NHMRC Non-Human Primate guidelines
9.    Draft: Improving the Welfare of Animals in Victoria 2016 – 2021
10.  RMIT Animal Ethics Seminar
11.  Animal Ethics Regulations, Guidelines, Codes, Training & Information

Available here:

Monash University - Rossjohn lab Post-doc job advertisement

Prof. Jamie Rossjohn FAA FLSW, ARC Australian Laureate Fellow & Head, Infection and Immunity Theme, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, seeks talented T-cell immunologists to join his research group under the auspices of the recently awarded ARC Laureate Fellowship. The selected candidates will pioneer new areas of T-cell biology, in the context of lipid and metabolite-mediated immunity, at Monash University, Clayton campus.

The Rossjohn laboratory has provided profound insight into T-cell biology, specifically defining the basis of key immune recognition events by T-cells, spanning peptide, lipid and metabolite immunity, both in the context of protective and aberrant immunity. Many researchers within the laboratory have secured National Fellowships, Grants and Awards.

For more details on the research themes, fellowships awarded and publication outputs see,

The applicants should hold a PhD, have a proven track record in the field of T-cell immunology, and be sufficiently self-motivated to pioneer new areas of Immunity. Candidates with a promising track record in the relevant areas and a proven publication record in international journals are encouraged to apply.

Appointment will be made at a level appropriate to the successful applicant’s qualifications, experience and in accordance with classification standards for each level.

Salary range:       Level A $81,486 - $87,471
Level B $92,074 - $109,339 or Level C $112,789 - $130,054

Duration:   Position - up to 5 years.
Location:   Clayton Campus

Closing date: 15 November 2016

Please direct all enquires to Jennifer Huynh ( or Jamie.Rossjohn (

IMPORTANT Deadlines for LP16 submission

As Monash University will shutdown from 22 December 2016, MRO will not be submitting LP16 proposals to the ARC after 5pm, Wednesday 21 December 2016.

The internal MRO deadline for proposal feedback, eligibility and compliance is 30 November 2016.

If you intend to apply and have not yet started your proposal in RMS, please do so as soon as possible so that we are aware of your application. An Application Record will also need to be started in myResearch/Pure (for guidance please refer to: Creating an Application Record).

Key Dates:
LP 2016
MRO close date
MRO Proposal review
30 November 2016
ARC Submission
5pm, 21 December 2016

Treatment of Living Expenses for NHMRC overseas Early Career Fellowships (CJ Martin, Sidney Sax, Neil Hamilton Fairley, INSERM)

The NHMRC has provided an allowance within the above mentioned ECF awards to support the living expenses of Fellows whilst they are undertaking the overseas component of their award. The allowance was intended to be a
living away from home allowance (LAFHA); defined as “an allowance the employer pays to employees to compensate for additional expenses incurred and any disadvantages suffered because the employee's duties of employment require them to live away from their normal residence”.

As a consequence of changes to rules and/or interpretations by the Australian
Taxation Office, this allowance is classified as a fringe benefit for tax
purposes and the Administering Institution would need to pay the allowance in
full without withholding any PAYG (or equivalent) tax and instead would need
to include the allowance on their annual FBT return. Monash has received advice that the treatment of living expenses for ECFs with an overseas component should be subject to FBT, and be treated as such.

The treatment of the living allowance by Monash as FBT has a significant
impact upon the costs currently met by Departments to support the overseas
component of an ECF. For a salary based upon a 2016 Level A, Step 03
appointment, a Department is currently supporting an overseas Fellow
$43,570 pa on their overseas component. As a consequence of the allowance being treated as FBT, the level of support would essentially double to $86,860 pa on their overseas component.

Supervisors, HoD and HoS should consider the level of support you wish to
provide to an intending overseas NHMRC Fellowship applicants based upon a
financial commitment of $86,860pa, as well as being mindful that only 30 % of
these overseas Fellows return to Monash.

ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hubs & Training Centres 2017 - Applications Open in RMS

Applications for ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hubs 2017 (IH17) and Industrial Transformation Training Centres 2017 (IC17) are now open in RMS and close 5pm, Thursday 15 December 2016.

1. Please find attached the Funding RulesInstructions to Applicants and the FAQs. These documents (and any updates) may also be downloaded from the ARC website:

Please start your proposal in RMS as soon as possible so we know that you intend to apply. An Application Record will also need to be started in myResearch/Pure (for guidance please refer to: Creating an Application Record

3. The MRO Research Development Team will assist with application preparation. They can be contacted at If you haven't already informed the Team of your intention to apply, please do so ASAP.

4. Please direct any other questions that you have to the ARC Pre-award team at

      Key Dates   
IH17 & IC17
     MRO close date
      ARC close date
Funding Rules:  22 Sept 2016
Open in RMS:   11 October 2016
Proposal closing date
1 Dec 2016
5pm 15 Dec 2016
Request Not to Assess
24 Nov 2016
5pm 1 Dec 2016
Rejoinder Process

May 2017

Flyer with more details HERE.

Antenatal pertussis vaccination: Are we implementing best evidence into practice?

Michelle Giles et al. published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Read article here.

Oligoantiemesis: A Premature Neologism for an Intervention Insufficiently Substantiated in the Emergency Setting

Robert Meek, Diana Egerton-Warburton et al. published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Read article here.

Placental Growth Factor Is Secreted by the Human Endometrium and Has Potential Important Functions during Embryo Development and Implantation

Lois Salamonsen et al. published in PLoS One.

Read article here.

Gaps in Hypertension Guidelines in Low- and Middle-Income Versus High-Income Countries: A Systematic Review.

Amanda Thrift et al. published in Hypertension.

Read article here.

Endocan expression is increased in the placenta from obese women with gestational diabetes mellitus

Padma Murthi et al. published in Placenta.

Read article here.

Prevalence of Brain MRI Markers of Hemorrhagic Risk in Patients with Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation

Chris Karayiannis et al. published in Frontiers in Neurology.

Read article here.