Monday, 13 February 2017

3MT presentation - Michael Chae

Watch Dr Michael Chae talk about 3D printing

Forensic techniques enable study of cancer cells from archives

Dr Luciano Martelotto
A new technique that enables researchers to study single cells from older samples taken from people with breast cancer is opening the door to new findings about genetic changes that make cancer aggressive.

Published last week in Nature Medicine, the research was led by Dr Luciano Martelotto, who has recently moved to the School of Clinical Sciences, Monash University as a Senior Research Fellow.

Dr Martelotto is currently working with Associate Professors Arun Azad and Jake Shortt in the development of a high sensitivity next-generation sequencing pipeline for circulating cell-free DNA in prostate cancer and lymphoma.

Read the full research story (courtesy of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre and science writer Julie Grisham) HERE.

Monash cardiologist and researcher selected as Young Leader at CRT17

Dr Rob Gooley
Monash Cardiovascular Research Centre (MCRC) researcher and MonashHeart cardiologist Dr Rob Gooley has been accepted as a Cardiovascular Research Technologies (CRT) Young Leader and will serve as faculty at the annual CRT symposium in Washington D.C. later this month.

The lead cardiologist for structural heart disease at Monash Health, Dr Gooley provides patients with interventional and percutaneous structural heart procedures. 

“The CRT Young Leadership program recognises practitioners who are early in their career but have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the evidence base of their specialty and shown leadership within the field,” said Dr Gooley.

“The program exposes recipients to current experts in the field who can provide guidance and mentorship while developing collaborative relationships.”

The highly competitive CRT Young Leadership program is open to early career practitioners globally in the interventional cardiology field. Only twenty applicants are chosen from the global pool of applicants.

“As a member of the faculty at CRT2017, I will be responsible for chairing sessions, providing educational lectures and adjudicating submitted research for award presentations,” said Dr Gooley.

“In addition to my involvement in the academic program I will be involved in workshops to introduce those in the Young Leadership program to current world leaders, build relationships and encourage future collaborations.”

Dr Gooley’s research is focused on multimodality imaging assessment of  patients—pre and post structural interventions—with an aim of refining patient selection and improving the safety and efficacy of procedures.  This research was also the topic of his PhD, which he completed at Monash University in December.

Training the gut to cope with exercise enhances performance

Dr Ricardo Costa
Monash University research has shown for the first time that athletes can train their gut to cope with food and fluid intake during strenuous exercise, resulting in reduced debilitating gastrointestinal symptoms, improved nutrient uptake, and improved performance.

“In a world-first, we’ve demonstrated the adaptability of the gastrointestinal tract and determined the impact of two weeks gut-training protocol on gastrointestinal status, blood glucose availability, fuel kinetics and running performance,” said lead author Dr Ricardo Costa from the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics & Food.

Exercise can disturb gut integrity and function, and cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms including pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea—a common feature of endurance exercise.

While it is already well established that carbohydrate intake during extended exercise (two hours or longer) is a key determinant of endurance exercise performance, the debilitating symptoms make essential eating and drinking during exercise very difficult.

“In our study, we developed a gut-training protocol that led to a 60 per cent reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms, and resulted in a five per cent improvement in exercise performance,” said Dr Costa.

During the randomised controlled two-week gut training protocol, on a daily basis, participants consumed a carbohydrate gel-disc or matched placebo every 20 minutes throughout the 1 hour running exercise.

“After two weeks of gut training, the carbohydrate gel-disc formulation improved gastrointestinal symptoms, reduced carbohydrate malabsorption, and enhanced blood glucose availability during endurance running, compared with the placebo,” said Dr Costa.

Dr Costa said the running performance improvements observed after gut-training are likely due to symptom improvement, but increased glucose availability may have also contributed.

“These findings suggest that endurance runners may benefit from a structured gut-training protocol to meet individual needs and tolerance levels.”

However, Dr Costa is yet to determine whether a greater nutrient load, for example inclusion of protein and fat within the gut-training formulation and / or food would result in greater gut-training effects.

“Considering the diversity of responses we observed in our study, we suggest individualised gut-challenge protocols be an essential part of an athlete’s nutritional strategy assessment to inform training process, with the aim of reducing exercise-associated gastrointestinal symptoms and enhancing exercise performance,” said Dr Costa.

Monash research to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people with traumatic brain injury

Associate Professor Cadilhac
A successful National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) partnership grant will enable Associate Professor Dominique Cadilhac and the other lead investigators to implement the first culturally secure intervention package for Aboriginal survivors of brain impairment in Australia.

The five year partnership grant worth $906,444 will facilitate collaborations between Monash University and Edith Cowan University, and enable Associate Professor Cadilhac from the Stroke and Ageing Group, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) to expand her research contributions in this area.

“Aboriginal Australians experience stroke up to three times more frequently than non-Aboriginal Australians, with traumatic brain injury due to assault occurring up to 21 times more often,” said Associate Professor Cadilhac. 

“Yet Aboriginal people remain under-represented in rehabilitation programs.”

“The aims of this project are to improve accessibility to rehabilitation services for all Aboriginal people post brain injury in Western Australia, improve health outcomes for this population, and establish an economic model that will contribute to sustainability and planning of future services.”

The study includes a randomised control trial design to test a complex intervention that will be developed, following on from the research team’s Missing Voices study. In this latter study, led by Prof Beth Armstrong, the extent and impact of communication disorders after brain injury in Aboriginal people across Western Australia were investigated and this provided promising pilot data in support of the current successful application.

Associate Professor Cadilhac said the study will consist of cultural security training for hospital staff tailored to the delivery of services to Aboriginal people with brain injury; the use of culturally appropriate educational materials; and introduction of a specialist Aboriginal Brain Injury Coordinator to provide an in-reach service to participating hospitals as well as coordination of care and advocacy after hospital discharge.

“The service and costing models developed in the project will provide a basis for future planning of brain injury services, as well as services for a variety of other conditions in Western Australia and nationally.”

Seed funding will enable research to develop a miniature immune system in a micro particle

Dr Sarah Jones
Dr Sarah Jones has received a grant from the Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation, providing $25,000 seed funding to create an immune system in a micro particle in collaboration with Associate Professor John Forsythe at Monash Engineering.

“Excitement in medical research peaks when old problems of biology can be solved by modern techniques,” said Dr Jones, postdoctoral research fellow in the Lupus and Arthritis Research Group, Centre for Inflammatory Diseases.

The re-creation of organs in the lab setting, termed “organoids”, is a key technique that is allowing major advances to be made in medical research.
“We have designed a way to create a miniature immune system organoid, encapsulated in a microparticle, called an Immunosphere,” said Dr Jones.

“Within the Immunosphere we will be able to recapitulate the events that occur to produce antibodies, which are critical for immunity against invading pathogens and which are damaging in the case of autoimmune diseases.”

Dr Jones said the Immunosphere will provide a model system for studying antibody production which, despite its importance for human health, has previously been inherently difficult to study.

The Immunosphere will also be a platform for testing new drugs designed to improve antibody production to achieve better outcomes from vaccination, or to block it for treatment of autoimmune diseases, which are currently common, serious and incurable.

“The potential applications for the Immunosphere system are extremely important and very exciting,” said Dr Jones.

Michaela Finsterbusch wins VIIN Career Development Award

Dr Michaela Finsterbusch
Congratulations Dr Michaela Finsterbusch, a recipient of the 2017 VIIN Career Development Award.

Michaela, a research fellow in the Centre for Inflammatory Diseases, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, will speak at the Lorne Infection and Immunity Conference this week about monocytes contributing to neutrophil-dependent kidney injury in acute glomerulonephritis

The VIIN Career Development Award covers Michaela's registration at the conference.

Walk for Monash Children's Hospital, 5 March

The Walk for Monash Children’s Hospital is taking place on Sunday, March 5 at Jells Park in Wheelers Hill.  Join the Hudson ‘team’ in the walk by REGISTERING in the team 'Hudson Institute' or by contacting Belinda Pelle at

With the long-awaited new Monash Children’s Hospital set to open in early 2017, Hudson Institute will be participating in the walk to support the work of our precinct partners, as well as young patients and their families.

Our researchers including Dr Jason Cain’s group in the Centre for Cancer Research and Professor Rosemary Horne’s infant and child health group in the Ritchie Centre undertake amazing research with the help of clinical collaborations and links with Monash Children’s Hospital.

Choose from a 1km / 5km / 10km walk or a 5km / 10km run. This is a family friendly, non-competitive event for all ages!

There will be lots of activities on the day with an animal farm, Kid Zone, and FREE massages as well as fantastic food trucks and entertainment.

It would be great to see as many staff and students as possible there!

Victorian Health and Medical Research Fellowships - EOI APPLICATIONS DUE 15 FEBRUARY 2017

Biomedical Research Victoria is pleased to announce that the call for applications is now open for the inaugural Victorian Health and Medical Research Fellowships, an initiative of the Victorian Government's Healthier Lives, Stronger Economy: Victoria's Health and Medical Research Strategy 2016-2020.

Intended to support Victoria’s mid-career health and medical researchers, three individual four-year Fellowships of up to $200,000 per annum will be awarded to health and medical researchers undertaking high quality, transdisciplinary research with a translational focus in the areas of bioinformatics, genomics and/or health services research.
How to apply:  Visit:

The application process involves two steps:

Step one: Confirm your eligibility against the criteria outlined in the Fellowship 
Application Guide and then complete an online Short Form Application by 2pm Wednesday 15 February 2017.

Step two: Eligible applicants will be notified by Wednesday 1 March 2017 and invited to prepare and submit a Full Application by midnight
Sunday 2 April 2017.
Full Applications will be considered by a panel of independent experts who will recommend a short list of candidates to the Victorian Government’s Science, Medical Research and Technology Panel for further deliberation and decision.

Researchers interested to apply for the Victorian Health and Medical Research Fellowships must have a minimum of five years and a maximum of 12 years post-doctoral work experience at the closing date for Full Applications.

ARC LIEF 2018 (LE18) - Now Open in RMS

Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) Proposals for funding commencing in 2018 are now open in RMS.
The ARC closing date for submission of Proposals is 5.00pm, Wednesday, 5 April 2017.
Documentation relating to the LIEF scheme, including Frequently Asked Questions and Instructions to Applicants is available on the ARC website.

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

Key Dates:
MRO close date
ARC close date
Funding Rules available 22 Sept 2016
Open in RMS  8 February 2017
Proposal closing date
22 March 2017
5pm 5 April 2017
Request Not to Assess
15 March 2017
5pm 22 March 2017
Rejoinder Process

Sept 2017

For queries about the scheme, please contact

Vice-Chancellors Research Pitch Challenge

PhD students and early/mid-career researchers are encouraged to showcase their work at the Higher Education Conference 2017 to be held on 1-3 March at the National Convention Centre, Canberra.

Applicants will be showcased at the 2017 conference via a 'digital poster display', allowing all delegates to view and vote. This will be an opportunity for PhD and early/mid-career researchers to showcase their work to higher-education leaders, including Vice-Chancellors, industry and government ministers. There is a $1,500 prize for the winner and all applicants are eligible for heavily discounted tickets to attend the conference.

Please use the following link for more details:

Young Tall Poppy Science Awards for 2017 - Information Session (Tuesday 28 February)

Nominations for the annual Young Tall Poppy Science Awards for 2017 open at 9:00am on 27th February and close at 11:59pm on 9th April.

These awards recognise excellence in early career research across all the sciences including biomedical, engineering, mathematics, technology; alongside a passion and capacity to communicate science to the community.  Further details are available at  Additional information is also available on Research Professional.

Mind Your Way has had great results in the past with boosting Monash University's success in these awards, and they are keen to continue that trend this year. The services provided by their team include narrative coaching and grammar editing.

An information session at Clayton campus will be held for anyone interested in applying for the Young Tall Poppy Science Awards.

Date: Tuesday 28 February 2017
Time: 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Venue: Clayton campus, 35 Rainforest Walk (formerly Building 13D, Biochemistry), Room D523, Level 5
RSVP: To Christina Majoinen at and copy by Friday 24 February 2017.
Zoom is available for those not on the Clayton campus (a link will be sent closer to the event).

Benefits of attending:
· Hear strategies for writing a successful Tall Poppy application
· Understand the double-review editing process for making your application shine

· Receive copies of previous successful applications to use as a model for your own application

Cell therapies platform fully open for business in the MHTP Translational Research Facility

Dr Gordon McPhee, Cell Therapies Platform Manager
The Monash Health Translation Precinct’s Cell Therapies Platform is fully open for business, with the addition of a new 3D Bioprinter complementing the suite of facilities available to our scientists, clinicians and external users in the Translational Research Facility.

The GeSim Bioprinter enables scientists to generate fine biocompatible scaffolds to support 3D cell and tissue cultures, potentially replacing cartilage and bone in the human body.

Alternatively, a nano printer is well suited to localising matrix proteins within advanced materials for medical device or biosensor applications. As with all Cell Therapies Platform equipment, the setup is fully GMP compliant, enabling researchers to develop their programs towards clinical trials with confidence.

MHTP Platform Strategic Initiatives Manager, Mrs Vivien Vasic, says the Cell Therapies Platform represents an end-to-end story for regenerative medicine.

‘One stop shop’ for cell therapy manufacture and regenerative medicine
“This truly is a ‘one-stop shop’ facility for regenerative medicine, and one of the few Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant cell therapies environments in Australia,” Mrs Vasic said.
“The Cell Therapies Platform is a major new initiative within the MHTP and has been purposefully designed to underpin clinical translation of cell therapies and regenerative medicine.”

The facilities available to scientists and commercial users at the MHTP Cell Therapies Platform are:

Bone Density, Muscle Quality and Body Composition Assessments at Clayton – DXA and pQCT

Bone and Muscle Research Group
The Bone and Muscle Research Group Clinical Imaging Service is now up and running!

We aim to provide cost-effective service for researchers exploring bone and muscle health.

Our specialised dual xray absorptiometry (DXA) and peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) machines assess and quantify bone density, body composition, bone geometry, visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue, and more. This may be particularly useful in studies with paediatric, obese or elderly patients or those with endocrine, rheumatic or metabolic conditions.

For more information, to access the Clinical Imaging Service or to collaborate with the Bone and Muscle Research Group, contact Dr David Scott:

"Epigenetic pathways as targets in human disease", 16 February

This week's Hudson seminar will be held Thursday 16th February from 12.00-1.00pm at TRF Building, Level 2 Seminar rooms 1 & 2.

Our speaker will be Professor Shelley Berger, Daniel S. Och University Professor at University of Pennsylvania and Director of Epigenetics Institute, Penn School of Medicine. 

A light lunch and refreshments will follow the presentation.

Shelley Berger, Ph.D., is engaged in studies of chromatin and epigenetic regulation of the eukaryotic genome. Dr. Berger’s lab has become increasingly focused on the study of mammalian biology and human diseases, including cancer and other diseases associated with aging, as well as epigenetic control of learning, memory and behavior. The lab has been published in high impact journals, such as Cell, Nature, Science, and Genes & Development. Her work on epigenetics of behavior has been covered in The New York Times and The New Yorker. Dr. Berger is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for Advancement of Science.

PhD confirmation, Champa Nataraja, 21 February

All staff and students are invited to Champa Nataraja's PhD confirmation.

12pm, Tuesday 21 February,  Seminar Room 1, Level 2, TRF

Thesis title: GILZ regulates type 1 IFN production in SLE and represents an effective, metabolically inert alternative to GCs for the treatment of SLE.

Synopsis: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a clinically diverse autoimmune disease characterized by the loss of tolerance to nuclear self-antigens and autoantibody production, and type 1 Interferon play a critical role in SLE pathogenesis. The majority of patients with SLE are typically treated with Glucocorticoids (GCs) due to their broad anti-inflammatory effect but result in significant metabolic adverse effects that contribute to increased morbidity and mortality in SLE.There is a critical need for alternative therapies to glucocorticoids that can exert similar anti-inflammatory effects, such as inhibition of type I interferon production, but without causing the metabolic adverse effects of GC. GILZ (Glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper), a GC-inducible protein, may represent such an alternative. Thus, I aim to determine that GILZ regulates type 1 IFN production and is metabolically inert distinct from GCs. This work will validate GILZ as a therapeutic target in SLE and potentially lead to a therapy reducing dependence on GC in SLE treatment.

Supervisors: Prof Eric Morand, Dr Sarah Jones and Prof Michelle Leech
Panel Chair: Dr George Grigoriadis
Independent assessors: Dr Alberta Hoi, Prof Philip Hodgkin

Introduction to Bioinformatics at MHTP, 22 February

MHTP Bioinformatics team
Wed 22 Feb, 2.30pm - Seminar room 2, level 2, TRF

Presented by Wishva Herath, on behalf of the MHTP Bioinformatics team (Roxane Legaie, Ross Chapman, Helen Cumming, Jamie Gearing, Isaac Woodhouse, Andrew Perry and Claire Sun).

Recently brought together, the bioinformaticians at MHTP will showcase their skills and capabilities in order to raise awareness about the need for cutting-edge bioinformatics practices, the resources required for the analysis of such "Big Data", as well as the support they can provide to the local research community.

The talk will be followed with an open discussion where everyone is invited to ask questions and provide feedback on what their bioinformatics needs are or will be. 

Researchers are also encouraged to fill in our pre-survey to help us tailor our future events:

For more information or to join the bioinformatics team please contact:


Become an ASLM Registered SMA Practitioner or Facilitator by attending the Shared Medical Appointments (SMAs) workshop and follow-up assessment on Saturday 25 March, 9.30am-4pm

Traditionally, medical consultations have been carried out in a 1:1 situation; an ‘expert’ (doctor) consulting with one patient. This has served us well, and still does with injuries and infectious diseases. But the rise in chronic diseases with the modernisation of society has dramatically altered the clinical landscape.

Also known as ‘Group Visits’ or ‘Group Medical Appointments’ in the US, an SMA is, “A series of consecutive individual medical consultations in a supportive group setting where all can listen, interact, and learn.” As such an SMA is a both an individual consultation and a group education session.

The minimal ‘team’ for an SMA is a doctor and a trained facilitator. In an SMA, the doctor carries out his/her doctoring, but with other patients watching.  The facilitator introduces the group, writes records and questions on a board, assists the doctor with information, controls the group dynamics, and in some cases writes the medical records.

Doctors, allied health practitioners, ancillary staff and researchers interested in new models of patient care will benefit from attending.  40 Category 1 points will be available for GPs and allied health CPD points should be available to most other practitioners.

Those interested please register on the following website

$440 non-members | $330 members | $55 early bird discount until 28 February
The workshop will be hosted at Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI) and conducted in collaboration with the Australian Society of Lifestyle Medicine (ASLM). The workshop is especially relevant for those wishing to be registered as trained in the ASLM SMA protocol.

If you have any queries, please email to 

Watch a video of an SMA in action at

Staff OHS training, 23 Feb

OHS training opportunity details:

Date: 23 February 2017
  • 10.00am-1.00pm: Student Project Safety (Risk Management) - compulsory for students (once only)
  • 2.00pm-4.00pm: Biosafety level 1 (Microbiologicals) - for clinical and lab researchers
  • 4.00pm-5.30pm: Biosafety level 2 (OGTR / AQIS)
Venue: TRF building seminar reoom 1, Monash Medical Centre

Registration and further information is hereStudents - please register via your student authcate account (not a staff account). Places are limited so please register as soon as possible.

Is my OHS training up to date? 
You can check your training portfolio in ESS via My Monash Training Qualifications. 

What training do I need to do?
Please refer to the OHS training guide or email

SCS OHS Committee meeting: Call for agenda items

The next SCS OHS committee meeting will be held on the 1st March, 2017. 

Please send any items for discussion to

Meeting minutes are available on the intranet here.

2017 SPHPM Professional Education Program - Upskill now!

Are you, your staff or someone you know looking to upskill?  Discover a new passion? or Meet inspiring people? 

The School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (SPHPM) Short Courses provide short-term, intensive educational opportunities for those seeking professional development, or as an alternative to full-time studies.

See more information HERE.

Reach your potential and achieve your career aspirations

Set your myPlan goals by 28 February by clicking here.

To assist in completing your myPlan, please visit Performance Development at Monash: getting started user guides, quick reference resources, performance development at a glance, and details about Monash’s Strategic Planning Framework.

Whilst all staff are encouraged to participate, some exemptions may apply so please check the performance development procedures.

If you have any questions, please email or call Access HR on 9902 0400.  

The efficacy of Protected Mealtimes in hospitalised patients: a stepped wedge cluster randomised controlled trial

Judi Porter et al. published in BMC Medicine.

Read article here.

Outcomes After Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention for ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction Caused by Ectatic Infarct Related Arteries

Vimalraj Shanmugam, Dennis Wong et al. published in Heart, Lung and Circulation.

Read article here.

An evaluation of the use and efficacy of a sensory room within an adolescent psychiatric inpatient unit

Glenn Melvin, Monique West et al published in the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal.

Read article here.

Influence of Vancomycin Minimum Inhibitory Concentration on the Outcome of Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Left-Sided Infective Endocarditis Treated with Anti-staphylococcal Beta-Lactam Antibiotics; a Prospective Cohort Study by the International Collaboration on Endocarditis.

Tony Korman et al. published in Clinical Microbiology and Infection.

Read article here.

Treatment of preeclampsia with hydroxychloroquine: a review

Padma Murthi, Euan Wallace et al. published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine.

Read article here.

STROKOG (stroke and cognition consortium): An international consortium to examine the epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of neurocognitive disorders in relation to cerebrovascular disease

Amanda Thrift et al. published in Alzheimer's & Dementia.

Read article here.

Stenotic flow reserve derived from quantitative coronary angiography has modest but incremental value in predicting functionally significant coronary stenosis as evaluated by fractional flow reserve

Dennis Wong et al. published in Cardiovascular diagnosis and therapy.

Read article here.

Understanding the full spectrum of organ injury following intrapartum asphyxia

Hayley Dickinson et al. published in Frontiers in Pediatrics.

Read article here.

Acute metabolic and endocrine responses induced by glucose and fructose in healthy young subjects: A double-blinded, randomized, crossover trial

Helen Truby et al. published in Clinical Nutrition.

Read article here.