Monday, 13 March 2017

Science in a minute: Dr Connie Wong talks about the impact of stroke on gut bacteria

Australian-first lupus registry and biobank to provide real world evidence of therapies

Dr Alberta Hoi and Professor Eric Morand
The Australian Lupus Registry and Biobank (ALRB) is essential to improving our understanding of systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and could be a world leader, according to experts including Monash University’s Professor Eric Morand.

Published today in the Medical Journal of Australia, the authors said the ALRB will be a valuable resource for clinicians, scientists, industry and government to provide real world evidence of clinical effectiveness of existing or new therapies and management strategies in patients with lupus.

“Lupus is a complex autoimmune disease with diverse symptoms, which place an unacceptable level of burden on affected patients,” said Professor Morand, Head of Rheumatology at Monash Health and Head, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University.

“Australian data on lupus are scarce, with figures suggesting a prevalence of lupus that ranges from 19 per 100,000 in people of European ancestry to 92 per 100,000 in Indigenous Australians, similar to other chronic diseases such as hepatitis C.”

Professor Morand said that while survival rates have improved in the last fifty years, it is still a sobering thought that lupus, which typically presents in women in their twenties or thirties, confers a 1 in 10 chance of dying before the age of forty.

Despite those numbers, it wasn’t until the ALRB was established in 2012 that fundamental data regarding age, geographic and ethnic distribution; currently used treatments; and unmet needs of patients in Australia was consistently collected.

Ten Australian institutions are now recruiting patients with lupus to the ALRB across Victorian, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia, with the common goal of ‘improving treatment and outcomes for people with lupus’.
Economically, the registry also serves a vital purpose.

“In the complex Australian health care system, it is difficult to examine the different components of health care use, so the true economic costs for a disease such as lupus are often grossly underestimated,” said co-author Dr Alberta Hoi, Head of the Monash Lupus Clinic and chief investigator, Lupus and Arthritis Research Group at Monash University.

The ALRB will allow the tracking of health care uses related to the care of lupus in Australia and will provide data for benchmarking.

”With the rising costs of health care and a limited health budget, it is paramount that data are available to study the cost effectiveness of various management strategies,” said Dr Hoi.

“Health care use, based on annual patient self-report of hospitalisations, investigations and other health complications, may form the basis to derive cost.”

Professor Morand said the ALRB information may help measure the health consequences of different health care interventions.

Monash medical student changing lives and awarded Westpac Fellowship

Ms Masad Alfayadh
Monash University medical student Ms Masad Alfayadh was awarded a prestigious Westpac Social Change Fellowship last week, acknowledging her work at Happy Brain Education, a not-for-profit organisation she co-founded that is changing the lives of young Australians through education.

A final year medical student at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS), Masad is one of ten social innovators to receive a Westpac Social Change Fellowship, valued at up to $50,000, through the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation.

Masad tutoring HBE students
In 2015 Masad co-founded Happy Brain Education (HBE), a not-for-profit mentoring and tutoring organisation that aims to empower young people through education and personal development.

“Currently, there are three HBE branches, one for youth in Melbourne’s
Broadmeadows, another for youth in the Dandenong area, and a third which focuses solely on students from refugee backgrounds,” said Masad.

Masad said, apart from completing her medical training, her biggest focus in life is empowering young people experiencing social disadvantage, financial disadvantage and mental health issues.

“I think our world could be a much better place if young people are empowered and supported and involved as active participants in society—I guess this belief comes from personal experiences and my experiences growing up.” 

In 2003 when she was 10 years old, Masad and her family arrived in Australia as refugees from Iraq.

“I only knew four words of English, and I felt very overwhelmed, alone and scared,” said Masad.

Just five months later, Masad’s father was tragically killed in a car accident, creating even more hardship for her family.  Masad believes that education changed her life.

“The opportunities, self-worth and affirmation that came from my schooling were extremely empowering,” said Masad.

“Education opened up so many doors to me, and made me understand the world. I know that it can help many other children who come from a similar background to me. It can empower, encourage, and open many doors for them too.”

Masad’s Westpac Fellowship will enable her to complete a Certificate of Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Stanford University, a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact at Swinburne University and two courses at the University of Oxford, one on global social movements and another in management. She also hopes to use the scholarship to volunteer with Medecines Sans Frontieres and to further her charity work to help more people around Australia.

“Young people have the power to change the world. They just need to be empowered and supported,” said Masad.

Masad thanks Gizem Hasimoglu, Alisha Rawal, Emre Alpay, Mariam Hassan, Khue Nguyen and Taha Mollah- Monash medical students- and Dr Tooba Mollah, Dr Krita Sridharan and Dr Julian Cassar- Monash alumni- who have all helped her establish HBE and have shared the journey with her. She also thanks her BMedSc(Hons) supervisors, Professor Jim Buttery and Dr Peter Gowdie, who were very understanding and supported her in establishing HBE whilst still learning so much from her BMedSc(Hons) and getting the most out of it.

“They’re the greatest supervisors anyone could ever ask for!”  

Adolescents who are overweight or obese lose weight on commercially delivered weight management program

Associate Professor Bonham
Monash University research has shown that a commercial, structured weight management program leads to weight loss and improved psychosocial outcomes in adolescents who are overweight and obese.

Obesity in childhood and adolescence tracks into adulthood, and is associated with adverse physiological and psychological health outcomes. 

“In Australia there are limited effective services and tools for physicians to manage adolescent obesity—and few children and adolescents with obesity seek treatment,” said lead researcher Associate Professor Maxine Bonham from the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food at Monash University.

Associate Professor Bonham said results from a 2011 Cochrane Review had suggested more widely accessible interventions for adolescents with modest weight issues prior to the development of complications would be advantageous.

Published last week in The Journal of Pediatrics, the Monash University research shows for the first time that a structured life-style intervention delivered by a commercial provider in an adolescent population results in clinically relevant weight loss.

 “Commercial diet providers are a popular option for adults wanting to lose weight, and if food is supplied as part of the program, reported weight loss is greater,” said Associate Professor Bonham.

For children and adolescents with obesity, however, commercial providers of weight management are scarce.

Associate Professor Bonham’s study evaluated an adolescent weight management program, JenMe, a 12-week face-to-face program developed by dietitians at commercial provider Jenny Craig.

From March 2013 to March 2014, 88 adolescents (aged between 13 and 17) who were overweight and obese participated in the study, were allocated to either the intervention group or the wait-list control group.

“A significant weight reduction of 6.1 kg was observed in the 32 participants who completed the intervention, compared with an average weight gain of 1.9 kg in the 22 participants who completed the no-treatment period,” said Associate Professor Bonham.

Professor Bonham said the intervention participants also reported greater body esteem and quality of life compared with the wait-list control group.

Although follow up data were only available for 35% of intervention group participants, on average they had maintained their weight loss in the 24 weeks after completing the JenMe program.

Commercial weight loss operators provide extended reach and resources beyond that which can be realistically delivered by an already stretched health service.

“Some preliminary data also indicate the affordability and viability of commercial diet programs compared with weight loss interventions run by health professionals,” said Professor Bonham.

“Delivery of such programs by commercial providers offers an alternative avenue to standard care in the management of paediatric obesity.”

Neonatologist receives academic promotion at School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health

Professor Arvind Sehgal
Neonatalolgist Arvind Sehgal has been recognised for his research with an academic promotion at Monash University.

Adjunct Professor Sehgal, Department of Paediatrics, is a Neonatal Consultant at Monash Children’s Hospital. His recent research focuses on the cardiac and vascular impact of fetal growth restriction.

“Using advanced ultrasound modalities, we have noted early vascular ageing in this cohort alongside mal-adaptive coupling with cardiac function,” said Professor Sehgal.

“Early identification of arterial and ventricular changes would detect those premature infants at high risk for long term cardiovascular compromise, and allow early intervention and / or increased monitoring.”

This research also formed the focus of Professor Sehgal’s recently completed PhD.

Professor Sehgal said his promotion brought cheer amongst his well-wishers and family, and that was important to him.

He also quoted Abraham Lincoln, “don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”

Professor Sehgal acknowledges Professor Nick Freezer for his ongoing guidance and support and Dr Charles Barfield for his constant encouragement.

Support our team raise money for blood cancer research

Cheryl Coleman with a haematology patient
at the MHTP Clinical Trials Centre
Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP) staff will participate in the World’s Greatest Shave this Friday 17 March, preparing to lose their locks for vital blood cancer research.

Led by team captain Mary Batson, Cheryl Coleman, MHTP Clinical Trials Centre Manager; Sue Kirsa, Director of Pharmacy at Monash Health; and registered nurses Monique Pedetti (Clinical Trials Centre) and Melissa Florey (44S) are amongst the team who will shave their hair in the main foyer of Monash Medical Centre.

“Our goal was to raise $3000, however we are already sitting at $4687 and I’m hoping we can smash somewhere between $7,000 – $10,000 by Friday,” said Cheryl.

The team said they all have their own personal reasons for participating.
“I wasn’t going to shave this year, but after one of our haematology patients progressed and had to come off their trial, it hit me pretty hard,” said Monique.

Cheryl said that after 13 years with haematology research, she’s come to witness firsthand how these blood cancers affect so many people, their families, friends and the nurses and coordinators who care for them.

“Recently a friend's young daughter was diagnosed with lymphoma. No child should have to go through what she has experienced,” said Cheryl.

“We just want to help!”

A bake sale will be held to support the fundraising this Friday 17 March and shaving will take place from 1.30- 3.30pm in the main foyer of Monash Medical Centre.

To donate to our team’s efforts, please visit:

Sperm donations needed for our clinical embryology students

It is that time of the year again that our clinical embryology students are doing important training in semen analysis and we need you (or your partners) to help us out, if at all possible!  

The practicals are held on, Wednesday 22nd March Thurs 23rd March and Friday 24th March, so if you can help us with a sperm donation on any of those days that would be great.  If you would like to donate, but can't make those days, there will be other times where a sample can be utilised for training.

This year we are streamlining the process with a google form, so click on the link to show your interest and availability HERE:

If you want further info before completing the form, you can contact Sally Catt or 0416821654 or wk  99024818.   

We can deliver a coded pot (or 2) for you to take home, and will give more specific instructions then.  As we are on the 5th floor at Monash Medical Centre, we can collect from TRF, E block, Hudson building, (your office, whatever). 
For those on site, we do have access to an official semen collection room on the 3rd floor E Block.  If using this facility, there is a secretary or nurse available, and she can hand out appropriate DVDs and magazines, if required (yes there’s a comfy sofa and a tv!). The pot can be left in the room or returned to our office. You just need to indicate to the staff there whether you have left it or not.
Rewards? You will, if you request it on the form, get a written assessment of the sperm prep. Also, select on the form a reward that would suit you (chocolate, wine, beer, money are all options) 

Thank you for your help!!

Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund (Round 1) - CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

All researchers are strongly encouraged to apply for a grant through the Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund, which aims to support those in the early stages of health and medical research to translate their work into health and economic outcomes. Head of School, Professor Eric Morand strongly recommends you use Monash University as the entity, as substantial research infrastructure funding will be earned - only applications from a University attract this top-up. 

The competitive program leverages funding from philanthropic, industry and international sources. It's designed to capitalise on Victoria’s comparative advantages in medical research, increase the efficiency of the Victorian health system and further enhance the Victorian economy’s investment attractiveness.

Round 1 applications are now open.

Who can apply
Applications will be accepted from collaborations or partnerships between:
·         health services
·         industry
·         medical research institutes
·         education institutes

Available funds
The Victorian Medical Research Acceleration Fund will provide $3 million per annum to help address current market gaps and deliver rewards for research. Funding is divided into two tiers.
Tier 1 funding is for proposals up to $100k. It supports early stage innovations including discovery research, clinical research and health practice, or an idea or innovation to attract peer review funding or investment by industry.
Tier 2 funding is for proposals up to $500k. It supports a small number of research proposals to ‘fast track’ translation into health and economic outcomes. Matching funding will be required to demonstrate capacity to collaborate and undertake research that has a clear pathway to translation.

How to apply
For more information and to apply:
Download the application form and guide which includes the selection criteria.
Applications close 14 April 2017.  The MRO compliance check closing date is 31 March 2017.  Intending applicants are requested to notify the Medical and Health Sciences team (

Announcements will be made in May 2017.

Grants available (Telematics Trust) in Victoria

Applications for Telematics Trust grants are open now.

The vision of Telematics Trust is for technology to transform lives through education and training for the cultural, social and economic benefit of Victorians.

• support our vision by demonstrating innovative use of technology through education and training.
• demonstrate the innovative use of technology through education and learning which aim to measurably improve the well-being of the community and environment
• provide unique funding opportunities to individuals, Educational Institutions, Government, Business, social enterprises and Not-for-Profit organisations
• use technology to reach diverse groups and address important practical problems
in our community and environment.
In pursuit of this mission, Telematics Trust targets initiatives that:
• deserve special distinction
• would be assisted by seeding grants
• are not generally within the province of other funding bodies
The Trust provides unique funding opportunities to individuals, Educational Institutes, Government, Business, social enterprises and Not-for-Profit organisations.


More information HERE:

ALL researchers: please update your PURE profile

With the transition to myResearch the collection of Monash Health research outputs is now managed by the Research Outputs Collection Service (ROCS).

What you need to do
·        Check your researcher profile in myResearch / Pure and let the ROCS team know of any missing / incorrect research outputs. 
·        Import / reject research outputs: You will receive an email notification when a research output is available to be imported, and this will also appear in your “My personal tasks” area in Pure. Please see attached instructions on how to claim research outputs. When an output has been entered into Pure, it requires validation by the ROCS team before it will appear on your researcher profile.

SAVE THE DATE! Invitation to Science-Medicine Affinity Workshop (2 May 2017)

The Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (FMNHS) are pleased to launch a new joint seed research fund to promote interdisciplinary collaborations across both faculties. We look forward to the possibility of significant collaborations, external grant applications and awards.
We would like to invite you to join us at the Affinity Workshop which will include a brief presentation of a partnership that has been very successful between the Faculty of Science and the FMNHS, an informal opportunity to showcase your research to the audience, general discussion, and an opening of the scheme.  This event will facilitate discussion and give you the opportunity to connect and initiate interdisciplinary collaborations between the two faculties.
Date:  Tuesday 2 May 2017
Time: 12-3pm (Lunch will be provided)
Venue: Clayton campus

Registration and program details to follow.

Tall Poppy Early Career Session- Tuesday 14th March

We are pleased to have Dr Sarah Meachem the Tall Poppy ambassador, past awardee and chair of the Vic Tall poppy selection committee share with us what it takes to be a Tall Poppy. Camille Thomson general manager of the program at the Australian Institute of policy and Science will also join us in the meeting.

Join us on Tuesday the 14th of March from 2.00- 3.00 pm 

Venue:      Board Room on level 7,Translational Facility Building (TRF)

ECR Symposium - Monday 30th October 2017 - SAVE THE DATE

The Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences (FMNHS) will be holding their biennial Early Career Researcher (ECR) Symposium on Monday 30th October 2017 at the Monash Business School, 271 Collins Street (Level 7), Melbourne.

Please save the date and advertise the flyer in your respective areas.

This event will comprise of seminars and workshops encompassing:
  • strategic career planning
  • engaging with industry
  • grant writing tips and 
  • networking events specifically designed for Early Career Researchers.

Registrations for this event will open mid August 2017.

CID Weekly Seminar Series: Dr Michaela Finsterbusch and Mr SJ Shen, Tuesday 14 March

12 - 1pm, Tuesday 14 March, Seminar Room 1, TRF Building

Dr Michaela Finsterbusch, Research Fellow, Centre for Inflammatory Diseases

Platelet accumulation and interactions with neutrophils in acute glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis is a leading cause of end-stage renal failure. In this disease immune cells (e.g. neutrophils in acute glomerulonephritis) are incorrectly activated and start to fight against us by attacking and damaging tissue in the kidney. We believe that cross-talk between different cells (e.g. between platelets and neutrophils) initiate neutrophil-dependent inflammation and the release of harmful factors such as reactive oxygen species. To study the behaviour and distinct role of these cell types in the healthy glomerulus and during acute glomerular inflammation, we use highly advanced microscopy techniques, allowing us to visualise these cells in real-time in the live organ. We hope that data arising from this work will help to better understand the cause of glomerulonephritis and help to develop more effective and saver therapies to block these injurious pathways in patients.

Michaela joined Prof. Michael Hickey's group at the Centre for Inflammatory Diseases, Monash University in 2014 as a research fellow to study immune-modulatory mechanisms of leukocytes in experimental glomerulonephritis. Michaela trained at the University of Applied Sciences in Vienna and graduated with a Master's degree in biomedicine/analytics. During her Master's thesis Michaela studied IL-10 signalling specifically through common IL-10 receptor 1 variants in Prof. Christoph Gasche's lab at the Medical University of Vienna (Department of Gastroenterology). After graduating, Michaela moved to London to do her PhD with Prof. Sussan Nourshargh (William Harvey Research Institute) investigating immune and vascular functions in experimental models of inflammation on a three year British Heart Foundation-funded PhD scholarship. She completed her PhD in 2013 and stayed in London for another year to work in Prof. Amrita Ahluwalia's lab on the transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1).   
In 2014, Michaela was recruited to Monash University by Prof. Michael Hickey to study the involvement of and communication between different immune cells (e.g. neutrophils, monocytes, platelets) in acute glomerulonephritis. For her work, Michaela primarily uses highly advanced microscopy techniques (i.e. spinning disc and multiphoton confocal microscopy) to visualise different cell types and analyse their behaviour in the live organ.

In 2015, Michaela has been successfully awarded an Erwin Schroedinger fellowship funded by the Austrian Science Fund.

Mr SJ Shen, Postgraduate student, Centre for Inflammatory Diseases – milestone review

Investigating the impact of neutrophil recruitment on colonic inflammation

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of idiopathic, chronic and relapsing inflammatory disease, and includes primarily Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). There is currently no cure, and disease management strategies only alleviate the symptoms. Patients with IBD have severe complications such as weight loss, fatigue, bloody stools, and diarrhoea. These symptoms arise from activation and potentiation of an abnormal immune response, whereby immune cells are recruited to the gut and damage the gut tissue.
One cell type of interest is neutrophils, where high numbers have been associated with disease. This is also the general consensus in the dextran sodium sulphate (DSS)-induced colitis model, a well-established mouse model of UC, which recapitulates the pathological signs of the human disease.
We now know changes in the gut microbiota affect immune cells such as regulatory T cells and invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells. Studies have elucidated a clear beneficial role of regulatory T cells in colitis, but the role of iNKT cells is less well-defined. Therefore, the first aim of my project is on exploring the role of iNKT cells on leukocyte recruitment following DSS-induced colitis.
Given the link between the gut microbiota and colitis, modulation of the microbial composition may affect disease progression. In fact, recent research has revealed anti-inflammatory properties of fibre and its fermented products short-chain fatty acids. However, less is known about the impact of a lack of fibre and whether that is a risk factor for the plethora of inflammatory diseases. Thus, the second aim of my project is on examining how a lack of fibre changes the physiology to be more prone to inflammation.

Sj Shen is currently a second year PhD candidate at Monash Medical Centre (Clayton), supervised by Dr. Connie Wong and Prof. Michael Hickey, with a research interest in the effect of dietary fibre in a mouse model of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. He completed Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences at Monash University (Clayton), which included a unit of third year research examining the role of fibre in a mouse model of asthma, taken under the supervision of Dr. Alison Thorburn. Sj then undertook an Honours year with the Department of Immunology (Clayton) at Monash University in the same lab, with research focus on the effect of diet in experimental eosinophilic oesophagitis.

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

Further information, including the link to add the seminar series to your google calendar, is available from CID Weekly Seminar Series website []

Winston S. Rickards Memorial Oration, “Advocating on the Edge: Three Quarters of a Century of the Children’s Court Clinic in Victoria”. 20 March

The Winston S. Rickards Memorial Oration, to be delivered by Dr Patricia Brown, Clinical Psychologist, on Monday, 20th March 2017 at 7.30pm in the Ella Latham Theatre, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria.

As Clinical Director of the Children’s Court Clinic in the Department of Justice, Victoria, Dr Brown is well known across Australia and overseas as a champion of the rights and wellbeing of the most vulnerable children and young people in our communities. These are of course those who may be, or have been, removed from the care of their parents, and those who may have committed serious crimes. Her understanding of the complex societal and psychological issues underlying the difficulties faced by these children and teenagers, and her compassion for them in the context of their encounter with the Children’s Court, are nothing short of inspirational. In the Oration, Dr Brown will speak of the challenges in responding to the requests of the Clinic made by the Children’s Court Magistrates, and in advocating for the psychological needs of the children and young people involved, often in controversial circumstances. She will also describe her role in advancing the practice of the Clinic, and in shaping forensic clinical psychology as a specialisation in Australia.

The event is free, but it would be appreciated if you could RSVP to or

Hudson Seminar Series, "Sorting out the skeleton: the role of intracellular trafficking in bone homeostasis and disease", 16 March

12 - 1pm, Thursday 16 March, Seminar rooms 1 & 2, TRF building

The speaker will be Associate Professor Nathan Pavlos, Deputy Director (Research) and Head, Cellular Orthopaedic Laboratory, Centre for Orthopaedic Research, School of Surgery, University of Western Australia.
Associate Professor Pavlos completed his undergraduate and PhD studies in bone cell biology at UWA. In 2007, he was awarded a NHMRC CJ Martin (Biomedical) Overseas Research Fellowship and carried out his postdoctoral training at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany, from 2007-2009 with Professor Reinhard Jahn, where he worked on the molecular regulation of synaptic vesicle exo-endocytosis in neurons. In 2010, A/Professor Pavlos returned to UWA to form his own laboratory within the Centre for Orthopaedic Research.
A/Professor Pavlos’ current research interests focus on the molecular mechanisms of bone-resorbing osteoclasts, the major cellular protagonists underlying a number of highly debilitating musculoskeletal diseases including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, Paget's disease and tumour-mediated bone loss. Along with his focus on osteoclasts and bone biology, he also has a long-standing interest in the molecular regulation and dynamics of protein trafficking, a process essential for normal cellular function and often perturbed in many different diseases.

A light lunch and refreshments will follow the presentation. 

PhD confirmation, Manjeet Sandhu, "A prospective study to assess the role of IL-38 in Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients", 16 March

All staff and students are invited to Manjeet Sandhu's PhD confirmation

16th March 2017, 2,30pm-4.30pm. Hudson Institute Level 3 Bridge rooms 1a 1b

 Synopsis:  Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a chronic inflammatory condition with a severe impact on quality of life for which there is no treatment other than non-specific immunosuppression with glucocorticoids and biologic therapies that themselves have multiple adverse effects on the patient. Emerging evidence from our laboratory suggests that IL-38 may prove to be an effective anti-inflammatory agent in IBD. In order to assess its therapeutic prospects, my PhD aims to characterise the abundance of IL-38 in peripheral blood and the intestine of patients with IBD. We further aim to validate the impact of IL-38 in mouse models of IBD    

SupervisorsDr Gregory Moore (main), A/Prof Marcel Nold, Dr Claudia Nold, Dr Ina Rudloff

PhD mid-candidature review seminar Ella Ottrey, "Meal realities - Exploring mealtime complexity on the subacute hospital ward", 28 March

All staff and students are invited to Ella Ottrey's progress / mid-candidature review seminar.

Tuesday 28 March, 1.30pm, Tamarillo Room, Level 1, BASE Facility, Notting Hill

Presentation Title: Meal realities - Exploring mealtime complexity on the subacute hospital ward

Synopsis: Inadequate food intake is a complex and challenging issue in the hospital setting. A variety of interventions have been implemented to address this problem with little success to date. In order to more effectively address inadequate food intake, a better understanding of hospital mealtimes and the context to which these interventions are being applied is needed. This research aims to explore and understand patterns of mealtime culture, environment and social practice from the perspective of staff, volunteers and visitors on the subacute hospital ward.

Supervisors: A/Prof Claire Palermo, Dr Kate Huggins, Associate Professor Judi Porter

Panel chair: Dr Ricardo Costa

Independent assessors: Prof Lisa McKenna, A/Prof Karen Walton

PhD milestone review, Sushena Krishnaswamy, "Implementing antenatal pertussis vaccination: has it been well adopted, and how can we improve uptake?" 31 March

All staff and students are invited to Sushena Krishnaswamy's PhD milestone review.

1-2pm, Friday 31 March, Monash Infectious Diseases Seminar, Pathology Conference Room, Level 3, Monash Medical Centre

Synopsis: Antenatal vaccination is the most effective strategy to decrease pertussis infections in the most vulnerable population, infants less than 3 months of age. My PhD examines various aspects of implementing antenatal vaccination programs- from attitudes and knowledge of consumers and antenatal care providers, to service delivery models, to feasibility of real time adverse event surveillance.  This presentation will predominantly cover a sub-study, the uptake of vaccination by the mother and other significant contacts of newborns.

Supervisor name: A/Prof Michelle Giles, Prof Euan Wallace, A/Prof Jim Buttery

Resilience and stress in raising a child with developmental disabilities, 28 and 30 March

Intensive Research Ethics Course, 4-8 June 2017 in NSW

Sunday 4 June– Thursday 8 June, 2017 at Peppers Craigieburn, Bowral NSW

This intensive course is designed to assist researchers, ethics committee members and others involved in the conduct and assessment of research to understand and clarify the issues arising in relation to research of all kinds involving human participants. It will provide an opportunity for members of research and research ethics communities to come together to discuss the issues they face and share their experiences.

The course aims to give registrants an appreciation of the philosophical and ethical issues underlying research involving human participants, an understanding of the issues relating to different research methodologies and research involving special populations.
The program will be interactive and will include small group discussions and workshops. There will be ample provision for free time to encourage further discussion and debate among participants.

The Venue
Within easy reach of Sydney, Canberra and the coast, Peppers Craigieburn is set in the beautiful Southern Highlands, an area renowned for its national parks, antique shopping and cool climate wines.

More information HERE.  Registration form HERE.

Exercise, vitamin D and musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health study

PhD student Alexander Rodriguez and BMedSc Honours Student Cecilia Xu from the Bone and Muscle Health Research Group are conducting a randomised controlled trial investigating if vitamin D enhances the benefits of exercise for musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health in middle-aged and overweight older adults with low vitamin D status.

The study will measure bone density, body composition and aortic calcification on DXA (a type of X-ray) as well as a number of physical performance and strength indicators.
Participants will be randomly allocated to12 weeks of taking vitamin D supplements or a placebo, and all participants subsequently complete 12 weeks of exercise which includes one supervised class at the Monash Medical Centre (Clayton) and two classes at home per week. Instruction and telephone guidance and support is given to all participants throughout the study.

All participants will be provided with the results of their body composition and cardiovascular assessments as well as have all transport costs reimbursed.  

Eligibility criteria include being aged between 50 and 80 years; having a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 40 kg/m2 and having low vitamin D (which is measured at Monash Medical Centre).

If you, your patients, family members or friends might be interested in this study, please contact Alexander or Cecilia:

Phone: 8572 2919

The Australian Lupus Registry and Biobank: a timely initiative

Eric Morand, Alberta Hoi et al. published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Read article here.

Interferon-free treatment for HCV infection: are we on the road to elimination?

William Sievert published in the Internal  Medicine Journal

Read article here.

The factor structure and use of the Demoralization Scale (DS-IT) in Italian cancer patients

David Kissane et al. published in Psycho-Oncology.

Read article here.

BET-Bromodomain Inhibitors Engage the Host Immune System and Regulate Expression of the Immune Checkpoint Ligand PD-L1.

Jake Shortt et al. published in Cell Reports.

Read article here.

Observational study of alternative therapies among paediatric emergency department patients

Simon Craig et al. published in Emergency Medicine Australasia.

Read article here.

Genomic characterisation of Eμ-Myc mouse lymphomas identifies Bcor as a Myc co-operative tumour-suppressor gene

Jake Shortt et al. published in Nature Communications.

Read article here.

A systematic review of studies with a representative sample of refugees and asylum seekers living in the community for participation in mental health research

Joanne Enticott et al. published in BMC Medical Research Methodology.

Read article here.

Kawasaki disease and immunisation: A systematic review

David Burgner, Jim Buttery et al. published in Vaccine.

Read article here.