Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Monash University is lead research and teaching partner for new Children’s Hospital

Victoria’s capacity to deliver outstanding health care to children and adolescents has been enhanced with the opening of the new Monash Children’s Hospital, in partnership with Monash University.

Opened today by the Premier of Victoria, the Honourable Daniel Andrews MP, the new hospital is located at the Monash Medical Centre Campus in Clayton and adjoins the Monash Health Translation Precinct.

Monash University is the hospital’s lead teaching and translational research partner: its innovative approach to education and teaching and its world-leading translational research in paediatrics will help enable the hospital to provide both exceptional health care and training for the future workforce. The University has invested AUD $6 million towards innovative new education and research spaces in the hospital.

Monash President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AO said the new Monash Children’s Hospital demonstrates the deep engagement between the University’s world leading researchers and educators and its partner Monash Health to deliver real impact to the local community:

“The Monash Children’s Hospital is an exciting addition to the Monash Health Translation Precinct and Monash Medical Centre, for which the University plays a leading role in both research and education,” Professor Gardner said.

“Add to this our proximity to leading research in biomedicine and cognition through the Institutes of Biomedical Discovery and of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences and there is a system of research, education and clinical practice to enhance health outcomes for children.”

Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Professor Christina Mitchell said that the new hospital would lead to improved health outcomes for young people in the local community and beyond:

“By bringing together excellent paediatric clinicians - who are also pioneering researchers - into this dynamic new space, the Monash Children’s Hospital has the potential to save the lives of many children,” Professor Mitchell said.

Located at the Monash Medical Centre Campus in Clayton and adjoining the Monash Health Translation Precinct, the Monash Children’s Hospital houses a world-class collaborative education and research space located in a dedicated Monash University zone within the hospital.

The collaborative education space includes a medical simulation centre, a procedural skills laboratory, tutorial areas and open plan space for researchers, as well as a leading edge paediatric surgical simulation centre, enabling students to experience the environment of an operating theatre.

Professor Eric Morand, Head of the Monash University School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health said that the new research and education facilities will be of enormous benefit to paediatric researchers and to the training of the medical workforce of the future:

“The new Monash Children’s Hospital will be the University’s research and education headquarters for paediatrics,” Professor Morand said.

“This new education and training space ensures our students have access to state-of-the-art facilities for learning and our researchers are embedded in the fabric of the hospital.”

Monday, 27 March 2017

Clinical trials provide financial reward to hospitals and cutting edge treatments

Clinical trials patient Mr Sin 
Monash Haematology researchers have demonstrated that clinical trials not only benefit patients but provide a significant financial boost to the hospital system as well.

The Haematology Research Unit at Monash Health provides treatment and follow up care for nearly 400 patients every year, many participating in clinical trials.

“We treat a wide variety of blood cancer and non-cancer haematology patients, including chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, follicular lymphoma, B cell lymphoma, myelodysplastic syndrome, Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinaemia, chronic and acute myeloid leukemia, T cell lymphoma and more,” said Head of the Department of Haematology Professor Stephen Opat.

A recent report by the Haematology Research Unit shows that providing clinical trials to patients has a positive effect on Monash Health’s bottom line, as well as offering cutting-edge treatments that may not otherwise be available.

Mr Sin with Clinical Trials Coordinator Ms Liz Coughlin
Monash Haematology patient Mr Yoeun Sin has Waldenstrom Macroblobulinemia, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Mr Sin is the first patient in the world to receive an experimental drug (BGB3111) to treat the disease.

Professor Opat said Mr Sin is a typical Monash patient whose previous two treatments had failed,  and thanks to the clinical trial, his experimental treatment had been life changing.

“I feel very honoured and grateful for being the first person to receive BGB3111—without this drug I’m not too sure where or how I’d be in terms of health,” said Mr Sin.

Mr Sin said the opportunity to take part in the clinical trial has given him another chance at life.
“I now feel full of life and filled with energy. Taking BGB3111 has given me the opportunity to do more with the amount of time I have left...which I hope is a long time,” he said. 

Professor Opat said the Haematology Research Unit operates on a self-funded model, supporting the wages of all staff and covering all treatment and follow-up care related costs of patients.

“The patients treated or managed in our unit are in effect, taken out of the Monash Health care network in relation to the costs that would normally be associated with their treatment and care,” said Professor Opat.

In order to demonstrate their savings, the Haematology Research Unit selected 25 patients who were treated and commenced follow up for various haematological malignancies in the 2015-2016 financial year, and calculated the costs that would have been associated with these patients had they received standard of care treatment through the public health system at Monash Health.

Professor Opat said that by treating, and providing follow up care for this selection of 25 patients, the Haematology Research Unit relieved the Health care network of $843,363.80 of funding that would be required to care for these patients over their treatment and standard 5 year follow up periods.

“$759,333 of this cost is relieved in the first year while patients are having treatment, and $713,862 being pharmacy related costs.” 

“Our Unit in fact treated and provided follow up care for 86 patients with haematological malignancies in the 2015-2016 financial year, so we estimate the financial relief to Monash Health for the treatment period alone, could be as high as $2,612,105,” said Professor Opat.

These figures don’t take into account the further financial benefit due to the treatment, management and care of the 254 non-oncology haematology patients during the same period.

Professor Opat said he is exceptionally proud of the work that his Unit continues to do, the quality with which we do it, and the savings that we continue to make toward the health care network.

Haematology Clinical Trial Unit Managers Ms Micheleine Uhe and Ms Jeanette Gamgee attribute the success of the Unit to the dedication of their extremely efficient and hard-working team.

SCS student wins top prize in Immunology

SCS PhD student Ms Heidi Fettke
Congratulations Heidi Fettke, a translational PhD student at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS), who has been awarded the prestigious Nairn Prize in Immunology.

The Nairn Prize is given to the top Honours student each year enrolled in immunology at Monash University.

Heidi was awarded the Nairn Prize in Immunology for her Bachelor of Science (Honours) project, where she investigated the potential role of the c-Myc oncogene in driving expression of an immuno-inhibitory molecule, PD-L1, in glioblastoma tumours (a lethal brain cancer).  Heidi completed her project under the supervision of Professor Terrance Johns, Centre for Cancer Research at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research.

Heidi is currently researching biomarkers in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer under the supervision of Associate Professor Arun Azad, Department of Medicine.

Monash Children's Hospital Community Open Day (2 April): VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

We need your help to make the Community Open Day a success.  Volunteers are required as tour marshals, for registrations, event precinct marshals, car parking marshals, kids zone/activities and pre-event set up.

This will be the first time the new Monash Children's Hospital is open to the public.  Let's work together to ensure this historic event is a memorable one.

To be part of this landmark event, register your interest to volunteer HERE:  https://www.vision6.com.au/forms/s/c1fa654/49435/586105/243471.html

Annual Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) Student Symposium – 1st June, Save the Date!

Are you interested in medical technology? Want to meet potential collaborators?

MYMIC is a community which aims to provide a friendly and inviting platform for early career interdisciplinary researchers and students who are interested in various aspects of medical technology.

Our main goals & objectives include:

      Support collaboration between researchers from different fields of medicine and technology,
 Organise internships/work experience and opportunities for graduates and researchers,
      Organise site visits to leading Medtech companies in Melbourne,
      Provide forums for informal discussions on topics of interest,
     Hosting social events as well as extensive professional development and networking opportunities, and many more!

To become a member and hear about our upcoming events, please email mymic.monash@gmail.com or follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn or check our website :

HDR induction 10 April - please register now

We are now taking registrations for the first HDR school induction  for 2017.
School Induction is compulsory for all new students to complete before their confirmation.

Date:    Monday 10 April 2017
Time:   9 am - 1 pm
Venue: TRF Seminar Room 2 (MHTP building behind Block E)

Morning Tea and Lunch will be provided

Registration is via myDevelopment
Session ID - School of Clinical Sciences MH - HDR Induction
Classroom Session ID Number: 1878

Access to myDevelopment is via the 'Research' tile on your my.Monash portal or the myDevelopment webpage:

Once you’ve logged in using your Monash authcate details, you can access myDevelopment as per above.
If you have a staff and a student account, the recommended access is via your student account authcate details.
Please note:
  • if you have logged in using your staff account, you will need switch to to log out of the myMonash portal and log back in using your student account.
  • if you have multiple browsers, rather than logging out of your staff account, you can open another different browser and log on using your student account.

Save the date! VIIN Careers Evening, 3 May

The VIIN Careers Evening for 2017 will be held Wednesday 3 May at the Woodward Conference Centre, University of Melbourne, Parkville.

A number of excellent speakers from research, biotech and allied professions in science will talk about their careers and provide practical advice on the skills needed to succeed in different science-related industries.

More details will be available next week when registration opens.

Introduction to Practical Histology, 29 March

Attn all histology users, staff and students - Monash Histology Platform is presenting a Histology Seminar for your convenience:

Introduction to Practical Histology
Wednesday 29 March, 9.30am - 12.30pm, TRF Seminar Room 1

The Seminar will cover important information regarding sample preparation, fixation and methodology designed to optimise the preservation and morphology of your valuable research tissue.
Topics include:
·         Tissue Fixation
·         Paraffin Processing & Embedding
·         Cryopreservation & Sectioning
·         Staining & Immunostaining
·         Scanning
·         Resin
Monash Histology Platform recommends attendance by any staff and students who are performing any Histology (DIY) OR requiring Histological related services. The session will include tips and valuable troubleshooting ideas. It will be a great opportunity to consult our experienced staff. We especially encourage 2017 Honours students as well as first year PhD students to attend.
There is no fee to attend the session.
If you are enrolled in the Biomedical Science Doctoral Program this will count towards your Level 3 activities.

Please register and confirm your attendance by emailing Angela Vais (angela.vais@monash.edu) or Camilla Cohen (Camilla.cohen@monash.edu) by Monday 27th March.

Professor Terrance Johns, “Novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of high grade glioma”, 30th March 12-1pm

This week's Hudson Seminar will be held, Thursday 30th March 2017 at 12.00pm to 1.00pm in Seminar rooms 1 & 2, Level 2, TRF Building.
The speaker will be Professor Terrance Johns, Research Group Head, Oncogenic Signalling; Professor of Cancer Biology, Monash University and Director of the Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative. He will be presenting "Novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of high grade glioma."
After completing a PhD in melanoma in 1993 at Monash University, Prof Johns moved into multiple sclerosis research where he developed a new model of the disease that is still used today. In 1998, he commenced as a Research Fellow at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and went on to establish the Oncogenic Signalling Laboratory, which has a focus on brain cancer. During this time he was a key leader in the development of mAb 806, a novel antibody that is directed to EGFR and currently is in Phase 3 clinical trial.
Since returning to Monash in 2008 he has continued to develop new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of brain cancer, including working with large pharmaceutical companies such as Amgen and Roche. In 2012, he founded the Brain Cancer Discovery Collaborative, an Australia-wide consortium of researchers and clinicians dedicated to ensuring that promising therapeutic discoveries are translated into the clinic for the treatment of patients with brain cancer.
Prof Johns has made major contributions in other research areas including ectopic pregnancy, where his novel therapeutic approach is about to enter final clinical trials.
A light lunch and refreshments will follow the presentation. 

PhD milestone review, Lexie Prokopuk: "Programming the oocyte epigenome: establishing a foundation for the next generation", 4 April

All staff and students are invited to attend Lexie Prokopuk's PhD milestone review seminar.

9.45am, 4 April, Hudson Boardrooms A&B

Synopsis: Germ cells are the founder cells that give rise to mature eggs and sperm. Epigenetic modifications are laid down throughout early gamete development not only ensure correct development in an individual, but also that of the subsequent generation. My PhD project discusses how alterations to epigenetic modifiers during fetal germline development affect the oocyte epigenome and outcomes in offspring.

Supervisors: Dr Patrick Western (main) and Dr Jessica Stringer (co-supervisor)

Panel Chair: Prof Elizabeth Algar

Independent assessors: Dr Karla Hutt and Prof Richard Saffery


Tuesday 30th May, Time: 9am-1pm, including morning tea break

Location: Translational Research Facility, Level 4, Room 4R.03 (large meeting room)

Cost: $50 – which will be covered by the MMI registration fee for platform users. Non-MMI users must provide a cost centre when registering.This half day workshop will take you further into the functions of the FIJI analysis software, teaching you advanced analysis methods and introducing the concept of automated analysis macros. Ideally catered to those with prior FIJI experience looking to expand their image analysis options.

You do not need to be a registered MMI user to attend, but non-MMI users must provide a cost centre and fund upon registering to cover the workshop fee.

Topics covered include: Image correction, image alignment, co-localisation analysis, kymographs, TrackMate, batch processing, introduction to macro writing and macro recorder to automate your analysis.

To Register: Email your details to sarah.creed@hudson.org.au. Please include full details in your email: full name, department and group, position, best contact email and cost centre/fund if not a registered MMI user. 

Registrations are open until Thursday 11th May, unless places are filled sooner.
Register now! Places are limited and this workshop will only run once in 2017.
Stay tuned: Imaris Basics & Imaris Advanced workshops will be open for registration soon.

PhD Confirmation of Candidature Michelle Chonwerawong: The role of NLRC5 in inflammation and lymphoid tissue formation, 30 March

All staff and students are invited to Michelle Chonwerawong's PhD confirmation of candidature.

2-3pm, 30 March, Level 2 meeting room, Hudson Institute of Medical Research

Thesis title: The role of NLRC5 in Helicobacter-induced inflammation and lymphoid tissue formation. 

Synopsis: Helicobacter pylori is 
an extracellular mucosal pathogen that colonises up to half of the world’s population and establishes chronic infection, ultimately leading to gastric cancer. The newly discovered NOD-like receptor, NLRC5 has been shown to regulate both pro- and anti- inflammatory responses. My PhD aims to investigate the mechanisms of NLRC5-mediated regulation of pro-inflammatory responses induced by macrophages during Helicobacter gastritis and gastric MALT lymphoma. Identifying a new role for NLRC5 in the context of Helicobacter infection may provide insight into the progression and development of H. pylori-related diseases which pose as disease burdens in the community. 

Supervisors: Assoc. Prof. Richard Ferrero and Dr. Jonathan Ferrand.
Panel Chair: Dr. Connie Wong.
Independent assessors: Dr. Michelle Tate (Hudson Institute of Medical Research) and Prof. Stephen Turner (Monash University)

PhD pre-submission review, Jonathan Dick: Novel roles for complement in ANCA associated Vasculitis, 7 April

All staff and students are invited to Jonathan Dick's PhD pre-submission review.

7 April at 1.30pm, Medicine Seminar Room, Level 5, Block E, MMC.

Thesis title: “Novel roles for complement in ANCA associated Vasculitis”

Supervisors:  Profs Stephen Holdsworth and Richard Kitching

Panel: Dr Anthony Sadler (Chair), A/Prof Peter Tipping, Prof Michael Hickey 

The potential health and economic impact of improving stroke care standards for Australia

Joosup Kim et al. published in the International Journal of Stroke.

Read article here.

Association of the lupus low disease activity state (LLDAS) with health-related quality of life in a multinational prospective study

Vera Golder et al. published in Arthritis Research & Therapy.

Read article here.

Developing consensus measures for global programs: lessons from the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases Hypertension research program

Michaela Riddell et al. published in Global Health.

Read article here.

T cell receptor assessment in autoimmune disease requires access to the most adjacent immunologically active organ

Poh Yi Gan, Stephen Holdsworth et al. published in the Journal of Autoimmunity.

Read article here.

Role of activin A in the pathogenesis of endothelial cell dysfunction in preeclampsia

Sebastian Hobson et al. published in Pregnancy hypertension.

Read article here.

A hot-spot on interferon alpha/beta receptor subunit 1 (IFNAR1) underpins its interaction with interferon-β and dictates signaling.

Paul Hertzog et al. published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Read article here.

Hospitals admitting at least 100 patients with stroke a year should have a stroke unit: a case study from Australia

Dominique Cadilhac et al. published in BMC Health Services Research.

Read article here.

A randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial of a fixed dose of N-acetyl cysteine in children with autistic disorder

Kylie Gray et al. published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.

Read article here.

Umbilical Cord Blood Cells for Perinatal Brain Injury: The Right Cells at the Right Time?

Suzie Miller et al. published in Umbilical Cord Blood Banking for Clinical Application and
Regenerative Medicine.

Read chapter here.

Does maternal-fetal transfer of creatine occur in pregnant sheep?

David Walker et al. published in the American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Read article here.

Interprofessional Simulation-Based Education for Medical and Midwifery Students: A Qualitative Study

Arunaz Kumar et al. published in Clinical Simulation in Nursing.

Read article here.

Drinking water and disorientation: The perils of a long, hot, Australian summer.

John Cheek et al. published in Emergency Medicine Australasia.

Read article here.

Achievement of saturation targets in preterm infants 32 weeks’ gestational age in the delivery room

Stuart Hooper et al. published in ADC Fetal & Neonatal.

Read article here.