Monday, 12 June 2017

MHTP stroke research recognised at European Stroke Organisation Conference

Associate Professor Dominique Cadilhac
in Prague last month
Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP) stroke researchers and clinicians were well recognised at the European Stroke Organisation Conference in Prague last month.

Europe’s foremost forum for discussing and disseminating the latest standards and news on stroke management and care, the Conference featured world-leading speakers and news on scientific breakthroughs.

Head of Stroke at Monash Health Associate Professor Henry Ma said the MHTP delegation was very fortunate to have won two of the poster awards among the few selected for an oral presentation. 

One of the Best Poster Awards was given to Associate Professor Ma (co-investigator Professor Thanh Phan) for his research into the endovascular clot retrieval service boundary utilising the Google Map application.

“More than 1000 abstracts were submitted to the Conference, and our group (including clinical trials, imaging and informatics) had five posters and one oral presentation,” Associate Professor Ma said.

Associate Professor Dominique Cadilhac, Head of the Translational Public Health and Evaluation Division, Stroke and Ageing Research at Monash University won best poster prize.

“There were over 4000 delegates at the European Stroke Organisation Conference, and mine was one of several posters chosen among hundreds for a 3 minute oral presentation during the welcome drinks,” Associate Professor Cadilhac said.

Associate Professor Cadilhac presented new statistical methods comparing 30-day hospital mortality rates using data from the Australian Stroke Clinical Registry linked with data from hospital admissions and death registrations.

A full compilation of abstracts can be found here: Posters:

Depressed teenagers benefit from new therapy at Monash

Dr Glenn Melvin
A novel therapy that directly stimulates nerve cells in the brain is being trialled by Monash researchers and doctors to treat adolescent depression.

The treatment, Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) uses magnetic pulses to change the activity of nerve cells in the part of the brain thought to be related to depression.

According to a recent national study, five per cent of Australian adolescents (12-17 years) experienced major depressive disorder in the past year.

Monash University’s Dr Glenn Melvin said that currently the first line treatment for teenage depression is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). 
“In severe cases, or in cases where CBT has not helped, anti-depression medications may be tried,” said Dr Melvin, Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist at Monash University’s Centre for Developmental Psychiatry & Psychology (CDPP).

“Current treatments only work in approximately 50-60 per cent of teens, meaning that a substantial minority do not receive benefit.”

“Unfortunately relapse is common, with a prior Monash study showing that more than 50% will experience another episode of depression within the next five years,” Dr Melvin said.

The new study, led by Associate Professor Michael Gordon from Monash Health and CDPP at Monash University is investigating the comparative clinical efficacy of left-sided high frequency rTMS and right-sided low frequency rTMS.

“Our study is the first to compare left and right sided rTMS in teenagers with depression—we are hoping to determine if one treatment has a better profile, in terms of efficacy and safety, than the other.”

Monash Health is one of only a few sites in the world investigating this novel treatment with adolescents.  Thirteen adolescents have been recruited to the study so far, and the research team aims to recruit 40 candidates.

To find out more, contact the team at:

SCS medical student wins top prize for research into adrenal incidentalomas

Dominic presenting at
the RACS annual scientific congress
School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health medical student Dominic Maher’s research paper entitled 'Are Patients with Adrenal Incidentalomas Being Followed Up? A review of 804 Cases', won the highly competitive TS Reeve Research Prize at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Congress in Adelaide last month.

A Year 4 student, Dominic investigated adrenal incidentalomas (AI), which are lesions in the adrenal glands greater than 1 centimetre and discovered by chance on CT scans or other imaging.

“AI are reported in around 4-7 per cent of patients, and while the majority are benign, a small proportion may be large, functional, or malignant and might require surgery,” Dominic said.

“If these clinically relevant lesions are not identified, they may have devastating consequences for the patient — as a result, all lesions require follow-up.”

Unfortunately, his study also found that the majority of such lesions are not adequately followed up.

Dominic said the goal of his research project was to improve AI follow-up, aiming to determine the current pattern of follow-up of patients and to investigate the factors that influence whether follow-up is facilitated.

“We found that follow-up is influenced by patient, radiological and medical provider factors, and we believe these results can be used to improve clinical follow-up for patients with AI,” Dominic said. 

Dominic undertook the research project after completing the Monash University short course* – “An Introduction to Surgical Research” – coordinated by Monash Health endocrine surgeon Mr James Lee.

Dominic said the course provided practical skills and knowledge to make the process of research easier to understand, and gave him the confidence to undertake a small research project.

The prestigious TS Reeve Research Prize is given to the best scientific presentation in the endocrine section at the annual Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Congress.

Dominic’s supervisors were Mr James Lee and Professor Jonathan Serpell.   Contributing authors to his paper included Dr Evan Williams, Mr Simon Grodski and Dr Meei Yeung. 

*The 2017 course commences on 17th June, email for further details.

Eva Segelov appointed Acting Medical Director of SMICS

Professor Eva Segelov
Director of Oncology at Monash Health and Monash University Professor Eva Segelov has been appointed Acting Medical Director of Southern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (SMICS).

Professor Segelov's appointment is an acting role for three months whilst current Clinical Director Peter Briggs is on extended leave.  Professor Segelov will provide leadership and clinical expertise to both SMICS and Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (MPCCC).
An agency of the Victorian Government, SMICS ensures appropriate links exist between the health services in Southern Melbourne, to optimise the experience and treatment pathways for people affected by cancer.

Professor Segelov said that SMICS is pivotal in ensuring strong coordination and planning across the region, to improve the quality and continuity of patient care.

A national leader in gastrointestinal cancers, Professor Segelov has prominent roles in the Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group (AGITG) and is as a co-founder of the Commonwealth Neuroendocrine Tumour Collaboration (CommNETS).

Excessive Exercise Damages the Gut

Dr Ricardo Costa
A Monash University review of published studies has found that people who exercise excessively may be prone to acute or chronic gut issues.

Lead author Dr Ricardo Costa, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, said the review found that with increasing intensity and duration of exercise, there was a proportional increased risk of gut damage and impaired gut function.

Specifically, the cells of the intestine are injured and the gut becomes more “leaky”, allowing pathogenic endotoxins normally present and isolated to the intestine to pass into the bloodstream.

This scenario of 'exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome' may lead to acute or chronic health complications of clinical relevance.

Exercise stress of two hours at 60 per cent of maximum oxygen consumption appeared to be the threshold whereby significant gut disturbances arise, irrespective of an individual’s fitness status.
Running exercise mode and exercising in hot ambient temperatures appears to exacerbate the gut disturbances. 

The Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics review also found that for patients who have irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, low to moderate physical activity may be beneficial.

However, the health implications of more strenuous exercise has not been researched, but likely to be detrimental and a high risk activity for such patients.

Dr Costa said: “Despite excessive exercise being confirmed to compromise gut integrity and function, we have identified several exacerbating factors which can be controlled, and several prevention and management strategies that can attenuate and abolish the damage and compromised function.

“It is recommended that a full gut assessment during exercise should be undertaken by individuals that present gut disturbances (e.g. symptoms) during exercise, to ascertain what is causing the issue/s and developed individually tailors management strategies,” he said.

The paper is titled, Systematic review: exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome – implications for health and intestinal disease.

New research shows placental stem cells could protect against preterm brain injury

Dr Tamara Yawno
The placenta is a rich source of life for unborn babies, supplying oxygen and sustaining nutrition to the fetus via the umbilical cord.

Now, researchers at Monash University and the Hudson Institute of Medical Research have shown that stem-like cells taken from the discarded placenta could give preterm babies the best chance at life by preventing serious brain injury caused by exposure to infection in the womb.

A new preclinical study, led by Professor Graham Jenkin and Associate Professor Suzie Miller’s team in The Ritchie Centre, and published in the journal Cell Transplantation, shows that placental cells called amnion epithelial cells could halt progression of brain damage in utero.

Professor Jenkin
“For the first time, we were able to show these cells protected against a stressful response from sick fetuses and made a significant improvement in brain injury following this treatment,” first author, researcher Dr Tamara Yawno said.

Chorioamniotis is an intrauterine bacterial infection that is a leading cause of preterm birth, as well as brain injury and cerebral palsy.

Babies that survive this type of infection may suffer both localised and widespread brain injury, including lesions in the ‘white matter’ part of the brain, which is connected to the central nervous system and may affect cognition and brain development.

This study used amnion epithelial cells, a highly potent type of stem-like cell that is harvested from a healthy amniotic membrane, part of the placenta discarded in the afterbirth.

The cells were given to a preclinical model of intrauterine infection at the equivalent of 30 weeks gestation, when the fetal brain is most vulnerable to damage, to mimic the effects of being born preterm.

The scientists released 60 million human amnion epithelial cells into the fetus and found that incredibly, cells not only travelled to sites of infection in the ‘white matter’ part of the brain, but reduced signs of brain damage.

“Amnion cells were found in the brains of these fetuses, and we showed they were able to repair and protect against damage that would have normally occurred as a result of this type of infection,” Dr Yawno said.

“These cells have proven anti-inflammatory properties in other diseases, and we’ve now shown that when applied 24 hours after infection, they are neuroprotective.”

Research group heads A/Prof Suzie Miller and Prof Graham Jenkin said that currently, there are no available treatments aimed at preventing brain injury following preterm birth, and this study provides vital data that supports the use of amnion cell treatment in these babies.

“These cells could one day be given as a treatment to babies, shortly after delivery, to protect their brains against the risk of serious injury due to infection, giving them the best chance of living a normal and healthy life,” they said.

Monash-led world's study of 1.3 million pregnant women reveals global obesity crisis

Professor Helena Teede
The world’s largest and most comprehensive international study of more than 1.3 million pregnant women, led by researchers at the Monash University in Melbourne, Australia has found that three out of every four pregnant women worldwide, and their healthcare teams, are failing to achieve a healthy weight gain during pregnancy, leading to preventable adverse health consequences for women and their babies.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), highlights the disturbing high rate of excess unhealthy weight in mothers at the start of pregnancy and shows that the vast majority of women are not achieving healthy recommended weight gain in pregnancy.
In addition, the researchers found mothers are gaining too much weight during pregnancy, increasing health risks during pregnancy and beyond, and increasing risks for their children to be overweight or obese.

The research team, led by Professor Helena Teede and Dr Rebecca Goldstein from the Monash University Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, reviewed more than 5300 studies and in a large scale international collaboration, reanalysed and integrated pregnancy data from 23 groups across Europe, Asia and the United States.

The Monash-led international study – which included a broad range of ethnically diverse pregnant women, explored their weight gain during pregnancy, their health and the health of their babies – had key findings according to Professor Teede that include that, at the time of pregnancy:
·         7% women were underweight
·         55% normal weight
·         38% were overweight and obese

During pregnancy striking 3 in 4 women did not gain healthy recommended weight with increased risks for mothers and babies with:
·         23% gaining less than healthy weight gain
·         Strikingly almost half gaining more than healthy weight gain, with higher rates in western countries

Women who gained more than recommended were at higher risk of having large babies and requiring a caesarian birth.

Women who gained less than the recommended weight during pregnancy were at increased risk of having smaller babies and preterm birth.

Importantly the study found that entering pregnancy underweight and failing to put on recommended weight during pregnancy led to:
·         8% risk of having an underweight baby
·         8% increase in preterm birth

Professor Teede said that current study “represents the largest contemporary international snapshot of women’s weight coming into pregnancy and their weight gain during pregnancy, how this is impacting of their and their baby’s health and the healthcare system.”

Importantly the study takes into account “our more contemporary population of mothers who are increasingly entering pregnancy at an unhealthy weight and it covers the diversity of race across Europe, US and Asia,” Professor Teede said.

Professor Teede said that the new evidence published in JAMA emphasises the need for urgent strategies to monitor, support women and optimise healthy weight in mothers both before and during pregnancy, endorsing guidelines recommending that women gain between 12.5-18kg for underweight women, 11.5-16kg for healthy weight women, 7-11kg for overweight women and 5-9kg for obese women during pregnancy. 

CID weekly seminar: "What's new in stroke: clot retrieval, advanced neuroimaging and more", 13 June

Tuesday 13 June, 12:00 - 1:00pm, Seminar Room 1, TRF Building

Associate Professor Henry Ma, Neurologist, Monash Health
Senior Lecturer, Monash University

Associate Professor Henry Ma is a stroke neurologist at Monash Health. He is also adjunct senior lecturer in the Acute Stroke and Imaging division within the Stroke and Ageing Research Group  (STAR) in the Dept. of Medicine, Southern Clinical School, Monash University. His PhD is on "Imaging the Penumbra in Acute Stroke" at the University of Melbourne. His special research interests are in the imaging of the ischaemic penumbra and acute stroke trials. He has published many papers on these topics and is currently the international coordinator for EXTEND, a multicentred thrombolysis trial in acute stroke. He is the Director of Physician Training at Monash Medical Centre and serves as a member of the National Examiner Panel for the Royal Australasian College of Physician (RACP).

Please contact if you would like to meet with Henry after the seminar.

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 []

CiiiD Tuesday seminar Dr Le Son Tran,13 June

This week's CiiiD seminar will feature Dr Le Son Tran, a post-doctoral researcher in Associate Professor Richard Ferrero's Gastrointestinal Infection and Inflammation Research Group.

The title of Son's talk will be NOD1 sensing of Helicobacter pylori infection drives mucosal cytokine production and gastric homeostasis.

1-2pm, Tuesday 13 June
Seminar Room 1, Level 2, TRF
Chair: Mr James Ong

Seminars for the Centre for Inflammatory Diseases are held from 12-1pm in the same room. The CID seminar schedule can be found here:  

Please also note that CiiiD will host two special seminars this week, as follows:

Dr Kate Lawlor, Wednesday 14 June.

Kate will be presenting a seminar at 10.00am in our Level 2 meeting room.  The title of her talk is: Emerging roles for cell death in inflammation.

Dr Ueli Nachbur, Friday 16 June.

Ueli will be presenting a seminar at 12.00pm in Seminar Room 1, TRF.  The title of his talk is: How to target NOD signalling in inflammatory diseases.

MCHRI Biostatistical Education Series, "Improving data presentation: Tips on visually/graphically displaying results", 13 June

Dr StellaMay Gwini
1-2pm, 13 June, Seminar Room 3, TRF building

Presented by Dr StellaMay Gwini, Biostatistician, Monash University

The seminar will provide some tips on creating good charts including an introduction to Stata Graphics. We will also look at advanced graphs which are useful for exploring or presenting (i) relationships between two or more outcomes or (ii) variation in outcomes overtime. Examples of graphs to be covered include scatter plots with fitted lines, spaghetti plots, heat maps, funnel plots and CUSUM charts.  
StellaMay is a research fellow with the faculty biostatistics platform. Her expertise is in biostatistics and research design. She has worked on multiple projects within the School of Clinical Science and the Faculty of Medicine at large, assisting researchers in research design (e.g. clinical trials, surveys, cohort studies and case-control studies). StellaMay’s major research interests are in the appropriate and efficient use of data analysis tools; use of administrative data to improve health services; general health services research; and post-marketing surveillance of medical drugs & technologies.

“Measuring and modelling malaria parasites”, 15 June

Thursday 15 June, 12-1pm
Seminar rooms 1 and 2, TRF

Professor Leann Tilley
BSc (Hons) PhD
Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor
Bio21 Molecular Science & Biotechnology Institute
The University of Melbourne

Professor Leann Tilley studied at Melbourne and Sydney Universities, and undertook postdoctoral fellowships at Utrecht University (the Netherlands) and the College de France (Paris), before beginning her independent career. In 2015, she was awarded the Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship from the Australian Research Council to recognize her research on malaria pathogenesis and drug resistance. Her work has been recognized by the Bancroft-Mackerras Medal from the Australian Society for Parasitology (2010), the Beckman Coulter Discovery Award of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2011) and the Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research (2016). She is President of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Leann is working to bring imaging, biology, computational science disciplines together in a convergence approach to study the malaria parasite and to facilitate drug discovery.

Grand Rounds, "Health Care in China - Challenges and Opportunities”, 21 June

Presenter: Dr Wei-ping Li
Topic:  "Health Care in China - Challenges and Opportunities”
Date: Wednesday 21st June 2017
Time: 12.30pm to 1.30pm

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

Dr Wei-ping Li
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology,
President of Renji Hospital affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine,
Vice-Chairman of Shanghai Hospital Association
Renji Hospital provides care to > 4 milllion patients per year and >20000 outpatients per week.

Information Night for prospective 2018 BMedSc(Hons) students at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, 27 June

Attn:  All research supervisors

SCS will host a Bachelor of Medical Science (Hons) information night to recruit BMedSc(Hons) students for 2018.  We encourage your attendance as this is a good opportunity to make contact with a potential research student.

Date: Tuesday 27th June, 2017
Time: 5.30pm-7.30pm
Where:  Seminar Room 3, Translational Research Facility (TRF), Monash Medical Centre

Format: rapid fire presentations (1 slide / 2 minutes) from major research groups at the precinct. There will be plenty of opportunity for questions and answers, and to informally mix with potential students afterwards.

If you would like to give a talk to students (between 5.30-6.30 pm) please notify Pianca Schwarz ( by Friday 16th June, 2017.

Career development assistance for ECRs available at SCS

Professor Rosemary Horne
The School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) has appointed Prof Rosemary Horne to help ECRs with career planning and development.

Rosemary can work with you to review and help develop your grant or fellowship applications as well as review your CV and explore other career pathways and options if required.

Rosemary has previously worked with ECRs and increased their chance of success in funding and fellowship opportunities.

The SCS-Hudson ECR committee is planning a meet-and-greet lunch event with Rosemary in July (keep an eye out for the invite), but you can contact her any time via email to arrange an appointment:

Postgraduate Publication Awards Round 3/2017 ­ Applications close 1st July 2017

The quarterly round applies to candidates who will be submitting their thesis between 1 July - 30 September 2017.

The PPA scheme is designed to encourage graduate research students to disseminate their research findings through publication in processional journals or books. The scheme provides an income equivalent to the APA rate for two months and is aimed at supporting students who, having submitted their thesis, wish to write up some of their research for publications whilst they await the results of their examination.

Full details (guidelines and application form) are available on the MGE website.

Please note that preference is given to students who submit their thesis within three and a half years (42 months, effective full-time) of commencing a doctorate or two years (24 months, effective full-time) of commencing a master's. Where this time limit is exceeded, the supervisor must make a case within the application as to why this overrun has occurred, even if by a few days.

Applications must be submitted via email to the Faculty Graduate Research Office:
Closing Date: 1 July 2017

Updated photography consent form available

All staff and students should be aware that is is NOT acceptable to photograph or video people or data presented at Monash University seminars or other events without permission of the presenter.

Please ask before or afterwards to take a photograph of them and/or for a copy of the presentation slides.  If you plan on publishing or uploading their photo, video or data anywhere, you will need them to sign a Monash University consent form (available on the SCS intranet HERE).

If you have any questions, please contact Katherine Marks.

myPlan performance development

All staff are encouraged to log in to myPlan, our new and improved performance development system, to set your goals and objectives for the year ahead.
Collaboration is vital for success and achieving excellence at Monash. myPlan facilitates regular conversations and an opportunity to receive important feedback on your achievements. Monash’s commitment to performance development is guided by the principles of growth, feedback and accountability.

Please complete your myPlan goals as soon as possible.

Performance development supports all facets of our work at Monash; ongoing learning and continuous improvement drive innovation and increased work satisfaction. All professional and academic staff from HEW Levels 1 to 10 should complete a performance plan.

You can access myPlan through the portal by clicking on the myPlan link located on the HR, OHS and employment tile.

Before completing your review please visit the Performance Development at Monash page for getting started user guides, quick reference resources, performance development at a glance, and details about Monash’s Strategic Planning Framework.

Support is available:

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

Depressed teens treated with radical magnetic brain stimulation

Michael Gordon's new treatment approach to adolescent depression reported on Channel 9 news.

Watch story HERE.

Reservoir pressure analysis of aortic blood pressure: an in-vivo study at five locations in humans

Jim Cameron et al. published in the Journal of Hypertension.

Read article here.

Opportunities and Cautions in the Use of Commercially Delivered Weight-Management Programs for Children and Adolescents

Maxine Bonham in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Read article here.

Impact of heart rate on diagnostic accuracy of second generation 320-detector computed tomography coronary angiography

Sujith Seneviratne et al. published in Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy.

Read article here.

The Impact of Uterine Immaturity on Obstetrical Syndromes During Adolescence.

Caroline Gargett et al. published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Read article here.

Ovine Lumbar Intervertebral Disc Degeneration Model Utilizing a Lateral Retroperitoneal Drill Bit Injury.

Tony Goldschlager et al. published in the Journal of Visualised Experiments.

Read article here.