Monday, 31 July 2017

Nitesh Nerlekar discusses the link between epicardial fat and coronary artery disease.

Nitesh Nerlekar, a PhD candidate in the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS), discusses how epicardial fat could possibly be the missing culprit link between obesity and coronary artery disease and could in fact be a novel therapeutic target for further intervention.

Nitesh won second place in the 2017 SCS 3MT competition.

Video link

Monash study reveals Point of Care ultrasound reduces CT scan use in kidney stone diagnosis

Dr Gabriel Blecher
Monash University researchers have shown the benefit of new imaging guidelines for patients with suspected kidney stones.

Led by Monash Health emergency physician Dr Gabriel Blecher, the study, published in the Emergency Medicine Journal, analysed the use of focused ultrasound rather than CT urography (CTU) for diagnosing patients with renal colic.

A condition commonly managed in emergency departments, renal colic presents as severe abdominal pain and is usually caused by kidney stones.

Urinary stone disease in increasingly prevalent, occurring in 12% of men and 6% of women. The age of onset of a first stone episode for men rises from the 20s and peaks at age 40-60 years, with an incidence of three cases per 1000 population per year.

Dr Blecher, a member of the Monash Emergency Research Collaborative (MERC), School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) said that although acute symptoms of renal colic can be severe, the subsequent course of action is usually benign, with up to 80% of kidney stones passing spontaneously.

“In the last decade, CT use has become widespread in suspected renal colic, without any improvement in patient outcomes,” Dr Blecher said.

“The associated harms of CT include over-diagnosis, radiation exposure and waste of hospital resources.”

Despite a documented 12-fold increase in CTU utilisation for suspected renal colic in recent years, diagnostic rates and the number requiring operative intervention have not changed.

In the study, Monash Health Emergency patients presenting with suspected renal colic were enrolled to the new focused ultrasound intervention at one site and their outcomes were compared with patients using existing CTU guidelines at another site.

“We found that using a simple assessment guideline for suspected renal colic led to a 21% lower CTU rate compared with the control site,” Dr Blecher said.

“Our new protocol favours focussed ultrasound performed by the emergency doctor rather than CT scanning in radiology , which is currently performed in about 75% of cases.”

“Our intervention group underwent CT scans in only 54% of cases, lowering the median radiation doses to 2.8mSv compared with the control group at 4.0mSv.”

Dr Blecher said benefits of the new guidelines include faster diagnosis and less radiation dose—and this is important as most patients with renal colic are young.

“Our findings will also lead to significant cost savings by performing fewer CT scans,” Dr Blecher said.

Mr Jacob Goldstein awarded RACS Victorian Supervisor of the Year

Mr Jacob Goldstein
Monash University’s Mr Jacob Goldstein has been recognised by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) with his award of Victorian Educator of Merit – Supervisor/Clinical Assessor of the Year for 2017.

A senior cardiothoracic surgeon at Monash Medical Centre and honorary senior lecturer in the Monash University Department of Surgery, Mr Goldstein received the award for his exceptional contribution towards supporting trainees and international medical graduates for nearly 30 years.

Mr Goldstein was the supervisor of surgical training in cardiothoracic surgery at Monash Medical Centre from 1989 until this year. 

For nearly thirty years, Mr Goldstein was actively engaged in training and mentoring numerous local and overseas trainees in operative surgery.

“Most of the training was carried out in the operating room but I also helped the trainees prepare for their oral and written examinations,” Mr Goldstein said.

Mr Goldstein said although his award was unexpected, it was very gratifying to receive some recognition, and acknowledges all members of the Unit involved in the training program.

“I’ve very much enjoyed giving back to the profession and helping develop our next generation of cardiothoracic surgeons.”

“Many of the trainees we’ve supervised have gone onto become very successful surgeons who now lead surgical units in prestigious hospitals around the world.”

Mr Goldstein will formally receive his award at the Academy of Surgical Educators Forum in Sydney on 2 November. 

Professor David Kissane to deliver prestigious annual lecture at King's College

Professor David Kissane
School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) Department of Psychiatry Head Professor David Kissane has been invited as Visiting Professor to the University of Hong Kong in September, and will also deliver the Dame Cecily Saunders Annual Lecture at King's College in October.

Professor Kissane’s King's College lecture will focus on integrating the existential and psychosocial into palliative medicine—and demonstrate that hope, value and meaning counter demoralisation to sustain patients, families and care teams.

“Existential challenges are a major source of suffering towards the end of life,” Professor Kissane said.

“Demoralisation is one such mental state comprising low morale and a sense of poor coping, in which pessimism, helplessness and hopelessness can lead to loss of meaning and purpose in life.”

Professor Kissane said that empirical data have shown a stronger relationship between demoralisation and suicidal thinking than depression and wishing to die.

“Therapies that aim to restore meaning in life help to ameliorate demoralisation,” he said.

“Demoralisation is a useful concept to deepen diagnostic understanding, treatment choice and ability to communicate with clinicians and patients.”

“It is a contagious state of mind, necessitating family and multidisciplinary team work to prevent its inadvertent transmission among care providers,” said Professor Kissane.

The King's College lecture will be broadcast live to ten partner sites in Europe, Africa and the US on 4 October.

Monash Partners update

Professor Helena Teede,
Executive Director, Monash Partners
Read all the latest Monash Parners updates here:

CID Weekly Seminar: Dr Jonathan Dick "Complement in ANCA vasculitis, from bench to bedside", Tuesday 1 August

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

Dr Jonathan Dick
Nephrologist, Monash Health
Postgraduate student, Centre for Inflammatory Diseases

Complement in ANCA vasculitis, from bench to bedside

The ANCA associated vasculitides (AAV) are a group of autoimmune diseases which cause multi system injury including glomerulonephritis. In the last decade a series of advances have defined the complement system as a key participant in this disease. Complement targeted therapy is now in advanced clinical trials for treatment of AAV. The talk will cover the major advances in this area, how his own research has highlighted novel roles for complement in models of this disease.

Dr Jonathan Dick is a clinician studying for a PhD supervised by Professors Stephen Holdsworth and Richard Kitching. He read Medicine at the University of Oxford and University College London before training in General Medicine and Nephrology in London. His research interest is in the role of the complement system in ANCA associated vasculitis.
Centre for Inflammatory Diseases

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 []

CiiiiD seminar: 'Understanding and modulating innate immune responses', 1 August

CiiiD's Tuesday seminar,  this week, 1 August, will feature Dr Michelle Tate, an NHMRC Career Development Fellow from the Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases.

Michelle's presentation is titled 'Understanding and modulating innate immune responses'. 

1-2pm, Tuesday 1 August
Seminar Room 1, Level 2, TRF
Chair: Dr Jonathan Ferrand

At 12pm in Seminar Room 1, Level 2, TRF, CID will hold its weekly seminar. The CID seminar schedule can be found here:  

Grand Rounds: “ANCA-associated vasculitis - new therapies, pathogenesis, and a multidisciplinary approach”, 2 August

Wednesday 2 August, 12.30 – 13.30pm
Main Lecture Theatre, MMC

Presented by Professor Richard Kitching and Dr Jessica Ryan.

Monash Haematology Journal Club, 'Altered expression of Hoxa1 perturbs haematopoiesis and results in myelodysplasia', 2 August

7.30am Breakfast & 7.45am Presentation
Monash Medical Centre, Level 2 - Lecture Theatre 3

'Altered expression of Hoxa1 perturbs haematopoiesis and results in myelodysplasia'

Presenter: Dr Shuh Ying Tan  

Shuh is currently in her final year of PhD research at St. Vincent's Institute of Medical Research and St. Vincent's Hospital. With a key interest in myeloid malignancies, her research is focused on validating mouse models of myelodysplasia (MDS) that was generated in the lab of Assoc. Prof Louise Purton, and these models are currently being used in a chemical screen to identify potential novel therapeutic targets in MDS. Using patient samples, she is also working with Dr Meg Wall to identify genetic signatures in patients with MDS that may predict for resistance or sensitivity to hypomethylating agents.

PhD confirmation milestone Christie Bennett, "The possibility of changing the health of two generations overnight: Investigating the impact of sleep during pregnancy on gestational weight gain, glucose tolerance, and child birth weight", 15 August

All staff and students are invited to Christie Bennett's PhD confirmation milestone.

Tuesday 15 August, 9.15am, BASE facility, Level 1, 264 Ferntree Gully Road, Notting Hill 

Department: Nutrition, Dietetics and Food
Presentation title: The possibility of changing the health of two generations overnight: Investigating the impact of sleep during pregnancy on gestational weight gain, glucose tolerance, and child birth weight
Synopsis: Sleep is a strong and independent risk factor for obesity in both children and adults. However, despite sleep disturbances being commonly experienced in the pregnant population, the role of sleep and the relationship to weight and glucose tolerance is currently unknown. Therefore, by better understanding the role of sleep in pregnancy we may be able to influence the health of mothers and their babies. 
Supervisors: Prof. Helen Truby, Dr. Michelle Blumfield and Dr. Sean Cain 
Panel Chair: Dr. Padma Murthi
Independent assessors: Prof. Rosemary Horne and Assoc.Prof. Maxine Bonham 

Photo: Please see attached for headshot 

PhD Confirmation Seminar, Aidan Kashyap, "Novel Antenatal Therapies for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia", 2 August

All staff and students are invited to Aidan Kashyap's PhD confirmation seminar.

2 August, 12.30-1.30pm, Seminar Room 1, TRF

Synopsis : When a baby develops inside mum's womb, the lungs can only grow appropriately if they are separated from the stomach by the diaphragm. In babies with a hole in their diaphragm, the lungs do not grow properly and the baby cannot breathe on its own after birth. Our research investigates new treatments that are given during pregnancy to improve the growth of fetal lungs, ultimately helping babies - and their parents - breathe a little easier.

Supervisors: Prof Stuart Hooper, Dr Ryan Hodges, Dr Kelly Crossley, Dr Philip DeKoninck
Panel Chair: Prof Rosemary Horne
Independent assessors: Prof Euan Wallace, Dr Tim Moss

"New mechanisms of inflammasome activation and autoinflammatory disease", Associate Professor Seth Masters, 3 August

This week's Hudson seminar will be held Thursday 3 August 12pm-1pm at Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, Level 2, TRF Building. 

The speaker will be Associate Professor Seth Masters, Head of the Inflammasomes and Autoinflammatory Disease Laboratory at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.

A light lunch and refreshments will follow this presentation.
The Masters laboratory studies the innate immune system, which can be activated to cause autoinflammatory disease. A particular focus in this area has been the inflammasome protein complex which generates the cytokine IL-1b. Specifically, A/Prof Masters and colleagues discovered mutations that activate the Pyrin inflammasome in a dominantly inherited skin disease they called PAAND, which lead to successful therapy by blocking IL-1b. The NLRP1 inflammasome has also been an active area of research, with links to IBD, cancer, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Previous work of note includes activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome by IAPP amyloid, and discovery of the autoinflammatory disease DIRA, due to mutations in IL-1Ra.
A/Prof Seth Masters is head of the Inflammasomes and Autoinflammatory Disease laboratory at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. He holds joint appointments at Glaxosmithkline (UK) and Guangzhou Institute of Pediatrics (China), and is appointed as a fellow of the Viertel Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the NHMRC
Please contact Dr Jason Cain ( if you would like to meet with Seth after the seminar.

Atul Malhotra, PhD mid-candidature review, "Novel Neuroprotective Strategies in Fetal Growth Restriction Associated Brain Injury", 14 August

All staff and students are invited to Atul Malhotra's PhD mid-candidature review.

12pm, 14 August, Seminar room 2, TRF

Synopsis:  Fetal growth restriction is a relatively common complication of pregnancy often associated with adverse outcomes in the fetus and infant. My research involves elucidation of mechanisms, investigation of novel imaging techniques, and role of cord blood cells as a potential therapy in FGR related brain injury in the neonate.

Supervisors: Suzie Miller, Graham Jenkin
Chair: Jooyhung Lee

Assessors: Ryan Hodges, Kelly Crossley

ThermoFisher morning tea, 3 August

101 LabArchives Session - 4 August

Attn: Supervisors/RAs/Graduate Students,

By popular demand the school will be running another 101 LabArchives session on Friday 4 August at 10 am, in MIMR Level 3 Boardrooms A & B.  This session is open to academics, research assistants and graduate students.

The training will be provided in two parts:
· Session 1 (10.00 - 10.45 am)  Setting up your LabArchives for both Windows and Mac users
· Session 2 (10.45 - 11.30 am)  Q&A session for anyone who is currently using LabArchives and has questions

For bookings please register:

Jason Lao PhD pre-submission seminar, 4 August

All staff and students are invited to Jason Lao's PhD pre-submission seminar.

4 August, 10.30am, Seminar Room 1, TRF

"Exploring a new frontier: The immune and coagulation systems of the premature infant and their relevance in major diseases of prematurity"

Supervisors: Dr Claudia Nold, A/Prof Marcel Nold, Dr Ina Rudloff, Dr Niamh Mangan
Panel chair: Prof Graham Jekins
Independent assesors: Prof Jim Buttery, Dr Jim Harris
Synopsis: Extremely premature infants are prone to a unique set of diseases including bronchopulmonary dysplaisa (BPD). This seminar will present findings based on a cohort of 51 infants on postnatal T cell development as well as T cell polarisation and its association with BPD.

MMI-MHTP Image Analysis Workshop, 6 September

Registration is now open for the 4th and final MMI-MHTP Image Analysis Workshop for 2017 - Imaris Advanced.

9am-1pm, (including morning tea break), Wednesday 6th September
Translational Research Facility, Level 4, Room 4R.03 (large meeting room)

This workshop will be catered to the advanced analysis needs of those who register. If only a few people register for this workshop we will offer it as specialised one on one training for your specific analysis at a suitable time instead of a joint workshop. 

Cost: $50 – which will be covered by the MMI registration fee for platform users. Non-MMI users must provide a cost centre when registering.

To Register: Email your details to Please include full details in your email: full name, department and group, position, your specific analysis need, best contact email and cost centre/fund if not a registered MMI user. 

Registrations are open until Thursday 31st August, unless places are filled sooner.
Places are strictly limited to 6 for the Imaris workshop due to software licencing and specificity, so get in quick!

VIIN Young Investigator Symposium - Registration and Abstract Submission Now Open!

Registration and abstract submission is now open for the VIIN Young Investigator Symposium.  This symposium is a great opportunity to present your work to the VIIN!
Keynote speakers:
Professor Kanta Subbarao
, Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
Dr Maria Kaparakis-Liaskos, veski Inspiring Women Fellow and Head, Host-Pathogen Interactions Laboratory, La Trobe University
Post-graduate students, post-docs and RAs are invited to submit abstracts for poster / oral presentations.  Lab heads and senior researchers - please attend too and support your young investigators!
Where: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Parkville
When: Monday 16 October 2017
Registration is free for researchers.  Food and drinks provided.

Download a flyer

Creation of Google Scholar Accounts

At the last Monash Research Committee (MRC) meeting held on 18 July 2017, the Provost requested that all staff create a Google Scholar account.

Instructions for creating a Google Scholar account are available at the Monash Library website via the link below:

A copy of the instructions is also attached HERE for easy reference.

Long-term unmet needs and associated factors in stroke or TIA survivors: An observational study

Muideen Olaiya et al. published in Neurology.

Read article here.

Development of a theory-informed implementation intervention to improve the triage, treatment and transfer of stroke patients in emergency departments using the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF): the T3 Trial

Dominique Cadilhac et al. published in Implementation Science.

Read article here.

Blood Pressure and Penumbral Sustenance in Stroke from Large Vessel Occlusion

Ronil Chandra et al. published in Frontiers in Neurology.

Read article here.

The relationship between dietary intake, growth and body composition in Phenylketonuria

Maureen Evans et al. published in Molecular Genetics and Metabolism.

Read article here.

Escalated-dose somatostatin analogues for antiproliferative effect in GEPNETS: a systematic review

Eva Segelov et al. published in Endocrine.

Read article here.

Erythropoietin Protects Against Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Microgliosis and Abnormal Granule Cell Development in the Ovine Fetal Cerebellum

Annie McDougall et al. published in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience.

Read article here.

Term versus preterm cord blood cells for the prevention of preterm brain injury

Suzie Miller et al. published in Pediatric Research.

Read article here.

Translational Research symposium at Monash University 31 July

Translational Research skills have become an important part of life at Monash's three metropolitan clinical schools. Significant findings and discoveries made in the lab can often get lost in their conversion to clinical practice and everyday medical treatments.

Central Clinical School is hosting a Translational Research symposium on 31 July 2017. All welcome to hear from top Melbourne-based researchers with national and international collaborations in clinical areas. See speaker program and RSVP at:
    See more about what we have to offer in Translational Research: