Monday, 7 August 2017

3MT video: Charlotte Nejad talks about her research into lupus

Charlotte Nejad a PhD candidate in the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS), talks about her research into lupus.  She discusses that yearly, more than 20,000 people are affected by lupus in Australia.  Charlotte says that symptoms vary from person to person and that correct diagnosis and treatment are crucial.

SCS researcher receives ASBMR Rising Star Award to reduce falls and fracture risk in obese older adults

Dr David Scott
School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) researcher Dr David Scott from the Bone and Muscle Health Group has received the prestigious 2017 Rising Star Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

The highly competitive US$60,000 award funds the most promising young scientists in the bone field and recognizes Dr Scott’s research into reducing risk factors for falls and fractures in obese older adults.

Dr Scott’s recent research demonstrates that obese older adults with poor muscle function—known as sarcopenic obese—have high rates of falls and poor bone quality, resulting in increased risk of fractures.

“While exercise interventions can reduce falls risk in older adults, none have been specifically designed for the sarcopenic obese population, who have unique challenges,” Dr Scott said.

“Our pilot randomised controlled trial investigates the effects of a six-month multi-component exercise program on balance and strength, body composition and bone quality, in sarcopenic obese older adults.”

Dr Scott said that evidence generated from the pilot study will contribute to future funding applications to support larger trials, which assess whether the exercise intervention can reduce incidence of falls and fractures in sarcopenic obese older adults.

“If proven effective, these exercise guidelines can then be readily translated into community-based programs for obese older adults in Australia and worldwide,” he said. 

Monash lupus research receives generous donation

Mrs Beryl Swaminathan
A generous donation from family and friends of a former Monash Health lupus patient will fund vital research at Monash University.

A former patient of Professor Eric Morand and Dr Alberta Hoi, Beryl Swaminathan sadly passed away on May 15 this year.  Beryl had been a lupus patient at Monash Medical Centre for more than 25 years.  She is survived by her husband, Balu, and children Ian and Kim.

Last week Beryl's family and friends made a generous donation of $2437, which will directly fund research aiming to bring treat-to-target options for lupus a step closer.

Systematic lupus erythematosus, or lupus, is a chronic multi-organ autoimmune disease with a broad spectrum of symptoms. Currently there are no effective targeted treatments for lupus, and most patients are treated with long-term steroids and therapies to suppress the immune system.  While these treatments can manage disease symptoms, they don’t prevent morbidity and loss of life expectancy and have significant and often devastating side-effects.

“Treat-to-Target” (T2T) is a concept used to design the best treatment options for a number of debilitating diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, vascular medicine and diabetes.  An international initiative that has resulted in significant improvements in patient outcomes in many areas of medicine, T2T defines specific treatment targets to measure disease severity.

The T2T philosophy requires information about disease activity. But how can you hit your target if the target hasn’t been defined?   Until now, lupus has had no defined treatment outcome states, clear treatment guidelines or T2T approaches.

Determination of a measure of low disease activity for lupus is a major research priority of the Rheumatology Research Group, Monash University.

MRO ANNOUNCEMENT - Process Change for All Upcoming ARC Applications

MRO has advised the following process change with regard to ALL current and upcoming ARC schemes (i.e. LP17, FT17, DP19, DE19, etc):

Pure is the trigger for MRO Compliance Checks
​From ​August 2017, submission of a Pure Application record to 'Pre-Approval' in Pure will be the trigger for MRO to complete Compliance Checks on proposals, not the submission of the proposal in RMS to the 'Research Office'.  It is not necessary to submit the Proposal in RMS to the Research Office.

Modification for External Applicants
For external applicants, who don’t have access to Pure: applicants should be instructed to email (and cc the Faculty Research Office when their proposal is ready for an MRO Compliance Check. If their supervisor/sponsor (or Faculty Research ​Office​) has not yet created the Pure Application record, MRO will contact them to do so.

Are you looking for a bright student to take on a research project in your lab?

Round 2 - 2017  Call for Projects and Student Applications 

Project submission deadline: 15 August - deadline extended!
Student Applications open: 31 July to 15 August

Project submission for supervising students in the next round of intake into the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) are now being invited. 
Closing date for Project Submissions is 15 August 2017 - deadline extended!

The students will be available to commence work in laboratories during the universities’ summer recess. Actual start dates are arranged by the supervisor and student. Biomedical Research Victoria, through the UROP Program, will co-ordinate the call for applications from students and conduct the initial screening interviews. Suitable candidates will then be introduced to individual supervisors by the Engagement Manager.

Under the scheme, students are employed by your institution as casual staff at a rate equivalent to HEW 2 (~$34 per hr). Students must work full-time during some or all of the vacation periods (recommended approx. 4 weeks during the summer recess) and 8 hours a week during semester. Individual supervisors should seek approval to host UROP students in accordance with their institution’s internal process for casual staff appointments.

The UROP Project Submission Form is linked here. Please consider the questions on the form carefully so that we can match you as accurately as possible. (Only one form needs to be submitted per project.) This form will be provided to prospective students once they have passed the initial selection process.

Note that by submitting the Project Submission Form, Biomedical Research Victoria assumes that you will be able to accommodate a UROP student. Late withdrawal of projects may unfairly disadvantage students.

Please return completed forms to by the closing date.

More information on the UROP scheme is available at 

If you have further enquires send an email to or contact Dr Viviane Richter, Engagement Manager (9035 5082) or Debbie Dorfan (9035 5132).

Faculty ECR Symposium 2017 – Registrations NOW OPEN!

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

Registrations are now open and will close on Friday 15 September 2017 (or when EVENT FULL). 

Registration cost for the event is $50.  Schools and Departments have been encouraged to support the cost of attendance from their Professional Development budgets.

The 2017 ECR Symposium will be opened by Professor Christina Mitchell (Dean, FMNHS) and will comprise of seminars and workshops encompassing:
·         Plenary Session -  Professor Anton Peleg
Director, Department of Infectious Diseases, The Alfred Hospital, Professor, Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Monash University.
Anton is a Professor of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, and is the Director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at The Alfred Hospital and Central Clinical School, Monash University. His research interests are in hospital-acquired infections, antibiotic resistance, mechanisms of pathogenesis and infections in immunocompromised hosts. He is also an active clinician working in the area of hospital-acquired infections and transplant infectious diseases. Read more
·         Plenary Session -  Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea
Senior Research Officer, Team Leader, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea leads international collaborations to understand disease mechanism and develop novel therapies and biomarkers for repeat-associated neurodegenerative diseases.  The primary focus of her research program is to develop cell and gene therapies and identify therapeutic targets for Friedreich ataxia. She has received Young Investigator Awards from the Friedreich Ataxia Research Alliance, USA and the Australasian Gene and Cell Therapy Society. Read more.
·         Strategic Career Planning – Balancing Teaching & Research and Developing your Career after Disruptions
·         Engaging with Industry & Government – Presentations by researchers and Raven Consulting
·         Grant Development – Capturing Grant Reviewers with your Front Page
·         Panel Discussion – Transition from Postdoc to Chief Investigator
·         Poster Session – Submission via abstract (Prizes for the best posters)
·         Social Event – Concluding with drinks and nibbles

This event is open to all FMNHS ECRs and FMNHS ECR Adjunct staff.  The event will be capped at 100 participants, on a first-come, first-served basis.  So don’t delay……….


All abstracts must be received by 15 September 2017 (please refer to the attached Poster Guidelines HERE for full details).

NOTE: The only payment method accepted is providing a Cost Centre and Fund Number.  Please DO NOT use the default payment options (debtors invoice, credit card etc.), as they will not be processed.  Please contact your supervisor for your Cost Centre and Fund Number if you do not have one.

2017 Prizes & Awards Calendar - Opportunities Closing in September

Please refer to the attached Prizes & Awards Calendar HERE for opportunities closing in September 2017. These include the 2017 Business Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) Awards for collaboration between industry and universities.
A comprehensive list of world-wide prestigious prizes and awards eligible to Australian researchers is also available at Research Professional.
If you are a Monash member of staff and intend to apply for any of the listed prizes or awards, please contact Mind Your Way, an academic consultancy engaged on the Monash Prizes & Awards Strategy on behalf of the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice-President. Only Monash staff are eligible to access Mind Your Way services paid by the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice-President. Adjuncts and affiliates wishing to engage Mind Your Way will have to enter into a contract and pay directly for services offered by Mind Your Way.

If, as part of the eligibility criteria, there are limits on numbers of applications that can be submitted by Monash, approval must be sought and obtained by the appropriate delegated individual.

CID Special Seminar: "Imaging Infection, Inflammation, and Coagulation" A/Prof Craig Jenne, 8 August

Tuesday 8  August, 12:00 - 1:00pm, Seminar Room 1, TRF Building

A/Prof Craig Jenne
Canada Research Chair in Imaging Approaches Towards Studying Infection     
Assistant Professor,
  Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases (MIID)
  Department of Critical Care Medicine
Director, Snyder Translational Lab in Critical Care Medicine

Please contact to schedule a meeting with Craig.

Imaging Infection, Inflammation, and Coagulation

Our work focuses on the use of the cutting-edge technique known as intravital microscopy to study the immune response to bacterial and viral infection. Intravital microscopy allows us to look into the tissues of a live animal and “see” individual immune cells within the blood vessels and tissues. By watching the immune response we are able to directly see which immune cells interact with the tissues such as the lung and liver, and we can visualize the resulting tissue damage. Additionally, we have developed brand new markers that can be used with an intravital microscope to see and measure blood-clotting in real-time. With this approach we can directly address the question about whether infection-induced inflammation leads to the development of small blood clots that cause damage to blood vessels and tissues. Our recent findings point to a clear collaboration between the coagulation cascade and the host immune response that both enhances immunity, but also dramatically increases collateral tissue damage. By understanding these linkages, we aim to functionally uncouple coagulopathy from immunity, preserving the host’s ability to respond to, and clear, an infection while limiting collateral tissue damage and improving patient outcomes.

Dr. Craig Jenne started his research career as a graduate student at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. John Reynolds. Following his PhD, Dr. Jenne joined an NIH collaboration between the University of California San Francisco and the Australian National University. During this time, under the mentorship of Dr. Jason Cyster and Dr. Chris Goodnow, an interest in the interface between innate and adaptive immunity was peeked.

Dr. Jenne returned to Calgary to join the group of Dr. Paul Kubes. Here Dr. Jenne was exposed to the field of intravital microscopy, an area that now has become his primary focus. During his time in Dr. Kubes’ lab, Dr. Jenne has developed a number of models to study the innate immune response to viral and highly pathogenic bacterial infections. It was also during this time that Dr. Jenne took on the role of Scientific Director of the Snyder Translational Lab in Critical Care Medicine, a position that allows him to work directly with Clinicians and Researchers on human clinical studies.

Dr. Jenne has a faculty appointment within the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases and the Department of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Calgary and is continuing his work using intravital microscopy to study the early innate immune response to viral and bacterial infections.

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's seminar, 8 August

CiiiD's Tuesday seminar this week, 8 August, will feature Dr Saleela Ruwanpura and Dr Virginie Deswaerte, both post-doctoral researchers from CiiiD's Cancer and Immune Signalling Lab, headed by Prof Brendan Jenkins.

Saleela's presentation is titled 'Novel role of AIM2 inflammasome in the molecular pathogenesis of emphysema'. 

Virginie's presentation is titled 'Role for the DNA sensor AIM2 in gastric cancer'.

1-2pm, Tuesday 8 August
Seminar Room 1, Level 2, TRF
Chair: Stephanie Huang

At 12pm in Seminar Room 1, Level 2, TRF, CID will hold a Special Seminar by A/Prof Craig Jenne, titled 'Imaging Infection, Inflammation, and Coagulation'.

A/Prof Craig Jenne is: Canada Research Chair in Imaging Approaches Towards Studying Infection; Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases (MIID); Department of Critical Care Medicine; Director, Snyder Translational Lab in Critical Care Medicine Please contact for more information and to schedule a meeting with Craig.

CGD Epigenetics Symposium, Tue 8 Aug

CGD Epigenetics Symposium
Tuesday 8 August, 9:45am-2:40pm at Seminar Room 2, Level 2, TRF Building. 

Background briefing:
Dr Patrick Western will present an overview of epigenetics that will set the scene for the audience. It will provide the basic building blocks for members of the Institute who are attending an epigenetics symposium for the first time and act as a refresher for those who are keen to improve their knowledge base in this area.

Assoc Prof Jeffrey Craig (Murdoch Childrens Research Institute) 
Identification of epigenetic biomarkers for chronic disease: a twin odyssey

Assoc Prof Marnie Blewitt (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research)
Using functional genomics to decipher the mechanistic role of Smchd1 in epigenetic silencing in normal development and disease.

Dr Rhys Allan (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research)
Surveying three-dimensional genome organization during development of the mammalian immune system

Plus student presentations throughout the symposium.

Dermatology presents Grand Rounds - Wednesday 9 August

Date: Wednesday 9 August 2017
Time: 12.30pm - 1.30pm
Venue: Main Lecture Theatre, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton

  • Dr Peter Fergin - Topic: "Cellulitis: Are we over-diagnosing and over treating?”
  • Dr Cindy Kalia - Topic: “Hidradenitis suppurativa: When boils ain’t boils!”

A new tool for rating the intensity of exercises that challenge balance: the Balance Intensity Scale (BIS), 9 August

Wednesday 9th August, 12:30-1:30pm (lunch from 12:15pm)

Presented by Dr Mel Farlie, Physiotherapist (Grade 4) and Allied Health Education Advisor, Monash Health

Education Centre – Room A  (Kingston Centre, Warrigal Road, Cheltenham)

All welcome
For more information/RSVP:
Dr Rosa Gualano, Acting MONARC Manager

Monash Haematology Journal Club, ‘An overview of the clinical development of Venetoclax in CLL’, 9 August

7.30am Breakfast & 7.45am Presentation

Monash Medical Centre, Level 2 - Lecture Theatre 3

‘An overview of the clinical development of Venetoclax in CLL’

Presenter: Prof John Seymour

Professor John Seymour AM is a clinical haematologist and Associate Director of Clinical Research at the Peter MacCallum Centre, and the Director of the integrated Haematology Unit of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre & the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. He received his MB, BS degrees from the University of Melbourne in 1987, completed a translational research fellowship at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and subsequently received their Distinguished Alumnus award in 2011. He also completed PhD studies in the pathobiology of haematopoietic growth factors at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. Professor Seymour is a member of several national and international scientific committees including, Cancer Australia Advisory Groups, the Scientific Advisory Committee for the International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma, Medical Advisory Board of the Lymphoma Coalition, and the Board of Directors of the International Extranodal Lymphoma Study Group. He served for more than a decade as Executive member and Chairman of the major national clinical trials co-operative group in haematologic malignancies, the Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group. He is a frequent invited speaker nationally and internationally, is a member of numerous professional societies, an Editor-in-Chief of Leukemia & Lymphoma, and currently on the editorial boards of Blood and the British Journal of Haematology. He has authored 18 book chapters, ~450 peer reviewed publications (with > 20,000 literature citations), and ~700 conference abstracts. Actively involved in a broad range of collaborative research, Professor Seymour has been a chief investigator on competitive grants awarded >AUD$10.5 million funding in the last 5 years and is the principal investigator on 12 ongoing clinical trials. In 2015 he was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia, and elected to the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences for his contributions to the field.