Monday, 28 August 2017

Monash research team trialling virtual reality to help children during medical procedures

Dr Evelyn Chan, patient Nia Ashton and Dr Erin Mills
Monash University and Monash Children’s Hospital researchers are conducting the world’s largest study of virtual reality headsets to improve the experience of children undergoing needle procedures.
Needle procedures, including intravenous cannulas and blood tests can be extremely distressing for many children, and can lead to life-long anxiety.

For the first time, a collaborative research team led by Monash University Research Fellow Dr Evelyn Chan, is investigating the use of virtual reality (VR) headsets to reduce fear, pain and anxiety associated with these procedures.

Dr Chan said current pain management techniques such as local anaesthetic cream or distraction are inadequate for some children, and may result in the need for restraints and/or sedation.

The VR headsets distract children, allowing them to experience and interact with animated sea-life, including fish, dolphins and whales, while medical staff take blood or insert an intravenous cannula,” Dr Chan said.

The VR animations have been created to perfectly coincide with the procedures being carried out.
“Children ‘feel’ the water while a nurse or doctor prepares and cleans their hand, and fish gently bite at their hand while a needle is inserted,” Dr Chan said.

Principal Investigator Dr Erin Mills at Monash Children’s Hospital said VR allows children to be transported into an engaging and interactive 3D ‘virtual world’ which provides an escape from the real world where the procedure is being performed.

“The virtual reality experience has been designed to be immersive, enjoyable and help relax and reassure the child while medical procedures are taking place,” Dr Mills said.

Dr Chan said their vision is for every child to have access to high quality needle pain management, anytime, anywhere - whether they're in a world-class kid's hospital, a busy pathology clinic, or a remote GP practice."

"VR has huge potential to transform patient experiences. One day VR might become a cornerstone of patient care - helping support patients in every step of their health journey, from being able to walk through the operating room before their surgery, to supporting them through their hospital stay, and helping them during recovery with rehab and preventative health activities," Dr Chan said.
240 patients from the Pathology and the Emergency Departments at Monash Children’s Hospital are currently being recruited to the study.  The Royal Children’s Hospital will open an arm of the study next month.

More than 30,000 patients presented to Monash Children’s Hospital Emergency Department in the last 12 months, with 4,500 requiring blood tests.

The Monash research team includes Dr Erin Mills, Associate Professor Simon Craig, Dr Simon Cohen, Emma Ramage, Samantha Foster, Ryan Sambell, Michael Hovenden, Dr Evelyn Chan, and Dr Paul Leong.

Monash innovation will save limbs and lives

Mr Jim McMillan, Mr Randall Moshinsky, Dr Elli Tutungi
Monash University and Monash Health researchers/clinicians have led a collaboration of Australian organisations to solve a global medical problem that will save lives around the world.

A ‘bidirectional cannula’ device has been developed by three Monash University and Monash Health researchers/clinicians. It is likely to significantly reduce complication rates around the world during certain types of heart surgery procedures.

The device has been designed, engineered, and tested in Australia. The clinical trials of the device was made possible by a generous grant from the Victorian Government.

The device is used to connect patients to a heart-lung machine through a large artery at the top of the leg. Clinical trials of the device at The Alfred Hospital, led by Associate Professor Silvana Marasco, have yielded very favourable results.

The new device has shown tremendous promise in reducing the risk of leg ischaemia (lack of oxygen supply), a potentially serious complication that can occur during heart surgery and in patients requiring artificial cardiac support in Intensive Care Units.

Current devices used for this purpose direct flow towards the upper body. This compromises blood flow down the leg. The lack of blood flow to the leg can lead to nerve damage, muscle damage, and in severe cases, amputation.

This can result in severe leg ischaemia and is a major issue globally, particularly for patients who have required longer periods of cannulation in Intensive Care Units.

In severe cases of lower-limb ischaemia, surgeons may need to amputate the limb if muscles have deteriorated beyond repair.

Research shows that nearly one-quarter of patients who require prolonged femoral cannulation will develop limb ischaemia, and 2 per cent of these patients will require amputation.

With around 100,000 patients globally, this translates to thousands of patients losing limbs every year. Limb ischaemia also significantly decreases survival rates.

“This has been a major issue for Intensive Care Units around the world,” said Mr Randall Moshinsky, Monash University researcher and Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Monash Health.

“Cannulation of the lower-limb is essential for many cardiac surgery procedures and artificial heart support in Intensive Care Units, however does carry the risk of limb complications.”

The novel device allows the patient to be connected to a heart lung machine without compromising flow to the leg.

Mr Moshinsky worked alongside co-inventors Cardiac Anaesthetist Dr Elli Tutungi and Head of Perfusion Mr Jim McMillan to develop the novel cannula that solves this problem. The device is currently being manufactured for market by global device manufacturer, LivaNova, and is expected to be available in 2018.

“The medical device we have developed allows blood to flow back towards the lower limb while the femoral artery is cannulated,” Mr Moshinsky said.

“It is bidirectional, meaning it allows blood to flow in both directions. We are tremendously thankful to A/Prof Marasco and our colleagues at Alfred Health who trialled the device, which has demonstrated favourable outcomes and device safety.”

“Surgeons and Intensivists around the world are incredibly excited by this development,” Mr Moshinsky said.

“We’ve presented this invention at Surgical and Intensivist Conference around the world, and everyone we’ve spoken to about the bidirectional cannula has asked the same question: ‘How soon will it be available?’”

MRFF Competitive Grant Opportunities Clinical Trials and Antimicrobial Resistance

The first two competitive grant opportunities for the Medical Research Future Fund opened last week. These grants will be run by the NHMRC and will utilise their competitive peer process.

As announced at the Federal Budget, these initiatives are
  • Antimicrobial Resistance Targeted 
  • Lifting Clinical Trials and Registries Capacity
Minimum data in RGMS is due by 20 September 2017 at 5pm (AEST)
Applications close on 4 October 2017 at 5pm (AEST)

Further information about the grant opportunities is available from the NHMRC website

ARC Industrial Transformation Research Program (ITRP), October

The ARC will hold a half day information and networking forum for the Industrial Transformation Research Program (ITRP) in October.
·         The forum will be held in Canberra on 10 or 13 October 2017 (exact date TBC).
·         There will be no charge to attend the forum.
·         As this is the first time the ARC has run this forum, they are seeking Expressions of Interest to get an idea of numbers. 

The Industrial Transformation Priorities are priority research areas identified by the ARC which are updated from round to round. The priorities for hubs and centres commencing in 2017 are:
- Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Mining Equipment, Technology and Services
- Food and Agribusiness
- Oil, Gas and Energy Resources

Researchers interested in attending the forum are requested to provide their name, email address and the applicable Industrial Transformation Priority to the Faculty Research Office ( by 5pm Thursday 31 August 2017.

Upcoming online myResearch training sessions

This is a friendly reminder that myDevelopment is now live for academic and professional staff to search and register for professional development opportunities. 

A series of myResearch online information sessions for researchers and professional staff are now advertised in myDevelopment and open for registration:

  • Ethics (Human) - 24/08 from 10am-12pm
  • Applications (Contracts) - 29/08 from 10am-11.30am
  • Applications (Grants) - 14/09 from 10am-11.30am

These sessions will feature a walkthrough of Pure and ERM functionality and will take participants step-by-step through the processes.

To register for a session: Selecting the activity in myDevelopment enables registration into available sessions.

Note: myDevelopment works best with Internet Explorer or Firefox, not Chrome. 

Upon registering, registrants are sent a 'confirmation of registration email' that allows them to add the event to their google calendar and also contains the Zoom link to join the session online on the day.

Sessions for Research Outputs will be scheduled shortly. 

New Animal Ethics Application Form

As recommended by Department of Agriculture, Victoria, the Monash Animal Ethics Application Form has been updated to ensure compliance with the Legislation and Codes of Practice.

The existing Breeding Colony Request Form and Application form for Observation of Wildlife have been rescinded.  The new form will replace all current application forms (Research, Teaching & Breeding) and is accessible from the following link.

There will be a phase-in period to allow Investigators currently preparing an application to submit.  Applications on the new Form will be mandatory from Monday 18th September.

Sparrho Early Career Researcher Prize 2017-2018

Are you, or one of your grad students or postdocs, going to a conference this year?
Sparrho, a London-based science startup, is offering travel grants of $800 AUD* to PhD students and postdocs from any institute who want to share their research at an academic conference in the next 12 months, anywhere in the world.

Since June, we've received applications from over 70 countries, which includes shortlisted entries from researchers at the Universities of Copenhagen, Tel Aviv, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Munich, Monash, Caltech, MIT, and University of Kelaniya. The platform encourages users from across world to collaborate based on mutual research interests, while developing their science communication skills.

Take a look at the pinboards of our prize recipients from this month for ideas on creating your own:

  • Amanda Markovitz, DSci Candidate at Harvard University, presenting at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2017 in Anaheim, California.
  • Emeka Ogbuju, PhD Student at Federal University Lokoja, Nigeria, presenting at the International Conference – Data for Policy 2017 in London, UK.
The deadline for the Prizes to be awarded for September is next Thursday, 31st August, 23:59 ACST — there is still time to submit your online application.

To see the application form and some of August's shortlisted applicants, go now to:   

The next deadline is September 30th 2017 for our October 2017 Prizes


Grand Rounds: “Imaging a Neglected Tropical Disease - Schistosomiasis", 30 August

Diagnostic Imaging Presents Dr Rodney Strahan

“Imaging a Neglected Tropical Disease - Schistosomiasis"

WEDNESDAY 30 August 2017
TIME: 12.30 – 13.30

Monash Haematology Journal Club, ‘The impact of genetic mutations in MDS & treatment options’, 30 August

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

‘The impact of genetic mutations in MDS & treatment options’

Presenter: Dr Shu Min Wong

“Regulation and therapeutic targeting of mesenchymal stem cells in the adult mammalian heart”, 31 August

This week's Hudson seminar will be held Thursday 31 August 12pm-1pm in Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, Level 2, TRF Building. 
Our speaker will be Professor Richard Harvey, Deputy Director and Head, Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Division, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

A light lunch and refreshments will follow this presentation. 

Please email if you would like to meet with Richard after the seminar.

Professor Richard Harvey received his PhD in 1982 from the University of Adelaide, training in molecular biology. He undertook postdoctoral studies in embryology at Harvard University with Doug Melton, and then moved to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, establishing an independent group. In 1998, he relocated to the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, where he is currently Co-Deputy Director and Head of the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Division. He holds the endowed Sir Peter Finley Professorship of Heart Research at the University of New South Wales. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, The Royal Society of London and EMBO. His research focuses on the genetic basis of heart development, the pathological mechanisms underlying congenital heart disease, the biology and origins of adult cardiac stem cells, and cardiac regeneration.

ARC FT18 Future Fellowships Scheme Workshop, 5 September

ARC DE19 Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA) Scheme Workshop, 10 October

Date: Tuesday 10 October 2017
Time: 2.00 – 4.00pm
Venue: Green View Room, Monash Sports, 42 Scenic Boulevard, Clayton
Afternoon Tea will be served
RSVP: by 5 October 2017 to

The Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (MNHS) invites researchers intending to apply in the upcoming ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DE19) round to attend a practical, experience based workshop on the preparation for, application to, and assessment of the DECRA scheme.

The workshop will be chaired by Professor Matthew Gillespie, Associate Dean (Research Strategy).
Successful applicants, assessors from the ARC College of Experts, and staff from the Monash Research Office (MRO) will discuss ARC policies and compliance, and share Tips, Timetables and ‘To Do’ lists with intending applicants.

Pre-workshop reading material will include DE19 information from the ARC and updated documentation from the Faculty Research Office (FRO). Participants are invited to prepare targeted questions and specific scenarios for comment and discussion.

Gastro-Oesophageal Cancer Research Design Workshop, 15 September

Professor Eva Segelov, Director of Oncology together with Mr Paul Cashin, Director of General Surgery invite staff and students to a “Gastro-Oesophageal Cancer Research Design Workshop”.

Friday 15 September, 1.30pm-5pm, Seminar Room 2, TRF

Please join us for a brainstorming workshop regarding potential research projects in Upper GI cancer. A range of clinical and translational projects will be discussed, with the aim of having a suite of projects for registrars, BMED SCi, PhD and others available. Further details and call for project ideas will follow but for now:

RSVP by: 8 September 2017 to please include your name, department and contact number.

Afternoon tea provided.

For more information and to RSVP please contact Oncology department secretary Ms Annette McClellan. Ph: 8572 2392 or

Book in now for your FREE WorkHealth Check!

Work Health Checks are now available for Monash staff at Victorian campuses and sites.

Places are limited, so get in early now to confirm your booking!

Your 20 minute health check will include:

  • A check of your total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose, and waist circumference,  all measured by a health professional.
  • An assessment of your type 2 diabetes risk, cardiovascular disease risk, and modifiable risk factors (smoking and exercise)
  • Individual results card, results consultation and recommendation.
Your results are confidential and Monash University will not receive any personal information about your health.

Important things to know before your appointment:
  • No fasting is required prior to your appointment
  • Screening involves a finger prick and collection of two droplets of blood
  • Inform the practitioner if you feel lightheaded at any stage or have any history of fainting
How do I book?

Click the link to book in online.  Select your site and preferred date from the list available.  You will receive an email confirming your appointment, together with a reminder 4 days prior to the appointment. 

If you have any questions or concerns about your health seek advice from your General Practitioner.

Places are limited, so book now to avoid missing out. 

Keeping Safe in our Workplace

Following recent incidents involving violent or threatening behaviour in our communities, it is timely to remind ourselves to look out for each other, and keep safe.
We need to be vigilant and careful, particularly after dark.   Please avoid walking alone, and wait for an opportunity to walk in a group.
Security patrols of our designated carparks occur at the main late evening shift changeover.  Our security staff will also be able to assist with escorts to designated carparks.   This could involve a short wait before they are available.
We all need to be committed to ensuring a safe work environment.
If you have any questions please speak with your site management.

Martin Keogh
Chief Operating Officer
Monash Health 

SCS OHS Committee meeting: Call for agenda items

The next SCS OHS committee meeting will be held on 6 September, 10-11am in the Medicine Seminar Room, Block E, Level 5.

Please send any items for discussion to

Meeting minutes are available on the intranet here.

MMC Site Alert: Noisy Building Works - E Block

What is happening?
·         Building Works are scheduled on Level 1 in E Block
·         Some noise from these works may be heard in surrounding areas and in the floors above
·         The noisy works will be intermittent during the specified schedule.

When are the works scheduled?
·         Works are scheduled to:
                    Commence:               6:30am Tuesday August 29, 2017                        
                    Conclude:                   10am Friday September 1, 2017
How will the works impact me?
·         The noisy works will be heard on level 1 of E Block, and are likely to be heard on Level 2.
·         Wherever possible the noisiest works will be undertaken prior to 8am.
What about safety?
  • The contractor preparations for this work reflect the strong focus on safety from Monash Health
  • Works will follow approved processes based upon risk assessments of the work to be undertaken.
·         Appropriate mobile plant, tools, barriers and personal protective equipment will be used.
How do I get more information?
Please contact Site Management if you seek additional information or clarification.
·         Telephone:              44727

·         Email:            

Randall Moshinsky on 7 News

Watch the Channel 7 news story about the new medical device, the bidirectional cannula HERE.

Evelyn Chan on ABC24

Watch Evelyn talk about the use of virtual reality headsets to reduce anxiety in children undergoing needle procedures.  Story HERE.

Optical Coherence Tomography Guided Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

Adam Brown et al. published in Heart, Lung & Circulation.

Read article here.

Current challenges in optimizing systemic therapy for patients with pancreatic cancer: expert perspectives from the Australian gastrointestinal trials group with invited international faculty

Eva Segelov et al. published in Expert Review of Anticancer Therapy.

Read article here.

The use of sustained low efficiency dialysis (SLED) in massive paracetamol overdose

Anselm Wong, Andis Graudins et al. published in Clinical Toxicology.

Read article here.

Analysis of an 8-hour acetylcysteine infusion protocol for repeated supratherapeutic ingestion (RSTI) of paracetamol

Anselm Wong, Andis Graudins et al. published in Clinical Toxicology.

Read article here.

Human Metapneumovirus Infection in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Impact of Glucocorticosteroids and Interferon

K Kan-O, Phil Bardin et al. published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Read article here.

Early predictors of psychosocial functioning 5 years after paediatric stroke

Michael Ditchfield et al. published in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology.

Read article here.

The airway microbiota in early cystic fibrosis lung disease

David Armstrong et al. published in Pediatric Pulmonology.

Read article here.

Twin birth changes DNA methylation of subsequent siblings

Melissa Southey et al. published in Scientific Reports.

Read article here.

Reflective function mediates the relationship between emotional maltreatment and borderline pathology in adolescents: A preliminary investigation

Glenn Melvin et al. published in Child Abuse & Neglect.

Read article here.

Positive regulatory interactions between YAP and Hedgehog signalling in skin homeostasis and BCC development in mouse skin in vivo

Jason Cain et al. published in PLoS One.

Read article here.

Myocarditis Caused by Human Parechovirus in Adult

Tony Korman et al published in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Read article here.

Effects of antenatal melatonin therapy on lung structure in growth-restricted newborn lambs

Graeme Polglase et al. published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Read article here.

A pilot study evaluating the safety of intravenously administered human amnion epithelial cells for the treatment of hepatic fibrosis

Rebecca Lim et al. published in Frontiers in Pharmacology.

Read article here.

Is Aboriginal nutrition a priority for local government? A policy analysis

Claire Palermo et al. published in Public Health Nutrition.

Read article here.

Epidemiology of Intracranial and Extracranial Large Artery Stenosis in a Population-Based Study of Stroke in the Middle East

Amanda Thrift et al. published in Neuroepidemiology.

Read article here.

Worldwide Survey of the "Assessing Pain, Both Spontaneous Awakening and Breathing Trials, Choice of Drugs, Delirium Monitoring/Management, Early Exercise/Mobility, and Family Empowerment" (ABCDEF) Bundle

Yahya Shehabi et al. published in Critical Care Medicine.

Read article here.

Does growth restriction increase the vulnerability to acute ventilation-induced brain injury in newborn lambs? Implications for future health and disease

Suzie Miller et al. published in the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.

Read article here.

Ganaxolone: a new treatment for neonatal seizures

Tamara Yawno et al. published in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience.

Read article here.