Monday, 4 September 2017

M2: accelerating the development of life-changing medicine

M2 is a joint venture between CSIRO, Monash University and the Monash Health Translation Precinct. Together, they’re using their world class facilities, expertise and experience to help Australian medtech companies turn great ideas into commercial products. M2 transitions medical technologies from the bench to scale-up, prototyping, pre-clinical testing, industry evaluation and adoption.

Watch video HERE.

Early and Mid-Career Researcher mentoring and personalised grant writing advice now at MHTP

Professor Rosemary Horne
An interesting fact you may not know about Professor Rosemary Horne is that one of her first jobs was as a biologist, studying the diet of hares in New Zealand and then penguins in Antarctica.  With a fascinating career spanning four decades, and one of our most successful researchers at the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP), Rosemary has a new position as ECR Advisor and Mentor at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS).  

Originally from New Zealand, Rosemary had aspirations to become a vet.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t successful in gaining admission (where it’s more competitive than medicine in her native country) so she completed her Bachelors and Master’s degrees in zoology. 

Rosemary in Antarctica
After moving to Australia in 1978, Rosemary found a job with the Australian Antarctic Division as a biologist.

“I counted sea birds and studied the diet of penguins,” Rosemary said.

“If you wonder how you do that, you put a tube down their throat and fill them up with water.  Then you turn them upside down over a bucket, so they vomit into the bucket, and you can see what they’ve been eating.”

Rosemary’s extremely successful career as a sleep scientist began when she did her PhD at Monash University in the 1980s, investigating arousal responses in lambs in relation to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

A mother of three, Rosemary is very familiar with the challenges of raising a family and pursuing an academic career in science.

“I was working full time as a Research Officer at the Centre for Early Human Development (now known as The Ritchie Centre), and completed my PhD part time over six years,” Rosemary said.

“During my PhD I also had my daughter, and I submitted my thesis two weeks before my son was born.”

Rosemary worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Bernie O’Brien Centre, St Vincent’s Hospital, the Howard Florey Institute and Deakin University before returning to the Department of Paediatrics at Monash University in 1995.

“I worked part time for fifteen years but maintained my output by publishing two to three papers per year consistently,” Rosemary said.

“It isn’t easy because working part-time, you still have to be productive and show that you’re better than the rest.”

“One of the best pieces of advice I received was to set up my CV with the time fraction I’d worked every year, showing that I’d worked part-time and still been productive.”

“The other advice I received at that stage of my career was to apply for an NHMRC Fellowship—I did and was successful.”

Rosemary has had continuous NHMRC funding since 2004, including an NHMRC Senior Fellowship for 11 years.  She has also received project and philanthropic funding, and has had NHMRC interviews every year for the past four years.  She is a member of many prestigious international committees in her field.

“We are certainly the leading paediatric sleep research group in Australasia and second in the world, in terms of publications,” Rosemary said.

“We’ve had a very productive relationship between clinicians in the sleep lab and basic scientists.”
Rosemary has published more than 150 papers, and successfully supervised twelve PhD students (with another three due to complete this year), and over 30 honours students.  She is proud that all have finished in minimum time.

Rosemary brings a wealth of experience to her new role as Early Career Researcher Advisor and Mentor.

“My expertise is 30 years’ in the NHMRC system, writing grants, writing fellowships and mentoring,” she said.

Rosemary said she’s thoroughly enjoyed her career, the students, the science, the international travel and colleagues around the world.  Now she is very excited about helping young researchers develop their careers in science.

“I’m very passionate about passing on my experience and expertise to early and mid-career researchers, particularly in the current environment of shrinking grant opportunities,” Rosemary said.

Rosemary is available at for anyone seeking advice, assistance or mentoring.  Or you can visit her in her office, Department of Paediatrics, Level 5, Monash Children’s Hospital.

Monash Imaging research in bone trauma receives top award

Dr Aaron Wong
Monash Imaging radiology registrar Dr Aaron J Wong was recognised for his clinical research in bone trauma, receiving the top award at The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANCZR) Victorian branch trainee presentation event last week.

Dr Wong’s research presentation on the “Efficacy of Dual Energy CT Bone Oedema Detection in Suspected Fractures,” highlighted an advanced imaging technique for improving the diagnosis of subtle and occult fractures which are sometimes not detected with standard X-ray radiographs.

Dr Wong said that bone oedema, also known as bone bruising, is commonly associated with trauma, but previously only seen on MRI.

“Dual energy CT is a new form of CT imaging that uses two different spectra of X-rays at different energy levels,” Dr Wong said.

“It enables removal of the calcium signal in bone through image post-processing software, such that bone oedema appears conspicuous.”

Dr Wong’s research demonstrated that in patients who have sustained recent trauma, experience ongoing pain, and have no definite fracture on X-ray, this new, dual energy CT technique will help ensure that a bone injury is not missed.

“Although this feature is only available on newer scanners, like the Siemens Somatom Force CT at Dandenong Hospital, it does not require any additional radiation or scan time,” Dr Wong said.
“The information can be obtained quickly, helping doctors make the correct diagnosis in a timely manner.”

Head of CT and Head of Thoracic Imaging at Monash Health, Professor Ken Lau said Dr Wong’s findings confirm the clinical importance of this CT technique, which could transform future fracture imaging pathways.

“Monash Imaging is proud of Dr Wong’s success, as the Award recognizes the hard work and dedication needed in research,” Professor Lau said. 

Dr Wong will represent Victoria at the RANZCR ASM 'Branch of origin' research presentation in Perth in October. Monash Imaging registrars have won the top award at the annual RANZCR (VIC) Trainee Presentation Event for the past 3 years. 

Dr Wong acknowledges the ongoing support and guidance of his supervisor, Professor Kenneth Lau, and collaborators, Mr Peter Kutschera and Mr Beven Jong. He also thanks Director of Diagnostic Imaging, Professor Stephen Stuckey and Director of research, Professor Stacey Goergen, for promoting the research culture at Monash Imaging.

Monash PhD student reveals barriers and opportunities to improve secondary stroke prevention

Muideen Olaiya
Recently awarded his PhD from Monash University's Stroke and Ageing Research Group, Dr Muideen Olaiya has identified for the first time specific risk factors for secondary stroke prevention.   

“It is well known that stroke is a traumatic life event that often results in severe and life-changing consequences,” Dr Olaiya said.

“Luckily for us in Australia, there are care options within Medicare to help survivors overcome these challenges.”

Dr Olaiya’s research, a clinical trial, investigated the effectiveness of these care options to better manage survivors of stroke after they are discharged from hospital to the community.

“Importantly, despite the fact that these care options are already embedded in the health care system in Australia, uptake in clinical practice remains poor,” Dr Olaiya said.

“In my thesis, I was able to identify the barriers and facilitators to the uptake of these care options in order to appropriately inform practice and policy decisions on how to better manage people with stroke in the community.”

In an Australian first, Dr Olaiya’s research has provided evidence that despite a robust and pragmatic approach to the management of stroke, secondary prevention outcomes remain poor in survivors living in the community.

“For instance, uptake of recommended lifestyle habits was sub-optimal among this high-risk population.”

“Similarly, our survivors of stroke had poor knowledge of risk factors and medications for secondary prevention, and significant unmet needs, especially needs in areas of post-acute care and secondary prevention,” Dr Olaiya said.

Supervisor Professor Amanda Thrift said Dr Olaiya had been a fantastic student, with six papers already arising from his PhD and others imminent.

“Muideen’s willingness to listen to feedback and make changes to his work based on these comments contributed to his success,” Professor Thrift said.  “He was extremely hard-working, having managed this clinical trial since he commenced his PhD.”

Dr Olaiya has just recently commenced a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

Dr Olaiya expressed his deepest appreciation to his supervisors Professors Amanda Thrift, Dominique Cadilhac and Velandai Srikanth, his PhD mentor Dr Joosup Kim and colleague Lana Coleman.  He is also grateful for Monash University financially supporting his PhD program.

Monash researcher receives 2017 Pink Hope Outreach Ambassadors Award

Dr Daniella Brasacchio
Monash University researcher Dr Daniella Brasacchio has received the 2017 Pink Hope Outreach Ambassadors Award in recognition of her scientific and public advocacy work, raising awareness of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

A senior research fellow in the Blood Cancer Therapeutics Laboratory, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Dr Brasacchio has been recognised by the preventative health organisation Pink Hope for helping to raise awareness of hereditary cancer, promoting the work of Pink Hope and supporting high risk families.

Pink Hope works to ensure every individual can assess, manage and reduce their risk of breast and ovarian cancer, while providing personalised support for at risk women.  It is estimated that there are 660,000 women at moderate to high risk of breast and ovarian cancer. 

Dr Brasacchio said Pink Hope not only promotes awareness of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC), it provides a forum for affected women to connect.

“I have personally been effected by HBOC through my family history predisposing me to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer,” Dr Brasacchio said. 

“I learnt this through the loss of my mother to ovarian cancer and her sister to breast cancer four and ten years ago, respectively.”

“I have positively benefited from Pink Hope by gaining information that has influenced my health both mentally and physically.”

A not-for-profit charity, Pink Hope aims to decrease the risk of those affected by HBOC of developing cancers.

Dr Brasacchio said it was important for her to use her scientific skills to help and inform others about the progress and development of research in this field.

“It was my way of giving back to a charity that has positively affected my life,” she said.

While Dr Brasacchio’s research at Monash University is not connected to HBOC—she investigates blood cancers including myeloma and lymphoma—she believes it’s extremely important for scientists to use their skills and knowledge to positively communicate research to the community.

“This award shows that it’s important for the community to connect with medical research advancements through effective scientific communication.”

Dr Brasacchio said she is honoured to be part of a wonderful charity—Pink Hope—and is grateful for the ongoing support of her Laboratory Group Leader, Associate Professor Jake Shortt who helps make it possible.

Learning & Teaching Travel Grants, Round 1 2018

The Deputy Dean - Education is pleased to announce the next round of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Learning & Teaching travel grants has been released. The scheme is designed to assist academic staff to attend and/or present papers at conferences that will develop their educational skills and teaching and learning research activity.

The grants are allocated by the Office of the Deputy Dean (Education) on a competitive basis.

The closing date for applications is 30 November 2017.
Round 1, 2018 will cover attendance at conferences commencing between: 1 January 2018 and 30 June  2018.

The guidelines and application form can be accessed under Teaching Grants and Outcomes section of Staff Resources via:

Please note: Staff from Malaysia are eligible for travel grants, however, there are restrictions applied. The restrictions are that it can be up to $1,000 and for travel to Australia to attend a conference or collaborate with Monash Australia staff.

PLEASE NOTE: completed applications will need to be sent to the  DDE Applications email address: 

New Funding Rules for ARC Discovery Program and Linkage Program

The ARC have released Funding Rules for both the Linkage and Discovery Programmes. Dates for upcoming schemes have been posted on the ARC web site, but are listed as "indicative time ​ frames and subject to change". Please visit the ARC important dates page for any updates.

IMPORTANT: Please be advised that there has been a major change to eligibility rules for Future Fellows. Candidates may now apply THREE times over the period in which they are eligible (See section C6.1.2 of Discovery Funding Rules).

Additional guidance material on the major rule changes is available on the respective Funding Rules pages.  ​Please direct queries to the ARC, Grants & Contracts Team at MRO (

The Funding Rules include rules for the following funding schemes:

  • Australian Laureate Fellowships 2018
  • Future Fellowships  2018
  • Discovery Early Career Researcher Award 2019
  • Discovery Indigenous 2019
  • Discovery Projects 2019

  • Industrial Transformation Research Hubs 2018
  • Industrial Transformation Training Centres 2018
  • Linkage Projects 2018
  • Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities 2019

Additional guidance material on the major rule changes has also been made available on the respective Funding Rules pages.

The ARC will provide further notification when schemes open and the RMS Proposal Forms and other relevant scheme documentation become available.

CID seminar: "Die And Let Live? Proapoptotic therapies in tuberculosis", 5 September

Tuesday 5 September, 1-2pm, Seminar room 1, Level 2, TRF

Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is a leading infectious killer worldwide, with an estimated 10 million people affected and 1.5 million dying per annum. Treatment encompasses a prolonged course of numerous antimicrobials, with a growing trend of multi-resistance and limited repertoire of available therapies. In combating this challenge, an understanding of the host-organism interactions was sought, in particular, characterisation of various adaptor proteins involved in TNF signaling, a cytokine that has been shown to be essential in maintaining control of the organism. The presented work explores Mtb’s effect on various cell death proteins using an aerosolized model of murine tuberculosis, simultaneously exploring the effect of pro-apoptotic therapies on bacterial burdens in mice and shows that induction of macrophage death may have a role as novel immunomodulatory therapies in the fight against Mtb.

Samar graduated from Monash University and completed her basic physician and Infectious diseases training at Monash Health, before moving to Sydney where she competed training in clinical immunology and immunopathology. She currently works at Monash in adult ID and within the Infection and Immunity unit at Monash Children's Hospital. She recently completed a PhD through the University of Melbourne, at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, where she set up a murine tuberculosis model which formed the basis of her work on cell death in tuberculosis. 

Lunch will be served from 11.45am outside the seminar room.

CiiiD seminar: "IL-37: from promise to product", 5 September

CiiiD's Tuesday seminar this week feature:

A/Prof Claudia Nold, Head of the Interventional Immunology in Neonatal Diseases Group in The Ritchie Centre and Department of Pediatrics, and, 

Dr Ina Rudloff, Research Fellow in The Ritchie Centre and Department of Pediatrics. 

1-2pm, Tuesday 5 September, Seminar Room 1, Level 2, TRF

Chair: Dr Michael Gantier

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

Contraceptives in PCOS - not only for contraception, 6 September

Kyra Chan's PhD confirmation seminar: "Ventilation-induced brain injury in preterm neonates", 13 September

All staff and students are invited to Yan Yee (Kyra) Chan's PhD confirmation seminar.

13th Sept (Wed), 10am, TRF Level 2 Seminar Room 1

Department and/or Centre: The Ritchie Centre

Presentation Title: Ventilation-induced brain injury in preterm neonates

Synopsis: Inadvertently injurious ventilation in the delivery room causes brain injury in preterm babies. This project aims to provide insight into the mechanisms of ventilation-induced brain injury and to evaluate the therapeutic benefits of existing treatments that target these pathways of injury. 

Supervisors: A/Prof Graeme Polglase, A/Prof Suzanne Miller, Ms Vanesa Stojanovska

Monash Haematology Journal Club: "I hate HITS", 6 September

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

‘I hate HITS’

Presenter: Dr Ashwini Bennett

Grand Rounds: Guest speaker Associate Professor Brandyn Lau, 6 September

Economics of Health Inequalities Workshop, 16 October

The Centre for Health Economics presents: Economics of Health Inequalities Workshop
Monday 16 October, 9.15 am – 3.30 pm
Plenary Room, Monash University, Level 7, 271 Collins St Melbourne CBD

Poor individuals are likely to be sicker and to die younger than rich individuals. To successfully combat such inequalities, we need to appropriately measure, compare and evaluate population health, the determinants of health and healthcare use across socioeconomic groups. The aim of the workshop is to showcase the latest evidence and methods to measure health inequalities and to model the impact of policies on inequalities. The workshop will consist of a series of lectures and discussions from international and Australian experts and will leave room for participants to interact and discuss important health inequality issues with the speakers. It provides a forum for the exchange of expertise between researchers, policy makers, students and other stakeholders. Participants will be asked to provide details of questions or topics of particular interest which may be discussed in the final session.

Click HERE to register (registrations close 11/10/17)
Cost: Early bird (before 19/9) $350; Full $500; Student early bird (before 19/9) $150; Student $200

More information HERE.

Upcoming Mental Health First Aid training for staff

Monash University is offering three Mental Health First Aid training sessions before the end of the year:

Thursday 26th & Friday 27th October
9:00am - 4:30pm
Thursday 9th & Friday 10th November
9:00am - 4:30pm
Thursday 16 & Thursday 23 November
9:00am - 4:30pm

Endometriosis - moving towards a pain free future, 5 October

Acknowledgement of Country

Message from Chair of Diversity & Inclusion Professor Charlotte Rees

In the spirit of celebrating Diversity & Inclusion last week at Monash University, we would like to raise your awareness about Acknowledgement of Country. 

We understand that many staff and students would like to give an Acknowledgement of Country but are not quite sure how to do it.  So please find attached HERE a brief document from Reconciliation Australia that explains the difference between Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country, why they are important and with examples of wording.

 You might also want to add your Acknowledgement of Country to your email signature, using words such as: I acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which I live and work and pay my respect to Elders past, present and future.

For further information, please read the Monash University Reconciliation Action Plan (see attached HERE).  And remember, you can access Monash’s cultural safety program at:

Offered free to Monash staff and students, there are a few workshops available.  Students and staff can self-enrol online for ‘Indigenous Cultural Awareness’ and for staff, you can enrol through myDevelopment for ‘Cultural safety - Indigenous: Introduction’ (half-day) and/or ‘Cultural safety - Indigenous: Level 2’ (full-day).

CSIRO and Monash University partner to launch M2 medical precinct

The CSIRO has partnered with Monash University and the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP) to launch M2, a new Melbourne-based facility that will help emerging medical technology companies and researchers commercialise their ideas.

Read story from Startupdaily HERE

Euan Wallace on ABC Radio

Euan Wallace comments on homebirths.

Read article here.

Arvind Sehgal in the Herald Sun

Read Herald Sun article about Arvind's research into foetal growth restriction HERE.

Alex Hodge in The Herald Sun

Read HERE about Alex's research into the health benefits of coffee.

The fragility of significant results underscores the need of larger randomized controlled trials in nephrology

Lan Shochet, Kevan Polkinghorne et al. published in Kidney International.

Read article here.

Self-Reported Exercise Prevalence and Determinants in the Long Term After Stroke: The North East Melbourne Stroke Incidence Study

Amanda Thrift et al. published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases.

Read article here.

Inequities in access to inpatient rehabilitation after stroke: an international scoping review

Dominique Cadilhac et al. published in Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation.

Read article here.

ANCA-Associated Vasculitis: Pathogenesis, Models, and Preclinical Testing

Richard Kitching et al.published in Seminars in Nephrology.

Read article here.

Global Cardiovascular and Renal Outcomes of Reduced GFR

Kevan Polkinghorne et al. published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Read article here.

Neuregulin-1 (NRG1) polymorphisms linked with psychosis transition are associated with enlarged lateral ventricles and white matter disruption in schizophrenia

Suresh Sundram et al. published in Psychological Medicine.

Read article here.

Expiratory central airway collapse in stable COPD and during exacerbations

Phil Bardin et al. published in Respiratory Research.

Read article here.

The association between patient activation and self-care practices: A cross-sectional study of an Australian population with comorbid diabetes and chronic kidney disease

Edward Zimbudi, Kevan Polkinghorne et al. published in Health Expectations.

Read article here.

Quality indicators of psychotropic prescribing to people with dementia in aged psychiatry inpatient units

Chris Plakiotis et al. published in Aging & Mental Health.

Read article here.

Transcriptional dysregulation of Interferome in experimental and human Multiple Sclerosis

Paul Hertzog et al. published in Scientific Reports.

Read article here.

Association of Epicardial Adipose Tissue and High-Risk Plaque Characteristics: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Nitesh Nerlekar, Dennis Wong et al. published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Read article here.

De novo transcriptome assembly for the spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus)

Hayley Dickinson et al. published in Scientific Reports.

Read article here.

Fatal Dialysis Vascular Access Hemorrhage

Kevan Polkinghorne et al. published in the American Journal of Kidney Disease.

Read article here.