Monday, 23 April 2018

Outstanding PhD students from The Ritchie Centre receive recognition

Tayla Penny, Madison Paton, Aidan Kashyap, Annie Cox

Graduate research students from The Ritchie Centre at the Monash Health Translation Precinct took the lion’s share of awards at the recent Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ) annual scientific meeting.

PhD students Aidan Kashyap, Madison Paton, Tayla Penny and Annie Cox were all recognised for their outstanding research at the premier perinatology event in Auckland, New Zealand last month.

Aidan Kashyap received the PSANZ-PRS Mont Liggins Early Career Award and the New Investigator Award for Best Oral Presentation in Basic Science for his research into congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), a devastating cause of impaired lung development which affects 1 in 3000 babies.

Babies with CDH are born with a hole in the diaphragm, which allows abdominal organs to enter the chest and prevents the lungs from growing appropriately.

“My research is investigating promising new therapies that could be used to treat these babies before they are even born,” Aidan said.
“The first therapy involves performing keyhole-surgery called “FETO” to place a small balloon in the developing baby’s throat. This balloon traps naturally-secreted liquid within the airways that promotes lung growth, to give even the most severely affected babies a better chance of survival after birth.”
“Unfortunately, some babies do not respond to FETO therapy, and our research is showing that this may be because even though their lungs grow bigger, there is still not enough blood flowing through them to collect oxygen for the rest of the body.”
“To further improve survival, we are also investigating giving a medication called sildenafil to pregnant mothers carrying a baby diagnosed with CDH.”
“Sildenafil allows blood vessels within the fetal lungs to grow normally again, so when these babies are born, enough blood can flow through the lungs to collect life-sustaining oxygen,” Aidan said.
Aidan said he was honoured to receive the Mont Liggins Early Career Award, the most prestigious award for an oral presentation at the PSANZ Annual Scientific Congress which includes an invitation to speak at the US-based Perinatal Research Society (PRS) Annual Meeting later this year.
PhD and medical student Annie Cox was awarded Best Oral Presentation in Obstetrics and Gynaecology for her bench side analysis of the use of broccoli sprout extract as an adjuvant therapy for preeclampsia.
“Broccoli sprout extract is high in sulforaphane, and I’ve developed laboratory evidence supporting sulforaphane’s ability to act as an antioxidant and improve cellular resilience to oxidative and inflammatory stress,” Annie said.
Annie will conduct a clinical trial assessing broccoli sprout extract as an adjuvant therapy for women diagnosed with preeclampsia.
“I hope to improve maternal vascular health, thereby allowing for safe prolongation of pregnancy to enable fetal maturation,” Annie said.
Third year PhD student Madison Paton’s stem cell research was recognised with the PSANZ Ritchie Centre Award for Translational Research. Madison was also awarded the Senior Investigator Prize for Best Oral Presentation at the accompanying Fetal and Neonatal Workshop of Australia and New Zealand.
Madison is investigating the benefit of stem cells from human umbilical cord tissue to reduce white matter brain injury.
“We are assessing the efficacy of stem cells as a therapy to protect the brain of babies born preterm after exposure to inflammation while developing in the womb,” Madison said.  “This will help contribute to finding a therapy to protect against cerebral palsy.”
Tayla Penny was awarded the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Award (first place) and the Early Career Researcher Travel Award for her work in hypoxic ishcemic brain injury.
“My research compares dose and delivery method of Umbilical Cord Blood (UCB) in a neonatal rat model of hypoxic ishcemic brain injury, and I’ve shown that UCB administration improves brain weight and behavioural outcomes,” Tayla said.

“I hope my research will elude to the long term effects of neonatal hypoxic ischemic brain injury, and determine if UCB cell therapy has a sustained effect and is able to reduce brain injury and improve behavioural and motor outcomes.”

All students acknowledged the ongoing support of their lab teams and supervisors, including: Associate Professor Ryan Hodges, Professor Stuart Hooper, Associate Professor Suzie Miller, Professor Graham Jenkin, Professor Euan Wallace, Dr Courtney McDonald, Dr Kirsten Palmer, Dr Sarah Marshall, Dr Seshini Gurusinghe, Dr Kelly Crossley, Dr Philip Dekoninck, Dr Beth Allison and Associate Professor Michael Fahey.

New funding to build capacity for cancer care and research across Monash Partners

Monash Partners’ Cancer and Blood Diseases theme, the Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (MPCCC), will advance collaborative programs outlined in its 2017 – 2021 strategic plan thanks to new funding provided by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The funding was confirmed in mid-April and will include $219,000 to pilot a shared care model for cancer related depression. Aimed at building the capacity of the psych-oncology workforce to better service the needs of patients across Monash Partners health services, this pilot program will train and mentor community based psychologists to treat cancer related depression and will establish a patient referral pathway from the acute hospital setting to community based services, so that cancer patients can access these services close to where they live.

“Clinical depression is the most prevalent psychological condition affecting cancer patients, but many patients do not receive treatment for their depression, due to a chronic shortfall in the hospital based psycho-oncology workforce” said Prof David Kissane, project lead and Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Monash University, Monash Health and Cabrini.

2018 Influenza Immunisation - get your free vaccination at MMC TOMORROW (or on campus)

Flu vaccinations are available for all staff Tuesday 24 April from 7.15am-4pm at Monash Medical Centre outside Lecture Theatre 3.  At all other times the vaccination is available from Infection Control.

For staff based at other campuses (e.g. Notting Hill, Dandenong etc), the flu vaccination program is being coordinated by OH&S, with an external provider engaged to administer the immunisations for Monash University.

Appointments are scheduled to commence shortly.  Please follow the steps below to book your appointment:

Log into the booking system at – Health Watch Australia
Enter the following username and password:
Username: monashuni
Password: fluvax2018

Select our preferred location and enter your details

For Faculty/Division:  Type “School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health

Enter the following details for Area Coordinator:
Name:  Clare Westhorpe

Once submitted, you will receive a confirmation email.


A copy of your confirmation email MUST be taken to your appointment.  You can either print the email or have it available on your phone or tablet.  This will be verification of your booking.

2018 Prizes & Awards Calendar - May & June

Please refer to the Prizes & Awards(P&A) Calendar for opportunities closing in May and June 2018

Of particular note are the following P&A opportunities, so please start thinking of suitable candidates now:
  • Eureka Prize: Scientific Research
  • Eureka Prize: Leadership in Innovation and Science
  • Eureka Prize: Infectious Diseases Research,
  • Eureka Prize: Innovation in Medical Research
  • Business and Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) Awards

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.

7th Annual NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation, November 2018: Call for abstracts now open

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) are pleased to announce the 7th Annual NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation. This year, the National Health and Medical Research Council will be partnering with The REWARD Alliance. The theme will be ‘Ensuring Value in Research’ with a particular focus on: 

1. Justifiable research priorities 
2. Robust research design, conduct and analysis
3. Regulation and management of research conduct proportionate to risks
4. Accessible research methods and findings and complete and usable research reports 

CID seminar: Post-translational Regulation of Inflammasome-associated IL-1β, 24 April

Tuesday 24 April, 12-1pm, TRF seminar room 1

Presented by Dr James Vince, 
Laboratory head (Division: Inflammation), The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Cytosolic inflammasome protein complexes sense pathogen and sterile danger molecules to activate and induce the secretion of the potent proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β). The importance of IL-1β is underscored by clinical trials implicating its excessive activation in hereditary autoinflammatory syndromes, and common conditions such as gout, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, there remains a fundamental knowledge gap in our understanding of how IL-1β is regulated. Here we have used mass-spectrometry to investigate the post-translational targeting of IL-1β. We found that IL-1β is both phosphorylated and ubiquitylated on distinct residues. Mutation of a conserved IL-1β ubiquitylation site in vivo by CRISPR gene editing revealed how the ubiquitylation of IL-1β regulates IL-1β activation by inflammasome protein complexes. Moreover, we observed that innate immune stimuli can trigger IL-1β ubiquitylation to impact its activation.  Therefore the post-translational ubiquitylation of IL-1β may profoundly influence inflammatory disease outcomes.
The Vince laboratory studies how different programmed cell death signaling pathways influence inflammatory responses, with a particular interest in the regulation of inflammasome protein complexes. This research has discovered novel roles and mechanisms for the apoptotic and necroptotic cell death machinery in driving inflammasome activation following pathogen detection, and also in genetically acquired autoinflammatory conditions. Moreover, their work has uncovered how new classes of BH3-mimetics, designed to induce cancer cell death, may be re-purposed to kill pathogen-infected cells to eliminate damaging inflammation and promote pathogen clearance.

Hudson Seminar Series - Dr C.Glenn Begley - 26th April

This week's Hudson seminar will be held in Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, Level 2, TRF Building on Thursday 26th April 12pm-1pm.
Our speaker will be Dr C. Glenn Begley MB BS PhD FRACP FRCPA FRCPath FAHMS;
CEO of BioCurate Pty Ltd.

He will be presenting 'Challenges facing Translational Research across the Yarra, and around the World'

As medical researchers, we all want to make a difference.  We all want to make discoveries that have a real impact on human health. There are however many obstacles to achieving this goal.
In an effort to address some of these, Monash University and the University of Melbourne have created an independent company, BioCurate charged with taking the medical research from the two Universities and translating that research into therapeutics of clinical and commercial value.
Over the last 6 months, BioCurate has had the privilege of reviewing over 50 research projects. Those reviews have revealed themes common to academic research worldwide.
Unfortunately, however, the rewards that currently apply within the worldwide academic system provide a perverse set of incentives that reward flashy science with little regard for the quality, robustness or reliability of the work.  That is particularly the case for papers published in the “top tier” journals. In this presentation, I will review and ‘dissect’ several high profiles, highly cited publications that illustrate the problem. These highly cited publications, from famous investigators and their laboratories, typically fail because experiments were not performed by blinded investigators, positive and negative controls were not used, experiments were not repeated, reagents were not validated, only select data was shown, and data analysis was inappropriate.
This is a systemic problem and guarantees that a focus on rigour and reproducibility at the very heart of the BioCurate’s endeavours.

A light lunch and refreshments will follow this presentation. 

Rashid Aldahhan's PhD pre-submission seminar, "Understanding the mechanisms involved in heat damage of testicular function in the rat", 2 May

All staff and students are invited to Rashid Aldahhan's PhD pre-submission seminar.

2 May, 10.30am in Board Room (both a & b), MIMR building, level 3

This project aims to study the time-course of the response of the rat testis to heat and to determine the mechanisms by which the seminiferous tubules communicate with the intertubular compartment of the testis. It also investigates the potential role of activins, inhibins and follistatin in this intercompartmental dialogue

Panel chair: Associate Professor Elizabeth Algar

Independent assessors: Professor Kate Loveland and Associate Professor Peter Temple-Smith

Supervisor details:  Associate Prof Mark Hedger, Prof David de Kretser and Dr Peter Stanton 

Sam Teague's PhD milestone review, "Investigating the role of attachment in the treatment of behaviour and emotional problems in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder", 1 May

All staff and students are invited to Samantha Teague's PhD milestone review seminar.

Tuesday 1st May at 1:30pm, Room PS3.02, Level 3, P Block, MMC

Presentation Title
Investigating the role of attachment in the treatment of behaviour and emotional problems in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are shown to have higher levels of behaviour and emotional problems and more attachment difficulties than children with other developmental disabilities. This seminar will present findings on the role of children's attachment quality in the development and treatment of behaviour and emotional problems in children with ASD. 

All Supervisor names 
Assoc Prof Kylie Gray, Prof Louise Newman, Emeritus Prof Bruce Tonge

Panel Chair
Phyllis Chua

Independent assessors
Prof David Kissane, Assoc Prof Glenn Melvin

Aidan Kashyap's PhD mid-candidature review, "Novel fetal therapies for babies with congenital diaphragmatic hernia", 9 May

All staff and students are invited to Aidan Kashyap's PhD mid-candidature review.

1.30pm, 9 May, TRF Level 5 breakout space (The Ritchie Centre Tea Room, new building)

Synopsis:  Babies affected by congenital diaphragmatic hernia face a difficult start to life because their lungs are too small and the pulmonary blood vessels have not developed properly. To allow these babies (and their parents) to breathe a little easier, we are investigating fetal surgical procedures that stimulate lung growth, fetal medical therapies that improve pulmonary vascular development, and changes to neonatal management that allow more blood to flow through the lungs at birth.

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

Milestone review, Bethany Reynolds, "Patient Reported Outcome Measures following treatment of Dupuytren’s Contracture", 2 May

All staff and students are invited to Bethany Reynolds' Masters of Surgery Confirmation of Candidature.

2 May at 4.30pm
Office of Professor Julian Smith, Monash Medical Centre, Level 5, Block E

Synopsis: Report of the outcomes of the Peninsula Health Collagenase for Dupuytren's Disease; using REDCap as a data collection tool and review of Patient Reported Outcome Measures as a measure of treatment outcomes in Dupuytren's Disease.

Supervisor: Prof Julian Smith, Ass.Prof David Hunter-Smith
Panel Chair: Suzanne Miller

Panel Members: Mr George Pratt & Mr David Syme

Notification of new date - Animal Ethics Information Session – Friday 18 May

Monash University requires that:

    All new research staff and students using live animals complete
this information session.
    Researchers, Teachers and students must have attended or enrolled
in the next available session to be named on an animal ethics application.

This session provides attendees with important information regarding their legal obligations in the context of conducting animal-based research.

New Date: Friday 18 May 2018
Time: 10am – 12:50m
Venue: Lecture Theatre S10, 16 Rainforest Walk, Clayton Campus - Places are limited to venue capacity.

To register or to be notified of new sessions is via mydevelopment - details at

2018 MIME Seed Fund round and Affinity Meeting, 5 June

Monash Institute of Medical Engineering (MIME) is preparing to launch its annual seed fund. The 2018 MIME Seed Fund will be initiated through a series of affinity meetings with our partner hospitals.

RSVP to attend the MHTP- MIME meeting on Tuesday 5 June, 3-5pm, Seminar Room 2, TRF

The 2018 round of the MIME Seed Fund is designed to build on the collaborative framework of MIME established in recent years. There will be up to $500,000 available in the 2018 funding round. Applications may request up to $50,000 per project for medtech collaborative projects involving a MNHS clinician researcher and a Monash engineering or IT researcher. Cardiac themed proposals will be highly regarded and may attract a higher level of funding. Successful applicants of the 2016 MIME Seed Fund round are also invited to apply for top up funding as part of the 2018 Seed Fund round.

The funding will be directed to projects that can achieve a meaningful outcome within 12-18 months, e.g. proof-of-concept data or initial prototype. The seed funding is aimed at progressing a project to the point that the research team is well positioned to then secure external funding from industry or grants to progress the next phase of the R&D.

Like the previous rounds of the MIME Seed Fund, there will be two stages to the application process: an initial call to clinicians to define areas of unmet clinical need, followed by an invitation to all Monash staff to respond with proposed solutions. All Monash staff are eligible to participate in the multidisciplinary ‘solution' teams. Researchers from MIME partner institutions are also invited to participate as members of the collaborative teams.

Important Dates

Thursday, 31 May 2018
MIME Alfred Health Affinity Meeting
Tuesday, 5 June 2018
MIME Monash Health Affinity Meeting
Friday, 15 June 2018
MIME Eastern Health Affinity Meeting
Friday, 15 June 2018    
Call to clinicians for unmet needs opens (Phase 1)
Wednesday, 4 July 2018           
Call to clinicians for unmet needs closes (Phase 1)
Tuesday, 10 July 2018  
Phase 1 proposals meeting selection criteria announced on a secure page of the MIME website (must have Monash Authcate to access) ready for researchers to view to form solutions
Wednesday, 11 July 2018         
Call for solutions opens (Phase 2)
Friday, 27 July 2018     
Call for solutions closes (Phase 2)
Week commencing Monday 20 August 2018
Panel interviews
Week commencing Monday 3 September 2018
Announcement of successful candidates

Pancreatic cancer fundraiser fun run, 6 May

Ovarian cancer fundraiser fun run, 27 May

Women in Leadership 2018 Program, 26-27 June

Register hereAlternative dates here.

Women in Leadership 2018 Program, 24-25 October at MMC

Maternal Medicine short course, 12 May

Short courses available

University Public Holidays and Annual Closedown Period

The next Public Holidays observed by the University are:
· Wednesday 25th April (ANZAC Day)
· Friday 28th September (Grand Final Friday) (TBC)
· Tuesday 25th December (Christmas Day)
· Wednesday 26th December (Boxing Day)

Casual staff are not required to work on Public Holidays observed by the University.

Please note that Queen’s Birthday (Monday 11th June) and Melbourne Cup (Tuesday 6th November) are not University holidays.

The last working day for 2018 will be Thursday 20th December.
The first day of work for 2019 will be Wednesday 2nd January.

University branding guidelines for e-mail signatures

Please note that the correct full name of the School is: ‘School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health’.

Monash clinical trials fundraising success

A spectacular night of 1920s elegance and jazzy revelling was embraced by 220 guests at a ‘Great Gatsby’ themed ball held at Bunjil Place on Saturday 14 April.

The event, organised by cancer victim Effie Atkins, raised $65,000 to help boost the number of patients to undertake Monash Health’s Clinical Cancer Trials.

Read Pakenham Gazette story.

Stroke care in Africa: A systematic review of the literature

Dominique Cadilhac et al. published in the International Journal of Stroke.

Identification of a Siglec-F+ granulocyte-macrophage progenitor

Jake Shortt et al. published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis: Active disease and latent infection in a renal transplant cohort

Nastaran Rafiei, Ben Rogers et al. published in Nephrology.

Re: Medical student enquiries on the art of clinical inertia

Diana Egerton-Warburton et al. published in Emergency Medicine Australasia.

Increasing rates of quetiapine overdose, misuse, and mortality in Victoria, Australia

Anselm Wong et al. published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

The relative price of healthy and less healthy foods available in Australian school canteens

Claire Palermo et al. published in Health Promotion International.