Monday, 30 April 2018

Alternative clot busting drug improves outcomes for stroke patients

Associate Professor Henry Ma
An alternative and more cost-effective clot-busting drug has greater benefits for stroke patients than the current standard treatment, according to latest research including Monash University collaborators.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the results of a clinical trial reveal Tenecteplase—a drug that dissolves unwanted blood clots—leads to better outcomes for ischaemic stroke patients than the current therapy, Alteplase, prior to surgical removal of a clot.

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide.  Most strokes (around 80 per cent) are ischaemic, resulting from a blocked artery causing reduced blood flow to regions of the brain.

“Treatments to restore blood flow, including drugs such as Tenecteplase and Alteplase, reduce disability for stroke survivors,” said study co-author Associate Professor Henry Ma from Monash University’s Stroke and Ageing Research Group.

“This is the first study that shows patients given Tenecteplase before endovascular clot retrieval had higher rates of blood flow and better functional outcome when treated within 4.5 hours of stroke onset,” said Associate Professor Ma, who is also Director of Neurology Department at Monash Health.

“Another benefit of Tenecteplase is that it’s administered intravenously in a single dose over a short period of time and relatively cheaper than Alteplase.”

“Alteplase, the current standard treatment, is given as an infusion over one hour and results in lower rates of blood flow for large blood clots.”

One of the most important findings is that for every 9 patients being treated with Tenecteplase, one less patient will require surgical clot removal due to the breakdown of the clot and re-establishment of blood flow to the brain,” Associate Professor Ma said.

“This will not just save precious healthcare resources but also improve outcomes.”

“Patients from rural and regional centres who need to travel long distances to clot retrieval centres such as Monash Medical Centre will benefit greatly from early clot breakdown as every second counts.”

A total of 202 patients were enrolled in the randomised trial in 13 hospitals across Australia and New Zealand between 2015 and 2017.

“Study participants were stroke patients with large clots who were eligible for intravenous clot busting and surgical clot removal within 4.5 hours of stroke onset,” said Monash Health neurologist and co-author Professor Thanh Phan, also from Monash University’s Stroke and Ageing Research Group.

“Surgical clot removal, known as endovascular clot retrieval (ECR), is a relatively new procedure where a large clot is removed by passing a catheter via the large artery in the groin.”

“ECR results in marked improvements in patient outcomes—in a 2015 landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, up to 70 per cent of patients recovered,” Professor Phan said.

Monash Medical Centre is one of only two dedicated ECR centres in Victoria, providing 24-hour, seven-day service for stroke patients across the state.

Screening for TB will benefit kidney transplant patients from high-risk countries

Dr Ben Rogers

Patients from high-risk countries should be screened for tuberculosis prior to renal transplants, Nephrology.
according to Monash research published in

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most common infections globally, with around one quarter of the world’s population infected. Fortunately the vast majority of patients have latent infection, and never develop symptoms.

“Active (symptomatic) TB is usually caused by the reactivation of latent infection, and immune suppression increases the risk of reactivation,” said senior author Dr Ben Rogers, a Monash Health infectious disease physician and researcher at Monash University’s Centre for Inflammatory Diseases.

“In the transplant population, TB most commonly arises due to reactivation caused by immunosuppressive medications.”

Dr Rogers said TB is a serious infection in kidney transplant recipients, associated with high mortality.

In Australia there are no formal guidelines for latent TB screening of transplant patients. 

“Our findings suggest for the first time in Australia that screening and treatment of renal transplant recipients born in high incidence countries is an important preventive measure,” Dr Rogers said.

The study retrospectively reviewed 660 Monash Medical Centre renal transplantation patients from 2005 to 2014.

“We found that individuals born in high TB risk countries had a much higher incidence of active TB, and up to 16 per cent of our renal transplant patients may be at risk according to their birth countries,” said Dr Nastaran Rafiei, lead author and Monash Health infectious diseases registrar.

Although the number of individuals in the cohort who developed active TB following transplantation was low, all had notably difficult treatment courses and all had disease involving the lungs and were at risk of transmitting infection in the community.

“The World Health Organization, as well as many national transplant committees have guidelines for the management of latent TB in organ transplant recipients, but such screening is not currently part of Australian renal transplant guidelines,” Dr Rafiei said.

“We don’t have protocols or a uniform approach to TB screening for renal transplant recipients, probably because of the very low rate of TB in Australia.”

Dr Rafiei said she hopes these findings will inform the development of local and national guidelines.

2018 Joint Science-Medicine Interdisciplinary Research Seed Funding Scheme APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN

The Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (MNHS) are pleased to announce the joint seed funding scheme to support the development of interdisciplinary research collaborations between the two faculties which aims to form significant collaborations that will develop into external major grant applications will be running in 2018. 
Please direct your researchers to the JSM 2018 intranet page for more information on the scheme including the GuidelinesInstructions to Applicants and the Application Form.

The funded proposals will be able to:
  • Show significant innovation/novelty and/or be a proof-of-concept for a new collaborative research project;
  • Lead to external funding applications for nationally and internationally competitive schemes; and/or
  • Lead to new industry engagement opportunities that may lead to new or increased funding.
Eligibility Criteria:
1. The lead Chief Investigators from Science and MNHS must be level B-E Monash University academic staff members (Teaching and Research (T&R) or Research Focused (RF) /Research Only (RO) or Clinical staff).  They must hold either full-time or fractional appointments at, or greater than, 0.5 FTE with an expectation of employment over the duration of the grant and must be able to dedicate sufficient time to the project to ensure its completion.  Applicants’ salaries must be either funded from the University operating budget or from their own Fellowships obtained from a National Competitive scheme. 
2. Each application must have at least one Chief Investigator (CI) from the Faculty of Science and at least one CI from the Faculty of MNHS (the first named CIs from each faculty are considered co-lead CIs).
3. Applicants can only be co-lead CI on ONE application per round.
4. Adjunct staff are NOT eligible to be the co-lead CI from their respective faculty on any application.
5. Applications will not be considered for research projects that are the subject of existing successful or requested competitive grants (ARC, NHMRC, etc.) or industry projects of the CIs.  Thus, they cannot be used to cover shortfalls in funding or expand existing funded research projects

How to Apply:
Applications must be submitted on the Interdisciplinary Research Seed Funding Scheme application form in accordance with the eligibility criteria and other instructions set out in the guidelines. 
Email the signed application (pdf) to:         
Applications close at 5pm, Wednesday 30 May 2018.

Late applications will not be accepted.
In 2018, the Faculty of Science Research Office will administer this scheme, please direct all queries to Nicole DeRycke at

Georgina Sweet Awards – Applications open May 1st

The Georgina Sweet Awards for Women in Quantitative Biomedical Science were created by Professor Leann Tilley as part of her Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship program to promote and support female scientists who demonstrate excellence in the area of Quantitative Biomedical Science.

Quantitative Biomedical Science is Biological/Biomedical Research that employs a quantitative approach, particularly in areas such as Computational Biology, Biophysics, Bioinformatics, Biochemistry, Genomics, Structural Biology, Cell Biology etc.

Two new awards were established in 2016:
-          Georgina Sweet Award for Women in Quantitative Biomedical Science:  Up to three awards of $25,000 each will be made each year to Australian female researchers who demonstrate excellence in the area of quantitative biomedical science.  Applications for this year’s award open on May 1st and will close on May 31st, 2018.

-          Georgina Sweet Travel Support for a Female Keynote Speaker in Quantitative Biomedical Science:  Up to three awards of $3,000 each are available each year to support the attendance of a female keynote speaker at an Australian conference.  Applications are open at any time until awards have been allocated for the year.

For more information, guidelines and to apply please visit:

Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision

Do you know someone who deserves to be recognised for supervision excellence?  Support a nomination for the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision.

Applications are now open for the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision. This award recognises research supervisors who have demonstrated exceptional supervision, mentoring and training practices to benefit and enrich the experiences of their graduate research students. Learn more and see how to nominate a supervisor for this award.  Closing date is 7 Sept 2018.  There will also be a FMNHS Dean's Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision, with details to be released.

FMNHS Dean's Awards for Excellence 2018 - Now OPEN for Application

Nominations for the FMNHS Dean's Awards for Excellence 2018  are now open for the following categories:

Please submit your application via email to
Closing date for nominations is midnight Sunday 20th May 2018.
For further information, please contact Ms. Dunja Licina on 9905 5169.

Tell us what you think about data!

Monash Partners has been asked to provide training to assist Healthcare workers to improve
healthcare outcomes through better use of data We want to know what you already know, what
training already exists and what you would find useful Please complete the survey using the link below.

It takes between five and eight minutes:  Data Driven Healthcare Improvement Survey

Alison Johnson can help if you have any queries.


Further to the announcement in the Monash Insider, the Academic Promotion round is now open.

If you are applying for promotion, please ensure you allow sufficient time for your performance supervisor and Head of Unit to complete their sections of the Case for Promotion form.

You are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to meet with the relevant Deputy Dean of Education or
Research to discuss your application prior to submission.

It is recommended that you email your completed application to your performance supervisor and Head of Unit / School / Department by 11 May 2018. Your application should include all supporting documentation.
Please only upload your final application into the Academic Promotion system once all supporting documentation and your performance supervisor’s and Head of Unit approval has been obtained. Your completed application, including all required documents attached, must be uploaded via the “apply now” icon on the Academic Promotion website by no later than the 1 June 2018 (at 5.00pm).

Further Information and enquiries:
·         For full details of the academic promotion process please visit the Academic Promotion website
·         For information on how to request research and education supplementary report(s), please visit the Academic Promotion Supplementary Reports.
·         Candidates applying for promotion to Level E please discuss your intentions with the Dean
·         All other queries, please contact the relevant Academic Promotion Coordinator.

Annual Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) Student Symposium – Call for Abstracts

More information:

Maternal Medicine, 12 May

CID seminar, Dr Sam Forster and Dr Poh-Yi Gan, 1 May

Melbourne Neonatal Fellow Education Program: Monash Children’s Hospital, May 2

Venue: Monash Newborn, Monash Children’s Hospital, room 5.2 on Level 5.

Facilitator:      Prof Arvind Sehgal


0900 to 0945
Case Review
RWH fellow
0945 to 1015
Morning Tea Break
1015 to ~1315
Common haemodynamic issues in neonates: Replacing your reality with mine
Prof Arvind Sehgal, Neonatologist
~1315 to 1400
Lunch break
1400 to 1445
Benchmarking in the NICU                                                                                                                        Assoc Prof Kenneth Tan, Neonatologist
1445 to 1530
Meconium aspiration syndrome
Dr Atul Malhotra, Neonatologist
1530 to 1545
Wrap-up & Evaluations


Monash Haematology Journal Club: ‘ The management of relapsed/refractory Hodgkin’s Lymphoma’, 2 May

7.30am, 2 May, Lecture Theatre 2, MMC

Dr Martin Hutchings
Department of Haematology
The Finsen Centre, National Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital Copenhagen, Denmark

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Dr. Martin Hutchings received his medical degree and his PhD at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is a staff specialist, Department of Hematology, at the Finsen Centre, National Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark. Dr. Hutchings is chairman of the Scientific Steering Committee for the EORTC Lymphoma Group and principal investigator for the EORTC H11 randomized trial. His Main research areas Hodgkin lymphoma; Mantle cell lymphoma; PET/CT in lymphoma; PET-response adapted lymphoma treatment; Phase 1 haematology studies. 

In addition, he is a peer-reviewer for numerous journals including Haematologica, Clinical Cancer Research, Annals of Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of Nuclear Medicine, Journal of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Bone Marrow Transplant, American Journal of Hematology, Radiation Oncology, Leukemia and Lymphoma, Lancet Oncology, and International Journal of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Hutchings has given many lectures and written numerous peer-reviewed articles on the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma.

High-dimensional profiling of cardiac cellular heterogeneity: Identifying novel cellular protagonists of cardiac ageing and disease, 2 May

A special Hudson seminar to be held in Block E Level 4 Seminar Room on Wednesday 2 May, 12-1pm 
Our speaker will be Dr. Alex Pinto, Research Scientist from Jackson Laboratory (USA). 

He will be presenting "High-dimensional profiling of cardiac cellular heterogeneity: Identifying novel cellular protagonists of cardiac ageing and disease"

Characterisation of the cardiac cellulome—the network of cells that form the heart—is essential for understanding cardiac development and normal organ function, and for formulating precise therapeutic strategies to combat heart disease. Recent studies have challenged assumptions about both the cellular composition and functional significance of the cardiac non-myocyte cell pool, with unexpected roles identified for resident fibroblasts and immune cell populations. However, fundamental questions remain regarding the cellular composition of the heart. We are yet to achieve fine-grained analysis of the full range of cells that form the heart, and of the interactions between these cells; we have only limited understanding of the role of cardiac cells and cell networks in tissue homeostasis, development and disease. To address these gaps in our knowledge, we have characterised the murine non-myocyte cardiac cellular landscape using high-dimensional cytometry and single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq). These studies have revealed the diversity of cell types within the cardiac cellulome and facilitated the development of novel techniques to isolate understudied cardiac cell populations such as mural cells and glia. Our analyses have revealed networks of intercellular communication as well as extensive sexual dimorphisms in gene expression and cell abundances in the heart. These studies offer new insights into the structure and function of the mammalian cardiac cellulome and will inform new studies in cardiac cell biology.

Brief Biography
Dr Alexander Pinto is a Research Scientist at the Jackson Laboratory (USA). His research group studies and seeks to therapeutically manipulate cardiac cells and cell networks. Dr Pinto’s group completed the first systematic characterisation of cardiac tissue macrophages in the heart and, building on this, has profiled cardiac cellular heterogeneity, transforming our understanding of the cell types that form the heart. Dr Pinto’s team recently published the first transcriptomic analysis of the cardiac cellular ecosystem, revealing the complexity and interconnectedness of cell populations in the heart. Dr Pinto’s research employs data science approaches and novel genetic tools to better understand cardiac cell networks in development and homeostasis and how they may be manipulated to treat disease. Before joining the Jackson Laboratory, Dr Pinto completed his postdoctoral training at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL, Rome, Italy) and the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI, Melbourne, Australia).

Identifying the Genetic and Environmental Causes of Birth Defects', 3 May

This week's Hudson seminar will be held in Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, Level 2, TRF Building on Thursday 3rd May, 12pm-1pm.
Our speaker will be Professor Sally Dunwoodie PhD BSc,
Head of Embryology Laboratory, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

She will be presenting 'Identifying the Genetic and Environmental Causes of Birth Defects'

Sally Dunwoodie gained a PhD researching the genetics of muscle development, at the Children’s Medical Research Institute, University of Sydney. She undertook postdoctoral training in embryology at the National Institute for Medical Research in London. There she identified numerous genes necessary for normal mammalian embryogenesis. She has defined genetic causes of congenital vertebral defects with diagnostic genetic tests now available worldwide. Sally is embracing some of the newest genomic technologies to identify disease-causing mutations in hundreds of families with heart defects, among others. She is also exploring the impact that environmental factors and gene-environment interaction have on embryogenesis. She has received awards including the ANZSCDB Emerging Leader Award, was a 2016 finalist in the NSW Premier's Woman of the Year Award, and won the NSW Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Medical Biological Science in 2017. Sally Dunwoodie heads the Embryology Laboratory and the Chain Reaction Program in Congenital Heart Disease Research at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney. She is a Professor in the Faculties of Medicine and Science at the University of New South Wales.

A light lunch and refreshments will follow this presentation. 

Sustainable healthcare, presented by Dr David Pencheon OBE, 21 May


New venue:  Main lecture theatre, MMC

IgV Annual Scientific Meeting, 23-24 August. Registrations now OPEN

Abstract submission and Registration details can be found at:

Make sure you take advantage of early-bird registrations until June 1st.

Registration fees cover meals (including the conference dinner), accommodation and conference registration. Please refer to the website for further details. 

Register early to avoid disappointment, as registrations may be capped due to the capacity of the venue.

We have an exciting program shaping up, including 3 International speakers.

Current Invited Speakers include:

Flu vaccination information

2018 influenza immunisation - get your free vaccination at MMC (or on campus).  

Compliance training

Monash University requires all staff to undertake online training about our legal obligations relating to occupational health and safety, equal opportunity, privacy and ethical behaviour. 

Our training records indicate that you need to undertake one or more of these courses. You can check your completion status in myDevelopment by logging on to ESS and viewing 'My Monash Training Qualifications' (uncheck the "hide certified certifications" box). 

Can you please complete any required training by 31st May, 2018, by accessing the online training modules here. The programs are not lengthy and each one takes ~20 minutes.

If our training records are incorrect, please email to have your records updated.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation, and please contact with any queries.

The RAPID-Plus Trial

The Monash Health Aged Psychiatry Academic Unit is looking for volunteers to join the RAPID-plus
trial, a study testing a new approach to treating depressive symptoms in people with Alzheimer’s Disease and their carers.

This six-month study aims to test a novel intervention designed to improve the mood and quality of life of people with memory concerns and those who care for them. The intervention is called ‘cognitive bias modification’ or CBM. CBM is an easy to use computer-based intervention that aims to break the vicious cycle of negative thoughts contributing to negative feelings.

If you, or someone you know would be interested in participating, or for more information, please contact:

Rhoda Lai – Phone: 03 9265 7610, Email:

Tell us your thoughts on egg freezing!

Researchers at Monash University want to investigate women and men's views, knowledge of and interest in egg freezing. The data collected from this study will provide valuable information and insights for health care providers and policy makers.

People between the ages of 18-60 are invited to complete the survey. While many of the questions relate to egg freezing and women’s reproductive options we are interested in the views of both men and women and your thoughts about the future of this technology.

Invariant natural killer T cells shape the gut microbiota and regulate neutrophil recruitment and function during intestinal inflammation

SJ Shen et al. published in Frontiers in Immunology.

The Factors Associated With Anxiety Symptom Severity in Older Adults Living in Nursing Homes and Other Residential Aged Care Facilities

David Kissane et al. published in the Journal of Aging and Health.

Radiation Dose Optimization in Interventional Cardiology: A Teaching Hospital Experience

Mohamed Badawy et al. published in Cardiology Research and Practice.

Clinical aspects of incorporating cord clamping into stabilisation of preterm infants

Stuart Hooper et al. published in Archives of Disease in Childhood.  Fetal and Neonatal Edition.

Working while unwell: Workplace impairment in people with severe asthma

Phil Bardin et al. published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy.

Stroke care in Africa: A systematic review of the literature

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

Investigating the Interactive Effects of Sex Steroid Hormones and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor during Adolescence on Hippocampal NMDA Receptor Expression

Rachel Hill et al. published in the International Journal of Endocrinology.

Treatment strategies and cumulative live birth rates in WHO-II ovulation disorders

Ben Mol et al. published in the European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology

Ruptured Distal Anterior Choroidal Artery Aneurysm Presenting as Isolated Intraventricular Hemorrhage: Case Report and Comprehensive Review of the Literature

Ronil Chandra et al. published in the Asian Journal of Neurosurgery.

Advances in Stroke 2017

Amanda Thrift et al. published in Stroke.