Monday, 14 May 2018

3D printing an education tool for surgical trainees and medical students

Mr Ram Nataraja
For the first time, a team at Monash Children’s Hospital and Monash University have created a 3D printed model of a three year old patient’s abnormal biliary tree and choledochal cyst to improve the planning and outcome of her corrective surgery, while at the same time enhancing the educational experience for medical staff and students.

The novel project, led by Monash Children’s Hospital consultant paediatric and neonatal surgeon Mr Ram Nataraja, who is also Director of Surgical Simulation and a senior lecturer at Monash University, was published recently in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

3D printing is increasingly being used in medicine to assist surgeons in pre-operative planning. 

“3D printing of bespoke patient replicas has the potential to revolutionise complex surgical procedures by allowing 3D visualisation of unique anatomical variants or pathology, both before and during surgery,” Mr Nataraja said.

“This project also demonstrates the educational value of 3D printing models to undergraduate medical students, surgical trainees and patients.”

It is well established that the duration and therefore cost of surgical cases are increased by the participation of surgical trainees, or residents.

“Longer operative times and low operator experience are linked to increased complications, therefore any means to improve this will save health care dollars and also improve patient outcomes,” Mr Nataraja said.

Mr Nataraja’s team constructed a 3D model of the patient’s choledochal cyst, a rare congenital enlargement of the bile ducts.

“Our bespoke model of the patient’s choledochal malformation was used prior to surgery for visualisation, preoperative planning, education and parental counselling.”

Mr Nataraja said the child had a straight forward uncomplicated post-operative recovery with no operative complications and has remained well for the last four months.

“In the future we hope to develop the capacity to print 3D images of bespoke patient pathology on site, and integrate it into the routine management of rare or complicated diseases with a view to improve outcomes and understanding for patients and their parents as well as education of trainees and students,” he said.

“This case also highlights the excellent talent at Monash University, especially Professor Paul McMenamin who co-supervised this project.”

MonashHeart research improving outcomes for cardiac patients at risk of stroke

Dr Rashid and leading cardiologist Dr Gregg Stone,
Director of Cardiovascular Research & Education,
Columbia University Medical Center &
New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
Senior MonashHeart cardiology registrar and Monash University PhD student Dr Hashrul Rashid was recognised for his research into thrombosis, receiving the highly competitive Best Oral Abstract Award at TCT Asia Pacific in Seoul, South Korea last month.

TCT Asia Pacific is the largest interventional cardiology conference in Asia Pacific and Dr Rashid won the award against eight international finalists from Europe and Asia.  He was awarded the prize by a five-panel member consisting of leading cardiologists from USA, Europe and Asia.

Dr Rashid’s abstract, titled “CT-defined subclinical leaflet thrombosis following bioprosthetic aortic valves are associated with adverse cerebrovascular events ” was recently published in Europe’s highest impact interventional cardiology journal, Eurointervention.

“In a world-first, MonashHeart has proven that subclinical leaflet thrombosis (a blood clot on the heart valve) diagnosed with cardiac CT is associated with increased rates of stroke and transient ischaemic attacks,” Dr Rashid said.

Dr Rashid and MonashHeart are now involved in looking at cardiac and coagulation biomarkers in predicting subclinical leaflet thrombosis following transcatheter aortic valve replacements, in collaboration with Monash Haematology.

Dr Rashid has been selected to present a separate oral presentation at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich, Germany later this year on the effect of prosthesis valve design in the development of subclinical leaflet thrombosis.

Dr Rashid acknowledges the senior author of this study, Dr Adam Brown, and his PhD supervisors, Professor James Cameron and Associate Professor Arthur Nasis for their ongoing guidance and support in his research endeavors.

Professor Marcel Nold appointed ECR Coordinator at SCS

Professor Marcel Nold
Congratulations Marcel Nold, Professor of Paediatric Immunology at the Department of Paediatrics,
Monash University and the Hudson Institute, on his appointment to Early Career Researcher (ECR) Coordinator at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS).

Also a neonatologist at Monash Newborn, Monash Children’s Hospital, Professor Nold has gathered extensive experience as a scientist and clinician working in Germany, the US and, for the past 9 years, in Australia.

“I am looking forward to working with our ECR representatives Dr Xin Du and Dr Aimee Dordevic to support our ECRs such that they achieve, or, even better, exceed their goals in terms of productivity and career aspirations, and enjoy the work it takes to do so,” Professor Nold said.

“This is a wonderful time to be taking on this role, as important changes in the research space are upon us, for example in terms of funding, which need to be taken into account when we advise ECRs.”

“My experience in working with companies in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, in addition to academic research will be very useful."

SCS Honours student receives prestigious Nairn Prize for research into autoimmune disease

Ms Taylah Bennett
Former honours student and Research Assistant Ms Taylah Bennet was awarded this year’s Nairn Prize in Immunology, in recognition of the top Honours grade in the Department of Immunology, Monash University.

A Research Assistant in Professor Eric Morand’s lab, Taylah will start her PhD next month in Professor Stephen Turner’s lab in the Department of Microbiology at Monash University.

“My research project investigated a protein called the 'glucocorticoid induced leucine zipper', or GILZ for short, which we believe acts a 'molecular brake' to ensure that immune cells are appropriately switched on and off,” Taylah said.

“My research aims to understand how GILZ regulates a specialised white blood cell, called a 'Killer T cell'.”

“Killer T cells provide us with critical defence when we get viral infections, such as influenza, however, when they are inappropriately switched on, they can contribute to autoimmune diseases such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).”

Taylah said that understanding the mechanisms that instruct a killer T cell to become activated or not is critical to developing new treatments for autoimmune diseases.

Currently, glucocorticoids (steroids) are used throughout the world to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, because of their powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

Despite the protective effects of glucocorticoids, they also have serious adverse side effects including diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.

“These side effects are unacceptable, and therefore a safer, alternative treatment to glucocorticoids is urgently needed,” Taylah said.

“The protein we research, GILZ, is powerfully switched on by glucocorticoids and seems to drive the protective anti-inflammatory effects without having the harmful side effects.”

This makes GILZ a very attractive candidate for a glucocorticoid alternative.

“We hope that our research may one day lead to a safer therapeutic alternative to glucocorticoid use, something that is urgently needed in the clinic.” 

“I feel very honoured and proud to be the recipient of this prize. I worked really hard during my Honours year, but also had a lot of fun!”

“Also, Professor Stephen Turner, one of my PhD supervisors, won this prize himself back when he did his Honours degree, which is really cool,” Taylah said.

Taylah acknowledges Professor Eric Morand for his mentorship during some key moments in her Honours year, as well as her Honours supervisors Dr Sarah Jones and Dr Brendan Russ.

In her PhD, Taylah will continue her Honours project and will be co-supervised by Dr Sarah Jones while closely collaborating with the Morand lab.  Taylah acknowledges the ongoing support of her supervisors Dr Jones and Dr Brendan Russ, who gave “exceptional guidance, encouragement and enthusiasm throughout the year.”

Celebrate International Clinical Trials Day at MHTP, 21 May

Monday 21 May, 2-3.30pm,  Seminar room 1, TRF

Hear from our Principal Investigators, Nurse Coordinators and patients:

  • ·         An overview of the clinical trials activity within the MHTP.  Did you know we’re running more than 200 currently?
  • ·         As a PI, how to get involved and what’s involved in running a trial.
  • ·         How does a trial go through ethics and governance?
  • ·         The role of nurse coordinators in clinical trial – another career opportunity?
  • ·         What is the MHTP Clinical Trials Centre and how do we service Monash Health, Monash University and the Hudson Institute?

We have a fantastic line up of speakers, including Professor William Sievert who will MC:

  • ·         Patient from Nephrology
  • ·         Investigator Dr Emily Kotschet, Cardiology
  • ·         Research Support Services Manager: Debbie Dell
  • ·         Clinical Trials Coordinator (Adult): Jo Nandkumar, Nephrology
  • ·         Clinical Trials Coordinator (Paeds): Erin Hill, Paediatric Endocrine and Diabetes
  • ·         Clinical Trials Centre Research Nurse: Tessy Thomas
  • ·         Patient from Oncology

We look forward to seeing you there.  Afternoon tea is also provided!

A very royal wedding afternoon tea, 18 May

TRIP fellowships due 21 May 2018

NHMRC Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP) Fellowship applications are now due and applications should be submitted via RGMS and uploaded into PURE for the Monash Research Office to certify by May 21

Any applicant who wishes their application to be reviewed before submission should contact Professor Rosemary Horne immediately.

Call for Translational Research Grant Applications in Blood Cancer

The Snowdome Foundation is proud to be partnering with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to fund two US$600,000 translational research grants. Snowdome’s mission is to accelerate next-generation treatments for Australian blood cancer patients to help them live longer, better lives.

To help us achieve our mission, we are co-funding two translational research project applications focused on blood cancer, especially work focused on multiple myeloma.
To be eligible, applicants must be
  • working in Australia,
  • Australian investigators working in other countries, or
  • Australian and non-Australian researchers jointly applying as co-PIs. 
Applications must be submitted to the LLS Translational Research Program (TRP) and will be evaluated within the general pool of TRP applications. In addition, applications will be jointly reviewed by both foundations to ensure they meet the funding objectives of both organisations, and scientific progress. LLS will administer the grant program.

Each Applicant must submit the LOI by August 31, 2018 at 3:00 pm US Eastern Daylight Time via the LLS Research Portal (

NIH Research Strategy Webinar (Tuesday 15 May @ 4:00 - 5:00pm)

Ron Littman, a consultant/grant writer at FreeMind Group (, will present an NIH-focussed webinar for Monash tomorrow Tuesday 15 May at 4:00 - 5:00pm. He will cover and share expert insight into the following aspects of the Research Strategy (i.e. the central component of an NIH grant): 
  • The purpose of the Research Strategy in the context of NIH's key review criteria
  • Significance
  • Innovation
  • Approach
    • Introduction/overview
    • Specific Aims
    • Methods
    • Milestones
    • Interpretation of Results / Anticipated Results
    • Challenges, Limitations and Alternatives
    • Timeline
To register, please click the following link:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The MRO will circulate the slides following the webinar.

CID seminar: Linking red cell disorders to immune dysregulation, 15 May

15 May, 12-1pm, seminar room 1, TRF

Presented by Dr Jim Vadolas, Hudson Institute of Medical Research

The β-haemoglobin disorders such β-thalassaemia, haemoglobin E (HbE), and sickle cell disease are the most prevalent inherited disorders worldwide. It is estimated that at least 300,000 children affected by these conditions are born annually, leading to a global patient population numbering in the tens of millions. Caused by mutations in the b‑globin gene, β‑haemoglobinopathies exhibit extreme clinical heterogeneity, ranging from nearly asymptomatic to life threatening, thus complicating patient management and treatment.

Monash Haematology Journal Club, "‘Immune Thrombocytopenia ‘15 May

15 May, 7.30am, Lecture Theatre 2, Level 2, Monash Medical Centre

Presented by Dr Ahmad Zargari, Clinical Registrar

And introduction from Narine, new NUM for Ward 44.

Grand Rounds: Clinical or criminal? 16 May

"Cell fate - a malleable developmental state", 16 May

A special Hudson seminar will be held in the MIMR building Level 3 Board Rooms, Wednesday 16 May, 12-1pm  
Our speaker will be Dr. Christian Nefzger, Research Fellow at Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute

His presentation is titled "Cell fate - a malleable developmental state".  Dr Nefzger's research is centered around the in-depth profiling of transcriptional and epigenetic changes that occur during cellular transitions, to understand their molecular basis and importantly, to control them. In this context, he studies cell fate conversions that occur rapidly as a consequence of differentiation or forced cellular reprogramming, as well as the subtler and slower, albeit functionally meaningful, changes that occurring during ageing of somatic stem cell niches.

Brief Biography
Dr Christian M. Nefzger acquired a Master equivalent in Biology from the Technical University Munich (Germany) and a PhD at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences investigating neuronal subtype specification. He is currently a research fellow in the group of Associate Prof. Jose Polo at the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology/ the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (Monash University, Melbourne) with publications in Cell, Cell Stem Cell, Cell Reports, Nature Methods, Nature Genetics and Nature Communications.

'How does the tumour suppressor, p53, protect us from cancer?', 17 May

This week's Hudson seminar will be held in Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, Level 2, TRF Building on Thursday 17th May, 12pm-1pm.
Our speaker will be Professor Andreas Strasser PhD
Joint Division Head, Molecular Genetics of Cancer, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.

He will be presenting 'How does the tumour suppressor, p53, protect us from cancer?'
Dr. Strasser is the head of the Molecular Genetics of Cancer Division at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Melbourne, Australia. He completed his Master of Science and Ph.D. at the Basel Institute for Immunology and University of Basel in Switzerland before joining WEHI as a postdoctoral fellow in 1989. He studies programmed cell death and how defects in apoptosis cause cancer or autoimmune disease and impair the response of tumor cells to anti-cancer therapy. Dr. Strasser and his colleagues were the first to discover that abnormalities in cell death can cause cancer and autoimmune disease, including the discovery that BCL-2 collaborates with the MYC oncogene in tumorigenesis. Their studies have determined which pro-survival BCL-2 family member are essential for the sustained growth of which cancers. They also found that BCL-2 and death receptors regulate distinct pathways to apoptosis and have studied how the individual and overlapping roles of these two apoptotic pathways function in the immune system. Dr. Strasser discovered BIM and BMF, and was the first to show that BH3-only proteins are essential for the initiation of programmed cell death and stress-induced apoptosis. Based on this work, a collaboration between WEHI (including the Strasser group), Genentech, and AbbVie led to the development of the BCL-2 inhibitor Venetoclax/ABT-199, which is approved for treatment of refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia, while a similar collaboration with Servier yielded the first potent and selective inhibitor of the cell death inhibitor MCL-1, currently in clinical trials.

A light lunch and refreshments will follow this presentation. 

ClinicalKey Training @ Monash Health Library, MMC, 16 May

In May Elsevier will be on site in the Monash Health Library at MMC to provide product demonstrations and engage staff on the benefits of using ClinicalKey.

A ClinicalKey specialist will be available for over 3 hours, and can show you how to:

·                     Create a Personal Account
·                     Activate Remote Access
·                     Download full PDFs from books & journals
·                     Export images with citations
·                     Save & share content instantly

Where & When?

Library - Monash Medical Centre Clayton
Wednesday the 16th of May, between 12:30pm and 3:30pm

To reserve a time email or simply turn up on the day.

MONARC seminar, "Sarcopenia and obesity: Relationships with falls and fractures in older adults" 23 May

Wednesday 23rd May 2018
12:30-1:30pm (Light lunch from 12:15pm)
Kingston Centre, Education Centre Room A

Warrigal Road, Cheltenham

Monash Ageing Research Centre (MONARC) presents

Dr David Scott, PhD

Senior Research Fellow & NHMRC RD Wright Biomedical Career Development Fellow
Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University

For more information/RSVP:

Dr Rosa Gualano, Acting MONARC Manager
t: 9265 1268 e:

ASMR Tertiary Careers Evening, 5 June

Fighting Inflammation with Food

The Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food are investigating the effect of consuming a range of
anti-inflammatory food compounds on inflammatory markers in the blood. These include the many polyphenols, antioxidants and fibres present in the foods we eat.
What will it involve? 
·         The study will go for 5 weeks and will require 4 visits to the Monash University BASE facility in Notting Hill.
·         On three visits you will be provided with a meal and have a series of blood samples taken.
·         Upon completion you will receive:
1)      A free nutrition consultation with an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD);
2)      A free body composition analysis using a DXA scan valued at $100;
3)      A free copy of the Monash University e-book ’Using Food as Medicine: Fighting Inflammation’. 
If you are a male over the age of 50 or a post-menopausal female, go ahead and take our screening questionnaire via

Or scan:

For further information, please contact Stephanie Cowan
Phone: (03) 9902 4272
Mobile: 04 2274 1116

Safety alert- Browns Rd South car park

We have had a security incident in the Browns Rd South car park. Last week a staff member found damage to their car indicating that someone had tried to break into it.

Please be alert to anyone acting suspiciously in the car park or in the streets around MMC. Immediately call 000 for Police if you think someone may be dangerous or breaking the law. 

Need to know how to use SARAH?

The University has developed several tutorial videos to help you use SARAH effectively.

Videos show how to report an incident and follow up what has happened, including providing evidence to show that the issue has been resolved. 

There are also videos about how to view risk assessments and how to develop and submit new ones.

Links to the tutorial videos are here:
- Risk management (risk assessments) 

The SCS intranet also has these links and information about incident reporting and risk assessments.

From Lucas Heights to PeterMac, new prostate therapy is a game-changer

Arun Azad reported in The Age.

Evaluation of a training program of hypertension for accredited social health activists (ASHA) in rural India

Amanda Thrift et al. published in BMC Health Services Research.

Biochemical Comparison of 8-hour Haemodialysis and 4-hour Haemodiafiltration, and Two Dialysis Membranes, in a Randomised Cross-over Trial

Peter Kerr et al. published in Nephrology.

Improving collaboration between primary care and mental health services

Graham Meadows et al. published in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.

Pathophysiological coronary and microcirculatory flow alterations in aortic stenosis

Michael Michail, Adam Brown et al. published in Nature Reviews Cardiology.

Rapid-onset diabetic ketoacidosis secondary to nivolumab therapy

Peter Ebeling et al. published in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Case Reports.

Cognition and bimanual performance in children with unilateral cerebral palsy: protocol for a multicentre, cross-sectional study

Brian Hoare et al. published in BMC Neurology.

Glucose Homeostasis Is Important for Immune Cell Viability during Candida Challenge and Host Survival of Systemic Fungal Infection

Michael Hickey et al. published in Cell Metabolism.

Data quality: "Garbage in - garbage out"

Monique Kilkenny et al. published in the Health Information Management Journal.

Natural Killer cell function predicts severe infection in kidney transplant recipients

Claire Dendle et al. published in the American Journal of Transplantation.

Cord clamping in term and pre-term infants: how should clinicians proceed?

Graeme Polglase et al. published in the Medical Journal of Australia.