Monday, 28 May 2018

Breast milk is safe: no link to group B streptococcus

Dr Tash Ching
Group B Streptococcus (GBS), a very fast-acting bacteria, is a major cause of neonatal sepsis and meningitis. Once infected, an otherwise healthy baby can become critically ill within hours.

For the first time, Monash Children’s Hospital Paediatric Registrar and Monash University researcher Dr Tash Ching has shown that breastmilk—until now thought to be a possible risk factor—is not associated with late-onset GBS infection.

Dr Tash Ching’s ground-breaking research won the poster prize at the Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases annual scientific meeting, held on the Gold Coast last week.

“While early-onset GBS (occurring in babies less than a week old) and its risks are well understood, we’ve been less certain of the transmission risk factors in late-onset disease (babies presenting between one week and three months of age),” said Dr Ching.

“Although controversial, there have been reports of numerous cases of late-onset disease (LOD) associated with GBS from breast milk.”

“This has placed considerable stress on mothers and clinicians regarding the safety of ongoing breast feeding,” Dr Ching said.

“Our study now demonstrates for the first time that breast feeding does not increase the risk of late onset newborn sepsis with Group B streptococcus.”

“We can now reassure parents with confidence that breastmilk does not present a risk of infection.”

This study was a collaboration between Monash Health, the Royal Children’s Hospital, Barwon and Bendigo Hospitals.

International Clinical Trials Day at MHTP

Professor Bill Sievert
The Clinical Trials Open Forum was held last Monday at the Monash Health Translation Precinct to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day on 20 May.

International Clinical Trials Day is recognised as the day that James Lind started a study to determine the cause of scurvy - the first recorded controlled clinical trial. Since then International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world to raise awareness of the importance of clinical trials and research in healthcare.
In 2017, there were 3762 participants actively enrolled in 391 clinical trials at Monash Health. Clinical trials are a major component of Monash Health’s research profile and present an opportunity for consumers to access the latest technology and better resources.
The Clinical Trials Open Forum was a great opportunity for Nurses, Doctors and Research Staff from Monash Health, Monash University and the Hudson Institute of Medical Research to share their experiences from past and present clinical trials, and listen to the incredible stories of patients who have participated in clinical trials at Monash Health. 
Professor William Sievert, Director of the Gastrointestinal and Liver Unit at Monash Health, hosted the forum, where a series of guest speakers presented. 

Sally Catt will swim the English Channel to raise money for ovarian cancer research

Dr Sally Catt
Dr Sally Catt, who runs the Master of Clinical Embryology course in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology is an everyday hero and needs our support as she swims the English Channel in a few months.

A close friend and colleague of Sally's was diagnosed recently with stage 4 ovarian cancer.  A mother to two young daughters, Sally's friend Caitlin is now fighting for her life.

Sally wants to increase awareness about the symptoms of ovarian cancer and raise money for much needed research.

Sally will swim from England to France (35km) this September.   She estimates it will take 17 hours.

Read more and donate here.

Monash Haematology Journal Club: "Novel Biomarkers in Venous Thromboembolism", 29 May

Haemostasis and Thrombosis Clinical Cases and Journal Club VIDEO CONFERENCE

When: TUESDAY 29th  May
Time: 12.00pm – 1.00pm
Where: MHTP Building, Level 2, Seminar Room 2
Speaker: Dr Alex Dunn
Title: Novel Biomarkers in Venous Thromboembolism

Lunch provided.

Grand Round: “You are not the boss of me!”, 30 May

Rehabilitation and Aged Care PRESENTS

·       Professor Don Campbell, Service Director Monash Community
·       Dr Chris Plakiotis, Unit Head Aged Persons’ Mental Health
·       Dr Olivia Gobbo, Geriatrician
·       Ms Jacinta Re, Head of Social Work
·       Legal Counsel, Corporate Office

30 May, 12.30pm to 1.30pm

Lecture Theatre 1, Monash Medical Centre

'New insights into the regulation of antibody responses' ,31 May

This week's Hudson seminar will be held in Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, Level 2, TRF Building on Thursday 31st May, 12pm-1pm.

Our speaker will be Prof Carola Vinuesa, Co-Director, Centre for Personalised Immunology, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence

She will be presenting 'New insights into the regulation of antibody responses'
Carola Vinuesa was born in Spain and obtained a medical degree at the University Autonoma of Madrid. She undertook specialist clinical training in the UK and in 2000 was awarded a PhD by the University of Birmingham. A year later she was the recipient of a Wellcome Trust International Travelling prize Fellowship to do postdoctoral work at The John Curtin School for Medical Research in The Australian National University. Since 2006 she has been a group leader. She has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the year (2008), the Gottschalk Medal of the Australian Academy of Sciences (2009). In 2015, she was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. She is currently Professor of Immunology at the Australian National University and Director of the Centre for Personalised Immunology (CPI), an NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence.
A light lunch and refreshments will follow this presentation. 

FIJI Basics Workshop, 12 June

Monash Micro Imaging at MHTP
Workshop Presented by Shane Cheung

In 2018 MMI-MHTP is once again running their popular FIJI Basics Image Analysis Workshop. This year the FIJI workshops will be split into 3 session: Basics, Intermediate and Advanced.  Topics covered this year will vary slightly from last year’s workshops.

This half day FIJI Basics workshop will provide a great introduction to working with FIJI analysis software to manage your images and create figures. Perfect for new students or anyone just starting out in imaging.

The FIJI basics workshop will be run several times throughout 2018 to accommodate as many people as possible. Sessions are open to all staff and students. You do not have to be a registered MMI user to attend.

Date: Tuesday 12th June 2018
Time: 1pm-5pm, including morning tea break

Location: Translational Research Facility, Level 4
                  Room 4R.03 (large meeting room)

Cost: $50 – which will be covered by MMI registration fees for users. Non-MMI users must provide a cost centre when registering.

Topics covered include: loading images and using the bio-formats importer, different file saving formats, basic image adjustments, channels and colours, setting scales and adding scale bars to images, ROIs and working with stacks.

To Register: Email your details Please ensure you include full details in your email: full name, department and group, position, best contact email and cost centre if not a registered MMI user.

Registrations are open until Friday 10th of June 2018, unless places are filled sooner.
Register now! Places are limited and these workshops filled fast in 2017!

Stayed tuned: More sessions for FIJI Basics, Intermediate & Advanced will be announced throughout the year.

Anne Trinh's mid-candidature review "The optimisation of bone health in chronic neurological disease with a focus on Cerebral palsy and Spina bifida", 6 June

All staff and students are invited to Anne Trinh's mid candidature review:

12pm, Wednesday 6 June, Level 4 seminar room, Block E, MMC

 Supervisors: A/Professor Fran Milat, Professor Peter Fuller, Professor Peter Ebeling 
 Panel Chair: Professor Richard Kitching
 Independent assessors: Professor Matthew Gillespie, Professor Peter Kerr

NETI Basic Colonoscopy Workshop, 22 June

Global Connections Fund - Bridging Grant Round 2018 - APPLICATIONS OPENING SOON

The Global Connections Fund - Bridging Grant Round 2018 ​ opens for applications next week (Monday 4 June).​  

Bridging Grants are a program of assistance that target early stage proof of concept and knowledge transfer, product and services development and market testing, innovation and commercialisation activities.

​Further details are provided in the message from the MRO below. Should you have any questions, please contact

ARC Funding Rules & Guidelines moving to GrantConnect

The MRO have been informed that the funding rules and guidelines for ARC schemes will no longer be published on the ARC website. Instead, informa​tion will be available on GrantConnect via  Further details are provided below.

Should you have questions, please contact

IMPACT7 2018 - Opportunity for Monash researchers to present, 9 August

In partnership with CSIRO, IMPACT7 2018 is a one-day event that gives researchers a platform to share how they are addressing the major challenges our globe faces, that is research that is making an impact. 

IMPACT7 2018 will be held on Thursday 9 August 2018 in Melbourne.

Researchers at IMPACT7 will have three minutes to tell their story to an ecosystem of potential investors, customers and collaborators. Previous presentations have focused on how research can contribute to eradicating disease or poverty, ensure the security of our food for generations, preserve our natural environment, or reinvent the future of our industries (the presentations from 2017 are available to view HERE).

Over 20 distinguished ‘Impact Leaders’ from industry, government, academia and for-purpose organisations will share their views at the event. Drawing on a wealth of knowledge and experience, Impact Leaders will guide presenters as they prepare to take the next step in their research.

Further details on the event and the application process can be found on the event website:

To register, please click HERE.

Applications to present at IMPACT7 2018 are open until Friday 1 June 2018.  To apply, please click HERE.

Gas cylinder and cryogenic training - update

The University has recently reviewed the online training content for gas cylinders and cryogenics. Some staff have lost their certification, so please check your training qualifications. 
The new online program will be available in myDevelopment from June 4th.

The next practical training session will be held on Thursday 14th June. The online content will need to be completed before attending. To RSVP, please email

All staff and students handling liquid nitrogen must complete this training, and repeat the training every 3 years. 

For any queries, please email

Is health care ready for virtual medicine?

Evelyn Chan mentioned in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Inference about causation between body mass index and DNA methylation in blood from a twin family study

Melissa Southey et al. published in the International Journal of Obesity.

Ovarian stimulation in infertile women treated with the use of intrauterine insemination: a cohort study from China

Ben Mol et al. published in Fertility and Sterility.

Goodpasture's autoimmune disease - A collagen IV disorder

Richard Kitching et al. published in Matrix Biology.

Vitamin D status and the risk of type 2 diabetes: the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study

Peter Ebeling et al. published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice.

Recurrent vertebral fractures in a young adult: a closer look at bone health in type 1 diabetes mellitus

Fran Milat et al. published in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Case Reports.

Intracranial Vessel Wall Imaging with Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Current Techniques and Applications

Ronil Chandra et al. published in World Neurosurgery.

The acute and residual effects of escalating, analgesic-range doses of ketamine on driving performance: A simulator study

Yahya Shehabi et al. published in Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry.

Melatonin improves endothelial function in vitro and prolongs pregnancy in women with early-onset preeclampsia

Euan Wallace et al. published in the Journal of Pineal Research.

Overweight and obese children with sleep disordered breathing have elevated arterial stiffness

Rosemary Horne et al. published in Sleep Medicine.

Sex hormone-binding globulin is a biomarker associated with nonvertebral fracture in men on dialysis therapy

Jasna Aleksova et al. published in Kidney International.

A missing piece: the spiny mouse and the puzzle of menstruating species

Nadia Bellofiore et al. published in the Journal of Molecular Endocrinology.