Monday, 18 June 2018

Monash medical students’ research paves the way for improved treatments for lupus

Rachel Mende
Latest research at Monash University reveals a particular protein found in the blood of lupus patients may be a potential biomarker of kidney disease.

Co-authored by final year Monash medical students Rachel Mende and Emily Lin, both supervised by Dr Tali Lang, the study was published last week in Frontiers in Immunology.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or lupus, is an incurable systemic autoimmune illness, which predominantly affects women of child-bearing age.

“This study is the largest to date which examines clinical associations between SLE disease parameters and two particular blood proteins: IL-18 and IL-1β,” said first author Rachel, who undertook the research as a BMedSc(Hons) student at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS).

Emily Lin
“We measured these two proteins in the blood of lupus patients and found that increased serum IL-18 was associated with the presence of kidney disease and irreversible organ damage while there was no association between serum IL-1β and SLE clinical outcomes.” 

Postdoctoral Research Fellow from the Rheumatology Research Group, Dr Fabien Vincent said the data suggests that serum IL-18 and IL-1β have different clinical implications in lupus.

“Future research investigating whether lupus patients with kidney disease may benefit from a drug targeting IL-18 would be of value,” said Dr Vincent, co-lead author on the paper. 

The research team thanks all the patients involved in the study, and acknowledges the Australian Lupus Registry and Biobank for providing the clinical data sets and patient samples. 

Monash sleep researcher recognised internationally

Professor Rosemary Horne and
Peter Blair, Chair of ISPID

Congratulations to Professor Rosemary Horne, who has received the Distinguished Researcher Award for 2018 at the meeting of the International Society for the Study and Prevention of Infant and Neonatal Death in Glasgow last week.

The award is made for outstanding contributions to research in the area of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy research as evidenced by the awardee’s international reputation in the area and publications in the field over a number of years.

“Personally and professionally this means a tremendous amount to me as it acknowledges my contribution to understanding the mechanisms which make a baby more vulnerable to SIDS,” Professor Horne said.

Professor Horne heads the Infant and Child Health theme within the Ritchie Centre, Department of Paediatrics Monash University and Hudson Institute of Medical Research. Her research focuses on sleep in infants and children.

“My current projects are investigating mechanisms involved in the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), development of cardio-respiratory control in preterm infants and the effects of sleep disordered breathing on daytime performance and the cardiovascular system in children,” she said.

Since 1998, 14 people have been given this award and Professor Horne was the only person awarded the honour this year.

Professor Horne has an international reputation in her field and is the Chair of the Physiology working group of the International Society for the Study and Prevention of Infant Deaths, Secretary of the International Paediatric Sleep Association, immediate past Chair of the National Scientific Advisory Group of Red Nose (formerly SIDS and Kids) and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Sleep Research, Sleep and Sleep Medicine.

Professor Horne said she is extremely proud to be part of the leading paediatric sleep research group in Australasia (and second in the world), in terms of publications.  Prof Horne has published more than 170 papers, and successfully supervised 15 PhD students and over 40 honours students.

“I would like to acknowledge my students and postdoctoral fellows who have worked with me on this research which underpins safe infant sleeping guidelines both in Australia and internationally," she said.

Department of Medicine 3MT competition success

Dr Ai-Ming Wong
The School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) congratulates all 3MT participants who competed in the Department of Medicine heats last Friday.

Dr Ai-Ming Wong took out first place in the Department of Medicine 3MT round, followed by Raymond Shim and Lachlan McMillan in second and third places.

Dr Wong, a Monash Health specialist in respiratory medicine and sleep disorders, is in the second year of her PhD at Monash University.

In her winning 3MT performance, Dr Wong presented her research which aims to enable prediction of which patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) will respond to upper airway surgery.

“Currently only one in four patients respond to surgery and there is no easily available clinical assessment or tool to identify who they are,” Dr Wong said.

“In my PhD, I’m measuring the underlying physiology causing OSA for a particular individual, and seeing if that can help us understand and predict which patients will respond to surgery, and which of them don't.”

Ray Shim
Meanwhile, second place winner Ray Shim is trying to understand why infections are so common after brain injury.

“It's becoming more apparent that there is a change to the immune system following brain injury, and in the case of stroke, infections are a leading cause of death in patients,” Ray said.  

“So far in my PhD, I've found there are less patrolling immune cells, which are also unable to combat bacteria that are encountered by the body following brain injury. As a consequence, the body becomes more susceptible to infection.”

In third place and in just three minutes, PhD candidate Lachlan McMillan presented his research which is investigating how physical activity and exercise can positively contribute to bone health.

Lachlan McMillan
We know that the most effective exercise to increase bone health is activity that involves weight-bearing and force, such as hopping and jumping but until recently we haven't been able to say, just how much is enough,” Lachlan said.

“To guide our research we have developed a wearable device that is capable of measuring the forces experienced by the skeleton during exercise, and we hope to use this device to further our research.”

Lachlan said condensing up to three years of research into three minutes was an extremely challenging exercise, however, it's taught him the value of filtering out important information and communicating it in a succinct but also creative manner.

Place winners in the Department competitions proceed to the 3MT School finals on 4 July.   Details HERE.

Monash Emergency and Monash Children’s make significant contribution to new textbook

The recently released 3rd edition of the “Textbook of Paediatric Emergency Medicine” prominently features many staff from Monash Emergency and Monash Children’s.

“The latest edition is much improved, and includes a number of new chapters written by staff from our emergency departments, pharmacy and the various paediatric medical and surgical specialties at Monash Children’s,” said A/Prof Simon Craig, one of the editors of the book.

Contributors included
- Emergency Medicine: Adam West, Erin Mills, Simon Craig, Niki Talic, Bob Seith, Alastair Meyer
- Paediatric Gastroenterology: Rupert Hinds, Ed Giles, Sheena Kaul, Vered Schildkraut
- Paediatric surgery: Rames Nataraja, Damir Ljuhar, Annette Cheng
- Paediatric Respiratory: David Armstrong
- Paediatric Infectious diseases: Jim Buttery
- Paediatric Haematology and Oncology: Kottayam Radhakrishnan, Peter Downie
- Paediatric Intensive Care: Felix Oberender
- Pharmacy: Jacqueline Parkinson
A link to the book is here:

New York-based pianist Andrea Lam at Monash Live, 28 June: $15 staff tickets

On Thursday 28 June New York-based pianist Andrea Lam will be performing a concert of classical and contemporary pieces including SchumannGinastera and  and Vivian Fung as part of our popular Wood, Metal and Vibrating Air Piano Recital Series.

To celebrate Andrea's return trip to Australia we are offering all Monash staff exclusive $15 tickets. To redeem the offer, simply enter the code MONASHSTAFF during your online purchase.

A rare and intimate performance that places the audience on stage with Andrea, we think this concert will be immensely insightful and enjoyable for Monash staff with an interest in contemporary and classical piano music. 

Attn Research Supervisors - invitation to attend MHTP Open Day, 13 August

Are you looking for PhD or Honours students for 2019?  This year, our Open Day to recruit graduate and research students will take place on:

Monday, 13 August 2018
Monash University, Campus Centre, Clayton campus

We will only have one Open Day this year.  No events are scheduled at the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP).

In order to plan and publicise the event, we need to know if you or someone from your lab/research group will attend.

Please let us know if you will/won't attend via this form:  

Are you considering a BMedSc(Hons) in 2019 at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health?

2018 BMedSc(Hons) cohort at SCS
Please come to our Information Night on:
  • Date: Monday 25 June
  • Time: 5:30-7:30pm
  • Venue: TRF Seminar Room 1&2
  • Registration link (for catering purposes)
Format: 45 minutes of rapid fire presentations from the Head, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS), the BMedSc(Hons) Coordinator, the major research groups at the precinct and previous BMedSc(Hons) students (2 minutes each). There will be plenty of opportunity for questions and answers, and to informally mix with prospective students afterwards.

Refreshments will be served after the presentations. Please register via RSVP link as soon as you can.
2019 BMedSc(Hons) Application Closing Date: Tuesday, 7 August , 2018


SCS BMedSc(Hons) Coordinator,
Dr Anthony White,

SCS Education Support Officer,
Pianca Schwarz,, 8572 2771

Graduate Research Students' Open Forum with the Head of School, Professor Eric Morand, September 17th 2018

Attn. all graduate research students:
You are invited to an Open Forum with the Head of the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Professor Eric Morand. This will be a round table discussion about What motivates engagement in research? A Clinician's perspective.

Date:      Monday September 17th from 4.00 pm – 5.00 pm
Venue:   MMC-Medici​ne Seminar Room Block E Level 5 Monash Medical Centre

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: Academic promotion committee elected member

This is a call for nominations for an elected member on the Faculty Senior Lecturer/Senior Research Fellow (Level C) Academic Promotion Committee.

Meeting date: Monday, 6 August 2018
Meeting time: 09:00 – 17:00

Current elected and nominated committee membership are included below:

Contract Type

Dr Melissa Petrakis
Social Work
Professor Dena Lyras

In accordance with the Academic Promotion: Levels C-E Procedure, nominees must meet be:
          employed as teaching and research, research-only or education focused;
          at a 0.4 fraction or above;
          the same level or higher than the level candidates are applying for; 
          available for the meeting date specified above;
          able to spend approximately 1-2 days reviewing the academic promotion applications about two weeks prior to the Committee meeting;
          able to serve a three-year term.

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018

Message from the heads of NHMRC, ARC and UA about the release of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018.

We are pleased to release the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018 (the 2018 Code) and the Guide to Managing and Investigating Potential Breaches of the Code, 2018 (the Investigation Guide).

We are committed to ensuring that research conducted in Australia is of the highest quality and meets the utmost standards of integrity. The 2018 Code is a crucial part of the framework for the responsible conduct of research in Australia. The clearly articulated principles and responsibilities in the 2018 Code will promote greater consistency across the research sector and build upon the foundation laid by the 2007 Code. We are confident that the 2018 Code will help to ensure that Australian research continues to be held in the highest regard internationally, promotes international collaborations and provides all Australians with confidence in publicly-funded research.

The 2018 Code and Investigation Guide are the result of an extensive review and consultation process. The 2018 Code presents eight clear principles of responsible research and 29 key responsibilities for researchers and institutions. The Investigation Guide describes, in detail, processes for managing and investigating potential breaches of the 2018 Code that can be applied to the range of research contexts in Australia—from small medical research institutions to large universities and across all research disciplines. It aims to ensure procedural fairness to all parties.
We encourage the research sector to become familiar with the 2018 Code and Investigation Guide as soon as possible with the expectation that institutions will meet the requirements of the 2018 Code by 1 July 2019. Adoption of the 2018 Code and Investigation Guide will promote greater consistency across the sector in the management and investigation of potential breaches of the 2018 Code. In the long-term, improvements to investigation processes should also encourage the more efficient resolution of matters, with outcomes that are more readily accepted by the parties involved. Further information is available here.

The importance of upholding research integrity for the research community in Australia was apparent from the large number of detailed and well considered submissions received during the multiple rounds of public and targeted consultation held during the review of the Code. These submissions helped shape the final documents and we thank the research community for their involvement in the process.

We would like to acknowledge the expert advice provided to us during the review of the 2007 Code from the Code Review Committee, chaired by Professor Mike Calford, and the Better Practice Guides working group, chaired by Dr Karolyn White. Further information on the development of the 2018 Code is available on the NHMRC website.

The 2018 Code and Investigation Guide are only one part of the framework for ensuring research is conducted with integrity and the new Code will be complemented by revisions to NHMRC’s and ARC’s research integrity and misconduct policies, funding agreements and the Australian Research Integrity Committee Framework. NHMRC and the ARC will provide more information to the sector as these revisions progress.

Finally, in addition to the Investigation Guide, the 2018 Code will be supported by a number of other supplementary guidance documents. The documents will support implementation of the principles and responsibilities in the 2018 Code and – when published – will establish a robust and coherent framework for research integrity and quality in Australia.

The release of the 2018 Code and Investigation Guide renews and reinforces Australia’s commitment to excellence in research. We encourage their widest adoption by all institutions engaged in research – whether publicly funded or not.

14 June 2018

The Gunn National Fellowship for Career Development in Research – Women in Haematology

In an Australian first, a female only fellowship specifically directed at Haematology career development in medical research, is being offered. The Snowdome Foundation and Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision are passionate about supporting the advancement of women in medical research and are funding this fellowship together with the support of the Gunn Family.

CID seminar, "The importance of host-microbe interactions in respiratory diseases", 19 June

19 June, 12-1pm, Seminar room 1, TRF

Prof. Benjamin Marsland
Department of Immunology and Pathology, Alfred Hospital, Monash University

Originally from New Zealand, and completing his PhD in Immunology at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research and Otago University, he spent 14 years in Switzerland split between the ETH Zürich and the University of Lausanne. He now leads the Respiratory Immunology laboratory, where the main focus of research revolves around the microbiome in the gut, lung and skin and how it can influence respiratory diseases. In particular, his laboratory studies host-microbe interactions within the context of allergy, asthma and lung transplantation.

Grand Round, "'Functional & Genomic Approaches for Cancer Precision Medicine", 20 June

12.30-1.30pm, Wednesday 20 June
Lecture Theatre 1, Monash Medical Centre

Presented by Hudson Institute's Associate Professor Ron Firestein

Monash Haematology Journal Club, "‘PLL, prolymphocytic leukaemia", 20 June

7.30am, 20 June, Seminar Room 2, TRF

Presented by Dr Chris Woo, Haematology Clinical Registrar

Hudson seminar: 'On the Origin of Spermatogonial Stem Cells: The Golden Boy Hypothesis', 21 June

This week's Hudson seminar will be held in Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, Level 2, TRF Building on Thursday 21st June, 12pm-1pm.

Our speaker will be Dr John R. McCarrey, PhD
Kleberg Distinguished University Chair in Cellular & Molecular Biology | Director, San Antonio Cellular Therapeutics Institute | Department of Biology University of Texas at San Antonio

He will be presenting 'On the Origin of Spermatogonial Stem Cells: The Golden Boy Hypothesis'

Dr McCarrey received his Bachelor's degree in Animal Science and his Masters and PhD degrees in Genetics, all from the University of California, Davis. He did a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr Susumu Ohno at the City of Hope in Duarte, California. He then joined the faculty in Reproductive Biology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. In 1991 he moved to the Department of Genetics at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, Texas, and in 2001 he assumed his present position as Professor of Cell & Molecular Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He holds joint appointments in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Cellular & Structural Biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and in the Department of Comparative Medicine at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. He is also an affiliate scientist of the Southwest National Primate Research Center in San Antonio, and Director of the San Antonio Cellular Therapeutics Institute. In 2012, Dr McCarrey was named the Robert and Helen Kleberg Distinguished Chair in Cellular & Molecular Biology.

A light lunch and refreshments will follow this presentation. 

Notification of new date - Animal Ethics Information Session – Tuesday 17 July

“Animal Use in Research & Teaching” - Notification of Updated Venue

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: Tuesday 17th July 2018
Time: 10am – 12:00pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre S9, 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

Fire extinguisher training, 27 June

Faulty electrical equipment or an ignition source like a bunsen burner could cause a fire at any time.
Do you know what to do? 

Monash Health provides free fire extinguisher training for staff and students using their fire simulator. Learn how to use a fire extinguisher properly - it's not as easy as it looks!

All staff and students are strongly encouraged to attend this training. Available Wed 27th June, sessions are from 9:30-11:00am in the TRF seminar room 3

Please register here.

Association analyses of more than 140,000 men identify 63 new prostate cancer susceptibility loci

Melissa Southey et al. published in Nature Genetics.

Fine-mapping of prostate cancer susceptibility loci in a large meta-analysis identifies candidate causal variants

Melissa Southey et al. published in Nature Communications.

Octreotide Use in Neonates: A Case Series

Atul Malhotra et al. published in Drugs in R&D.

Effect of storage duration on cytokine stability in human serum and plasma

Fabien Vincent et al. published in Cytokine.

Early Outcomes of Sutureless Aortic Valve Replacement With the Perceval S Bioprosthesis

Julian Smith et al. published in Heart, Lung & Circulation.

Respiratory virus detection and co-infection in children and adults in a large Australian hospital in 2009-2015

Tash Ching et al. published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Life-long antimicrobial therapy: where is the evidence?

Ian Woolley et al. published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

Are psychological interventions effective on anxiety in cancer patients? A systematic review and meta‐analyses

David Kissane et al. published in Psycho-Oncology.

Plasmacytoid dendritic cell heterogeneity is defined by CXCL10 expression following TLR7 stimulation

Paul Hertzog et al. published in Immunology and Cell Biology.

Relationship of aortic excess pressure obtained using pressure-only reservoir pressure analysis to directly measured aortic flow in humans

Jim Cameron et al. published in Physiological Measurement.

Prenatal Diagnosis of Fragile X Syndrome in a Twin Pregnancy Complicated by a Complete Retraction

Michael Fahey et al. published in Genes.

The Melbourne epidemic thunderstorm asthma event 2016: an investigation of environmental triggers, effect on health services, and patient risk factors

Phil Bardin et al. published in The Lancet. Planetary Health.

Fracture risk in young and middle-aged adults with Type 1 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Helena Teede et al. published in Clinical Endocrinology.

Saline suppression test parameters may predict bilateral subtypes of primary aldosteronism

Jun Yang et al. published in Clinical Endocrinology.