15 Aug 2019

SAVE THE DATE: Primary Immunodeficiencies Symposium this October

Dr Emily Edwards will
host the symposium

October 11th sees the second annual symposium of the Jeffrey Modell Foundation (JMF) Centre for Primary Immunodeficiencies Melbourne, hosted by our own Dr Emily Edwards. The event theme is ‘Bridging Research and Care for Patients’, and it promises to provide stimulating content relevant to researchers in immunology, infectious diseases, and gastrointestinal medicine among others.

The Department of Immunology and Pathology’s A/Prof Menno van Zelm serves as the Director of the JMF Centre Melbourne, and Dr Emily Edwards is acting as conference host. Emily’s work focuses on investigating the impact of genetic mutations on B cell differentiation and function in patients with primary immunodeficiencies. She’ll be presenting on flow cytometry approaches to diagnosis and identification of prognostic markers for the development of non-infectious complications in primary immune deficiencies.

Monash professor urges action on epilepsy drugs

by Anne Crawford

Prof. Terence O'Brien
The Australian Government’s PBS urgently needs to update prescribing rules governing the use of anti-epileptic drugs that are putting unborn children and doctors at risk, the head of Monash University’s Department of Neuroscience has warned.

Professor Terence O’Brien said in a recent opinion piece in the Australian Medical Journal, co-authored with Professor Christian Gericke from the University of Queensland, that PBS rules for prescribing anti-epileptic drugs (AED) were 30 years old, and conflicted with those of regulatory agencies in the US and Europe.

Current PBS rules mandate that patients should be prescribed the older anti-epileptic drugs first, and only in patients in whom these fail can the newer generation drugs be prescribed. For patients with generalised epilepsies (when seizures start in both hemispheres of the brain) this means they need to be prescribed valproate first. Valproate is the most effective drug for patients with this group of epilepsies, but is associated with a high risk of birth defects, including spina bifida, and neurological development problems such as autism in babies, Professor O’Brien said.

Welcome Professor Natasha Lannin

Professor Natasha Lannin has recently joined the Central Clinical School’s Neuroscience Department from La Trobe University, running a group that researches life after neurological events. With their emphasis on rehabilitation, long-term outcomes and ongoing quality of life, the group’s work looks set to complement the Department’s current research portfolio, much of which focusses on prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Natasha  - or Tash as she is happy to be called - also has a strong research interest in the implementation of clinical trial findings into medical practice, following her own experiences as a clinical trialist frustrated by slow adoption of new evidence. This has been a focus of much of her post-doctoral work, and will emerge as a theme in the studies that the new group undertakes.

CCS Recent Publications 6th -12th August

Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:
Dr Nadine Andrew,
Peninsula Clinical School,
was first author on an
article reviewing Australian
 primary care policies.

  • Neuroscience
  • Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases
  • MSHC
  • ACBD
  • Diabetes
  • Gastroenterology
  • Surgery
  • Immunology and Pathology
  • MAPrc
  • Peninsula Clinical School

7 Aug 2019

Scientists reveal new culprit in kidney damage

by Anne Crawford 

A Monash CCS scientist has led a team that found an enzyme widely associated with a number of psychiatric and neurological disorders including depression, may also play an important role in kidney function.

The paper, a collaboration with the Baker Institute, was published recently in Frontiers in Physiology.

Old cells, new tricks - Monash led study challenges our understanding of leukaemia

media release by Tania Ewing
A/Prof Ross Dickins

Each year in Australia over 1000 people are diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), an aggressive blood cancer. Less than one third of AML patients survive 5 years beyond diagnosis. Researchers from Monash University have discovered a key reason why this disease is so difficult to treat and therefore cure. 

The study, led by Associate Professor Ross Dickins from the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, is published today(TBC) in the prestigious journal Cell Stem Cell. The paper identifies an important new concept relevant to clinicians involved in the diagnosis and treatment of AML patients. 

AML is characterised by an overproduction of immature white blood cells that fail to mature properly. These leukaemia cells crowd the bone marrow, preventing it from making normal blood cells. In turn this causes anaemia, infections, and if untreated, death. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains a significant health problem, with poor outcomes despite chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation.

CCS staff recognised in Dean's Awards for Excellence

The Dean's Awards for Excellence were announced recently and CCS is delighted to report that two staff members have been recognised for their outstanding achievement within the Faculty. Dr Rachael Borg, Senior Research Services Officer, was awarded "Excellence in Safety" and Professor Robert Medcalf, Group Leader at the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, was awarded "Excellence in Research (Postgraduate Research Supervision)". Congratulations to both!

Professor Medcalf is deeply interested in fibrinolysis - the process our bodies implement to remove blood clots. He is investigating how we can use our natural clot busting mechanisms to help treat stroke victims. His interest in the chemicals in our bodies that can help reduce the long-term damage of stroke and also in other diseases of the brain including traumatic brain injury.

CCS Recent Publications 30th July - 5th August

Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:

A/Prof Ross Dickins from ACBD
was last author on a paper about AML
that garnered coverage in the Herald Sun


  • Surgery
  • Medicine
  • ACBD
  • MSHC
  • Peninsula Clinical School
  • NTRI
  • Immunology and Pathology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • MAPrc
  • Diabetes



31 Jul 2019

Monash research aired at major HIV conference

Jason presenting in Mexico City. Photo by Roger Pebody.
Melbourne Sexual Health Centre's Associate Professor Jason Ong recently delivered an address about his research into PrEP and STIs at the 10th International IAS conference on HIV Science, on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO).

A/Prof Ong conducted a systematic review for WHO on STI incidence and prevalence in PrEP programmes, incorporating 88 studies. PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis involves HIV-negative people taking medications to stop them acquiring HIV. However, researchers, clinicians and public health policy makers have raised concerns over the role of PrEP which, while preventing HIV, facilitates the risk for STIs. STIs are increasing globally.

Club Melbourne Finalist 2019... Dr Joseph Doyle!

Huge congratulations go to Dr Joseph Doyle from the Department of Infectious Diseases, who has been selected as one of six finalists for the prestigious Club Melbourne Fellowship 2019! The winner will be announced by the Governor of Victoria at a special dinner on August 26th.

The Fellowship comes with substantial networking opportunities within Victoria's research community and $10,000 in funding to support research costs including an international conference attendance.

The Club Melbourne Ambassador Program is an invitation-only group of Victoria’s elite thinkers and leaders, who work together to establish, secure and host international business events to promote Victorian expertise around the world.

EMCR Best Paper Awards

In 2019, the EMCR Committee will call for six Alfred Research Alliance (A+) EMCR Best Paper Awards to honour the outstanding research that is being done and published by early and midcareer researchers within A+. The EMCR Committee will award six best paper awards of $250.

2019 A+ Biomedical Research Early-Mid Career Researcher Best Paper Award (3 awards)
2019 A+ Public Health/Clinical Research Early-Mid-Career Researcher Best Paper Award (3 awards)

CCS Recent Publications 23rd - 29th July

Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:
Adj Clin A/Prof Heather Cleland and
associates published on burn-related
fatalities in Australia this month.


  • Surgery
  • MSHC
  • MAPrc
  • Neuroscience
  • Immunology & Pathology
  • ACBD
  • Medicine (Alfred)
  • Peninsula Clinical School
  • Infectious Diseases

24 Jul 2019

CCS Recent Publications 16th - 22nd July

Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:

Dr Scott Kolbe was last author on a
PLoS One article this week


  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Neuroscience
  • Diabetes
  • Gastroenterology
  • Peninsula Clinical School
  • Surgery
  • Medicine
  • ACBD

17 Jul 2019

SAVE THE DATE: CCS Annual Public Lecture 2019

An exciting event to pop in your diaries is on the horizon - the CCS Annual Public Lecture. This year's presentation is called 'Whose fault is it that Bob caught syphilis?' and is being delivered by the Director of the Melbourne Sexual Health CentreProfessor Christopher Fairley AO.

Synopsis
Late one night in Melbourne, Bob got syphilis after having sex with a man with syphilis. Lots other men had sex with other men that night but didn’t contract syphilis.  Bob used a condom, but they don’t always protect against syphilis. So, ‘whose fault was it’ that Bob got syphilis? The answer matters because it leads to a solution to an important problem. With syphilis cases in Melbourne on the rise, we desperately need a solution.

Study links loss of ‘white matter’ in brain to MS symptom

Executive control includes the ability to stop ourselves from
behaving impulsively. The researchers have found that executive
control deficits are connected to reduced white matter in the
frontal lobe of the brain.
by Anne Crawford

While treatments are becoming increasingly effective in countering many of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), linking actual changes in the brain to its more elusive symptoms is vital to driving the development of therapies that can ultimately halt the disease.

Monash University researchers, led by Associate Professor Joanne Fielding and Dr Meaghan Clough in the Department of Neuroscience, are investigating deficits in executive control, that is the way our ‘higher brain’ controls basic behaviour, and determining which area in the brain is driving these deficits.

ACTA International Clinical Trials Conference

For those of you in forward planning mode, the ACTA International Clinical Trials Conference will be taking place this year from 2 - 5 October in Sydney.

The event, hosted by the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance, will be an opportunity to discuss global advances in the development of self-improving healthcare systems.

CCS Recent Publications 9th - 15th July

Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:
Dr Marcus Robinson was first author
on a paper involving numerous
researchers from our Immunology
and Pathology Department

  • MSHC
  • Peninsula Clinical School
  • ACBD
  • MAPrc
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Surgery
  • Immunology and Pathology
  • Gastroenterology



10 Jul 2019

Neuroscience researcher a driving force in global women’s MS group

Dr Vilija Jokubaitis
by Anne Crawford

A Department of Neuroscience researcher has become part of the inaugural executive committee of the newly announced International Women in Multiple Sclerosis (iWiMS) network.

Dr Vilija Jokubaitis is one of 12 committee members in the iWiMS and is overseeing mentorship within it.

The organisation officially announced itself this month in The Lancet Neurology.

It has developed over the past 12 months into a group of more than 250 members representing 25 countries, drawing members from basic science through to clinical research, from medical and scientific trainees to specialist consultant-neurologists and senior principal investigators to those working in allied health.

China-Australia Joint Research Centre


Prof. Zhuang, the director of the School of Public Health,
signed a memorandum of cooperation with Prof. Fairley
Professor Christopher Fairley, director of the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre and Professor of Public Health at Monash University, was recently invited to join a collaborative meeting held at the School of Public Health,  Xi'an Jiaotong University (XJTU). The meeting was also attended by A/Prof Jason Ong (Melbourne Sexual Health Centre), along with representatives from other local institutions with a view to strengthen international cooperation in infectious disease prevention and establish the China-Australia Joint Research Centre for Infectious Diseases.

Alfred Research Week Poster Comp Winners

Jodie Abramovitch won the Prof. Daniel
Czarny Prize for Allergy Research.

It has been a busy time for research posters.  The recent Translational Research Symposium saw our Translational Research Doctoral students present their research projects with the prize going to Charinthani Keragala. Simultaneously, Research Week was taking place, an annual event in June showcasing research across Alfred Health.

We would like to congratulate the following CCS staff and students for their winning posters:

CCS Recent Publications 2nd - 8th July

A/Prof Menno van Zelm
is an author in two papers
published this week

Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:


  • ACBD
  • Immunology and Pathology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Peninsula Clinical School
  • Surgery
  • MAPrc

3 Jul 2019

5th Annual Translational Research Symposium

Prof. Alan Mackay-Sim, keynote speaker.

The Annual Translational Research Symposium was held recently on Friday 21st of June.  Now in its 5th year, the event is  a collaboration among the three Monash clinical schools, who mentor and train our future leaders in medical research.

The program offered a broad range of leading translational medical researchers. Attendees were privileged to hear 2017 Australian of the Year, Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, present on his inspiring stem cell research followed by Professor Gail Risbridger's study on prostate cancer in BRCA mutation carriers.



Male grief overlooked after miscarriage, study finds

Men report feeling devastated and powerless after miscarriage

by Anne Crawford

A Melbourne Sexual Health Centre study revealing how men feel after experiencing a miscarriage has attracted significant media attention.

The qualitative study, published recently in PLOS ONE, found that although most men described experiencing considerable grief following a miscarriage – with many reporting feeling devastated, shocked and powerless – they felt there was little acknowledgment of their loss from healthcare providers and social networks, and inadequate support.

Planned Giving as a source of funding for your research

Philanthropic donations are an important funding source for medical research at CCS.  Most philanthropic donations come in a form a cash gift or a pledge gift given over a number of years.  The ultimate philanthropic gift a person could give is through estate plans.  This video from Monash University's Planned Giving team showcases how making a bequest can be a
rewarding step to further a cause close to the donor's heart.



CCS Recent Publications: 25th June - 1st July

Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:
The Myeloma Research
Group, led by Prof Andrew
Spencer, produced a team
effort on their cell-free RNA
paper.

  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
  • ACBD
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Peninsula Clinical School
  • Gastroenterology
  • AIRMed
  • Immunology and Pathology
  • Neuroscience
  • Diabetes
  • Surgery

26 Jun 2019

MAPrc ear canal invention a new tool in identifying depression

by Anne Crawford

Bipolar Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder (or MDD) can appear similar in patients but distinguishing them is vital for clinicians to give the right and most efficacious treatment.

Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc) researchers have developed a novel way of doing this – by recording the electrical activity from the outer ear canal. Their findings were published recently in a paper in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.

Last chance to register for ISTH2019!




Professor Robert Medcalf from the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases is the Congress President for the upcoming International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis Congress (ISTH2019) Conference here in Melbourne.  The Congress takes place between July 6-10 and features the 65th annual Scientific and Standardization Committee (SSC) meeting.

Thousands of the world’s leading experts on thrombosis, hemostasis and vascular biology come together to present the most recent advances, exchange the latest science and discuss the newest clinical applications designed to improve patient care.

Through an extensive lineup of educational sessions, poster and oral communications, state-of-the-art lectures, medical industry exhibits and professional networking opportunities, the Congress promotes important scientific discourse and advancement.

Not registered yet? There's still time to register at https://www.isth2019.org/

CCS Recent Publications: 18th June - 24th June

Dr Bridgette Semple, Head of
Paediatric Neurotrauma, was last author
on a paper looking at traumatic brain
injury in children
Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:


  • Surgery
  • MSHC
  • Diabetes
  • Neuroscience
  • ACBD
  • NTRI
  • Immunology and Pathology

19 Jun 2019

Walking the walk: using gait to gauge dementia

by Anne Crawford

Monash University Central and Peninsula Clinical School researchers have shown that a person’s gait can predict whether they are headed for dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease, and which specific brain functions are involved in this cognitive decline.

Associate Professor Michele Callisaya and Professor Velandai Srikanth, supervising first author PhD student Ms Oshadi Jayakody from the University of Tasmania, investigated whether variability from one step to the next during walking, and gait speed, were related to cognitive decline over time. Their study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Reminder: Translational Research Symposium on Friday 21st June


We're sending this newsletter out a day early to remind readers that the 5th annual Translational Research in Medicine Symposium offers an outstanding scientific program. It features leading translational medical researchers from Monash University and Melbourne’s premier research institutes. 


  • Date: Friday 21st June, 2019
  • Time: 8.30am registration. Symposium runs from 9am-4:30pm, followed by drinks from 4:30pm - 5:30pm
  • Venue: A+ Education Centre Lecture Theatre, adjacent to the Baker Institute at 75 Commercial Road, Melbourne 3004, 200 metres east of the main  Alfred Hospital entrance. 
  • Cost: Free
  • Enquiries: Dr Steven Petratos, ph +61 3 9902 0191 / Steven.Petratos@monash.edu

Visit here for more details.


Novel radiotherapy technique may advance fight against cancer

A/Prof Sasha Senthi led the study with
colleagues at the Australian Synchotron
by Anne Crawford

Microbeam radiation therapy (MRT), a novel technology delivering small beams of radiation 50 times stronger than standard treatment safely, is a step closer  following a study led by a Monash University researcher.

Associate Professor Sasha Senthi, radiation oncologist at the Alfred Hospital, was senior author on a study determining the best use of MRT against cancer at the Australian Synchrotron. MRT delivers an array of ultra-high dose beams of radiation a few microns wide – the size of some human cells – while maintaining low doses in between.

“Standard radiotherapy is delivered in an equal, homogenous dose throughout the patient,” Associate Professor Senthi said. “With MRT it is heterogenous and you have these peaks and valleys. Within the peaks, almost no cell survives. In the valleys, the normal cells that survive repair their damage and heal damaged areas, which tumour tissues cannot do,” he said.

CCS Recent Publications: 11th June - 17th June

Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:

Dr Anna Kalff is first author
on a myeloma study with
fellow Spencer Group members



  • Surgery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
  • ACBD
  • Peninsula Clinical School
  • MAPrc

12 Jun 2019

Congratulations to staff awarded Queen's Birthday Honours!


Central Clinical School had a number of staff awarded Queen's Birthday Honours over the long weekend. We're exceedingly proud of them and the service they've provided to the School and the community through their research, clinical practice and teaching.

Clot-busting drug may affect stroke patients’ immune system: study

by Anne Crawford

A study by Monash University’s Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD) into a drug commonly used to remove blot clots in stroke suggests it may weaken the immune system.

The study, published in Frontiers in Immunology, found that t-PA (tissue-type
plasminogen activator) affected several aspects related to the immune system in a mouse model of acute ischemic stroke (AIS). Ischemic stroke is caused when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is obstructed by a clot, and accounts for 80 per cent of all types of stroke. It is a leading cause of disability and mortality worldwide.

3MT Comp Winners!

CCS Competition winner Lakshanie Wickramasinghe

The School's annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition took place here on May 27, pitting seven brave young researchers against each other in a bid to explain their research in plain English, and in only three minutes. The competition is a wonderful opportunity to practice sharing complex but vital research with a lay audience.

Congratulations are due to all contestants for stepping up to the mark, but in particular the following winners:  

Second place Akshita Rana in action

First place: Lakshanie Wickramasinghe (Immunology) -  Lungs, Eyes and Wonder, baby.

Second place: Akshita Rana (ACBD) - Stroke, heart attack and a 'smart' little antibody: A tale unfolds

People's Choice: Hattapark (Jeff) Dejakaisay (Neuroscience) - Potential Role of Glutamate in the pathogenesis of Acquired Epilepsy in Alzheimer's Disease.

CCS Recent Publications: 27th May - 10th June 2019

Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:


  • MAPrc
  • ACBD
  • Anaesthesia & Perioperative Medicine
  • Neuroscience
  • Diabetes
  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
  • Immunology & Pathology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Surgery

5 Jun 2019

Translational Research Symposium Speaker Spotlight: Professor Gail Risbridger


Professor Gail Risbridger
Monash University's 5th annual Translational Research Symposium is being hosted by its three metropolitan clinical schools on 21 June 2019. The symposium will host a diverse group of medical researchers presenting their work into translational research. RSVP here.

The Plenary speaker for the event is Professor Gail Risbridger, Deputy Dean, Special Projects, Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium and Research Director, Prostate Cancer Research Program.

29 May 2019

Spotlight on MS Research


Dr Steven Petratos and Dr Erica Kim
Thursday 30th May is World MS Day.  A global initiative to raise awareness for those affected by Multiple Sclerosis. This year's theme is My Invisible MS, an opportunity to make visible the symptoms of MS and educate the broader community. 

When Dr Erica Kim began her honours degree in the Neuroscience Department at Central Clinical School, she arrived with simply a passion for neuroscience. Now, with a PhD completed, along with two first author primary research papers, 2 author reviews and contributing author credits, it seems that this researcher is in it for the long haul with a firm focus on developing cell and gene-based therapies to treat intractable neurodegenerative disease, particularly Multiple Sclerosis.

Investigative research is a slow burn, particularly at a molecular level. It can take years to see a project translate from the investigative to pre-clinical stages and then there is no guarantee of progression to a clinical trial. Erica is keen to witness her earlier research progress into clinical trials. The molecules that have been the focus of her work, which may contribute or initiate such damage in MS are becoming known and by targeting them, it may be possible to limit the destruction, which occurs to nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord, promoting a better clinical outcome for individuals living with MS.

Public Health researcher wins Prestigious Alumni Award


A/Prof. Chow receives his award from Professor Rodney Phillips,
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, UNSW
Associate Professor Eric Chow has won the 2019 UNSW Young Alumni Award. The Young Alumni Award acknowledges the most accomplished UNSW Sydney Alumni under 35 years across 13

categories spanning science and technology to arts and services to the community.

Eric made a career change in 2012 by completing a Master of Public Health followed by a PhD at UNSW Sydney, where he received the Faculty of Medicine Dean’s List. The MPH provided Eric with new knowledge in public health, epidemiology, biostatistics, health promotion and mathematical modelling. His PhD thesis, which focused on HIV epidemiology and sexual practice among at-risk populations in China, has paved the way for his impressive research in the field of sexual health.

First CCS journal club a great success

The Central Clinical School (CCS) Student Journal Club series kicked off to a great start on Tuesday May 21st, with a large crowd attending. The theme was hepatology, and two honours students, Jacqueline Bredhauer and Terence Fong, presented engaging talks on Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease papers. They were mentored by Dr Natasha Janko, gastroenterologist, who also chaired the session.

CCS Recent Publications: 20th May - 26th May 2019


A/Prof. Eric Chow
Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:
  • Surgery
  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
  • MAPrc
  • Neuroscience
  • Immunology and Pathology
  • AIRMed




Translational Research Symposium Speaker Spotlight: Dr Vilija Jokubaitis

Dr Vilija Jokubaitis
Monash University's 5th annual Translational Research Symposium is being hosted by its three 21 June 2019. The symposium will host a diverse group of medical researchers presenting their work into translational research. RSVP here.
metropolitan clinical schools on

Dr Vilija Jokubaitis is Head of the Neuroimmunology Genomics and Prognostics Group, MS and Neuroimmunology in the Department of Neuroscience.

22 May 2019

Upset ‘body clocks’ may be driving heart disease epidemic

by Anne Crawford

A Monash University researcher is warning that circadian rhythm disturbance –  disruptions to our ‘body clock’ – may be a common factor behind the global diabetes, obesity and heart disease epidemics.
Professor Paul Zimmet AO

Professor Paul Zimmet AO said studies suggest circadian disturbance may be a feature of the cluster of heart disease risk factors including obesity, elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar levels (prediabetes and diabetes) and blood cholesterol collectively called the Metabolic Syndrome.

“There’s a clear clinical situation in about 30 to 40 percent of adult Australians where a number of important cardiovascular disease risk factors come together,” Professor Zimmet said. “And people who have these risk factors are more likely to get co-morbidities such as sleep apnoea, depression, fatty liver disease and cognitive disability,” he said.

“No-one’s proposed that all of the things we’re talking about – both the cardiometabolic ones plus the co-morbidities – are linked together by disturbed circadian rhythm. We’re proposing that ‘Metabolic Syndrome’ be renamed ‘Circadian Syndrome’.”


Rare neurological case raises alerts for clinicians


When a man in his late fifties was referred to neurologist Professor Owen White in August 2016 with double vision, facial weakness and an unsteady gait, it appeared he had suffered something akin to a stroke. The reality was even more sinister. A concerted effort by medical teams to pinpoint the mysterious condition as the man’s health progressively failed eventually led to the diagnosis of an exceptionally rare disease – and some lessons for those involved and clinicians beyond. A paper documenting this unusual case appeared recently in the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience.

by Anne Crawford

The patient had originally been diagnosed in hospital with neurological symptoms including double vision, difficulty balancing and stuttering. An MRI scan showed an abnormality in the pons, part of the back of the brain.

However, the man didn’t follow the normal history of stroke. Multiple investigations failed to find an answer to fluctuating, persistent and evolving symptoms.

“Clinically he looked like patients with myasthenia gravis, an immune condition where an antibody is created which blocks conduction from the nerve to muscle. He had changed cranial nerve signs which is always unusual except in myasthenia gravis,” Professor White said.


Broccoli! The bitter brassica delivering a sweet health reward

by Anne Crawford

Broccoli, love it or hate it, is well-known as a food that has a host of vitamins, minerals and fibre beneficial to our health in general. Evidence is mounting too that it may have properties to help fight cancer, boost immunity, counter inflammation and even help children with autism.

A team led by Dr Tom Karagiannis from Monash University’s Department of Diabetes has published a review of clinical trials worldwide testing the benefits of the active ingredient sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is produced in the body from a naturally occurring compound called glucoraphanin, found in cruciferous vegetables including cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy and broccoli. The highest concentration is found in broccoli sprouts.

“We looked at more than 100 clinical trials done into sulforaphane and how effective it was in different types of disease,” Dr Karagiannis said. “In the last couple of years, research has increased exponentially on this compound,” he said.

The review, published in Clinical Nutrition last month, is part of a body of work by Dr Karagiannis with the ultimate aim of developing a pharmaceutical-grade sulforaphane preparation for clinical use in inflammatory conditions.


CCS Recent Publications: 3rd May - 19th May

Prof. Paul Zimmet's article calling for recognition
of a new syndrome has been published this month.
Recent publications for Central Clinical School feature affiliated authors in the following departments:

  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
  • Neuroscience
  • MAPrc
  • AIRMed
  • NTRI
  • Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine
  • Peninsula Clinical School
  • Obesity Research and Education
  • Diabetes
  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology
  • ACBD



Translational Research Symposium Speaker Spotlight: Associate Professor Kathryn Holt


PLEAA/Prof Kathryn Holt
UPDATE: A/Prof Kat Holt will no longer be speaking at the symposium.  Dr Kelly Wyres will be speaking instead.

Monash University's 5th annual Translational Research Symposium is being hosted by its three metropolitan clinical schools on 21 June 2019. The symposium will host a diverse group of medical researchers presenting their work into translational research. RSVP here.

Associate Professor Kathryn Holt is a group leader in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Central Clinical School and Alfred Health.

15 May 2019

CCS Recent Publications: 30th April - 6th May

Due to staff illness, this week's recent publications will be included in the next edition of the CCS News.

Revealing the mysterious ways the gut affects kidney disease

by Anne Crawford
Dr Matthew Snelson

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is estimated to affect 13 per cent of the population globally. It is associated with a two- to three-fold increased risk of death caused by the disease itself and also carries a higher risk to patients of dying from heart disease or stroke.

Patients with CKD have increased levels of uremic toxins – toxins produced by bacteria in the gut that are normally excreted in the urine in healthy people but which build up in those with CKD.

A recent PhD graduate of Monash University’s Central Clinical School has conducted a review of literature to understand how this happens as a base to eventually finding ways of preventing it by creating new therapeutics.

Dr Matthew Snelson, a winner of the CCS’s 3MT (three minute thesis) award, became interested in CKD as a clinical dietitian working in Perth. “I was very interested in the role of gut microbiota and the mechanisms by which diet affects disease outcomes,” he said. “The emerging evidence looking at the link between the gut and the kidney was a really interesting area.”


Study reveals new mechanism of gonorrhoea transmission


A/Prof Eric Chow from the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre was in the Washington Post recently following publication of a paper on which he was lead author. The paper, published in Sexually Transmitted Infections, found that kissing with tongue may be a way to transmit oropharyngeal gonorrhoea, or oral gonorrhoea, particularly among gay and bisexual men. The study team featured a number of other Central Clinical School researchers.

CCS Travel Grant Outcome - 2019 Round 1


CCS is pleased to announce the successful recipients of the 2019 Round 1 Travel Grant. Congratulations to all.

For information and guidelines on the scheme, visit https://sites.google.com/a/monash.edu/ccsintranet/research/funding/opportunities

Translational Research Symposium Speaker Spotlight: Professor Mark Shackleton

Professor Mark Shackleton
Monash University's 5th annual Translational Research Symposium is being hosted by its three metropolitan clinical schools on 21 June 2019. The symposium will host a diverse group of medical researchers presenting their work into translational research. RSVP here.

Professor Mark Shackleton is Director of Oncology at Alfred Health and Professor of Oncology in the Department of Medicine, Monash University.

8 May 2019

Focus on Diabetes: Sunway Biomedical Symposium


Prof. Paul Zimmet
attended the recent Sunway Biomedical Symposium.
Professor Mark Cooper and Professor Paul Zimmet recently attended the Sunway Biomedical Symposium in Malaysia.  Leading academics from the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Monash University came together for the two-day symposium. With a focus on diabetes mellitus, the theme was "Diabetes: Disarming the Silent Killer".

The major cost of diabetes is its complications. Professor Cooper’s presentation highlighted new approaches to these complications such as SGLT2 Inhibitors and GLP-1 analysis, which appear to offer end-organ protection independent of their glucose lowering effects.



PrEPX Study reveals increase in STIs



A/Prof Edwina Wright, Principal Investigator of the recent PrEPX study
A recent study of men using HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has explored the changes in sexually transmitted infection (STI) incidence following initiation of the preventative treatment.  The data collated from almost 3000 participants in the PrEPX study revealed a 20% increase in STI rates. Interestingly, condom use did not play a part in acquiring an STI when using PrEP, despite being an initial concern for those commencing the treatment. Instead, participants reporting higher numbers of sex partners and participation in group sex were at a greater risk.

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