19 Dec 2014

PhD students in the spotlight

Jodie Abramovitch
Aislin Meehan 
This week we sat down with two CCS PhD researchers to talk about their experiences in completing their thesis. We spoke to Aislin Meehan and Jodie Abramovitch, both from The Department of Immunology. 

Jodie is supervised by Prof Jennifer Rolland and Prof Robin O'Hehir and her research looks at shellfish allergies. Click here to read her profile.

Aislin just finished her PhD which looked at the role of Natural Killer (NK) cells after human lung transplantation. Aislin was supervised by Dr Glen Westall and co supervised by Dr Nicole Mifsud and A/Prof Tom Kotsimbos. Click here to read her profile.

18 Dec 2014

Vaccines and the immune system

Jacques Banchereau talk on tailoring vaccine development
The Monash University Department of Immunology and Burnet Institute hosted a symposium featuring two international guest speakers, Professors Virgina Pascual and Jacques Banchereau on 24 November 2014. Two videos have been uploaded:
  • Professor Fabienne Mackay, (Head of Department of Immunology at Monash) speaks about her lab's recent research on the role of dentritic cells in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL). Video link
  • Professor Jacques Banchereau speaks about his immunological research at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), USA, where from 2013 he has been Professor and Director of Immunology Sciences. His particular interest is in tailoring vaccines using dendritic cells. Video link

New use for thermal imaging in neurosurgery

AVM: A congenital tangle of blood
vessels which can cause bleeding, pain
or other serious medical problems
Image: vascularrneuro.com
How do we tell when surgery to remove a cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM) has been successful? Normally it requires invasive angiography to image the blood vessels supplying the AVM. Associate Professor Peter Hwang and Dr Phil Lewis (Department of Surgery), working with Dr Jerome Maller (MAPRc), wondered whether the abnormally high blood flow through the AVM might be causing reduced blood flow and therefore lower temperature in structures fed by the same blood vessels. 

The main vessels feeding each hemisphere are the carotid arteries, which also supply blood to the eyes. The investigators found that in one patient, eye temperature on the side of the AVM was lower than the other, and this temperature difference disappeared after surgical removal of the AVM. They now plan to see if eye temperature difference can be used as a surrogate measure of AVM size or flow, and whether a resolution of eye temperature difference could be useful as an adjunct marker of the success of AVM treatment.

16 Dec 2014

Stabbing, gunshot and blast injuries: management and outcomes

Gunshot wound to the left parietal lobe
A review of the current management, prognostic factors and outcomes of penetrating and blast injuries to the central nervous system highlights the differences between gunshot wound (GSW), blast injury and stabbing. GSW and blast injuries cause complex damage and multidisciplinary specialist management is required for them.

Reference and full text link:  Rosenfeld JV, Bell RS, Armonda R. Current concepts in penetrating and blast injury to the central nervous system. World Journal of Surgery. Published online 2 Dec 2014.

2015 Scientific Mobilisation Program - Travel grant opportunity for French collaboration

The Australian Academy of Science (AAS) and the Embassy of France in Australia have released a call for applications for the 2015 Scientific Mobilisation Program from candidates who are conducting a research project involving at least one French scientific or technological partner. This travel grant will cover the expense of one economy return airfare from any Australian capital city to a major airport in France (to depart from mid March 2015), and stay for a maximum of 28 days. Preference will be given to early career researchers. For further information including eligibility requirements and how to apply please visit http://www.ambafrance-au.org/2015-Scientific-mobilisation

Closing date is  9am, Monday 19 January 2015. Results will be announced January - early February 2015.

Monash Vision's bionic eye: the challenges of marrying biology with technology

Image: AMA
A recently published review details the challenges inherent in developing a bionic vision device employing electrical stimulation of visual cortex. The paper covers the spectrum of biological, engineering and clinical problems that developers of such devices (including the Monash Vision Group) have encountered thus far. The authors are Dr Phil Lewis, Dr Helen Ackland, Professor Arthur Lowery and Professor Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld.

Read more: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25446438

Monash's immersive visualisation facility (84,000,000 pixels!)

Professor Paul Bonnington demonstrating Monash's CAVE2(TM) facility, Monash's Immersive Visualisation Platform at the Clayton campus. CAVE stands for CAVE Assisted Virtual Environment. CAVE2 is a trademark of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. The backdrop image is of neural pathways in 3D. See more:

15 Dec 2014

Participants sought: Dietary fibre and health

Leek and prawn risotto, on the menu
Healthy volunteers are required for a study investigating the optimal increase in dietary fibre to improve bowel movement and gut bacteria. This study involves volunteers consuming nutritionally balanced diets that vary only in their dietary fibre content, over an entire period of 12 weeks. All cooked food will be supplied. Participants will be asked to purchase the fresh food component of the diet. All the diets have been designed and prepared by a fully qualified and experienced professional chef.

See more: www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/clin-trials/ct-veitch.html
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