9 Jun 2020

Key to unlocking gene to fainting syndrome affecting one in 100 teens

SMH 9 June 2020, "Breakthrough in fainting 
syndrome impacting girls and women". Link
by Tania Ewing

One in 100 teenagers, mainly girls, experience a syndrome that causes them to faint, have heart palpitations and severe fatigue, largely due to circulation and blood flow. Often remaining undiagnosed, there is no cure or treatment and little understanding of the disease.  Now Monash researchers may have uncovered the first potential therapy as well as a key understanding about how the syndrome operates.

Molecular block of the SARS-CoV-2 virus being explored

Tight binding of α-ketoamide molecules (red), in the active
 site (gold) of the SARS-CoV-2 main protease.
Dr Tom Karagiannis and colleagues are examining the binding of small molecules to a particular protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, to block its action.

Dr Karagiannis said, "The main protease is a non-structural protein that the SARS-CoV-2 virus needs to replicate.  Once inside the host cell, the virus makes proteins so it can produce more copies of itself. These proteins need to be processed and proteases such as the main protease are responsible for cleaving the proteins at specific sites.

"By blocking the main protease you could stop the virus from replicating, which is what we're testing with a designer molecule called α-ketoamide." 

2-8 June 2020 Central Clinical School recent publications

Fair sample. Zhang et al have done the stats on COVID-19 rate
of infection and case fatality in Chinese cities, and their chosen
indicators predict epidemic size per million population. Study
Recent publications as notified by PubMed during the week 26 May - 1 June 2020 from Central Clinical School affiliated researchers in the following departments. This is not a comprehensive list:
  • Anaesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine
  • Australian Centre for Blood Diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Medicine - Alfred
  • Medicine - Peninsula
  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry

8 Jun 2020

Public Lecture: COVID and Women's Mental Health

Professor Jayashri Kulkarni
Photo: "Women" by
Sam Burke & Rebecca Umlauf
Women's mental health needs looking after more than ever in the time of COVID, as Professor Jayashri Kulkarni will explain in a forthcoming public lecture, on Wednesday 24 June. Jayashri is Director of Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc) and Head of the Monash Department of Psychiatry in Central Clinical School. Register now or learn more below.
  • Lecture Title: COVID and Women's Mental Health
  • Date: Wed 24 June at 12.30pm
  • Length of session:60 minutes including questions
  • Cost: Free
  • Link to register and receive Zoom link for event

Welcome to Dr Will Khan, Department of Neuroscience!

We welcome a new staff member, Dr Will Khan, a Research Fellow joining the Harding research group (as part of the iBRAIN unit) in the Department of Neuroscience. He completed his PhD at King’s College London looking at the utility of brain imaging as a biomarker for early Alzheimer’s disease detection and prediction.

Will's current work at Monash will look at the application of different brain imaging techniques to investigate chronic inflammation in Friedreich Ataxia, and explore mechanistic links with neurodegeneration and the clinical progression of the disease. Please make Will welcome if you see him around the department!

Blood donations resuming 16 June for research in the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases

Blood donors wanted for Australian Centre for Blood Diseases 
research. Contact Nikki.Kara@monash.edu
For those of you who have donated in the past to our researchers in the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, many thanks for your donation. We couldn't do our research into blood disorders without your donations! We're now re-opening for our research programs to continue and would love to hear from you.

We are recommencing our blood donor program from 16 June with the following changes:

In the media: COVID-19 suspected of affecting brain and nervous system

8 June 2020 The Age "Research points to virus having impact on brain and nervous system" by Liam Mannix, quoting Dr Robb Wesselingh and Prof Terence O'Brien. Link

"A growing body of evidence suggests that coronavirus could affect the brain and the nervous system – with as yet unknown long-term consequences."

Robb is a neurologist at Alfred Health and a PhD student with Dr Mastura Monif. He is establishing a national database with the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists to track COVID-19 patients with nerve-related symptoms.
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