14 Dec 2021

'Brain fog' during menopause is real – it can disrupt women's work and spark dementia fears

For nearly two-thirds of women, menopause comes with an undesirable change in memory.

Despite great progress in understanding the medical aspects of menopause – a natural part of life that occurs when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 months – we are only beginning to recognise the experience and impact of cognitive changes during menopause.

See The Conversation article (December 14) by Caroline Gurvich, Chen Zu and Shalini Arunogiri.

Central Clinical School's 2021 wrap by Professor Terry O'Brien

Hear about the highs and lows of 2021 for Central Clinical School from our Head, Professor Terry O'Brien. Another big year, the second of the pandemic.

See the video or flick through the slide deck, embedded on our CCS intranet page:

Bioengineered skin breakthrough to revolutionise burns treatment

Dr Cheng Lo in theatre with a burns patient
Researchers from The Alfred and the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences are developing bio-engineered skin that will undergo a large trial in third-degree burn patients, starting in 2023.

Victorian Adult Burns Centre director Adjunct Associate Professor Heather Cleland and head of the skin bioengineering laboratory Adjunct Associate Professor Shiva Akbarzadeh spoke to the Herald Sun about the cutting-edge technique. A/Prof Cleland also spoke on ABC Radio's Mornings program.

Monash Trauma group researchers explore the influence of the gut microbiome and repetitive traumatic brain injury on adolescent bone development

by Ms Kerrui Wong, Ms Marissa Sgro and Dr Loretta Piccenna

Adolescence is a sensitive period for bone development. Changes during this critical period may lead to significant long-term complications, for example osteopenia and osteoporosis later in life. New research from the Monash Trauma group in the Department of Neuroscience at the Central Clinical School indicates that weakening of the gut microbiome with antibiotic treatment and repetitive mild traumatic brain injury each individually stunted bone growth and volume, and did so in a sex-dependent manner during adolescence. 

Scans of the femur bone density and volume with different treatments using microcomputed tomography

Vanguard Grant for novel method of measuring oxidative stress in diabetic vascular disease

Dr Tomasz Block explains the utilisation of an immune
cell biomarker to measure oxidative stress in patients
with diabetic vascular disease. See video

Congratulations to Dr Tomasz Block, who has been awarded a Vanguard Grant from the Heart Foundation, for $75,000.

Dr Block is an Advanced Trainee in Endocrinology at Monash Health commencing in 2022 and a current Adjunct Research Associate, in the Diabetes and Kidney Disease (Jandeleit-Dahm) research group in the Department of Diabetes at the Central Clinical School. He will utilise this opportunity to expand on novel clinical research based on exciting preliminary results from a pilot study presented at both national and international congresses.

12 Dec 2021

Dr Warwick Nesbitt is a MedTech Actuator Menzies Fellow 2022

Dr Warwick Nesbitt and colleague Dr Crispin Szydzik.
Image: Medtech
Two Australian researchers have been announced as MedTech Actuator Menzies Fellows 2022.

Congratulations to Dr Warwick Nesbitt, Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD) and Dr Gregory Stewart who are set to transform their research impact. 

The MedTech Actuator Menzies Fellowship is supported by the Menzies Foundation as part of their Entrepreneurship in Science mission in partnership with the MedTech Actuator.

Welcome to Associate Professor Rebecca Disler, respiratory researcher

Professor Terry O'Brien, CCS Head of School, writes:

It gives me great pleasure and excitement to announce the recruitment of Dr Rebecca Disler to the academic Monash University appointment as Associate Professor and ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellow in the Respiratory Research@Alfred section of the Department of Immunology and Pathology in the Central Clinical School. 

Welcome to our new recruit, Dr Joseph Kong!

Dr Joseph Kong
Welcome to Dr Joseph Kong

Professor Terry O'Brien, Head of Central Clinical School, writes:

It is with great pleasure that I can announce the recruitment of Dr Joe Kong, MBChB, MS, PhD, FRACS to an 0.5 FTE academic appointment as a Senior Research Fellow (Level C) in the Department of Surgery, Central Clinical School, Monash University. 

Welcome (back) to Melanie Le Page

Melanie Le Page, new ARA FlowCore manager

Welcome back to Mélanie Le Page, who has returned to Central Clinical School! She writes:

"After leaving Central Clinical School almost 10 years ago, following appointments at WEHI, oNKo-innate and Hudson Institute, I have returned as manager of ARA FlowCore and am excited to share my extensive experience in flow cytometry and operational laboratory management with the precinct. 

11 Dec 2021

From researcher to research participant

Professor David Tarlinton shares his motivations for participating
in the Baker Institute's EDCAD-PMS study. See video (1:09 mins)
Monash University’s Head of Immunology, Professor David Tarlinton, swapped roles from researcher to research participant when he took part in the Baker Institute’s heart disease prevention research to better understand his own risk, given significant family history. Now he’s encouraging others at the precinct to do the same. Read the story and see David's video.

7 Dec 2021

Researchers develop a world-first antibody-drug delivery system

Schematic illustration of the new MOF Antibody crystals and their ability to specifically seek out cancer cells to detect them and deliver highly potent drugs with unprecedented precision. Credit: Dr Francesco Carraro and Prof Paolo Falcaro (Co-First and Co-Senior author on the Advanced Materials Paper)

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction: a man-made crystal that can be attached to antibodies and then supercharge them with potent drugs or imaging agents that can seek out diseased cells with the highest precision, resulting in fewer adverse effects for the patient.

However, that is precisely what researchers from the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases at Monash University in collaboration with the TU Graz (Austria) have developed: the world’s first metal-organic framework (MOFs) antibody-drug delivery system that has the potential to fast-track potent new therapies for cancer, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases.

2 Dec 2021

ASPIRE award to support blood cancer research

Associate Professor Ross Dickins is one of the first two
Australian recipients of The Mark Foundation's ASPIRE award.
Monash University’s Associate Professor Ross Dickins has been awarded a USD $232,000 (approximately $325,000 AUD) ASPIRE Award to support his research into preventing relapse following acute myeloid leukemia (AML) therapy from US-based philanthropic organisation The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research.

Welcome to Associate Professor Yet Hong Khor

Associate Professor Yet Hong Khor starts with
Central Clinical School on 1 Jan 2022, in the

Department of Respiratory Research@Alfred
Professor Terry O'Brien, Head of Central Clinical School, writes:

It gives me great pleasure and excitement to announce the recruitment Dr Yet Hong Khor to the academic Monash University appointment as Associate Professor and NHMRC Investigator Grant Emerging Leadership Fellow in the Respiratory Research@Alfred section of the Department of Immunology and Pathology in the Central Clinical School. 

Yet is an outstanding early career clinical respiratory researcher, who has a rapidly emerging research trajectory and profile for her clinical research into chronic lung disease.

Helminths, immune response and gut microbiota: Prof Nicola Harris featured in The Scientist

The Scientist features Prof Nicola Harris's research on intestinal
parasites in an article,"Return of the Worms"

Professor Nicola Harris works on the complex relationship between our gut microbiome, intestinal parasites - helminths - and our immune system. Her research has been featured in The Scientist.

Catherine Offord writes:

"Increasingly seen as a mediator of human health in its own right, with hypothesized effects on everything from intestinal inflammation and immune development to cancer progression and mental health, the gut microbiome could also be an important piece of a worm’s relationship with its host.

16-29 Nov 2021 Central Clinical School recent publications

Is the FODMAP diet more than just a symptomatic therapy?
BMJ commentary by Peter Gibson and Emma Halmos

Recent publications featuring research as notified by PubMed during 16-29 Nov 2021 from Central Clinical School affiliated researchers in the following departments. The below is not a comprehensive list. The most recent validated publications for the school and departments can be seen on their publications pages, linked to from the headings below. Otherwise, read down the entry for recent notifications.

In the media: LivaNova device 'SenTiva' helps epilepsy sufferer

Professor Patrick Kwan commenting on the SenTiva device: 7News

SenTiva is a small device developed by LivaNova PLC which will now be available at comprehensive epilepsy centres across the nation in both public and private medical facilities, including The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Epilepsy sufferer Morgan Adams describes the positive effect it has had on her life since its implantation in September 2020.  

See more: 7News and the Herald Sun.

Department of Neuroscience launches 'Find a Friend' collaborative seed grants

The Department of Neuroscience is the frst university academic department in Australia dedicated to developing and providing solutions for patients with neurological conditions. Established in early 2018, the Department partners closely with Alfred Health.

In 2022, the Department will provide a collaborative seed grant for Early Career Researchers or PhD students in their fnal year.

1 Dec 2021

Dr Matt Snelson wins international award in the nutrition field

Congratulations to Dr Matthew Snelson, who is one of two winners of the Nutrients journal 2021 Young Investigator Award. Dr Snelson is a Research Fellow in Associate Professor Melinda Coughlan's group.

This award is for early career scientists who have produced ground-breaking research and made a significant contribution to the advancement of Nutrition and Dietetics. The evaluation committee wrote that he is "a rising star in the field with an outstanding record of achievement for a young investigator at this stage of his career".

See full story: www.mdpi.com/journal/nutrients/awards/1422

Congratulations to physican trainee Laura McArthur on Rhodes Scholarship win

Laura McArthur, Basic Physician Trainee at Alfred Health,
has won a Rhodes Scholarship

by Shelly Scott
Program Manager, Physician Education, Alfred Health

In September 2022 one of The Alfred’s very own, Basic Physician Trainee (BPT), Laura McArthur will leave our shores to take up residence in the hallowed halls of arguably the most prestigious University in the world, Oxford University in England. 

Laura has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and will be leaving us next year to take up this life-changing opportunity. Our hopes are that she returns to BPT training with tales of snowy winters, brilliant minds and international inspiration. 

We had a chat with Laura and asked her about what this opportunity may bring.  

Imaging competition winners announced!

Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) of Xenograft Mouse
by Ms Jurie Tashkandi
The 2021 Monash Biomedical Imaging (MBI) image competition celebrated outstanding scanner images obtained at MBI and Alfred Research Alliance – Monash Biomedical Imaging (ARA-MBI).

Congratulations to the winners: Ms Jennifer Tinston (PhD student in the Epilepsy and Behaviour group, Department of Neuroscience), Ms Jurie Tashkandi (PhD student in the Nanotheranostics group in the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases), Dr Bianca Jupp, Dr Karen Alt and Dr Chao Suo

View the winning entries on the MBI website with additional information about each image.

And the 2021 CCS graduate symposium winners are...!

Neuroscience scooped the pool for the poster presentations.
L-R: Robb Wesselingh, Erskine Chu and Marisso Sgro (2x!)

The Central Clinical School's 2021 Graduate Symposium was held last Friday, 26 November. It was well attended with fascinating presentations. Congratulations to all of our winners! See details of their presentation titles in the CCS graduate symposium program.

30 Nov 2021

New THRIVE@Monash survey, closing midnight Sunday 12 December

THRIVE@Monash wants to hear from you!
Take the survey

As part of the recent THRIVE@Monash week a new THRIVE@Monash survey is being released to staff. This survey is to understand how staff are finding the transition to onsite work and their mental health and general wellbeing.  

The survey will help the Monash Thrive team at the Turner Institute identify what additional resources are needed for resilience and adaptive coping throughout the COVID-19 global health crisis, as we continue on our path to COVID normal.  

26 Nov 2021

Promising approach to improve testing coverage for chlamydia and gonorrhoea

The WHO commissioned Eric Chow (left) and Jason Ong (right) to
 review alternative methods of STI testing from molecular methods.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 1 million new cases of curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day. 

As most STIs do not present with any symptoms, screening is critical for early detection and management to avoid the development of complications in the infected individuals and onward transmission to others. Testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea using molecular methods is costly, prohibiting its widespread use globally. There is a possibility to reduce testing costs if pooling samples from the same individual is feasible. 

Congratulations to Dr Jess Borger on winning the Vice Chancellor's Excellence Award for Diversity and Inclusion

Dr Jessica Borger (left) being given the award
by Professor Margaret Gardner, Vice-Chancellor
of Monash University
Congratulations to Dr Jessica Borger, who has won the 2021 Vice Chancellor's Excellence Award for Diversity and Inclusion. See full list here.

Dr Borger said, "I felt very humbled to be awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Award in Diversity and Inclusion.

"I am the first to admit, it would not be possible if not for the support of the amazing networks of women in STEM I have surrounded myself with, as well as the wholehearted support of so many at Monash University, especially the CCS GEDI committee.

Prof Velandai Srikanth to be new director of the National Centre for Healthy Ageing

Professor Christina Mitchell AO and Felicity Topp, NCHA Co-Chairs, write:

Congratulations to Professor Velandai Srikanth, who will be commencing as the Director of the National Centre for Healthy Ageing (NCHA) from 1 January 2022. The NCHA is a joint venture between Peninsula Health and Monash University, which aims to create an academic and research hub for leading the transformation of health care for our ageing population.

Gemma Sharp finalist for Bupa Emerging Health Researcher Award

Dr Gemma Sharp is a tireless community advocate,
and is also a co-host for 3RRR "Radiotherapy"
Congratulations to Dr Gemma Sharp who is an NHMRC Early Career Fellow and clinical psychologist in the Central Clinical School's Department of Psychiatry. She was one of only five national finalists for the Bupa Emerging Health Researcher Award

Dr Sharp was nominated by her supervisor and Head of Psychiatry, Professor Jayashri Kulkarni, for her significant contribution to the field of body image and eating disorder clinical research in her short career. 

19 Nov 2021

Controlling AML maturation can reduce disease relapse

AML group led by A/Prof Ross Dickins. Authors on the paper on AML therapy are bolded. L-R: Mr Max Garwood, Ms Jade Jowett-Crociani, Dr Katharine Goodall, A/Prof Ross Dickins, Dr Steven Ngo, Mr Ethan Oxley, Ms Skye Ho

Associate Professor Ross Dickins and colleagues have discovered a promising approach to the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). 

AML is a type of cancer that affects immature progenitor cells (which haven't yet differentiated into a specialised white blood cell type) living in bone marrow. 

18 Nov 2021

Neuroscience researchers receive $1.45M from US Department of Defense for research on Post-Traumatic Epilepsy

Dr Idrish Ali (left) & Dr Pablo Casillas-Espinosa (right)

by Dr Loretta Piccenna

International funding totalling $1,450,575 from the US Department of Defense (DoD) Epilepsy Research Program has been awarded to early career researchers - Dr Idrish Ali (EP200033) and Dr Pablo Casillas-Espinosa (EP200022) - within the Department of Neuroscience, to each individually advance translational research on Post-Traumatic Epilepsy. This will further efforts to improve detection and minimise related health risk factors in individuals affected, especially Service members and Veterans. 

17 Nov 2021

Viertel award to drive research on optimising care for people with new-onset or first seizures

Dr Emma Foster has been awarded a
Viertel Clinical Investigator Award
Congratulations to Dr Emma Foster, who has been awarded a Viertel Clinical Investigator Award from The Sylvia & Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation, for $90,000. 

Dr Foster is a practising neurologist at Alfred Health and an Early Career Post-doctoral Research Fellow, in the Epilepsy and Personalised Medicine (Kwan) research group in the Department of Neuroscience at the Central Clinical School. She recently completed her PhD on the Optimisation of First Seizure Management

MS Australia incubator grant for investigating effect of pregnancy on MS onset

L-R: Dr Michael Zhong, Ms Maria (Pia) Campagna and Dr Vilija
have won an MS Australia incubator grant
Congratulations to Dr Michael Zhong, Dr Vilija Jokubaitis and Ms Maria (Pia) Campagna on the award of an incubator grant of $25,000 from MS Australia for their research project, 'The effect of foetal cells in maternal blood on MS during pregnancy'. Dr Zhong is a Neuroimmunology Fellow at the Alfred, and both he and Ms Campagna are PhD students in Dr Vilija Jokubaitis's group. Dr Zhong is leading the research, and Ms Campagna and Dr Jokubaitis are co-investigators.

From their MS Australia project description, they write:

9-15 Nov 2021 Central Clinical School recent publications

Rats' spacial cognition is not affected by a high sugar diet: Study
Recent publications featuring research as notified by PubMed during 9-15 Nov 2021 from Central Clinical School affiliated researchers in the following departments. The below is not a comprehensive list. The most recent validated publications for the school and departments can be seen on their publications pages, linked to from the headings below. Otherwise, read down the entry for recent notifications.

12 Nov 2021

Using models to help predict seizure freedom in people with epilepsy

L-R: Dr Hugh Simpson (first author), Professor Patrick Kwan
(senior author) and Dr Ben Chen (co-corresponding author)
on a paper modelling the probability of a person with
epilepsy achieving future freedom from seizure. Study

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterised by seizures that are caused by a disruption of electrical activity in the brain. Over 14,000 new cases of epilepsy were reported between 2019 – 2020. Epilepsy is the second most burdensome neurological condition after dementia and costs the Australian economy $12.3 billion per annum. People with epilepsy often experience depression, anxiety, suicide, migraine or stroke at significantly higher rates than that of the general population. 

No cure exists for epilepsy. However, medication-based treatment to control seizures is relatively effective in approximately 70% of patients. The focus of treatment is to both achieve and maintain ‘seizure freedom’ for patients in order to reduce associated health complications, and maximise quality of life and productivity.

A study published recently in the influential neuroscience journal, Brain, led by senior author Professor Patrick Kwan, has developed and validated models capable of predicting the probability that a person with epilepsy will achieve future seizure-freedom. These models may be used to inform treatment decision making.

Building a detailed picture of Friedreich Ataxia through global collaboration

The Monash led ENIGMA-Ataxia working group is collecting
and analysing data worldwide on Friedreich Ataxia

Friedreich Ataxia (FRDA) is a rare inherited disease affecting between 500-800 Australians. It is a neurological disorder causing damage in areas of the nervous system responsible for movement and sensation. It shows initially with abnormal, uncoordinated movements, and over time as the disease progresses, a whole constellation of problems emerges. 

Early diagnosis can help with managing the symptoms, allowing improved quality of life for people with the illness, but there is no cure.

11 Nov 2021

2-8 Nov 2021 Central Clinical School recent publications

A cortical neuron stained green with antibody to Neurofilament light (NfL).
CCS neuroscience researchers are investigating NfL as a biomarker for
 traumatic brain injury & peripheral injuries:
study. Image: Wikimedia.
Recent publications featuring research as notified by PubMed during 2-8 Nov 2021 from Central Clinical School affiliated researchers in the following departments. The below is not a comprehensive list. The most recent validated publications for the school and departments can be seen on their publications pages, linked to from the headings below. Otherwise, read down the entry for recent notifications.

10 Nov 2021

Congratulations to CCS researchers named in The Australian's top 250

L-R: Professor Natasha Lannin has been nominated a global leader in
Rehabilitation Therapy, Professor Paul Myles a top researcher in the field of
Anesthesiology and Emeritus Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld in Neurosurgery
in The Australian's RESEARCH 2021 List.

The Australian’s Research magazine takes a deep dive into Australian research, revealing its excellence in The List (published November 10, 2021). Congratulations to our researchers - see detail below.

The authors, Tim Dodd and Paul McCarthy, write, "Not for many decades has the value of research been so clear. Less than two years after the appearance of a new and dangerous virus, and thanks to countless researchers in infectious disease, immunology, epidemiology and other fields, we now have many effective vaccines in mass production, and numerous tests and treatments for Covid-19.

"In The Australian’s annual Research magazine, we acknowledge the talent and dedication of our researchers. And again, as we have for the previous four years, we present The List – a roll call of the best researchers and the best research institutions in Australia in 250 individual fields of research."

5 Nov 2021

Congratulations to our NHMRC Ideas grant awardees

L-R top: Prof Harshal Nandurkar, Dr Zhong-Lin Chai, Dr Sih Min Tan;
L-R bottom: Prof Patrick Kwan, Dr Mastura Monif, A/Prof Sandy Shultz

Congratulations to Central Clinical School'sNational Health and Medical Research Council (NHMCR) winners in this very difficult round, being the six of our school's 87 applications which were funded. See detail below.

Professor Mark Cooper, Head of Diabetes, said, "For those who missed out do not be too despondent, be resolute, complete key experiments and think of ways to improve your applications for next year.  The grant system is a sort of lottery but the stronger grants in general do better."

Professor Terry O'Brien, Head of School, added, "My commiserations for all the outstanding applicants who were unsuccessful in what was an extremely competitive round (9.5% success nationally) in an increasingly challenging system. Everyone needs to keep faith in their science, continuing to publish well and make an impact, and the grants will come." 

4 Nov 2021

26 Oct - 1 Nov 2021 Central Clinical School recent publications

Drug-induced liver injury #DILI caused by herbal and dietary
supplements, despite their marketing as safe agents and few published
reports of adverse events, has more
than trebled between
2009 & 2020. Stuart Roberts and Elliot Freeman MJA comment
Recent publications featuring research as notified by PubMed during 26 Oct - 1 Nov 2021 from Central Clinical School affiliated researchers in the following departments. The below is not a comprehensive list. The most recent validated publications for the school and departments can be seen on their publications pages, linked to from the headings below. Otherwise, read down the entry for recent notifications.

Top tips we learned from the Monash Neuroscience ECR Career Pathway event

Dr Bridgette Semple, top left-hand corner, moderated the panel
. L-R, top to bottom, linked to each video presentation:
Dr Karen McConalogue, Dr Brittany Howard,
Dr Anthony Filippis,
Dr Bernd Merkel, Dr Heidi Nicholl, Dr Wee-Ming Boon,
Professor James Bourne, Professor Terry O'Brien

Monash Neuroscience held a special event in August 2021 for late stage PhD students and Early Career Researchers within the University network about what career opportunities are available within and beyond academia. 

The overarching goal of the event was to help attendees identify transferable skills for a post-academic career as well as hear from invited speakers from a range of fields about their career pathways.

1 Nov 2021

Paul Zimmet: A Voice for Diabetes

Professor Jonathan Shaw says after more than 50 years of working in the diabetes field, Professor Paul Zimmet continues to actively push the boundaries of our understanding of the condition. He writes:

"Paul Zimmet has been one of the leading figures, globally, in transforming the understanding and threat of diabetes from a Cinderella disease to a major plank of most governments’ health policies. His science, particularly a series of epidemiological studies, has been at the forefront of the campaign, but it is fueled by his genuine passion to improve the life of people with diabetes. After more than 50 years of working in the diabetes field, he continues to actively push the boundaries of our understanding of the condition."

See Diabetes Care journal article

28 Oct 2021

‘Thank you for asking’: patient-centred research helps drive change in lung disease treatment

Physiotherapist monitoring and providing guidance for at home patients.
Image: Dr Narelle Cox. See also Narelle describing the research:

Monash University researchers are giving new hope to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), with the COVID-19 pandemic prompting some of the first innovations in treatment models in 30 years.

See more:

Monash researchers bond with donors to fight rare cancers

Suzanne Neate (right) with her mother Teresa, who died in 2016.

by Anne Crawford

After Suzanne Neate’s mother Teresa died of thyroid cancer five years ago, Suzanne wanted to make an impact on the lives of other people similarly enduring high mortality rate cancers.

Teresa had spent time in rehabilitation; Suzanne thought of funding equipment, walkers or wheelchairs for those in care. “Then I thought ‘No, the problem is she shouldn’t have been there to begin with – how do you stop someone being there to begin with?’,” she said. “You research – everything comes back to research.”

Suzanne, CEO of The Aftershock, the not-for-profit organisation she founded in 2017, has joined forces on a research project into lethal oesophageal cancer with Professor Wendy Brown, Alfred Hospital surgeon, researcher and Head of Monash University’s Department of Surgery.

26 Oct 2021

Can delirium after major surgery be reduced by tranexamic acid?

ANZCA funded study will look at whether tranexamic acid can
reduce confusion and delirium after major surgery.
Congratulations to Professor Paul Myles on his grant from the Australia and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) of $120,000 over two years for the project "Tranexamic acid to reduce delirium after gastrointestinal surgery: the TRIGS-D trial".

Delirium is a devastating complication of medical and surgical care, associated with increased morbidity and mortality, dementia and impaired long-term cognition, and loss of independence. 

How a very simple test can help clinicians see subtle cognitive changes in multiple sclerosis

L-R: Dr Daniel Merlo , Prof Helmut Butzkueven and A/Prof Anneke
Van Der Walt
are first and senior authors on a paper describing a tool
they have developed for assessing cognitive function in MS.
More than 50% of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience cognitive problems as part of their disease. These cognitive problems subtly worsen with time and can be difficult to measure with standard neuropsychological assessments. Hence, it can be challenging for neurologists to monitor and detect small changes in cognitive function in day-to-day practice.

Monash researchers have developed a simple set of tests to detect subtle changes in cognitive function in people living with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). The tests are collectively known as ‘MSReactor’.

25 Oct 2021

FightMND grant for detection of waste build-up in the brain

A/Prof David Wright using Monash's preclinical MRI scanner
at the Alfred site

Congratulations to Associate Professor David Wright on his FightMND grant, "The Glymphatic System: A novel biomarker of disease severity in MND". The project will receive $249,502 over a two year period.

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) affects around 1 in 300 people. It has a rapid progression: one third of people with MND die within a year of diagnosis, and over half die within two years.

19-25 Oct 2021 Central Clinical School recent publications

HCV & HIV co-infection treatment by
 nonspecialists is effective: Doyle et al
Image: Hepmag.com
Recent publications featuring research as notified by PubMed during 19-25 Oct 2021 from Central Clinical School affiliated researchers in the following departments. The below is not a comprehensive list. The most recent validated publications for the school and departments can be seen on their publications pages, linked to from the headings below. Otherwise, read down the entry for recent notifications.

Congratulations to Dr Matt Snelson on ECR symposium prize!

Congratulations to Dr Matthew Snelson, who in addition to his Alfred Health Week win of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute Prize for diabetes research has won the Monash Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (FMNHS) Early Career Researcher Symposium Rapid Fire Presentation.

The FMNHS ECR Symposium brought together researchers from across the faculty with the theme of Reconnect and Turbocharge Your Career. A number of presentation awards were given, including the Rapid Fire Presentation Prize which was won by Dr Snelson for his presentation "Thermally processed diet-induced albuminuria, complement activation and intestinal permeability are attenuated by resistant starch in experimental diabetes".

Congratulations to Associate Professor Shiva Akbarzadeh on her promotion!

Congratulations to Shiva Akbarzadeh on her promotion to Adjunct Associate Professor!

Professor Wendy Brown, Head of Department of Surgery at Central Clinical School, writes:

Shiva Akbarzadeh obtained her PhD from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of Melbourne in 2002. She has almost 20 years of experience in cell biology and signalling in a variety of systems. In 2009 she established the Skin Bioengineering Laboratory at the Victorian Adult Burns Service - Alfred Health, focusing on translational research in skin regeneration. She leads the team responsible for manufacturing Cultured Epithelial Autograft for cellular based therapy of major burns and research in developing novel skin substitutes for clinical application.

Congratulations to Erica Plummer on her PhD completion!

Congratulations to Erica Plummer, who has completed her PhD degree!

Erica's thesis is titled, "Investigating the pathogenesis of bacterial vaginosis". She was supervised by Professor Catriona Bradshaw, Prof Kit Fairley, Dr Dieter Bulach, Dr Gerald Murray, Dr Lenka Vodstrcil and Dr Suzanne Garland.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a highly prevalent vaginal condition that is associated with serious clinical sequelae. BV recurrence following first-line treatment with antibiotics is unacceptably high, and there have been few improvements in BV cure for decades. New and more effective treatments for BV are needed to reduce the serious sequelae associated with BV and the repeated antibiotic use that result from multiple recurrences. Erica's thesis aimed to investigate the pathogenesis of BV with a focus on evidence for sexual transmission, and to determine what factors influence the composition and stability of the vaginal microbiota.

Participants sought: Therapeutic use of transcranial Alternative Current Stimulation for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Participants sought for study using transcranial Alternating Current
Stimulation (tACS) for
obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
The Epworth Centre for Innovation in Mental Health is seeking volunteers between the ages of 18 and 65 with either no history of mental health conditions OR a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to help us investigate whether a novel brain stimulation method called transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS) can be used to treat OCD.

Participants sought: Measuring oxidative stress in the brain

Participants sought for neurological study: See detail
We are seeking participants with no history of neurological illnesses to take part in our study investigating oxidative stress and neurodegeneration.

This project will use combined Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) brain scanning technology to measure oxidative stress in the brain and determine its relationship with measures of neurodegeneration.

24 Oct 2021

2021 Alfred Health Week winners!

Congratulations to our Central Clinical School researchers who won awards during Alfred Research Week (asterisked in the list below). The entire research community was recognised.
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