6 Oct 2021

2021 Dean's Awards for Central Clinical School staff

This year's Dean's Award winners in Central Clinical School. L-R: Professor Merlin Thomas, Dr Jess Borger, Prof Robyn Slattery, Ms Sharmila Ramesh
Congratulations to Central Clinical School's talented and hardworking Dean's Award winners Ms Sharmila Ramesh, Dr Jess Borger, Professor Robyn Slattery and the CCS Education team, and Professor Merlin Thomas! See detail below for CCS award winners. See more about all Faculty winners here.

  • Ms Sharmila Ramesh has won the individual Dean's Excellence Award for Professional Staff. See video. 
  • Dr Jessica Borger has won the Dean's Award for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion for her work particularly for the Central Clinical School Gender Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (GEDI) committee. See video.
  • Professor Robyn Slattery, Director of Education & the CCS Education Team have been awarded this year's FMNHS Dean's Award for Excellence in Education - Teaching Excellence (Team Award). See video.
  • Professor Merlin Thomas has won the Dean's Award for Excellence in Research: Enterprise. See video.

Ms Sharmila Ramesh

Sharmila Ramesh, who has an engineering background, has analysed, developed and streamlined various processes to both simplify and make them more effective. Her calm, kind, quick, competent and comprehensive support and seamless teamwork has been very beneficial to the school's culture. In addition to providing outstanding direct support to graduate students and all involved with their mentoring, she has handled a 50% increase in graduate student enrolments and an increase in her workload with short course development.

See Sharmila's FMNHS Dean's Award video.

Jess Borger's T-shirt says, "Amazing
Australian Women of Science"
Dr Jess Borger

Dr Jess Borger is a passionate and energetic advocate of women in STEMM. Dr Borger was the inaugural winner of the Australian Society of Immunology Margaret Baird Women in STEM Lectureship and an Inaugural veski inspiring women STEM sidebyside mid-career emerging leader and fellow. Dr Borger represents Monash University nationally, on the Australian and New Zealand Society of Immunology Equity Diversity and Inclusion committee. In Victoria, Dr Borger sits on the executive of the Equity for Medical Research Alliance, with whom she collaborated in the establishment of the impact of COVID on the CCS workforce survey in 2020, which was adopted by the Athena Swann committee and rolled-out University-wide. In response to mitigating the impacts of the COVID pandemic on women in STEMM, Dr Borger was involved in the development and reviewing of the veski inspiring women career recovery grants in 2021. As chair of the GEDI committee, Dr Borger authored a seminar checklist, to implement gender parity at all CCS meetings and has published many D&I articles in the CCS blog, adding to her previously published work in the Monash Lens, Women’s Agenda, Times Higher Education and The Conversation.

See Jess's FMNHS Dean's Award video.

Professor Robyn Slattery, Director of Education & the CCS Education Team

L-R, top to bottom: Dr Janette Allison, Prof Robyn Slattery,
Dr Anil Samuel, Dr Steven Petratos, Dr Jess Borger,
Dr Simon Teteris
The CCS Education Team was established in November 2017, following Professor Robyn Slattery's appointment as Director of Education. Each team-member brings unique skills, discipline knowledge, understanding of pedagogy, and creativity in educational design, to the team. Robyn has been a researcher/educator for 30-years, bringing extensive educational leadership and vision. Steven, Simon, Jess and Jan have multidisciplinary knowledge, together bringing a total of 80-years' research/educational experience, as well as bringing diverse editorial skills. Anil has extensive experience in software design and educational e-learning. Together the team has introduced numerous award-winning educational innovations; several published in peer-reviewed international journals. These include:

  • introduction of duet lectures
  • validating objective assessment tools
  • creating online learning strategies including development of: 
    • Content Navigation Maps (CNM); 
    • Modular online lectures comprising smaller lessons that each align with a single learning outcome (LOLLO) 
    • Closing the learning-loop of learning outcomes with an assessment task (CLA)

See Robyn's FMNHS Dean's Award video

Professor Merlin Thomas

RAGE, the receptor for advanced glycation endproducts,
a transmembrane receptor of the immunoglobulin super family
Professor Thomas' team at the Department of Diabetes, CCS has discovered a new way to target inflammation. Inflammation is like a fire that burns under many human diseases. RAGE, the Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-products, stokes the fire of inflammation. But if this fire burns too brightly or too long, there can be collateral damage to healthy tissues resulting in disease.

Professor Thomas' team has discovered a novel way to change this pro-inflammatory signal into (an anti-inflammatory) one that helps to keep it under control. 

In 2020, this technology was licensed to RAGE Biotech, a spin-out company founded by Professor Thomas and supported by IP Group, Monash University, Murdoch University and the University of WA. 

In 2021, promising data generated during the pre-seed phase has led to an additional investment of $3.3M for the commercial development of this therapy as an inhaled therapy for human lung diseases.

See Merlin's FMNHS Dean's Award video

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