5 Feb 2021

Protection against asthma from gut metabolism by-product

A study into the impact of gut bacteria on the immune system has led to the extraordinary discovery of two molecules that can not only provide profound protection in experimental models of asthma, but can also substantially reduce the severity of an attack.

Neither of these molecules, one of which is already commercially available in a diet supplement, were previously known to have an effect on asthma. Additionally, they appear, from animal studies, to have a beneficial role in treating the respiratory illness that is prevalent, and often fatal, in people with serious COVID-19.

Drug clinical trial improves survival for AML patients

Prof Andrew Wei has led a global trial for patients with AML
A landmark paper published today in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) describes the results from a global trial across 148 sites in 23 countries, showing a 30% improvement in survival in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

The Phase 3 clinical trial called QUAZAR, showed that a drug, called CC-486, significantly improved survival in older patients, over the age of 55, with the disease. 

Long-lasting COVID immunity gives real hope for the long-term protection of vaccines

Australian researchers have revealed – for the first time – that people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus have immune memory to protect against reinfection for at least eight months.

The research is the strongest evidence for the likelihood that vaccines against the virus, SARS-CoV-2, will work for long periods.  

Bad Body Image Day? The KIT chatbot can help

KIT the chatbot
KIT, the world's first positive body image chatbot, is helping thousands of people since its launch mid November 2020. Psychology Today has published an essay by Dr Charlotte Markey on KIT, "Bad body image day? It's possible that a chatbot could make a difference".

Dr Gemma Sharp said that KIT "has had a wonderful first two months of life since launching on the Butterfly Foundation's website".

What has KIT been up to? 

To see a perfectly fine body, just look in the mirror

Ellie Aniulus
Opinion published in the Herald Sun 10 Jan 2021
by Ellie Aniulis
PhD student at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre

For many, becoming a ‘new me’ represents the desire to finally get that body. This desire is reinforced every new year with an abundance of advertisements showcasing a variety of weight loss methods. 

These advertisements are full of slim, toned and seemingly happy individuals who represent who you could be, and even more so who you should aspire to be. These people seem to say: If I can look like this, why can’t you?

The issue here is that the repeated use of slim and toned bodies in our advertising creates a very narrow window for what is considered an acceptable body in our society; one which almost all of us will never look like without developing serious eating disorders which impact more than 1 million Australians. Sadly, less than 1 in 4 of these people will ever receive help.

Working towards gender equity at CCS

Dr Jess Borger
by Dr Jess Borger
CCS GEDI committee chair

Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world, the UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, has stated, and this call to action is reflected in the forthcoming International Day of Women and Girls in Science, 11 February 2021.

4 Feb 2021

Mapping the impacts of the COVID -19 pandemic on the medical research workforce

The 2020 CCS GEDI committee authored the survey to assess
the pandemic's impacts on medical researchers. See CCS intranet
“We are all in this together” was the rallying call of our political leaders regarding the effects of the pandemic and our responses to it. The Central Clinical School's Gender Equity Diversity and Inclusion (CCS GEDI) committee teased out the specifics with a survey to map the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on CCS's  medical research workforce. They discovered both positive and negative impacts on medical researchers, some immediate and some with a much longer tail.

3 Feb 2021

Welcome to Professor Natasha Smallwood

A/Prof Natasha Smallwood
Central Clinical School welcomes Associate Professor Natasha Smallwood! A/Prof Smallwood is appointed to a joint Monash University/ Alfred Respiratory Medicine position. She holds a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Emerging Leader grant. She is looking forward to developing multi-disciplinary collaborations widely across the school, and across the precinct. 

Congratulations to our recent PhD graduates, Jaclyn Lange and Katherine Cummins

Dr Katherine Cummins
Ms Jaclyn Lange

Congratulations to Ms Jaclyn Lange and Dr Katherine Cummins on the conferral of their PhD degrees on 28 January 2021! Both graduates did their research projects in the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD).

Jaclyn Lange's thesis title is "Copper and Gallium PET Imaging Agents for Applications in HIV and Cancer". She was supervised by Associate Professor Christoph Hagemeyer, Dr Karen Alt, both in ACBD, and Professor Paul Donnelly, University of Melbourne.

Katherine Cummins' thesis title is "Modification and targeting of myeloid cell surface antigens (CD33 and CD123) to enhance the therapeutic index of CAR T-cells for acute myeloid leukaemia". She was supervised by Professor Harshal Nandurkar, Professor Andrew Spencer, both in ACBD, and Dr Saar Gill, University of Pennsylvania.

MS Research Australia offers vital funding for new treatments

L-R: Dr Mastura Monif, A/Prof Anneke van der Walt, Dr Lisa Grech
Three Monash Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences researchers - Dr Mastura Monif, Associate Professor Anneke Van Der Walt (both in Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School) and Dr Lisa Grech (Department of Medicine, Monash Health) - have received funding grants as part of MS Research Australia’s $2.9M funding boost, which will help uncover new ways to investigate, manage and treat multiple sclerosis (MS). See more about their grants below.

MS is a complex condition of the central nervous system, interfering with nerve impulses within the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. It affects over 25,600 people in Australia.

Participants sought: Survey on eating behaviours and personality characteristics

Find out more about our survey
If you are aged between 16 - 30 years old, we would love to hear from you to help us find out more about how personality is associated with eating behaviours! Australian participants aged between 16-30 years of age are sought for an online survey, estimated to take about 30 minutes. See detail about the study here

Human Factors Short Courses 2021: Registrations open

About the Human Factors Short Course

The goal of this short course is to introduce Human Factors science and its application to healthcare. Human Factors (also referred to as Ergonomics) is concerned with the understanding of the interactions between humans and other elements of a complex system. The goal of Human Factors science is to apply theory, methods and principles to optimise the design of systems to enhance human performance and overall system safety (International Ergonomics Association, 2019). Think of medical device design, simulation-based training, design of guidelines and protocols, team dynamics and organisational management. 

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