24 Jul 2021

The challenge of understanding Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy: Dr Shobi Sivathamboo steps up

Dr Shobi Sivathamboo
Post-doctoral fellow Dr Shobi Sivathamboo participated in the Epilepsy Foundation of America's Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) Challenge Initiative (SUDEP Challenge Initiative | Epilepsy Foundation) on Wednesday 14 July, 2021. She was one of four finalists selected who are competing for a share of US$1M prize money on offer.

Her presentation entry was titled 'Short-term heart rate variability (HRV) predicts SUDEP' which she presented with her team members and collaborators Professor Terence O'Brien, Head of CCS, Leader of Epilepsy and Neuropharmacology Research Group, Department of Neuroscience (Monash University), and Professors Orrin Devinsky and Daniel Friedman from New York University Langone Health (see screenshot). 

The team found that short-term heart-rate variability, which is a non-invasive and readily obtained marker of autonomic function, predicted SUDEP. Heart rate variability is a validated biomarker for sudden cardiac death in cardiovascular disease populations. Shobi commented that 'our team's entry went really well but we don't know how much we will receive just yet.'

Zoom screenshot of finalists competing in the 2021 SUDEP Challenge.  

All finalists will now await to hear which of them were successful and how much of the US$1M prize money they will be awarded. The Epilepsy Foundation SUDEP Institute challenge aims to predict sudden death in epilepsy or seizures that compromise cardiac or respiratory function in people with epilepsy. These predictors will drive human SUDEP interventions. Since the severity and frequency of seizures is currently the leading risk factor for SUDEP, a biomarker that can predict seizures, especially convulsive seizures that compromise cardiac or respiratory function, will be included in the challenge.

Dr Sivathamboo was also successful in one of the challenge's earlier milestones in which her team received US$10,000.

23 Jul 2021

Congratulations to Professor Richelle Mychasiuk!

Richelle Mychasiuk has been recognised for her outstanding research
with promotion to Professor 
Professors Helmut Butzkueven, Head of Department of Neuroscience at Central Clinical School (CCS) and Terry O'Brien, Head of School, CCS write:

It is with great pleasure that we can inform you that Richelle Mychasiuk has been promoted to Full Professor (Level E) in the Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School, Monash University.

Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah nominated for Data Innovation Award

Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah has been nominated for a 
Research Australia award
Research Australia have published the select list of nominees for this year's annual health and medical research awards. See Monash's full list here.

Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah from Central Clinical School has been nominated by Prof Geoff Webb, Monash University & A/Prof Sharon Chenn, ICPMR, Westmead Hospital for her work on invasive fungal infections (IFIs), which are rare, neglected diseases that target people with low immunity such as cancer patients and people undergoing organ transplants.

Dr Ananda-Rajah and her team are using artificial intelligence software that uses existing radiology images and notes from the hospital to detect and manage IFIs. see below for detail about the project.

Congratulations to our new Master of Surgery graduate, Nicole Garcia

Dr Nicole Garcia, now a plastic surgery registrar at PeterMac 
Congratulations to Dr Nicole Garcia, who has been awarded a Master of Surgery degree on completion of her thesis, "Graft-host interactions in full-thickness wounds using mouse models". She was supervised by Dr Shiva Akbarzadeh and Dr Cheng Lo in the Department of Surgery.

Little is known about the mechanism by which skin grafting accelerates wound healing. Dr Garcia writes,  "We investigated this using an autologous full-thickness and a synthetic graft in a novel mouse model.

Congratulations to Jacques Ma on Translational Research Symposium poster win!

Congratulations to Jacques Ma on her winning the best poster presentation at the Translational Research Symposium held 12 July. Her presentation was titled, "Cell Penetrating Peptides for Therapeutic Protein Delivery". 

Jacques is a PhD student in Central Clinical School's Department of Diabetes, and is supervised by Dr Carlos Rosado and Professor Merlin Thomas. Jacques was also runner up in this year's CCS 3MT heat.

You are invited to a book launch 10 August - The Chloroformist

Register for the 10 August book launch for The Chloroformist
In her new book, The Chloroformist, Dr Christine Ball tells the captivating story of an innovative, hard-working and deeply humane pioneer of modern patient care. Register here for the 10 August online launch of her book.

Christine Ball is an anaesthetist at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, co-manages a Master of Medicine (Perioperative) at Monash University, and is the 2020–2024 Wood Library-Museum Laureate of the History of Anesthesiology. She has been an honorary curator at the Geoffrey Kaye Museum of Anaesthetic History for thirty years and is the author of many works in this field.

See more and register: www.anzca.edu.au/events-courses/events/non-clinical-events/book-launch-the-chloroformist

30 July deadline for submission of abstracts for 2021 CCS graduate research symposium

Mark Monday, 4 October 2021 in your calendars because you won’t want to miss our annual CCS Graduate Research Student Symposium!

It’s been a gruelling year of virtual events and zoom meetings, but we’re hopeful that the 2021 Symposium will be an event where our graduate research students can present their PhD or Masters work to peers in person. Submit your abstract by 30 July.

Career pathways - what are my post-PhD options? 5 August event for Neuroscience PhDs & ECRs

Where to next after your PhD? 

Neuroscience@Monash are offering a workshop style on 5 August with a range of speakers in diverse sectors external to Monash Uni (Hybrid virtual by Zoom) for late-stage PhD students and Early & Mid Career Researchers (EMCR) within the Monash Neuroscience Initiative Network (MNIN). Register here

This event aims to inform attendees about opportunities available within and beyond academia (i.e. understanding what else is out there and what else can you do) and to increase awareness of transferable skills.

Nominations close 29 July for Fresh Science: Calling all early career researchers

Fresh Science 2021 is open for nominations from early career researchers. Nominate by 29 July here.

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