11 Mar 2022

Visual Snow Syndrome causes becoming clearer

The grainy visual disturbance typical of Visual Snow Syndrome
compared with normal visual perception.

by Anne Crawford

A little over three years ago, Monash University Department of Neuroscience researchers Associate Professor Joanne Fielding and Professor Owen White were given A$140,000 to fund research into a neurological condition that was at the time little known and under-researched.

People with Visual Snow Syndrome see the world through a constant overlay of flickering dots passing over their entire field of vision. This persists whether their eyes are open or closed. The incurable condition is not due to eye problems – it’s caused by an unknown brain malfunction.

10 Mar 2022

The early-life human airway microbiome is a dynamic multi-kingdom entity

See explainer video (1:38 mins) of Pattaroni et al's research.
Video produced by www.researchsquare.com

There is increasing evidence that the airway microbiome plays a key role in the establishment of respiratory health by interacting with the developing immune system early in life.

Ms Céline Pattaroni, in Professor Ben Marsland's group at the Department of Immunology and Pathology, won a L.E.W. Carty grant of $300,000 last year to study mechanisms of asthma in early childhood.

Some of the work that formed the basis of that grant application has now been published in the journal ‘Microbiome’ (IF 14.7). It describes the bacterial and fungal members of the airway microbiome and how they align with the developing immune system in the first post-natal week. 

Gonorrhoea incidence growing in Victoria: Study

Gonorrhoea hotspot areas in Melbourne. See interactive graphic
from the Victorian government infectious diseases report.

The Age's Melissa Cunningham reports on research led by Associate Professor Eric Chow which maps notified cases of gonorrhoea in Victoria. She writes that, for the first time, the geographical distribution of gonorrhoea has been tracked over a ten year period, "finding growing clusters of the sexually transmitted infection were infiltrating some of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas of Melbourne."

The study describes the geographical distribution of gonorrhoea infection, stratified by gender and population group, in Victoria between 2017 and 2019 using enhanced surveillance data.

Early intervention vital following traumatic brain injury

Lead researcher Josh Laing looking at a brain scan
Reproduced from Alfred Health

Early intervention by neurologists following traumatic brain injury (TBI) could significantly enhance patient outcomes, researchers from The Alfred and Monash University have found.

The study, which evaluated risk factors associated morbidity and mortality following TBI found that patients who suffer seizures after moderate to severe TBI have an increased risk of serious complications.

Lead researcher Joshua Laing said that while those who suffer a seizure following TBI have a higher risk of death, they’re also more susceptible to further complications such as epilepsy years after the injury occurs.

9 Mar 2022

Minister Hunt opens new facilities for healthy ageing research

L-R: Director of the NCHA, Professor Velandai Srikanth,
Peninsula Health Chief Executive, Ms Felicity Topp
; Minister for
Health and Aged Care and Member for Flinders, Greg Hunt;
Monash University Dean, Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences,
Professor Christina Mitchell officially opened the new space.

The National Centre for Healthy Ageing (NCHA) has a new home located within the brand-new purpose-built Ngarnga (pronounced Nun-Run-Gah) Centre research facilities at Frankston Hospital, officially opened 1 March 2022 by Commonwealth Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt.
The multi-million dollar centre was made possible through a partnership between Monash University and Peninsula Health, which included a $2 million contribution from the Commonwealth Government for a dedicated space to house the NCHA Healthy Ageing Data Platform.  

See faculty news story including more photos.

See also NCHA's involvement in Melbourne Design Week 17-25 March 2022, "Benefiting everyone: Good design features for healthy ageing".

How can we influence the influencers to be more real?

SBS The Feed writes, "Fuller lips, smooth frown lines, and square jaws are just some of the facial features made popular by social media filters. There are fears it's pushing younger and younger influencers to turn to injections and cosmetic procedures to get that 'Insta Face' look." 

Dr Gemma Sharp was interviewed for comment and analysis. See clip at @TheFeedSBS tweet featuring @gemmasharp11.

Respiratory Research@Alfred an international host centre for European Union

The Department of Respiratory Research@Alfred within the Central Clinical School is now a registered host institution for the European Respiratory Society's (ERS) REspiratory Science Promoted by International Research Exchanges 4 (RESPIRE4) fellowship program.

Professor Anne Holland and Professor Glen Westall are heading the initiative. Prof Holland said, "Essentially it means that people from the European Union can apply to come and do a respiratory postdoc fellowship with us at CCS." The application round closes 1 May.

The ERS fellowship program offers a platform for early career researchers to develop their skills in an international environment and supports fellows on their journey to becoming future leaders in the respiratory field. The RESPIRE4 fellowship program receives funding from the European Union's (EU) Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions grant agreement No 847462 (MSCA COFUND scheme).

See more


Congratulations to Professor Patrick Kwan on his appointment as MIME Clinical Co-Director

Congratulations to Professor Patrick Kwan on his appointment to the Monash Institute of Medical Engineering (MIME) as the incoming Clinical Co-Director.

Professor Kwan will commence in this leadership role on 14 March, 2022.

8 Mar 2022

New MMI@ARA microscopy service for undergraduate students

MMI@ARA is opening a new service Basic Registration for undergraduate students requiring access to entry level microscopes. 

We are hoping that such a service will enable Honours students and others who may not previously have considered the use of microscopy, to take the opportunity to develop and enhance their project through imaging and analysis, and find additional support through our successful training in microscopy theory and image analysis courses.

How to 'break the bias' at CCS: #IWD2022 special

See the video featuring 16 women in research at
at the Central 
Clinical School and their analyses
gender bias.

16 of our women researchers tell like it is for International Women's Day 2022

by Dr Zhoujie Ding, Ms Alex Dimitropoulos, Dr Jessica Borger

International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Being the first Central Clinical School Gender Equity and Diversity (CCS GEDI) committee event in 2022, this year we will celebrate the achievements of women at the CCS under the theme of “break the bias”.

Hear from Central Clinical School champions of change for International Women's Day 2022

International Women's Day 2022 video presentation by Central Clinical School champions of change on how we could 'break the bias' to achieve gender equity in STEMM. This video was produced by Central Clinical School Consumer and Researcher Engagement (CCS CaRE) committee and Gender Equity Diversity and Inclusion (GEDI) Committee. The time point links in the list below go to the start of that particular presentation, and the name links go to more detail about the speaker.

7 Mar 2022

We need to address gender bias in medical research peer review: Jess Borger

Dr Jess Borger, CCS Gender Equity
Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Reproduced from Women's Agenda 28 February 2022

Having explored data on whether Australia’s largest medical research funding body was doing enough to retain women in STEMM on Women’s Agenda (with figures later picked up by Nature), Dr Jessica Borger was recently asked to present on the topic of “breaking the bias”.

Jessica shares the below piece based on the presentation, highlighting opportunities for Australia to lead on opportunities on achieving equality in medical research.

How female surgeons are cutting through prejudice and rising to the top in medicine

Herald Sun #IWD2022 special feature on three Monash-Alfred
female surgeon 
researchers. L-R: Silvana Marasco, Susan Liew 
and Wendy Brown. Image from feature: David Caird
Brigid O'Connell, a writer for the Herald Sun, has written a feature on Central Clinical School's female surgeon-researchers whose clinical practice is based at the Alfred, Professors Wendy Brown and Silvana Marasco and Associate Professor Susan Liew as part of the Herald Sun's special weekend edition for International Women's Day 2022. Brigid writes:

"In an Australian-first, the three top surgical jobs at a major hospital are all held by women.

Winners of the CCS GEDI Leadership Awards

leadership awards from the CCS GEDI committee
The CCS Gender Equity Diversity and Inclusion (GEDI) Committee is proud to support our early career and mid career emerging and established research leaders through the newly repurposed Leadership Awards. 

These awards support researchers who have experienced significant career disruption, in particular through the COVID pandemic, that has impacted their research career progression and outputs.

History has overlooked these 8 women scientists — but not anymore

Meghan Miner Murray's TED feature profiling 8 outstanding women scientists gives us food for thought - the battles these women had to fight, not only to solve the scientific questions by which they were fascinated, but against the numerous cultural and social barriers to their achievements.

Our own medical researcher-clinicians in Central Clinical School reflect on the barriers that exist to this day - see our article in this special issue for 8 March 2022, International Women's Day and hear them identifying and addressing the many and varied issues (see video).

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