12 Aug 2022

Congratulations to Menno van Zelm on his promotion to Professor

Congratulations to Menno van Zelm in the Department of Immunology on his promotion to Professor! The University's Professorial Promotions Committee said that they recognised his significant contribution to the University in the areas of academic activity: research and engagement. They wrote, "In particular, the Committee noted your contributions to commercialisation and patents."

Professor van Zelm has also been successful this year in obtaining NHMRC MRFF funding of $6.3M for a study of COVID-19 vaccines and infection with the goal of improving the care and outcomes for children and people with chronic diseases, particularly as future variants emerge. See faculty story

2-8 Aug 2022 Central Clinical School recent publications

A Monash led study shows that telomeres get shaved at a faster rate,
causing faster ageing in people with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.

Recent publications featuring research as notified by PubMed during 2-8 August 2022 from Central Clinical School affiliated researchers in the following departments.

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. The below is not a comprehensive list.

From the bedside to the bench and back: A translational career for Alex Boussioutas

Professor Alex Boussioutas is Central Clinical School's
recently appointed Head of Department of Gastroenterology

Professor and Director of Gastroenterology Alex Boussioutas holds a joint senior academic and clinical role with Alfred Health and Monash University, the latest of a string of prestigious appointments. He has also had a remarkable research career.

by Anne Crawford

Gastroenterologist Professor Alex Boussioutas began his research career driven by a fascination with the molecular aspects of disease. It was the ‘90s when the nexus of molecular biology and genomics was an escalating field. “I figured the only way I could find out about that properly was to do a PhD in it,” he said.

Champions of GEDI mentoring program

The CCS GEDI committee would love to hear from you, as we are seeking EOIs from potential mentors for students and EMCRs. See example above, kindly provided by Professor Robyn Slattery.

by Dr Lenka Vodstrcil and Dr Jess Borger

In the Central Clinical School (CCS) Gender Equity Diversity and Inclusion (GEDI) committee CCS Diverse Lived Experiences survey (see companion story), a primary outcome was that researchers reported the need for mentoring relationships, suggesting there is scope to enhance the mentoring provided at the CCS.

Professor Anne Holland awarded ERS medal

Congratulations to Professor Anne Holland, Head of Respiratory Research@Alfred, whose outstanding research and clinical leadership in the allied health field of physiotherapy has been recognised by the European Respiratory Society (ERS) with the award of the ERS Mid-Career Gold Medal for Allied Health Professionals. 

See more below or read here on the ERS site

11 Aug 2022

Your diverse lived experiences - GEDI survey findings

See the CCS Diverse Lived Experience survey summary

by Dr Lenka Vodstrcil and Dr Jess Borger

The Central Clinical School’s Gender Equity Diversity and Inclusion (GEDI) committee aims to support and advocate for all its staff and students and regularly provides guidance or recommendations to the CCS Executive.

In 2021, the GEDI committee ran the CCS Diverse Lived Experiences survey to understand the hurdles or barriers CCS staff and students had faced during their career to inform the development of new GEDI Committee initiatives to support staff and their career progression.

The full findings are summarised in the document available here and we recently reported the findings to the CCS Executive.

10 Aug 2022

Booster doses increase protection against COVID-19 variants

A study by Monash immunologists suggests that booster vaccine doses
elicit memory B cells with higher affinity to COVID-19, enabling
recognition of VoC. L-R: First author PhD student Gemma Hartley and.
senior author Prof Menno van Zelm
by Gemma Hartley, PhD student

COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out across the world with great success. However, variants of concern (VoC) now challenge the protection that these vaccines provide. 

Third and fourth dose boosters are known to increase protection against VoC, but the immunological basis of this is still unclear.

9 Aug 2022

Congratulations to our eight RTP scholarship recipients!

L-R: (top) Crystal Li, Jack Edwards, Ella Rowsthorn, Tamsin Hilliard;
(bottom) Ishith Seth, Aaron Jurriens, Catherine Ives, Mikaela Patros
Professors Nicola Harris and Nigel Jones are Central Clinical School's graduate research student coordinators. They report on the great success in the latest domestic scholarship round, with the following eight students receiving Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships: 

  • Crystal Li* from the Department of Neuroscience, supervised by Prof Richelle Mychasiuk and Prof Luke Henderson, who will study Mechanisms of chronic pain: Contributions from the cerebellum
  • Jack Edwards*, Department of Immunology and Pathology, supervised by A/Prof Sashendra Senthi, A/Prof Menno van Zelm, thesis title: Immunophenotyping for biomarker discovery during cancer therapy

Monash CCS inaugural Student Careers Expo

The CCS careers expo was well attended and students were very
positive about the experience.

by Jurie Tashkandi, PhD student, ACBD

The CCS Graduate Research Student Committee (CGRSC), in collaboration with the Monash Graduate Association (MGA), hosted the Monash CCS inaugural Careers Expo in the Alfred Innovation & Education Hub last Thursday, 4 August 2022. Over 30 exhibitors from 20 unique departments and organisations were in attendance. This included representatives from Pearson Clinical Assessment, CSIRO, CSL, Cell Therapies, E&Y and Deloitte, just to name a few.

Participants sought: Dietary strategies to provide relief from gastrointestinal symptoms associated with endometriosis

Endometriosis is a common condition affecting up to 10% of women of reproductive age. Common symptoms include pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea and dyspareunia. However, gastrointestinal (GI) complaints are also common, affecting up to 90% of patients. Diet is commonly used to manage these GI symptoms, but very little research has examined whether they are effective.

Participants are sought for our study, which will compare the effect of diet on GI symptoms associated with endometriosis. Participants are supplied with most meals and snacks for 2x28 day intervals and dietitian support provided.

8 Aug 2022

Genetic risk factor for clotting after COVID-19 infection

Which people who catch COVID-19 have a higher risk of
developing blood clots? A Monash-Baker study investigated.

With blood clots caused by COVID-19 already associated with a higher risk of death, it is important to understand which groups are vulnerable and how best to treat them. 

New information is emerging on COVID-associated blood clots in people with inherited thrombotic conditions such as the common Factor V Leiden, which affects about in one in every 20 or 25 people in Australia.

Paper analyses tools tracking MS progression

Katherine Kenyon is first author on a paper reviewing tools for
monitoring symptoms in MS.

by Anne Crawford

Monitoring symptoms is crucial for the effective management of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a debilitating neurological disease that is one of the leading causes of disability in young and middle-aged adults.  

Central Clinical School PhD student Katherine Kenyon has published a paper in ‘The Cerebellum’, reviewing tools used by clinicians and researchers to do this. 

Phage attack!

Click here to start playing

Does anyone have fond memories of the arcade game 'Space Invaders' from the 1980s? Or if you are too young, you can give this version, "Phage Attack", a go. It was developed by Jerome Mutterer, who says, "I used @p5xjs to make this very nice journal cover playable. Try it here: https://editor.p5js.org/jmutterer/full/1jNvJggiU." (Source: Tweet)


In the Cell cover, phage specificity in suppressing microbiome commensals of choice is visualized by the popular space invader video game. Image credit: Yael Leibovitch and Simone Dell’Ariccia.

Participants sought: Skin testing for measuring immunity in healthy adults

Participants sought for immune system research, see more
Can you help us compare the immune system of young and older adults with skin patch testing?

We would appreciate 2 hours of your time spread across 4 visits to the Alfred Centre (99 Commercial Road, Melbourne 3004) for this research. We are looking for healthy people aged 18-35 years or 65 years and over who do not:

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