News

For more detail about the Department's research programs, clinical trials and data registries, see their Research and Staff pages.

See all Central Clinical School news, including Infectious Disease highlights, at http://www.med.monash.edu.au/cecs/headlines/ccs-news.html.

A monthly blog profiling CCS news highlights can be subscribed to, at: https://blogs.monash.edu/ccsnews/.

HealthMap logo

Job vacancy: HealthMap Study

Do you have previous clinical research experience and a passion for making a real difference? Do you have the ability to build relationships and successfully deliver clinical research projects? If so, Alfred Health has an opportunity not to be missed! HealthMap is a study that provides a novel approach to the care of people living with HIV. Within a framework of chronic disease self management, the project will evaluate in a large cluster randomised trial the effect on cardiovascular risk of an online environment with interactive health care plans and health coaching.If you are looking for a challenge and an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of people with HIV, then please apply!

Sharon Lewin

The end of AIDS: HIV infection as a chronic disease - Lancet review

HIV infection is now no longer a death sentence, as antiretroviral (ART) treatment will hold the disease in check. However, the disease is not cured. ART must be taken for life as HIV is latent and may 'awaken' any time without ART. HIV-infected individuals have a higher risk of developing non-AIDS disorders, including chronic cardiovascular, kidney, liver, cancer and some neurological illnesses. Profs Steven Deeks, Sharon Lewin (HOD Department of Infectious Diseases) and Diane Havlir outline the issues in their Lancet review article. Posted 21/10/2013.

AICR

Monash study identifies factors underlying ineffective response to HIV treatment

A new study has looked at the factors which may decrease the chances of HIV treatment being successful. Patients with HIV are treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART), which has proven effective at improving their long-term outcomes and survival. The study, by A/Prof Allen Cheng, Dr Olga Vujovic and Prof Jennifer Hoy (Department of Infectious Diseases), aimed to discover the factors which lead to virological failure. See more detail at SPHPM blog story. Posted 25/10/2013.

Paul Cameron

Improving how the immune system can reveal a person's medical history

Associate Professor Paul Cameron from the Department of Infectious Diseases has co-authored a paper in Nature Communications describing a novel method to track the effects of influenza vaccination, cancer, infectious diseases and immune diseases on the diversity and repertoire of disease-fighting immune cells within an individual. The method combines state-of-the-art next generation sequencing and online analytical databases. Lewin & Cameron lab. Journal reference: "IMGT/HighV QUEST paradigm for T cell receptor IMGT clonotype diversity and next  generation repertoire immunoprofiling" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=10.1038%2Fncomms3333. Posted 09/10/2013.

A/Prof Edwina Wright

Department of Infectious Diseases research is top rated by international peers

At the recent Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents Chemotherapy (ICAAC), held in Denver, Sept 10-13 2013 two papers by members of the Department of Infectious Diseases, Central Clinical School, Monash University were featured in the Literature Review Session. One was co-authored by A/Prof Edwina Wright (pictured) and the other by Dr Orla Morrissey. These two papers were considered as amongst the best infectious diseases papers published in the 12 months to date. For more information please visit the Monash CCS Blog entry. Posted 01/10/2013.

Dr Michelle Giles

Congratulations: Dr Michelle Giles nominated to attend Young Physician Leaders program

Michelle, pictured, has been nominated as one of the three Monash representatives to attend the InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP) Young Physician Leaders (YPL) programme and the 2013 World Health Summit in Berlin. Michelle is an infectious diseases physician in the Clinical Research Unit. Posted 27/08/2013.

A/Prof Anton Peleg

Infectious diseases researcher wins prestigious Australian award

Associate Professor Anton Peleg (SOBS) has received the Commonwealth Health Minister's Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research for his leading research into hospital-acquired infections and antibiotic resistance. Anton is an infectious diseases physical at the Alfred Hospital, and collaborates with the Dept of Infectious Diseases. He received a a $50,000 grant to identify how antibiotic-resistant human pathogens cause disease and assess novel treatment approaches that could potentially treat or prevent these infections from occurring. See more at ow.ly/lN60H. Posted 09/06/2013.

Sharon Lewin at UNAIDS

Sharon Lewin at UNAIDS: towards an HIV cure

Prof Sharon Lewin, Head of Department of Infectious Diseases, is a member of the International AIDS Society (IAS) international working group currently developing a global scientific strategy for HIV cure research. Sharon recently visited UNAIDS in Geneva and presented on 24 May 2013 to staff ongoing work on “Towards an HIV Cure” and an update of preparations for the forthcoming International AIDS Conference in Melbourne in 2014. See youtube link www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAk4pwj6Ldc. Posted 03/06/2013.

Dr Lachlan Gray

Dr Lachlan Gray wins awards for research on how HIV affects the brain

Dr Lachlan Gray, Dept of Infectious Diseases, won the Ian Potter Foundation Travel Grant 2012 ($2000) and the Geoffrey Connard Travel Fellowship 2012 ($2600). Lachlan also won the first prize ($250) in the 24th Alfred Week Research Poster Display, held at Alfred Hospital, Melbourne in October 2012. His research interests focus on understanding HIV brain infection and its role in the development of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. See more about Lachlan at his Monash Researcher profile.  Posted 26/03/2013.

Dr Hao Lu

Dr Hao Lu receives Young Investigator Award for HIV research

Dr Hao Lu, Dept of Infectious Diseases, received the Young Investigator Award at the Conference for Retrovirology and Opportunistic Infections 2013. See his poster abstract, Mechanism of HIV Latency and Reactivation. He is working on how histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) stimulate latent, or resting, HIV to become active. Histones are proteins which structure DNA. HDACs are enzymes which allow histones to wrap DNA more tightly. HDACis block the wrapping action, and affect gene expression, hence their interest for Hao’s project of ‘waking up’ resting HIV. HDACis are being investigated worldwide for their possible therapeutic application, not only for HIV, but for cancers and inflammatory diseases. Posted 26/03/2013.

HIV affected cells

Infectious Disease researchers make HIV wake-up call

Infectious disease researchers have moved a step closer to finding a cure for HIV by successfully luring the “sleeping” virus out of infected cells. The researchers, led by Professor Sharon Lewin, have shown in a human trial that the cancer drug vorinostat alters how HIV genes are turned on and off and in effect wakes up “sleeping” virus that persists in patients on standard HIV treatment. Prof Lewin, who is Head of Monash’s Department of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at The Alfred, said that the results from the study are very promising and showed that we can ‘wake up’ the virus in nearly all patients who took vorinostat. The results will now inform the design of further studies to find a way to possibly cure HIV. For more, see story link. Image: Dr A. Harrison; Dr P. Feorino. Posted 04/03/2013.

Dr Edwina Wright

Window to optimise HIV-1 therapy

Dr Edwina Wright, an infectious diseases physician and clinical researcher in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Monash and at The Alfred with a program at The Burnet, had an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Patients who are started on antiretroviral therapy for HIV-1 infection within four months of estimated infection date — and who have higher counts of CD4+ T-cells at the initiation of therapy — demonstrate a stronger recovery of CD4+ T-cell counts than patients in whom therapy is started later. The study offers insight into the optimal timing of therapy. See NEJM article) and Monash story www.monash.edu.au/news/show/early-therapy-for-hiv-vital. Posted 17/01/2013.

Well Well Well logo

'Positive Outlook' for men with HIV

Ms Tanya Millard, a PhD student in the Department of Infectious Diseases, was interviewed by JOY FM 94.9, Melbourne’s gay & lesbian community radio station, on her work with HIV+ men. Tanya’s research project is “The Development and Evaluation of an Online Self Management Program for Men Living with HIV,” called ‘Positive Outlook’. The program is currently being evaluated using a randomised controlled trial. For details about the trial, see www.positiveoutlook.org.au/ or email tanya.millard@monash.edu. For interview, go to JOY podcast page. Search ‘Positive Outlook’. Posted 17/01/2013.

Dr Lachlan Gray

Dr Lachlan Gray receives ASHM 2012 conference scholarship

Dr Lachlan Gray received the ASHM 2012 Conference Scholarship ($1150 AUD), 24th Annual Conference for the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine, Melbourne, October 2012.  His particular research interest is in how HIV infects brain cells, leading to HIV dementia. For further information on Lachlan and his research see his Burnet web page Lachlan Gray. Posted 22/10/12

Sharon Lewin research group

No rest for the wicked

HIV remains dormant in immune system cells even when treatment of the disease is successful. Prof Sharon Lewin describes her research to roust out the dormant virus and improve patient health. See complete story at International Innovation Research Media. For further information on Research Media see www.researchmedia.eu Photo: Professor Sharon Lewin's research group. Posted 10/09/12

Sharon Lewin

Infectious Disease research part of HIV cure effort

Prof Sharon Lewin, Department of Infectious Diseases, spoke with AAP’s National Medical Writer, Michelle Henderson on the eve of the AIDS 2012 conference about a trial currently underway in Melbourne involving 20 HIV-positive patients who are testing the ability of a drug to ‘wake up’ the virus in cells where it lies dormant and hidden from the effects of current antiretroviral drugs. See detail on the Burnet Institute news website. Photo: Professor Sharon Lewin and Professor Francoise Barre-Sinoussi at Towards an HIV Cure press conference ©IAS/Steve Shapiro-Commercialimage.net. Posted 21/7/12

Professor Sharon Lewin

Professor Sharon Lewin to co-chair AIDS 2014 conference

Prof Sharon Lewin, Head, Department of Infectious Diseases, will be the local co-chair for the largest medical conference ever to be held in Australia, AIDS 2014. Organised by the International AIDS Society (IAS) in partnership with the United Nations and various government and civil organisations, AIDS 2014 is expected to bring more than 25,000 researchers, clinicians and other stakeholders to Melbourne in July 2014. The International co-chair will be Nobel Laureate Francoise Barre Sinousi, president elect of the IAS. For detail, see Monash researcher to chair historic AIDS conference.

2011 Queens Birthday Honours

ProfessorSuzanne Crowe, Department of Medicine, have been appointed Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours. Professor Rosenfeld's AM is for "service to medicine tbrough clinical leadership and academic roles, particularly in the field of neurosurgery as a researcher and author, and to professional associations." Professor Crowe's AM is for "service to medical research in the area of HIV/AIDS medicine and infectious diseases as an academic, clinician and researcher, and to professional associations".

Julian Elliott and Sharon Lewin

HealthMap: partnership tool for HIV patients to improve their health and its care

Professor Sharon Lewin and Dr Julian Elliott have been awarded $1.5M for an NHMRC Partnership grant to develop and run a pilot program called 'HealthMap' for HIV patients to better manage their own condition. The Alfred Hospital will be contributing a further $1M, as it sees 80% of Victorian HIV patients. www.monash.edu.au/news/show/healthmap-directing-hiv-patients-to-better-health-outcomes

First time Australian award for Krim Fellowships

Dr Megan Crane in the HIV and Hepatitis Immunopathogenesis Laboratory has been awarded a Krim Fellowship from the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) for her project - LPS, immune activation and liver disease in HIV-HBV co-infection. Megan is the first Australian and only the second international scientist to receive this award. The Krim Fellowship program is an annual research initiative created to support Basic Biomedical Research program to provide funding for exceptional and bright young researchers who are new to the HIV/AIDS field to explore innovative prevention and treatment solutions to HIV/AIDS. Krim Fellowship funding supports the successful applicant's ongoing HIV research and facilitate the transition to a productive and independent long-term career in the HIV/AIDS biomedical research field. The Fellowship is funded for 12 months for a total of US$125,000.