2013 CCS Headlines

2013 CCS Headlines

For current Central Clinical School news, see the CCS blog.

Links to individual Departments' headline pages

FODMAP app

Monash Uni Low FODMAP Diet app launched for Android users

An Android version of the highly successful Monash University FODMAP smartphone application is now available, see link. In December 2012 the FODMAP app for the iPhone platform was launched by the research team at the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University, providing accurate information about foods that trigger irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for the first time using this technology. See CCS blog story. Posted 08/11/2013.

2013 CCS Public lecture

2013 CCS Public Lecture packed out

Professor Peter Gibson, HOD Gastroenterology, gave Central Clinical School's public lecture on 30 October 2013 on "Beating the Bloat: Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the low FODMAP diet". The event attracted a large audience. In brief, the research based low FODMAP diet is followed for a certain period, then after symptoms have settled down, there is a careful reintroduction of higher FODMAP foods to ensure good nutrition including micronutrients. See lecture video on youtube. To see tweets sent live from the lecture, see @twinsterv #FODMAP. Posted 31/10/2013.

AICR

AICR grant for studying the causes of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

Professor Fabienne Mackay’s laboratory has received a generous £200,000 grant from the prestigious Association for International Cancer Research (AICR) to study the causes of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and potential new therapeutic strategies. CLL is the most common adult leukaemia in the developed world and still has no cure. Affected patients have severely compromised immunity, leaving them vulnerable to recurrent infections, which are a major cause of death. The underlying cause of CLL remains elusive, limiting current treatment options. See more. Posted 26/10/2013.

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.

Tony Abbott

2014 NHMRC grant announcements at AMREP by the Prime Minister

Prime Minister, the Hon. Tony Abbott, Federal Health Minister the Hon. Peter Dutton and Victorian Health Minister, the Hon. David Davis announced the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants across eight schemes in Melbourne on Wednesday 23 October at the AMREP Precinct. See photo gallery. Mr Abbott (pictured with Prof David Curtis) did a tour of Central Clinical School laboratories prior to the announcement See CCS grant award detail. Posted 25/10/2013.

Andrew Guirguis

Andrew Guirguis wins Baikie Medal at Australian Haematology Conference

Congratulations to Andrew Guirguis, a PhD student in Prof David Curtis's lab in the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, won the Baikie Medal and $3000. The HSANZ Albert Baikie Memorial Medal is given for the best oral presentation at the Annual Scientific Meeting by a new investigator. It was awarded on Wednesday 23 October at the Australian Haematology Conference (known as HAA, which stands for HSANZ / ANZSBT / ASTH) held this year in the Gold Coast. See more. Posted 23/10/2013.

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.

Australian Gastrointestinal Week

High rates of bowel cancer in cystic fibrosis

Dr Ilana Gory, a PhD student in the Department of Gastroenterology, reported on her research at the Australian Gastrointestinal Week. Her topic was "Cystic Fibrosis is associated with an increased risk of colorectal malignancy and adenomas". As a practitioner, she and her team at Alfred Health had anecdotally observed high rates of cancer in patients with cystic fibrosis. Her scientifically based study found that patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) may be up to ten times more likely to develop colorectal cancer. Posted 15/10/2013.

Burns

Burns treatment research finds cadaver skin grafts work well

Heather Cleland's group in the Skin Culture Laboratory, Victorian Adult Burns Service and Department of Surgery, Monash University, The Alfred Hospital have found that cadaver skin which has been frozen has, on analysis, a "positive and definite role as an adjunct to conventional dressing and grafting where available, particularly in patients with large TBSA [total body surface area] burns." Tissue viability in cadaveric allograft may not be essential for its clinical function as a wound dressing or even as permanent dermal substitute. Reference . Posted 12/10/2013.

Poppies

Tall Poppy Award for MAPrc schizophrenia researcher, Dr Kate Hoy

Dr Kate Hoy, Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre, is one of four Monash researchers, eight Victorians in total, to be recognised in the annual Victorian Tall Poppy Awards. Kate is working to improve the quality of life and capacity to live independently for the 80 per cent of people with schizophrenia who experience cognitive impairments. She is developing new ways to improve attention, working memory and executive function for people with the illness, which is usually characterised by psychotic symptoms. See 9/10/13 Monash Memo story. Posted 09/10/2013.

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.

MAPrc launch

Successful MAPrc launch 1 Oct 2013 with the Governor-General

Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre had an extremely successful launch on 1 October 2013 with the Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce, who has been a patron of the centre for a number of years. Professor Jayashri Kulkarni (MAPrc Director), Professor David Coppolov (Monash Pro Vice-Chancellor), Mr Andrew Way (Alfred Health CEO) and the Governor-General all spoke about the need for mental health research to be further developed. MAPrc has 170 staff and students, and is running over 100 clinical trials. See more: www.maprc.org.au Posted 09/10/2013.

Prof Fabienne MackayWill Figgett animation

Body's 'safety procedure' could explain autoimmune disease

Immunology researchers have found an important safety mechanism in the immune system that may malfunction in people with autoimmune diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis, potentially paving the way for innovative treatments. Published in Immunity, 6 Sept 2013, the research, led by Head of the Monash Department of Immunology Professor Fabienne Mackay, describes for the first time how the body manages marginal zone (MZ) B cells, which form a general first line of attack against germs, but are potentially harmful. See

Posted 06/09/2013.

Purkinje neurons

ACBD research reveals a surprising role for a clot busting enzyme in neurodegenerative disease

Neuronal degeneration, in particular damage to the "Purkinje neurons", occurs in many human disorders including Huntington's disease. Purkinje damage causes abnormal movement. Interestingly, we repeatedly observe high levels of the enzyme "tPA" in the brain during Purkinje damage. As tPA is an enzyme normally responsible for breaking down blood clots, the effect of such high tPA levels in the brain was unknown. The Medcalf lab shows, for the first time, that mice which naturally produce high levels of tPA in the brain experience Purkinje damage. See more detail. Image: Medcalf lab. Posted 05/09/2013.

Prof Rosenfeld

Professor Rosenfeld appointed Adjunct Professor to prestigious Hebert School of Medicine

Professor Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld AM, OBE, Head, Department of Surgery, Monash University, has been appointed Adjunct Professor in Surgery at the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of The Health Sciences (USUHS), Bethesda, Maryland, USA.  This is a rare opportunity for a non American and will help Central Clinical School to build collaborative research and other arrangements with a prestigious American Medical School. See biography detail. Posted 05/09/2013.

Leukaemia cells

Researchers discover an Achilles' heel of childhood leukaemia

Research led by Associate Professor David Curtis at the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD) has identified a protein essential for the development and growth of a type of childhood leukaemia (ETP-ALL) that responds poorly to current treatments. See more >> story link; Journal abstract and reference ; Curtis research profile. Posted 26/08/2013.

Video of Prof Rosenfeld speaking on Lancet review article

Lancet review article on bomb blast traumatic injury

Professor Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld AM, OBE, Head, Department of Surgery, Monash University, is lead author on a review article in The Lancet on bomb blast brain injury, published 22 July 2013. As a military surgeon he has seen injuries from war zones. In this video www.youtube.com/watch?v=zADazb8GUWk, he describes what the article is about. See more >> Article link; biography detail. Posted 20/08/2013.

Dr Michelle Giles

Drs Michelle Giles and Fabien Vincent nominated for Young Physician Leaders program

Michelle, pictured, Department of Infectious Diseases, and Fabien, Department of Immunology have been nominated as two 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, and Fabien is a PhD student researching the role of BAFF and the T-independent innate immune system in lupus pathogenesis. Posted 18/08/2013.

Professor Paul Fitzgerald

Prof Paul Fitzgerald wins ARC Linkage grant

Professor Paul Fitzgerald, Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre, has been successful in obtaining an ARC Linkage Grant LP130100448, for $581,643 across 2013-2016. LP. The title is ‘The development and testing of a device to enhance the application of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)’. For more about Paul’s research and the technique of TMS, see www.maprc.org.au/professor-paul-fitzgerald. Posted 03/07/2013.

Dr Kathryn Hackman

Diabetes reduces long term survival of lung transplant patients

Dr Kathryn Hackman is a PhD student in the Department of Medicine, supervised by Professor Leon Bach, and a practising endocrinologist at Alfred Health. She and colleagues have recently published research showing that patients with diabetes had about a five-fold increased risk of death after a lung transplant compared with transplant recipients who didn’t have diabetes. Dr Hackman said that diabetes screening had previously not been a routine aspect of post-transplant care, but that this approach is now being rethought. For more, see 19 June Monash story and MedPage Today video and story. Posted 21/06/2013.

Peter Enticott

World first trial brings autism hope

Dr Peter Enticott, a Senior Research Fellow at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre, is conducting a world first clinical trial using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) into the brain’s electrical activity and autism. See 18/06/2013 Channel 7 news item link. See more about Peter’s research at www.maprc.org.au/dr-peter-enticott. Posted 19/06/2013.

Order of the British Empire

OBE Queen’s birthday honour for Professor Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld

Congratulations to Professor Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld, HOD Surgery, who was awarded Officer of The Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to neurosurgery and the University of Papua New Guinea School of Medicine, Queen’s birthday honours list 2013: Commonwealth. >Rosenfeld biography detail. Posted 19/06/2013.

Russell Gruen

Prof Russell Gruen awarded the 2013 John Mitchell Crouch Fellowship by RACS

Head of the National Trauma Research Institute (NTRI), Professor Russell Gruen, was awarded the 2013 John Mitchell Crouch Fellowship at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) 82nd Annual Scientific Congress in May 2013. The Fellowship, worth $150,000, is the premier research award of the RACS, and is awarded annually. In addition to being NTRI Director, Russell is a general and trauma surgeon at The Alfred, and Professor of Surgery and Public Health at Monash. For more about the award see RACS website. Posted 19/06/2013.

Jie-Yu Chung

Gene therapy research into prevention of MS myelin damage

PhD student Jie-yu Chung, Department of Immunology, is researching the use of gene therapy to stop MS myelin damage. Jie-Yu won a Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia (MRSA) scholarship a year ago. Working with A/Prof Frank Alderuccio, Jie-yu has successfully introduced genes into immune system B and T stem cells to ensure that they recognise myelin as ’self’, and therefore do not attack it. The next stage is to identify the particular subset of cells which attack myelin. See more at www.msra.org.au/hijacking-immune-system-treat-ms. 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.

Comet assay

Nitrous oxide anaesthetic damages leukocyte DNA

Prof Paul Myles, HOD Department of Anaesthesia & Perioperative Medicine, & colleagues have published research showing that the commonly used anaesthetic gas nitrous oxide "is a potent and predictable human genotoxin. The authors observe that maintenance of anesthesia with 70% nitrous oxide and sevoflurane in patients undergoing colorectal surgery doubles the incidence of DNA damage [as measured in a comet assay]" and  "that nitrous oxide-induced genotoxicity [to leukocytes] is associated with postoperative wound infection", quoted from editorial writeup by Kirk Hogan. See journal article abstract. Note: the comet assay is so called because the DNA fragments and disperses in a comet shaped pattern. Image: www.libyanjournalofmedicine.net. Posted   27/05/2013.

Obese trauma

Treating spine trauma in morbidly obese patients

Hannah Rosenfeld, 5th year MBBS student at University of Adelaide, et al, has published a paper on the logistic, medical, and societal challenges faced  in treating spine trauma in morbidly obese patients. Last author on the paper is Hannah's father, Prof Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld, HOD Surgery. Based on a case series of six patients treated at the Alfred Hospital, who were injured in high-speed motor vehicle accidents, the authors categorize difficulties faced in the care of morbidly obese patients from on-scene immobilization and medical transport through spinal imaging, surgery, and postoperative care. See digest at News Medical. See full journal article. Image: www.spineuniverse.com. Posted 27/05/2013.

kidneys

Slowing down SLE kidney disease

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), more simply known as lupus, is an autoimmune disease where the body makes antibodies against its own DNA. It may involve a variety of genes, follow a variety of genetic pathways, and damage a variety of cell types. In many cases, the consequence is impairment of kidney function, which is known as glomerulonephritis. Such a ‘moving target’ is difficult to pinpoint, track and ultimately treat, as one treatment may work for one particular genetic group, but not another. The Leukocyte Signalling Laboratory headed by A/Prof Margaret Hibbs, has identified a cellular pathway whereby once production of one particular signalling molecule called p110d PI3K is slowed down, the disease processes also slowed down. See journal article. Posted 27/05/2013.

biesiekierski-jessica

Dr Jessica Biesierski wins Rome Foundation Ray Clouze Prize

Dr Jessica Biesiekierski recently graduated, having completed her PhD with the Department of Gastroenterology. The Rome Foundation Board has selected her paper entitled "Gluten causes gastrointestinal symptoms in subject without celiac disease: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial" to receive the Rome Foundation Ray Clouse Prize for the Paper Most Cited on Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders, 2011. The prize will be awarded on 18 May. Posted 15/05/13

SAAN logo

Public symposium: Fostering Swiss-Australian scientific collaboration

Nobel Prize winners Professors Rolf Zinkernagel and Peter Doherty speaking at a public symposium on 2 May hosted by the Swiss Australian Academic Network, respectively on "Vaccines against infections" and "Science in the public space: distinguishing truth from falsehood". RSVP essential, to events@saan.id.au, by 24 April. SAAN's current Secretary is Professor Rob Medcalf, ACBD, who will make the closing remarks for the evening. See attachments for biographical detail and the evening's program. Posted 23/04/2013.

Dr Michael Roche

Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal for Dr Michael Roche

Dr Michael Roche has been awarded the 2012 Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. Michael completed his PhD thesis last year in CCS’s Department of Medicine, supervised by Associate Professors Paul Gorry and Melissa Churchill, Heads respectively of the Burnet Institute’s Laboratories, HIV Molecular Pathogenesis and HIV in the CNS. His thesis title is: “HIV-1 Envelope protein determinants of viral tropism and antiviral drug resistance.” 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.

Dr Rebecca Segrave

beyondblue funds Rebecca Segrave's depression research

Dr Rebecca Segrave, MAPrc, was recently awarded a beyondblue Victorian Centre of Excellence in Depression and Anxiety’s Early Career Researcher Award 2013 ($97,598). Her research involves the combined application of neuroscience (such as EEG and fMRI), brain stimulation (such as DBS and tDCS) and neuropsychological techniques to better understand the biological psychiatry of major depression and develop improved treatment options for this condition. See Rebecca’s Monash Researcher profile for more information, and the MAPrc website for more information about MAPrc research: www.maprc.org.au Posted 26/03/2013.

Dr Jessica Mountford

PhD teases out enzyme role in arterial thrombosis

Dr Jessica Mountford, formerly of ACBD, was awarded her PhD in December 2012 and has taken a postdoctoral research position at the University of Western Australia. Her thesis was “Defining the role of class II Phosphoinositide 3-Kinases in platelet function”. Platelets are the principal blood cell responsible for the development of arterial thrombosis. Jessica’s thesis investigates the signalling pathways of an intracellular enzyme, Class II PI3K, involved in cell signalling events. The Class I enzymes are well understood, but little is known about the Class II enzymes. Jessica’s research demonstrated that PI3K-C2α regulates the function of cell surface platelet adhesion receptors. She was supervised by Prof Shaun Jackson in the Thrombosis Research Unit. Posted 26/03/2013.

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.

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.

Immunology PhD students

Immunology outstanding for mentoring postgraduate students

The Department of Immunology was identified in 2012 as an outstanding unit for postgraduate mentoring and supervision. The Department was ranked second in the entire University in the Postgraduate Research Student survey, and in the top ten for the 2011 Postgraduate Research Supervision Survey. The culture in the Department of Immunology is one of great commitment to its students, to encourage them to present and publish and provide them with support and advice during the research. Pictured: PhD students in Prof Magdalena Plebanski’s lab. Posted 28/02/2013.

Prof Paul Myles, Dept of Anaesthesia

Master of Medicine in perioperative medicine in high demand

The Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine has launched a Master in Medicine in particular for the area of perioperative medicine. The course description says, "Surgical patients are getting older and sicker." Which makes their care more complex, hence the demand for this course. The first unit starting this semester is fully subscribed with a wait list. See more detail about the course at www.masters.periopmedicine.org.au. The Department has also been running a short course in Perioperative Medicine, which is now in its fifth year, and is also highly successful. See more at www.periopmedicine.org.au. Enquiries to Aushra.Saldukas@monash.edu. Pictured: Prof Paul Myles with a patient. Posted 28/02/2013.

Prof Frank Rosenfeldt, Dept of Surgery

Grant to further heart transplant research

Professor Frank Rosenfeldt, Department of Surgery, has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Health Market Validation Program (Health MVP) to continue his research on transplant donor heart preservation. The research is currently in the pre-clinical stage. The grant will be used to further develop the device for a donor heart to be resuscitated and evaluated for transplant. Hearts are easily damaged, and this device works to revive and keep a heart healthy after the donor has died and before transplant.  See detail of grant program at Health MPV. Posted 13/02/2013.

Dr Smitha Georgy, Dept of Medicine

CCAF Fellowship grant for cancer researcher Smitha Georgy

Dr Smitha Georgy has won a $100,000 grant to further investigate the mechanisms of head and neck cancers, in particular the signalling pathways to control proliferating cells. Smitha is a Senior Research Officer in the Epidermal Development Laboratory, Department of Medicine. The grant was awarded by the Cure Cancer Australia Foundation (CCAF). Smitha's background is in veterinary science, ideal for working with and further refining the mouse models required for the study of molecular basis of oesophageal cancer. She started working with Professor Steve Jane in 2009. See CCAF Media release for detail of award and funding   partnerships.Posted 13/02/2013.

FODMAP app icon

Smart phone app for IBS sufferers

A new smartphone app developed by the Department of Gastroenterology provides an on-the-go reference to help the one-in-seven adults who suffer irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) avoid the foods that trigger their symptoms. The app was launched 18/12/12 and has in its first 6 weeks sold over 2,500 downloads. For more about about the app, see med.monash.edu.au/news/2012/fodmap-app.html, www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/ or contact Dr Jane Muir, email jane.muir@monash.edu. Posted 13/02/2013.

Tetraspanin

Plasma cell survival research

Research on plasma cell survival by Associate Professor Mark Wright, Department of Immunology, and colleagues, published in Science Signalling, was highlighted in a recent Nature Immunology research review. Mark’s research is on the role of an protein called CD37 in the tetraspanin family of proteins. CD37 is formed on the surface of B cells and together with many other tetraspanins, it organises traffic through the cell membrane. The CD37 protein interacts with, and organises various other important proteins to behave as required for the cell’s health, survival and productivity. See review article, www.nature.com/ni/journal/v14/n1/full/ni.2505.html. See original article. See more about Mark's research at Leucocyte Membrane Protein Laboratory. Posted 21/01/2013.

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 Bernadette Fitzgibbon

2012 'Best Doctoral Thesis' award

Dr Bernadette Fitzgibbon, Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc), was awarded the 2012 'Best Doctoral Thesis' award from Monash's School of Psychology and Psychiatry. She is currently a Research Fellow at MAPrc in the Psychiatric Neurotechnology team. Bernadette completed her PhD in 2011 where she conducted the first clinical and neurophysiological studies into a new pain phenomenon in amputees. Her current research involves the use of neuroscientific techniques (MRI, TMS, tDCS) to explore chronic pain, autism spectrum disorder and mirror neurons. For more detail of MAPrc research see www.maprc.org.au/our-research-0. Posted 14/01/2013.

Dr Zane Kaplan

Zane Kaplan wins ASTH medal

Dr Zane Kaplan, a PhD student in Shaun Jackson’s Thrombosis Research Unit within the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, and a haematologist at the Alfred Hospital, was awarded the Australasian Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ASTH) medal for his research at the recent international meeting of HAA (Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand – HSANZ, the Australian & New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion – ANZSBT, and the ASTH),  See ASTH newsletter (pp.7-8) for detail. For more about the research, see Thrombosis Research Unit. Posted 14/01/2013.

Dr Rosie Worsley

Rosie Worsley wins Equity Trustees grant

Dr Rosie Worsley, Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, has won a grant through Equity Trustees – from the Preston & Loui Geduld Trust Fund, to do a study investigating the effect of metformin treatment on depression. Rosie also won the Maturitas 2012 New Investigator Award. Maturitas is a prestigious Endocrinology Journal and Rosie has been awarded this honour for her paper on perimenopausal depression. See more about MAPrc research at www.maprc.org.au. Posted 14/01/2013.

Dr John Wilson

‘Clinicians Online’ launch: a telehealth initiative

‘Clinicians Online’ was recently launched, led by the Department of Health, Victoria and the Cystic Fibrosis service, headed by Professor John Wilson, at the Alfred and Department of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine at Monash. Prof Wilson drove the development of the research consortium and funding for the new service, which will enable clinical-grade, video-conferencing and real time transfer of image files including patient records and test results. The service uses the National Broadband Network’s high speed network, enabling improved access for rural and regional cystic fibrosis patients who would otherwise have to travel to metropolitan hospitals. Alfred Health Link Summer 2012-13 edition. Posted 10/01/2013.