PhD Opportunities

2017 BMedSci Honours students

Tiffany Tie
A brief intervention for obesity in a tertiary hospital
Supervisor Professor Wendy Brown, Kirsten Corben.

A brief intervention for obesity in a tertiary hospital is a pilot trial  at The Alfred Hospital aiming to determine whether doctor-led discussion and  education with patients in hospital leads to more weight management attempts in  the community setting.  Overweight and obesity are increasingly common in  the Australian population, affecting almost two thirds of adults.   Obesity, defined as excessive fat accumulation which may impair health and  determined with a BMI>30 kg/m2, often leads to many diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes,  osteoarthritis, sleep apnoea, fertility problems and even increases the risk of  certain cancers.  The ideal management of obesity is weight loss and the  spectrum of treatments offered to achieve weight loss ranges from simple  lifestyle advice to bariatric surgery.  In this project, we explore the  effects of making that first step of recognising weight as a health issue and  giving simple advice, a standard part of patient care, in order to encourage  behaviour changes and promote obesity on the health promotion agenda.

Kishan Wijesinghe
Examining the inflammatory profile in adipose tissue in  oesophageal cancer
Supervisors: Mr Paul Burton, Professor Matt Watt, Professor  Wendy Brown.

Oesophageal adenocarcinoma is one the cancers most closely  associated with obesity and has demonstrated a 400% increase over the past 30  years. The reasons for this association is unknown. It is strongly suspected  that visceral fat creates an inflammatory process that significantly favours  the development of oesophageal cancer and other cancers.  The inflammatory profile, visceral and  preoteonomic profile present in the visceral fat of patients with oesophageal  cancer has not previously been described.   Dysregulation of fat metabolism in adipose tissue located adjacent to  the oesophagus may contribute to the development of oesophageal cancer. This  PhD will seek to better understand the lipid profile, particularly visceral  that may be leading to the observed increase susceptibility to oesophageal  adenocarcinoma.

2017 Honours student

William de Nardo
Examining the metabolic profile in Oesophageal Carcinomas
Supervisors: Professor Matt Watt, Mr Paul Burton.

Oesophageal cancers are responsible for 400,000 deaths  annually. Examining how the two prominent oesophageal cancers, adenocarcinoma  and squamous cell carcinoma, metabolise their nutrients is essential in  comprehending how they grow and therefore how to block it. Currently, the role  that fatty acids play in fuelling cancer growth in oesophageal adenocarcinomas  and squamous cell carcinomas is yet to be characterized. In this project, we  aim to determine how and to what extent do these oesophageal cancers, store or  utilize fatty acids as an energy source. Consequently, allowing for the  development of potential targeted anti-cancer therapies in squamous cell and  adenocarcinoma.

Are you interested in completing a PhD with CORE?

Please contact one of the stream leaders to discuss potential PhD projects at CORE. Students will be enrolled through the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and will be based at the Alfred site.

Clinical Research - Prof Wendy Brown at wendy.brown@monash.eduPhysiological Research - Mr Paul Burton at paul.burton@monash.eduPsychological and Psychosocial Research - Dr Leah Brennan at

For further information on the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, please visit the SPHPM page.

Past Doctoral Students

Mr Paul Burton MBBS(hons) PhD FRACS

The physiology and pathophysiology of laparoscopic adjustable gastric bands

Supervisors: Prof Wendy Brown and Prof Paul O'Brien

Publications arising:

Burton PR, Brown WA, Laurie C, Lee M, Korin A, Anderson M, Hebbard G, O'Brien PE. Outcomes, Satiety, and Adverse Upper Gastrointestinal Symptoms Following Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding. Obesity Surgery. 2011. 21(5):574-81.

Burton PR, Yap K, Brown WA, Laurie C, O'Donnell M, Hebbard G, Kalff V, O'Brien PE. Changes in Satiety, Supra- and Infraband Transit, and Gastric Emptying Following Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding: A Prospective Follow-up Study. Obesity Surgery. 2011;21(2):217-23.

Burton PR, Yap K, Brown WA, Laurie C, O'Donnell M, Hebbard G, Kalff V, O'Brien PE. Effects of Adjustable Gastric Bands on Gastric Emptying, Supra- and Infraband Transit and Satiety: A Randomized Double-Blind Crossover Trial Using a New Technique of Band Visualization. Obesity Surgery. 2010; 20(12):1690-7.

Burton PR, Brown WA, Laurie C, Hebbard G, O'Brien PE. Predicting Outcomes of Intermediate Term Complications and Revisional Surgery Following Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding: Utility of the CORE Classification and Melbourne Motility Criteria. Obesity Surgery. 2010; 20(11):1516-23.

Burton PR, Brown WA, Laurie C, Hebbard G, O'Brien PE. Mechanisms of Bolus clearance in patients with Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Bands. Obesity Surgery. 2010; 20(9):1265-72.

Burton PR, Brown WA, Laurie C, Hebbard G, O'Brien PE. Criteria for Assessing Esophageal Motility in Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band Patients: The Importance of the Lower Esophageal Contractile Segment. Obesity Surgery. 2010, 20(3): 316-25.

Burton PR, Brown WA, Laurie C, Korin A, Yap K, Richards M, Owens J, Crosthwaite G, Hebbard G, O'Brien PE. Pathophysiology of Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Bands: Analysis and Classification Using High-Resolution Video Manometry and a Stress Barium Protocol. Obesity Surgery. 2010, 20(1):19-29.

Burton PR, Brown WA, Laurie C, Richards M, Hebbard G, O'Brien PE. Effects of Gastric Band Adjustments on Intraluminal Pressure. Obesity Surgery. 2009; 19(11):1508-1514.

Burton PR, Brown W, Laurie C, Richards M, Afkari S, Yap K, Korin A, Hebbard G, O'Brien PE. The Effect of Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Bands on Esophageal Motility and the Gastroesophageal Junction: Analysis Using High-Resolution Video Manometry. Obesity Surgery 2009, 19(7):905-914.