MARC Students

MARC PhD Network

The Monash Addiction Research Centre (MARC) PhD network aims to bring together Monash PhD students, from across various disciplines, departments and faculties, who have an interest in or are undertaking addiction-related research. The network will connect students with other students doing research in similar areas, encourage future collaborations, and promote student's work, as well as provide opportunities to participate in addiction-related research events, professional development, workshops and networking opportunities.

Being a member of the MARC PhD network is free and you can be as involved as much or little as you like – from simply receiving our monthly newsletters to attending or speaking at our events or applying for funding opportunities. If you would like to become a member of the MARC PhD Network, click on this link and complete this short form here.

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MARC PhD Network: Useful resources for PhD students

Meet our PhD network members

Welcome message from 2023 PhD Network Chair – Dylan Mantinieks

Hi fellow MARC members,

My name is Dylan Mantinieks, and I am excited to accept the position of MARC PhD Network Chair!

First a little about my studies!

My PhD titled Toxicological Investigations of Reportable Deaths Involving Methamphetamine aims to better understand methamphetamine-related harms in coronial death investigations, specifically markers to establish chronic use. I’m two years into my PhD journey at the Department of Forensic Medicine under the supervision of A/Prof Dimitri Gerostamoulos.

If I’m not studying (a notion strange to PhD candidates), you will probably find me at the market enjoying an almond croissant and coffee – my favourite pastime!

I thrive on collaboration and the MARC PhD Networks facilitates engagement among addition-related student researchers. We hope to organise several events throughout the year and encourage our members to present at the upcoming MARC Symposium 2023 in May.

Lastly, I would like to congratulate Jenna Yang on her appointment to Vice-Chair and thank former MARC PhD Network Chairs, Monica Jung and Dr Louisa Picco, for their welcome and support.

Happy researching,


2023 PhD Network Vice-Chair – Jie (Jenna) Yang

Jie (Jenna) Yang is a current MARC PhD student and Monash University - CSC (China Scholarship Council) Joint Scholarship holder. Jenna completed her Master's degree in social work at Durham University, England, and worked in NGOs pertaining to services for people with substance use disorder in China. Her PhD project is looking at the prevalence of chronic pain among people experiencing opioid use disorder in order to provide insights into best practice management. Jenna's project is supervised by MARC members Prof Suzanne Nielsen and Dr Melita Giumarra.

June 2022 - Welcome MARC PhD Student - Jenna Yang

We are pleased to welcome a new PhD candidate, Jenna Yang, who has been awarded a Monash University-CSC Joint Scholarship. Jenna will be working on a project looking at the prevalence of chronic pain among people experiencing opioid use disorder in order to provide insights into best practice clinical management. Her project will be supervised by MARC members Dr Melita Giumarra (SPHPM) and A/Prof Suzanne Nielsen (MARC).

“Knowing that I have been awarded a Monash University-CSC Joint Scholarship which covers international tuition fee and living stipend, I can better focus on my future research.” - Jenna Yang

May 2022 - 'Best PhD Poster Award' at the 2022 MARC Symposium

Congratulations to Sarah Haines for winning the 2022 MARC Symposium 'Best PhD Poster Award' for her poster titled: 'Consumer experience of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) in Victoria: Perspectives from people who use opioids to manage chronic pain.'

Sarah is a third-year PhD candidate from the School of Psychology who is interested in the ethical, social and clinical implications of real-time prescription monitoring systems.

Happy holidays from the MARC PhD Network

The MARC PhD Network committee would like to take this opportunity to wish all PhD students a wonderful holiday season and a happy 2022. We look forward to a number of events planned for next year and hope we can continue to bring together students across all faculties at Monash. If you, or someone you know, is yet to join the PhD network, or if you would like more information about the network, email

March 2021 - ‘Implementation of prescription drug monitoring programs: Measuring the intended and unintended outcomes of identifying high-risk opioid use’

Louisa Picco is a current NHMRC Postgraduate and MARC PhD Top Up Scholarship holder. She is also a Research Assistant at MARC and is based at the Monash Peninsula Campus. Her mixed methods PhD is exploring the impact of prescription drug monitoring programs and their influence on clinical care for high-risk opioid use. One aspect of this research involves observations and a series of interviews with local pharmacists practicing in the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula to better understand their experiences of implementing and utilising Victoria’s prescription drug monitoring program, ‘SafeScript’. Louisa is currently analysing these results and intends to share these findings with pharmacists and local stakeholders in the Frankston-Mornington Peninsula.

November 2020 - EHCS Summer students at the Monash Addiction Research Centre 

Last week MARC welcomed two EHCS Summer Scholarship students; Surina Butler and Lucas Neumaier. Over the next eight weeks, Lucas and Surina will be working on a systematic review project titled ‘Do we need tailored opioid prevention strategies for women?’. The project will investigate whether the prevalence and characteristics of fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses differ for women, and look to identify subpopulations with an increased risk or unique needs.Dr Tina Lam, A/Prof Suzanne Nielsen and Dr Anna Olsen will be supervising the project along with a peer mentor and past MARC EHCS scholarship recipient Mr Wai Chung Tse.

September 2020 - Monica Jung and Helena Cangadis-Douglass awarded MARC-CMUS PhD Scholarships to address the global priority of opioid misuse

Monash Health pharmacist Monica Jung and Austin Health pharmacist Helena Cangadis-Douglass have been awarded the inaugural Monash Addiction Research Centre (MARC) - Centre for Medicine Use and Safety (CMUS) Scholarships for PhD research into safe and effective opioid use.

Both Monica and Helena completed Monash’s Graduate Entry Pharmacy program. Prior to studying pharmacy, Monica completed a degree in biochemistry at the University of Rochester, New York, and worked in adverse drug event monitoring at Seoul St Mary’s Hospital, Korea. Helena completed her Biomedical Science (Hons.) program at Monash Health researching lung aeration at birth. Most recently, Helena worked as a Research Officer at CMUS investigating trajectories of benzodiazepine use.

Monica and Helena will analyse linked health data from Victoria and New South Wales through Outcome Health’s Population Level Analysis and Reporting (POLAR) Tool. The PhD program will involve training in health data analytics and advanced epidemiological methods, and collaborating with leading national and international clinical and policy partners.

Centre for Medicine Use and Safety Director Professor Simon Bell said, “As outstanding pharmacists, Monica and Helena are well-positioned to take advantage of the rapid advances in the availability of electronic medical record data to generate new evidence for medication safety.”

Monica and Helena’s PhD research will be supervised by a team that includes Associate Professor Nielsen, Dr Jenni Ilomaki and Professor Bell.

August 2019 - MARC Interdisciplinary Research Support Funding Scheme: 2019

PhD Top-up Scholarships Awardees

Dr Pallavi Prathivadi

‘Improving opioid prescribing in Australian general practice’                

This study aims to determine the self-reported opioid prescribing practices and concerns of Australian GPs and GP registrars.


Michael Curtis

‘Understanding the impact of opioid substitution therapy programs on drug use, health service utilisation, morbidity and mortality among young people who inject drugs following release from prison’

The primary objective of this research program is to inform policy and practice to optimise opioid substitution therapy (OST) program delivery by determining the role of OST provided in prison and post-prison release in reducing harm associated with injecting drug users (IDU).


Louisa Picco

‘Implementation of prescription drug monitoring programs:  Measuring the intended and unintended outcomes of identifying high-risk opioid use’

The proposed objectives of this mixed-methods PhD are to gain an in-depth understanding of the impact of prescription drug monitoring program implementation has on the identification and treatment of prescription opioid use disorders. To generate insights into the clinical processes and pathways for, and identify a range of intended and unintended outcomes of prescription drug monitoring program implementation.

May 2019 - EHCS 2019 Winter Research Scholarship Program student – Wai Chung Tse

Over the last month, we have had the pleasure of hosting our first Winter Research Scholarship student Wai Chung Tse. Wai Chung has been working on his project “Changes in Australian Naloxone Supply and Dispensing Following Naloxone Rescheduling”.

The scholarship program was a five-week-long research-intensive with Professor Suzanne Nielsen to investigate the effects of naloxone rescheduling from prescription-only to over the counter medication. This project analysed whether there were any changes in supply following this rescheduling and describe supply trends in relation to Australia's naloxone policies.