Staff, Students and Monash Collaborators

Meet the Bone and Muscle Health Research Group

Group Head

Peter Ebeling

Professor Peter Ebeling, AO, is Head of the Department of Medicine in the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. He was also inaugural Director of the Australian Institute of Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS).  He is the Editor in Chief of American Society for Bone and Mineral Research’s open access journal JBMR Plus and has published over 320 peer-reviewed articles. Professor Ebeling's research interests include musculoskeletal health and diseases; public health aspects of vitamin D; post-transplantation osteoporosis; osteoporosis in men; and biochemical bone turnover markers. In 2015, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) for his distinguished service to medicine in the field of bone health, through academic contributions and research initiatives in a range of administrative, executive and professional roles.  Find out more about Professor Peter Ebeling.

Our Staff

Postdoctoral Fellows

David Scott

Senior Research Fellow Dr David Scott is an exercise scientist and NHMRC RD Wright Biomedical Career Development Fellow in the Bone and Muscle Health Research Group at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University. He also holds Honorary appointments at the University of Melbourne and University of Tasmania, and is a member of the Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science. He has expertise in objective assessment of physical activity and physical performance in older adults, and imaging techniques for estimating body composition and muscle quality. He has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals and books. His research focuses on clinical assessment and treatment of sarcopenia (the age-related decline in skeletal muscle quality and function), and in particular, its interactions with bone health, obesity, physical activity and vitamin D.  Find out more about Dr David Scott.  Email: david.scott@monash.edu Follow Dr Scott on Twitter

Ayse Zengin

Research Fellow Dr Ayse Zengin is a Research Fellow investigating global musculoskeletal health and diseases – in particular osteoporosis, fracture risk and sarcopenia. Her studies are based in the ageing populations of low-middle income countries (The Gambia, West Africa; India; Vietnam) and Indigenous Australians. Using the latest bone imaging modalities in combination with novel muscle functional assessment (e.g. jumping mechanography) and assessing the effects of lifestyle factors (diet, physical activity, vitamin D), her findings will shed light on the prevalence of these diseases and formulate preventative strategies for the global ageing population.  Find out more about Dr Ayse Zengin Email: Ayse.Zengin@monash.edu

Professional and Academic Support Staff

Ruth Fantozzi

Executive Assistant Ms Ruth Fantozzi provides high-level Executive Assistant support to Professor Peter Ebeling in his role as the Head of the Department of Medicine, as well as for his role as Chair of the Division of Medicine at Monash Health. In 2017 she was recognised for her outstanding work – winning the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Administration. Find out more about Ms Ruth Fantozzi

Cat Shore-Lorenti

Research Co-ordinator Mx Cat Shore-Lorenti completed a Master of Philosophy in endocrinology and epidemiology in 2015 whilst also working part-time as a Research Assistant on projects centred around musculoskeletal health in older adults – community members and hospital patients. Now, as Clinical Trials Coordinator for the Bone and Muscle Research Group, Cat is involved in:

  • translational research, trying to prevent age-related muscle wasting (InvestiGAIT);
  • the expansion, maintenance and development of our international atypical femur fracture registry (TRAFFIC), and;
  • post-marketing medical research observing quality of life and refracture rates in severe osteoporosis treated with Forteo (ALAFOS).

Cat also manages the Clinical Imaging Service, providing access to inexpensive DXA, HR-pQCT and pQCT for researchers external to our group. If you would like to incorporate the Service into your research, email: med-bmrg@monash.edu

Chris Fone

Research Assistant Mr Christopher Fone provides research support across our studies and clinical trials in musculoskeletal health. His current research interests comprise reducing and delaying the loss of mobility and function with age.  Returning to his scientific interests following a 15 year career in business and management spanning financial services, IT and coffee production, Chris joined our team while he studies a Bachelor of Science in biomedical science and psychology as his first step towards becoming a doctor. He also holds a Bachelor of Commerce.

Theo treuheim

Research Assistant Mr Theo Di Pauli von Treuheim provides research support for both clinical and device engineering related studies within musculoskeletal health. His current research interests include targeting the biomechanics involved in the onset and progression of osteoporosis in order develop potential evidence based exercise therapies. Theodor holds a Bachelor of Bioengineering and joins our team having finished a Fulbright Research Fellowship in Germany before entering medical school in the United States.

Our Students

PhD Students

Hanh Nguyen

Dr Hanh Nguyen is a Consultant Endocrinologist at Monash Health who's clinical and research interest is in osteoporosis and optimising skeletal health in under-recognised populations. She is currently undertaking her PhD in the Bone and Muscle Research Group with a particular focus on rare anti-resorptive therapy related atypical femur fractures and has helped established the NHMRC funded international collaborative TrAFFiC Study (https://trafficstudygroup.org/) to assess the clinical, genetic and bone material risk factors associated with this condition. Her clinical experience in the Menopause Clinic and Adult Turner Syndrome Clinic at Monash Health has stimulated an interest in bone health in women with Premature Menopause and Turner Syndrome, and she has received multiple research awards and presented internationally in this field.  Supervisors:

  • Prof Peter R Ebeling, AO
  • A/Prof Frances Milat
  • A/Prof Amanda Vincent
Jasna Aleksova

Phd student Dr Jasna Aleksova's research focuses on the bone health of patients with chronic kidney disease and those with kidney transplants. These patients have a high burden of fractures compared to the general population, but current strategies to identify and treat those at highest risk for fracture are inadequate. Given chronic kidney disease now affects one in ten Australians, urgent measures are needed to identify and treat those at highest risk of fracture. Her research specifically evaluates the role of hypogonadism on the bone health of these patients, and novel imaging techniques, including the trabecular bone score and structural hip analyses, to better predict patients who are at the greatest risk of fracture.  Supervisors:

  • A/Prof Frances Milat
  • Prof Robert McLachlan
  • Prof Peter Ebeling
  • Prof Peter Kerr
  • Prof Grahame Elder
Jakub Mesinovic

PhD student Mr Jakub Mesinovic's research is focused on type 2 diabetes and how this effects musculoskeletal health in older adults. This encompasses the effects of type 2 diabetes on falls and fracture risk, bone microarchitecture, geometry and density as well as physical performance. Jake is also interested in the role different types of exercise may have on these relationships, as it serves as a low-cost preventative and ongoing treatment for some of the detrimental effects type 2 diabetes has on musculoskeletal health.  Supervisors:

  • Dr David Scott
  • Prof Peter Ebeling
  • A/Prof Barbora de Courten
  • Dr Ayse Zengin
Lachlan McMillan

PhD student Mr Lachlan McMillan's research is focused on the role of physical activity and exercise and how they contribute to musculoskeletal health throughout ageing. Specifically he is focused on the role that various forms of exercise play as a potential adjunct therapy in osteoporosis, a condition of low bone density largely affecting older adults. He is currently working on the development of a novel force measurement system, designed to quantify forces experienced by the skeleton during various forms of exercise. He's passionate about medical and biotech commercialisation, and the growing medtech start-up culture in Australia.  Supervisors:

  • Prof Peter Ebeling
  • Dr David Scott
  • Dr Ayse Zengin
Mavil Cervo

PhD student Ms Mavil Cervo has conducted clinical research studies on the effects of food on the immune system, cognitive and psychomotor skills, and on the nutritional status of children, as well as on body fat loss and blood glucose levels in adults. She also did a study to determine the nutrient composition of street foods and co-authored a book on High Value Fruits and Vegetables. Currently, Mavil’s research focuses on the inflammatory potential of diets and their effects on musculoskeletal health and sarcopenia. She is also interested in the bioactive substances in foods and their roles in the prevention of osteoporosis, inflammation and frailty.  She is keen to develop new dietary and clinical nutrition guidelines for bone health promotion and disease prevention which will help reduce the prevalence of osteoporosis and other chronic diseases.  Supervisors:

  • Dr David Scott
  • Dr Tracy McCaffrey
  • Prof Kerrie Sanders
  • Prof Peter Ebeling
Alexander Rodriguez

PhD student Alexander Rodriguez's research aims to investigate the relationship between musculoskeletal health and cardiovascular disease. Alexander is involved in clinical trials examining the role of exercise and vitamin D in improving cardiovascular health through assessing its effect on arterial stiffness. Alexander is also engaged in epidemiological research examining the effect of calcium intake on cardiovascular mortality in large population cohorts and the association of muscle, bone and physical function with vascular calcification. Alexander has a keen interest in evidence synthesis and has written several meta-analyses exploring topics at the nexus between bone, muscle and vascular disease. Supervisors:

  • Prof Peter Ebeling
  • Dr David Scott
Eleanor Thong

PhD student Dr Eleanor Thong is a Consultant Endocrinologist with interests in metabolic bone disorders, diabetes and obesity management. Her research aims to explore the impact of autoimmune conditions, specifically Type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease, on reproductive and bone health in adults. She intends to utilise novel techniques such as trabecular bone score (TBS) and high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomoraphy (HR-pQCT) to further explore mechanisms of autoimmunity on skeletal fragility.  Supervisors:

  • Prof Helena Teede
  • A/Prof Fran Milat
  • Prof Peter Ebeling

Scholarly Selective Student

Amar Lakhani

Mr Amar Lakhani is a final year Medical student at the University of Melbourne who has completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Physiology. During his Honours Degree, he investigated diabetic-related foot complications as a risk factor for osteoporosis. Amar is currently completing his Scholarly Selective with the Bone and Muscle Research Group. His research aims to determine the prevalence and risk factors of Atypical Femur Fractures, a low-energy subtrochanteric or femoral shaft fracture in patients with severely suppressed bone turnover.  Supervisors:

  • Prof Peter Ebeling
  • Dr Hanh Nguyen

Graduate Diploma Student

Carrie-Anne Ng

Graduate Diploma of Health and Science Research student Carrie-Anne Ng's research surrounds the use of assessment tools in quantifying various physical activity targeted in improving bone health, particularly to prevent the insidious development of osteoporosis. She is a student undergoing her biomedical science Honors year, and is particularly interested in the intricacies of individualising treatment targeted at musculoskeletal diseases.  Supervisor:

  • Dr David Scott

Monash Collaborators

Peter Fuller
NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow Professor Peter Fuller, AM is the centre head, Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Amanda Vincent
A/Prof Amanda Vincent is an Adjunct Research Fellow.  Find out more about A/Prof Amanda Vincent.
Francis Milat
Adjunct Senior lecturer Dr Fran Milat is an Endocrinologist, Head of the Metabolic Bone Services at Monash Health, Head of the Metabolic Bone Research Group at the Hudson Institute and Adjunct Clinical A/Professor in the School of Clinical Sciences, Monash University. She graduated from Medicine at Monash University with honours in 1996 and completed endocrine training at Monash Health and St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. She pursued her research interest in metabolic bone disorders, obtaining an MD examining mechanisms of PTH and Wnt pathway action in bone at St Vincent’s Institute (University of Melbourne).  Fran is committed to improving patient care through clinical research, with interests in osteoporosis and metabolic bone disorders associated with transfusion-dependent haemoglobinopathies, chronic neurological diseases, pregnancy, renal disease and other medical conditions. She is involved in the supervision of research students as well as medical student and postgraduate teaching. She is the current Co-chair of the ESA Annual Scientific Meeting Program Organising Committee (2016-18). She was the recipient of a Monash Health Leadership Award in 2016 (for her work in osteoporosis), the Endocrine Society of Australia Mid-Career Award in 2017 and the ESA Ken Wynne Memorial Postdoctoral Research Award for 2018.  Find out more about Dr Francis Milat.
Phillip Wong
PhD student Dr Phillip Wong
Anne Trinh
PhD student Dr Anne Trinh
PhD student Dr Wei-Ling Chiu is an Endocrinology Consultant