Seminar Program 2017

Enquiries: A/Prof Anita Wluka +61 3 9903 0994.

Monash Ageing Research Centre (MONARC) Seminar listings can be viewed here.

Defining Precarious Work
Professor Noah Seixas, University of Washington

Thursday 7 December 2017, 12:00pm–1:00pm | Conference Rooms, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Noah Seixas is Professor of Exposure Sciences at the University of Washington, School of Public Health. Dr Seixas received an MS in Industrial Hygiene at Harvard School of Public Health in 1982. After working for public health agencies in New Jersey for four years, Dr Seixas returned to school at the University of Michigan, earning a PhD in Industrial Health in 1990, writing a dissertation on obstructive lung disease among coal miners and exploiting the large exposure database on coal dust exposures from the Mine Safety and Health Administration compliance activities. These activities were part of the growing recognition of exposure assessment as a crucial component of effective occupational epidemiology.

Dr Seixas was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Washington in 1993 where he developed a teaching and research program on exposure assessment techniques, studying silica, noise, organic dusts and welding fume, among other risks, as part of several epidemiologic studies. In recent years, he has redirected his focus to address the needs of immigrant, minority and women workers, and exploring the future of occupational health research and practice with respect to work organization and precarious work.

In 2013 Dr Seixas was appointed as the Chief Editor of the Annals of Occupational Hygiene, recently renamed the Annals of Work Exposures and Health. He also serves as Director of the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, serving the Pacific Northwest region of the US.

Australian Breast Device Registry Public Seminar: Device Registry Data and Decision-making

Wednesday 6 December 2017, 1:00pm–4:00pm | Conference Room 1, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Expert presenters at the Device, Data and Decision-making Seminar provide unique insight into the issues surrounding medical device registries for those working in research, the health sector and government agencies.

Hosted by the Australian Breast Device Registry, guest speakers include:

  • Prof Art Sedrakyan, who leads a number of international efforts including the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Medical Device Epidemiology (MDEpiNet) Science and Infrastructure Center.
  • Prof Tim Greenaway is Chief Medical Adviser of the Federal Government’s Health Products Regulation Group and former President of the Australian Medical Association Tasmania.
  • Dr Neil Soderlund has worked on >80 projects in healthcare strategy, data analytics and informatics. While a partner at the Boston Consulting Group he helped set up the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM).
  • Mr George Savvides has more than 20 years experience as a CEO of Australian healthcare companies. He is a Partner of consulting firm Sodia and former CEO of Medibank Private.

RSVP by 4 December via | For enquires, email

Download program

Large-scale systems epidemiology – recent applications and current trends
Prof Mika Ala-Korpela – Professor of Computational Medicine, University of Oulo (Finland)

Thursday 23 November 2017, 3:00pm–4:00pm | Conference Rooms, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Professor Ala-Korpela is an adjunct at SPHPM, and will start at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in January 2018, as the Head of Systems Epidemiology. He is currently the Professor of Computational Medicine at the Medical Faculty, University of Oulu, Finland and at Population Health Science, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, UK.

His research focuses on lipoprotein and lipid metabolism, development and applications of multivariate data analysis methods for metabolic phenotyping and risk assessment and the utilisation of various 'omics technologies in clinical and systems epidemiology to study the aetiology of metabolic diseases. He has over 25 years of experience in biomedical research and has pioneered high throughput applications of serum metabolomics in molecular epidemiology and functional genetics.

Understanding and promoting health practitioner behaviour change: an introduction
Dr Peter Bragge – BehaviourWorks Australia

Wednesday 22 November 2017, 12:30pm–1:30pm | Conference Rooms, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Peter Bragge is an Associate Professor at BehaviourWorks Australia, an applied behavioural research centre within the Monash Sustainable Development Institute.

Peter specialises in healthcare quality improvement through translation of research evidence into practices, systems, and policies. This involves research evidence synthesis, qualitative exploration of practice behaviour, stakeholder consultation to design behaviour change strategies and testing and embedding these into practice. He has published extensively in academic journals such as The Lancet and is active in other media such as The Conversation.

Iron and Alzheimer's disease – what's the connection? From observational data to intervention studies
Prof Ashley Bush and Dr Scott Ayton – The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

Wednesday 8 November 2017, 12:30pm–1:30pm | Conference Rooms, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Ashley Bush is Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at The University of Melbourne, and Director of the Melbourne Centre for Dementia Research based at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, currently listed in Thomson Reuters' "The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds". Dr Scott Ayton is an NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Fellow and Deputy Director of the Melbourne Centre for Dementia Research based at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and The University of Melbourne.

Iron could be one lesion that propels the syndromic progression of dementia but, until recently, the evidence linking brain iron with clinical deterioration in Alzheimer’s disease was lacking. Using a variety of methods (CSF ferritin and imaging, Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping-MRI and post mortem work, amongst others) they demonstrate data to support the therapeutic approach of lowering brain iron. They will test this in the 3D study – a phase IIb clinical trial that will identify whether lowering brain iron with the iron chelator deferiprone slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Vision for the Faculty
Prof Christina Mitchell, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Wednesday 1 November 2017, 12:30pm–1:30pm | Conference Rooms, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

The new data world (or why registries are sooo last century...)
A/Prof Chris Pearce – Director of Research, Royal District Nursing Service Institute

Wednesday 25 October 2017, 12:30pm–1:30pm | Conference Rooms, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Associate Professor Christopher Pearce is a practicing clinician in general practice, anaesthetics and emergency medicine, and an academic with a passion for the benefits that health informatics can bring. He has both research and policy experience in E-Health. He is the Director of Research, Royal District Nursing Service Institute and Inner East Melbourne Medicare Local, an Adjunct, Monash University and Visiting Fellow, Australian National University.

Occupational exposure to cleaning / disinfection products and respiratory health
Dr Orianne Dumas – Inserm (French National Institute for Health and Medical Research)

Wednesday 18 October 2017, 12:30pm–1:30pm | Conference Rooms, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Orianne Dumas, PhD, is a researcher at Inserm (French National Institute for Health and Medical Research) with expertise in occupational and respiratory epidemiology. She has conducted research in several large respiratory epidemiological studies, such as the Epidemiological study on the Genetics and Environment of Asthma (EGEA, France) and the Nurses' Health Study II (NHSII, USA).

Many people are regularly exposed to cleaning products and disinfectants in private homes or at work. Exposure levels are particularly high among healthcare workers. The impact of these exposures on respiratory health is a growing concern. Recent results regarding the relationship between occupational exposure to cleaning products / disinfectants and chronic respiratory diseases (asthma and COPD) will be presented. Methodological challenges (eg. exposure assessment, healthy worker effect) in the evaluation of health effects of these exposures will also be discussed.

The scourge of significantitis:
Will statisticians and epidemiologists rise to the challenge?

Prof John Carlin – The Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Wednesday 11 October 2017, 12:30pm–1:30pm | Conference Rooms, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

John Carlin is a Professor in biostatistics at the University of Melbourne, with primary role as head of the Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics Unit at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (Royal Children’s Hospital). He has wide-ranging interests in biostatistics, including methods for handling missing data and longitudinal analysis, with a particular focus on the interface between methods (including inferential tools such as p-values) and practical problems in clinical and epidemiological research.

This talk will review and explain why there is a growing consensus among numerous authorities that the concept of statistical significance is not just flawed as a gold standard for licensing scientific findings as true but may actually be a major contributor to problems of poor research quality and irreproducibility. I will examine the prospects for addressing these problems by emphasising more descriptive presentations of data and acknowledging in a more fundamental way that all empirically based statistical conclusions are uncertain.

Research into air pollution and respiratory disease – older, larger and wiser?
Dr Anna Hansell – Imperial College London

Wednesday 4 October 2017, 12:30pm–1:30pm | Conference Rooms, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Dr Hansell is an environmental epidemiologist at Imperial College London, with a special interest in health effects of air pollution, including that produced by non-anthropogenic sources and by waste management processes (incinerators and waste composting).

This talk covers some of her recent work on use of large cohorts to examine long term health effects of air pollution exposure: mortality risks from long-term (up to 38 years) exposure in the UK ONS Longitudinal Study and asthma prevalence, symptoms and incidence in relation to air pollution and noise in European biobank cohorts.

Infonetica - Obtaining ethics approval for research at Monash University in 2017
Dr Souheir Houssami – Executive Officer, Human Research Ethics, Research Office, Monash University

Wednesday 27 September 2017, 12:30pm–1:30pm | Conference Room 2, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

This session will cover a walk-through of Ethic Review Manager's (ERM) functionality for Human ethics applications and will include the following:

  • How to prepare and submit an application
  • How to respond to feedback from the Human Ethics Committee
  • Application status and outcome
  • How to submit amendments and progress reports
  • How to register projects approved by another ethics committee

Air pollution and health in China
Prof Xiaoming Shi – Director, China National Institute of Environmental Health

Thursday 21 September 2017, 2pm–3pm | Conference Rooms, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

The air pollution situation in China is complex. Since 2013, haze pollution weather has occurred in many regions of China. Public health risks caused by air pollution have been a serious concern for governments and the public. To address the air pollution problem, in recent years China has implemented a series of regulations, including the Air Pollution Law as well as the Air Pollution Control and Action Plan. The government has also developed environmental air quality standards. This presentation will give an overview of air pollution and health in China, and introduce projects conducted by China National Institute of Environmental Health.

Professor Xiaoming Shi is an epidemiologist and public health expert in China. He is the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health (NIEH) that is responsible for investigating, monitoring and evaluating health effects of environmental exposures nationally. His major research interests include environmental hazards and health effects, healthy aging, and the control and prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). He has contributed to establish the National Human Bio-Monitoring Project, which has been set up and implemented in China since 2016. Currently, Professor Shi is leading a large-scale project systematically assessing the acute health risks of air pollution in China, and is in the process of developing a national environmental public health tracking project. He has experiences working with numerous NCDs and aging studies in Chinese populations.

Monash eResearch program + an emerging R virtual laboratory for the health sciences
Steve Quenette and the Monash e-Research Centre team

Wednesday 13 September 2017, 12:30pm–1:30pm | Conference Rooms, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

The Monash eResearch Centre (MeRC) has a mandate to enable 21st Century Discovery through the application of advanced computing, built with the "co-design" principle. Increasingly, methodologies and technologies readily available to non-health disciplines are being shaped for the health and medical sciences. This seminar will introduce the eResearch platform, and give examples of working together with research groups to develop collaborative R-based research tools / virtual laboratories.

The advertising of therapeutic goods and services (and its regulation)

Friday 8 September 2017, 9am–4:30pm | Monash Law Chambers (555 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne)

The organisers of this seminar include SPHPM, the Monash Law, Health and Wellbeing Group, Choice (the Australian Consumers’ Association) and Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM). There will be no charge for attending the seminar, however numbers will be limited to ensure good interaction.

Topics include the AMI-MWI-AMHC saga, an update on complementary medicine and therapeutic goods advertising regulation and problems with the regulation and promotion of stem cell therapy. See the full program here.

To register an expression of interest in attending please email: Tania Richter, Project Officer, SPHPM,

Knowledge translation – practical examples of how to influence policy
Prof Maxine Morand

Wednesday 30 August 2017, 12:30pm–1:30pm | Conference Rooms, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Part of the MERQ Seminar Series – see flyer for more info or visit the MERQ website.

Can health evidence be accurate and up-to-date?
A/Prof Julian Elliott

Wednesday 2 August 2017, 12:30pm–1:30pm | Conference Rooms, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

A/Prof Julian Elliott is Lead for Evidence Systems at Cochrane, Senior Research Fellow at Cochrane Australia and Head of Clinical Research in the Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Hospital and Monash University. He is the winner of the 2017 Commonwealth Health Minister's Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research.

A/Prof Elliott's research is focused on the use of new technologies to improve evidence synthesis for better health outcomes. He is leading Cochrane's development of new evidence systems, including Project Transform, a major Cochrane project using online platforms, machine learning and citizen science to improve the production of systematic reviews. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Covidence, a non-profit online platform for efficient systematic review production, and leads the Living Systematic Review Network, an international research network for high quality, up-to-date health evidence.