27 Apr 2014

Photo of the week: The mathematics of diabetes

Photo: Skai Juice
Q: Bob has 36 candy bars. He eats 29. What does he have now?
A: Diabetes. Bob has diabetes.
Photo from the Facebook page of a chef, Skai Juice, based in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic. Health, not math, is the real answer here - well done, T.C. Hale!
For Central Clinical School photo galleries, see:
See a selection of CCS images using Pinterest. Please view and/or follow at http://pinterest.com/CCSMonash/central-clinical-school-monash-university/.

Events calendar

What's on for this week

Mon Apr 28 -Tue Apr 29 9:00 AM Lung Health Education Program 2014
Mon Apr 28 -Tue Apr 29 All day Day of immunology
Tue Apr 29 11:00 AM ACBD/Dept of Medicine seminar: Karla Hutt
12:30 PM PhD Midcandidature review - Ms Louise Rowntree
Thu May 1 10:30 PM "Behind the Scope" seminar
Fri May 2 12:00 PM Haematology Translational and Educational Meetings (HaTEM)

Forthcoming events:

Mon May 5 9:30 AM Immunology 2014 Master Class
Tue May 6 3:30 PM Confirmation of PhD Candidature - Mr Paddy Dempsey
4:00 PM Confirmation of PhD candidature seminar - Mr Antony Kaspi
Wed May 7 - Fri May 9 9:00 AM Lung Health Education Program 2014 - Respiratory Course
Wed May 7 12:00 PM Clinical Pathology Review (CPR)


Dr Elizabeth Gardiner receives Distinguished Visiting Fellowship from University of Birmingham

Dr Elizabeth Gardiner, Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD), is the recipient of a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship from the University of Birmingham, UK. She will take up this one month visiting fellowship in May, 2014 at the Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, Institute of Biomedical Research, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, UK. Her host is Professor Steve Watson, an international leader in the field of platelet biology. Read more »

Immunology PhD graduate Christopher Chan awarded VC Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence

Dr Christopher Chan
Congratulations to Dr Christopher Chan who has received a Vice-Chancellor's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence for his PhD thesis. Christopher was a PhD student in the Department of Immunology who completed his thesis in 2013. He did his research at the Peter MacCallum Hospital under the supervision of adjunct staff members Prof Mark Smyth and Dr Daniel Andrews.  The title of Christopher's thesis was "Mechanisms of NK cell-mediated regulation of inflammation and cancer". 

PhD news

PhD profile: Nicholas Lam on how to regrow damaged heart muscle

Nicholas Lam
Nick Lam has just completed his PhD thesis, which was investigating regrowing damaged hearts with muscle, instead of the body's own process of filling holes with scar tissue, the physiological equivalent of polyfilla. The title of his PhD is “Cardiac regeneration: effective nerve growth factor”. Basically it’s about the effect of a protein, called 'nerve growth factor', on a damaged heart. Nick was based in the Heart Failure Research Group at Baker IDI with one of his supervisors, Professor David Kaye. His other supervisor was Professor Nadia Rosenthal from Monash University. For more, see his profile.

Our PhD students volunteer for 29 April Day of Immunology activities with high school students

This year, four PhD students from the CCS Department of Immunology have volunteered for the task of demonstrating at the Day of Immunology presentations held at the Gene Technology Access Centre on Monday 29 April . We would like to thank Maria Demaria, Jodie Abramovitch, Tim Gottschalk and Erika Duan for their generous gift of time, expertise and enthusiasm. Hopefully these high school students will be enraptured by immunology and elect to study with us!
Photo: Sir Gus Nossal speaking with characteristic enthusiasm on a previous Day of Immunology event.

Research highlights

New potential treatment opportunities for leukemia patients

Professor Fabienne Mackay
The long-term survival of people suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) could be increased with the development of new therapeutic strategies. Ground-breaking research by Monash University Professor Fabienne Mackay from the Department of Immunology and PhD student Damien Easton-Saulep has been published in the prestigious journal Leukemia that uncovers never before reported aspects of CLL. Professor Mackay’s research found that key cells called “plasmacytoid dendritic cells”, which are important for fighting infections and stimulating other immune cells in the destruction of tumor and infected cells, are eliminated in people with aggressive CLL but can be restored in animal models. See more: 14 April 2014 Monash story 

Estrogen therapy promising for women with treatment-resistant schizophrenia

Source: alasbimn journal
Professor Jayashri Kulkarni and a team of researchers at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre have published evidence in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, showing the clinical effectiveness of estrogen as an adjunct therapy for women with treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Their large-scale trial adds to the growing body of evidence that estradiol has antipsychotic effects, particularly at higher doses, and has a clinically meaningful effect in this particular group of women. See article reference and abstract.  

Is gluten a cause of gastrointestinal symptoms in people without celiac disease?

Gluten: appears not to affect
non-celiac IBS sufferers
The avoidance of wheat- and gluten-containing products is a worldwide phenomenon. While celiac disease is a well-established entity, the evidence base for gluten as a trigger of symptoms in patients without celiac disease (so-called ‘non-celiac gluten sensitivity’ or NCGS) is limited. Department of Gastroenterology (DoG) researchers review the evidence and conclude that, "On current evidence the existence of the entity of NCGS remains unsubstantiated." See full text of article.

Easter special: What is the FODMAP content of chocolate?

Photo: cucicucicoo
  • Green: dark chocolate. 1 serve = 5 squares or 30 g
  • Amber: milk chocolate. 1 serve = 5 squares or 30 g - Lactose is the fodmap
  • Amber: white chocolate. 1 serve = 5 squares or 30 g - Lactose is the fodmap
Avoid large serves of chocolate. Chocolate is high in fat, and when consumed in excess can affect gut motility and may trigger symptoms.
Avoid carob chocolate. Carob powder is high in oligos (fructans), and much higher than cocoa powder.  
Source: www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/research/updates.html

This item was tweeted 3 April and was retweeted 17x, favourited 5x. Very popular.

Media mentions

08/04/2014 Research being undertaken by the Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre (MAPrc) is said to be investigating whether adding raloxifene, or 'brain estrogen', to current anti-psychotic treatment can further improve the symptoms of schizophrenia, including psychotic, mood and cognitive symptoms.
South Gippsland Sentinel Times

09/04/2014 Professor Paul O'Brien, Department of Surgery, has released research indicating lap band surgery can help treat type 2 diabetes.
Channel 9, The Age, Medical Observer, Sydney Morning Herald, WA Today, and 141 syndicates

15/04/2014 Professor Fabienne Mackay, Head of the Department of Immunology, commented on the development of new therapeutic strategies which could see better survival rates of people suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
Adelaide Advertiser, Herald Sun, Courier Mail, Adelaide Now, News.com.au,

22/04/2014 The Monash University Low FODMAP diet app is given a good review by Dr Rosemary Atkins, saying that the "app provides accurate information on IBS and FODMAPs to assist patients to understand and manage their symptoms in conjunction with advice from their GP and dietitian."
Medical Observer

22/04/2014 Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor Steve Ellen, Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, discusses the movie 'Her' and whether you can fall in love with something that has no body. He doesn't think so, but thinks it is a good movie. Photo: Joachim Phoenix in the film 'Her'.
The Conversation


Opportunities: Internships, workshops

Molecules to Medicines intern program


Participants sought: research studies

Participants sought: Adjunctive Hormone treatment for people with schizophrenia

Men and women who are 18+, with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, are invited to be involved in an adjunctive treatment study that is underway in Melbourne. Hormones are known to play a role in the expression of schizophrenia and related disorders. The Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre is investigating whether a treatment that targets hormones, when taken in combination with regular antipsychotic medication, can better improve psychotic symptoms, mood and cognitive functioning. Participants will be reimbursed for their time and travel can be negotiated.  See more: Link

Participants sought: Medication in smoking cessation

This MAPrc study will examine important safety aspects (such as agitation, aggression and depression) of the drugs varenicline and bupropion compared to placebo (“dummy pills” that do not contain any medicine) and nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT or “the patch”) in smokers with or without a history of being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. See more: Link


Adding your study to CCS's research study index page

Image: Debbra Sweet
We have created an index page which lists research studies being undertaken by various Departments within Central Clinical School which are seeking participants. You can login with your Monash authcate and add your own study. We get an email to prompt the publication of the entry and disseminate it more widely.
Studies are investigating a wide range of diseases, including allergies, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and gluten intolerance, schizophrenia and depression. The studies may seek both well and unwell participants. See index page which links to detail for each study currently seeking participants: Research study index link