Medicine and Radiology

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Projects Title Research Node (Project Site) Department Project Description Number of Places Available (Masters) Number of Places Available (Honours) Primary Supervisor UoM Staff ID Number Primary Supervisor Title Primary Supervisor First Name Primary Supervisor Surname Primary Supervisor Email Co-Supervisor 1 Title Co-Supervisor 1 First Name Co-Supervisor 1 Surname Co-Supervisor 2 Title Co-Supervisor 2 First Name Co-Supervisor 2 Surname Co-Supervisor 3 Title Co-Supervisor 3 First Name Co-Supervisor 3 Surname Additional Supervisors (Please include the title and full name) Opportunity
A cytokine pathway in the control of inflammation and pain Medicine Chronic pain has led significantly to the opioid epidemic and the need for improved therapy. With this in mind the project is designed to understand how a particular protein controls inflammation and its associated pain. Professor John Hamilton jahami@unimelb.edu.au Dr Ming-Chin (Kevin) Lee n/a PhD students
A monoclonal antibody (mAb1F5) has been developed that identifies the expression of a putative growth factor Austin Health Medicine Dr Peter Wookey pwookey@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students
A parallel group, blinded, placebo controlled, ranDomised pRagmatic clinical trial investigating the Effect of temazepAM on objective and subjective measures of sleep in critically ill patients (The DREAM trial) Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Sleep dysfunction (a reduction in quantity and quality) occurs frequently in the intensive care unit (ICU) and is associated with adverse outcomes. To improve sleep in the ICU patients are often prescribed a sleep aid medication, however, there is no evidence that these drugs actually work in the ICU setting. This randomised clinical trial will answer the question: Does temazepam (a frequently administered drug) affect sleep quality or total sleep time in critically ill patients? A/Prof Adam Deane adam.deane@mh.org.au Dr Yasmine Ali Abdelhamid n/a Masters by Research
A systematic review of end of life quality of care indicators St Vincent's Hospital Medicine Increasingly services around the world are seeking to benchmark the quality of the care that is provided to patients receiving palliative care. A series of indices have been developed to seek to enable assessment between and within services of the quality of palliative care delivered. However, different indices are used in different settings and such indices cross domains including health service use indicators, and patient and family reported outcomes. A systematic understanding of the indices available and their strengths and limitations is required in order to take this important field of work forward. Prof Jennifer Philip jphilip@unimelb.edu.au Dr Anna Collins n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
A systematic review of the management of sleep in palliative care cancer patients St Vincent's Hospital Medicine Sleep disturbance is very common in a cancer illness, resulting from symptoms from the cancer itself, symptoms related to cancer treatment and the psychological effects of having a cancer diagnosis. This problem frequently escalates in patients with advanced disease. The management of sleep in this setting is currently the subject of a developing program of clinical trials using pharmacological agents. This systematic review would provide the foundational tenets for this program of work. Prof Jennifer Philip jphilip@unimelb.edu.au Dr Anna Collins n/a Masters by Research
A therapeutic strategy for killing cancer cells by DNA repair inhibition St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine DNA damage drives cancer formation but also its treatment. BLM helicase is an enzyme that acts as a quality control factor during the repair of DNA damage. In this project you will drive the development of new small molecule-based strategies for targeting BLM for cancer treatment. A/Prof Andrew Deans adeans@svi.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Adipocytes as Weapons of Bone Destruction: The bone as a War Zone Western Health Medicine Osteoporosis in older persons is the consequence of predominant differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) into fat at the expense of osteoblastogenesis and bone formation. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au Dr. Ahmed Al Seadi n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
An anti-calcitonin receptor (CTR) antibody for the detection of programmed cell death: the role of CTR in a novel adaptive response in a pre-apoptotic mechanism Austin Health Medicine Programmed cell death (PCD) is an essential process in life. Dr Peter Wookey pwookey@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students
An antibody that detects a high molecular weight surrogate ligand of calcitonin receptor is detected in malignant glioma cells and cell lines Austin Health Medicine An antibody was developed that binds high molecular weight targets (HMWT) with similar properties to the natural ligands of the calcitonin receptor (CTR). Dr Peter J Wookey pwookey@unimelb.edu.au Prof David Hare n/a PhD students
An exploration of the experience of care at the end of life for patients with a history of illicit drug use: A qualitative medical record review St Vincent's Hospital Medicine People with a current or past history of illicit drug use who are receiving palliative and end of life care have unique and significant care needs, including managing symptoms, particularly pain, finding an appropriate setting for healthcare delivery, managing concurrent physical and psychological comorbidity, which can be concealed by ongoing drug use, and navigating complex psycho-social circumstances. We have a program of work examining the end of life care of this patient cohort, with mixed methods data collection from patients and health care professionals. We are seeking to add a qualitative medical record review to provide an additional dimension to facilitate understanding and improve care. Prof Jennifer Philip jphilip@unimelb.edu.au Dr Anna Collins n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Analysis of Synovial Fluid and Peripheral Blood Samples from Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Using Patients with Osteoarthritis as Controls Western Health Medicine Better understanding of the pathophysiology of Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has led to the development of new therapeutic strategies. Despite this there is still an unmet need with an important number of patients not achieving low disease states or remission. A/prof Keith Lim kklim@unimelb.edu.au Prof John Hamilton n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Anxiety and neurodegeneration in preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine The project will provide a unique opportunity to work on an Australian dataset with midlife and late-life data collected (data over 20 years), and will suit a candidate with interest in cognition and ageing. There is also opportunity for publication. Dr Andrew Hua healthy-ageing@unimelb.edu.au Professor Cassandra Szoeke n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Application of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to treat childhood syndromes St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine This project will develop new cutting-edge technologies for the correction of inherited mutations responsible for all manner of human disease. A/Prof Andrew Deans adeans@svi.edu.au Dr Astrid Glaser n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Assessment of the Falls and Fractures Prevention Clinic as the Most Effective Setting toReduce Falls and Fractures in High-Risk Older Persons: A Care Program Assessment Western Health Medicine Western Health is one of the two centres in Australia that have implemented a new Falls and Fractures Prevention Clinic (FFPC). However, the effectiveness of this care model has not been assessed. We will assess the impact of the FFPC at reducing falls and fracture risk from initial assessment to six month follow up. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Associations Between Sarcopenia, Intramuscular Fat, Mental/Physical Function and Brain Atrophy: An Imaging and Machine Learning Approach Western Health Medicine Through a collaboration between AIMSS and our co-investigators in Norway we will quantify the volume of muscles of interest and the volume of intra/inter-muscular adipose tissue (IMAT) on MRI images of older adults. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au Dr Ebrahim Bani Hassan n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Balance Gym for Falls Prevention in Older Adults Western Health Medicine The Gait and Balance Gym provides a community program for falls and fracture prevention in older adults through traditional and novel methods Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Bone Substrate Composition Affecting Bone Cell Formation, Function and Bone Turnover Western Health Medicine Bone substrate can affect both bone cell formation and bone cell function. Dysregulation of bone cells and altered turnover of bone are central to pathophysiology of bone. Both physical properties and chemical components may play a role. This project has been designed to assess whether carbonate substitutions and phosphorylation of bone substrate can affect the formation of bone and then the function of these cells. A/prof Damian Myers damianem@unimelb.edu.au Prof Natalie Sims n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Brainwave and Electrophysiological Biomarkers of Cognition Enhancing Drugs Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Dr Chris French frenchc@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Can we Fix Dementia with Deep Brain Stimulation? Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Dr Chris French frenchc@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Cancer drug discovery by inhibition of a DNA repair pathway with Crispr/Cas9 gene editing and biochemistry St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine In this project, you would learn about DNA repair, genetic diseases like familial breast cancer, and a variety of laboratory-based techniques (CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing in breast cancer cell lines, AlphaScreen drug discovery assays, recombinant DNA technology, drug discovery, cell-based chemotherapy response assays, pharmacokinetics, protein purification and in vitro enzyme assays). Dr Wayne Crismani wcrismani@svi.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Causes of Depressive Symptoms in Early Ageing Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Major benefits of this study are: 1. There is opportunity for publication 2. You will have access to a unique database with two decades of psychological and social data 3. This study would be particularly suited to an individual wishing to gain experience in the areas of geriatric psychology and/or depression. 1 Professor Cassandra Szoeke healthy-ageing@unimelb.edu.au Professor Lorraine Dennerstein n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Characterising Respiratory Infections in Immune-suppressed Haematology and Transplant Patients Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Invasive fungal and viral infections are frequent complications in malignant haematology and transplant patients leading to high morbidity and mortality. This project aims to evaluate the host immune response in blood and lung through a prospective clinical study at the Royal Melbourne Hospital Professor Monica Slavin Monica.Slavin@mh.org.au Dr Michelle Yong n/a PhD students
Characterization of Osteosarcopenia in Older Persons: A Bench to Bedside Approach Western Health Medicine In older persons, the combination of osteopeniaosteoporosis and sarcopenia has been proposed as a subset of frailer individuals at higher risk of institutionalization, falls and fractures. However, the particular clinical, biochemical and functional characteristics of the osteosarcopenic (OS) patients remain unknown. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Circulating Osteogenic Precurors: Building Bone from Blood Western Health Medicine Circulating Osteogenic Precursor (COP) cells are a newly discovered type of stem cell located in the blood. It is hoped that these cells could be a readily accessible target for cellular therapies in a range of diseases in the aging musculoskeletal system, however before they can be utilised clinically their biological nature and relationships with both normal physiology and pathology must be investigated. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au A/Prof Kulmira Nurgali n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Clinical features in a common inherited cause of kidney failure Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine The aim of this project is to correlate mutations with clinical features. This project includes attending clinics, taking retinal photographs, searching clinical records, and examining mutations for pathogenic features (bioinformatics). Professor Judy Savige j.savige@unimelb.edu.au A/Prof Deb Colville A/Prof Heather Mack n/a PhD students
Closing the Gap on Aboriginal Cardiovascular Health disparities- Using Big Data to understand the patient health journey Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Cardiovascular (CV) disease is the largest contributor to the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. This research will inform CV risk management pathways and identify how CV disease is managed across the primary and tertiary care continuum for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. 1 Associate Professor Luke Burchill blj@unimelb.edu.au Dr Aneta Kotevski n/a Masters by Research
COVID-19 and the common cold: does pre-existing immunity to seasonally circulating coronaviruses influence the severity of COVID-19 Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, presents as a spectrum of illness ranging from mild upper respiratory tract symptoms to a multisystem inflammatory syndrome but we do not know what causes this difference in disease severity amongst individuals. There are seasonally circulating coronaviruses that cause the common cold. This project aims to determine whether pre-existing antibodies against these seasonally circulating coronaviruses are associated with protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection or associated with the development of asymptomatic/mild COVID-19? Associate Professor Siddhartha Mahanty smahanty@unimelb.edu.au Dr Louise Randall n/a Masters by Research
Defining the Role of Transcriptional Stress Pathways in Cancer Cell Resistance Towards Anti-Cancer Therapeutics Western Health Medicine De novo and acquired resistance of cancer cells towards chemotherapeutics, hormonal treatments, as well as recently developed targeted therapeutics such as those that inhibit the actions of EGF-R family members like HER2, has become a major clinical issue. Almost always co-associated with the emergence of an aggressive and often highly metastatic cancer phenotype, drug resistance is intimately linked with cancer recurrence and in most cases precedes poor patient health, the escalation of disease progression ultimately leading to the death of the patient. A/prof John Price john.price@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Development of a low cost, point-of-care diagnostic platform Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine To develop a novel rapid, ultrasensitive real-time point of care platform targeting molecules in blood or saliva. This will be integrated on a single chip platform. Professor Patrick Kwan patrick.kwan@unimelb.edu.au Dr Jianxiong Chan n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Development of Marrow Fat Quantification as a Predictor of Poor Outcomes in Osteosarcopenia Western Health Medicine The number of diagnostic methods for osteosarcopenia remains limited especially those with the reliability to predict poor outcomes in older persons.The aims of this project are to develop and validate a new potential diagnostic method for osteosarcopenia based on the fat volume within the bone marrow and muscles of humans (prospective study and retrospective analysis of images obtained in major human studies). Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Development of novel point-of-care diagnostics tests and surveillance tools for malaria Burnet Institute Medicine There is an urgent need for diagnostic and surveillance tests that could be used in clinical settings and rural and remote communities. This project will work towards the development of novel semi-quantitative rapid tests for assessing malaria exposure and transmission in communities Prof James Beeson beeson@burnet.edu.au Assoc Prof David Anderson Dr Herbert Opi n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Post Doctor Researchers
Development of novel vaccines against malaria Burnet Institute Medicine This project is suitable for a student with a keen interest in humoral and cellular immunology and vaccine development. Prof James Beeson beeson@burnet.edu.au Dr Gaoqian Feng n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Diet and Healthy Ageing Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine You will have the opportunity to work with a rich database with lifestyle data that spans over 20 years. This project will provide clinical skills experience as it involves direct hands-on participant evaluation, and will suit a student with an interest in nutrition who is interested in publishing findings. Professor Cassandra Szoeke healthy-ageing@unimelb.edu.au Dr Alexandra Gorelik Dr Monique Stagnitti n/a Masters by Research
Discovering genes for singing ability in Australian families Austin Health Medicine Using an innovative web-based singing program and the latest molecular genetic techniques, this project aims to discover singing ability genes through the first Australian study of large families with many talented singers. A/Professor Michael Hildebrand michael.hildebrand@unimelb.edu.au Professor Sarah Wilson Professor Gary McPherson Professor Sam Berkovic n/a PhD students
Discovering the mechanisms and targets of immunity against malaria Burnet Institute Medicine Conduct immunologic assays to understand the mechanisms of protective immunity to malaria and identify key targets. This knowledge will be use to inform vaccine development Prof James Beeson beeson@burnet.edu.au Dr Herbert Opi Dr Linda Reiling n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Drug development for metabolic diseases St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a central regulator of cellular energy metabolism that phosphorylates multiple protein targets to adapt cellular metabolism to energy and nutrient availability. AMPK dysregulation is associated with a range of prevalent metabolic diseases (e.g. type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease), thus huge efforts are being made to develop AMPK-targetting drugs. Our aim is to develop beta 2-specific AMPK activators to trigger AMPK signalling in these tissues without complications associated with off-target effects. A/Prof Jon Oakhill joakhill@svi.edu.au Prof Bruce Kemp Dr Chris Langendorf n/a PhD students
EEG/ MEG network measures as a biomarker in pre-surgical planning for epilepsy patients St Vincent's Hospital Medicine In both neuroscience and neurology, there is a plethora of data that has not been quantitatively analysed.  One interesting way of analysing this `big data’ is to convert it into a functional network that is spatially sampled at different points.  This not only reduces the order of the data, but also provides a way of examining the internal structure of the data.  Using various network measures, this project aims to find a functional biomarker that indicates cortical hyper-excitability.  We can then use this to systematically analyse brain networks for pre-surgical planning for resective surgery in epilepsy patients. Dr Alan Lai alan.lai@unimelb.edu.au Dr Andre Peterson n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Effect of HMB and Vitamin D Supplementation on osteosarcoPenia In oldeR pErsons (EMPIRE) Western Health Medicine Unfortunately, advancing age may comprise musculoskeletal health, with osteoporosis (low bone mass) and sarcopenia (low muscle mass and function) two chronic diseases, which together form a geriatric syndrome, coined osteosarcopenia. This syndrome predisposes an older person to increased risk of falls and fractures, compared to either disease alone, and induces alarming health care costs. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au Dr Ben Kirk n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Effects of Drugs on Cognition-Related Brain Wave Signals in the Rat Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine In this project, signals related to cognitiveprocessing, including gamma frequency oscillations and place cells will be recorded with microelectrodearrays. The effects of antipsychotic drugs and some related compounds, including potassium and sodiumchannel modulators, will be examined Dr Chris French frenchc@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Effects of Drugs on Cognition-Related Brain Wave Signals in the Rodents Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Dr Chris French frenchc@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Effects of Vitamin D Status on DEXA Femoral Neck BMD in Children and Adolescents Western Health Medicine Vitamin D deficiency is a well-established risk factor for femoral neck fracture in the elderly. Furthermore, the antecedents to the development of osteoporosis in later life typically occur across the lifespan. Lifestyle factors leading to decreased direct sun exposure together with increased skin pigmentation, are major risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. A/prof Christine Rodda christine.rodda@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Effects of Vitamin D Status on Forearm Fracture Healing Rates in Children and Adolescents: A Pilot Study Western Health Medicine The effect of Vitamin D deficiency on fracture healing rates in children and adolescents is currently unknown. This is a pilot study to investigate the use of pQCT in the evaluation of fracture healing rates, with or without vitamin D deficiency. A/Prof Christine Rodda christine.rodda@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Electrophysiological Properties of Human Brain Neuronal Tissue Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Dr Chris French frenchc@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students
Elucidating molecular signalling pathways controlled by anti-inflammatory steroids Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Steroids (glucocorticoids) are widely used to treat the chronic inflammation and pain associated with many diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, there are side effects associated with usage of glucocorticoids in such diseases. Our previous genomic experiments have provided a number of exciting candidate genes that may be involved in inflammatory functions. In this project you will investigate molecular signalling pathways that lead to activation of transcription factors that lead to differential expression of glucocorticoid-controlled genes in inflammatory conditions. Enhancing our understanding of molecular signalling pathways that are governed by glucocorticoids may lead to improved clinical therapies with minimal side effects. 1 2 Dr Adrian Achuthan aaa@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Honours students; Master of Biomedical Science
Elucidating molecular signalling pathways controlled by anti-inflammatory steroids Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine In this project you will use genome-wide approaches such as microarray to indentify the genes that are regulated by glucocorticoids. Dr Adrian Achuthan aaa@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Elucidating the functional roles of CCL17 in obesity-associated osteoarthritis Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic musculoskeletal condition that has many associated risk factors with one of them being obesity. This PhD project will explore molecular factors that contribute to obesity-associated OA. Dr Adrian Achuthan aaa@unimelb.edu.au Dr Kevin Lee Prof John Hamilton n/a PhD students
Enteric Neuropathy as a Target to Alleviate Gastrointestinal Side-effects of Chemotherapy Western Health Medicine Chemotherapy is given to most cancer patients before or after surgery. Diarrhoea, constipation, oral mucositis, nausea and vomiting are experienced by 80-90% of patients as gastrointestinal (GI) side-effects of chemotherapeutic medications. As a result, patients often develop malnutrition and dehydration. Early death rates of up to 5% associated with chemotherapy are primarily due to GI toxicity. A/prof Kulmira Nurgali kulmira.nurgali@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Exploring innate immune memory Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute Medicine Immune memory is a defining feature of the adaptive immune system, but activation of the innate immune system can also result in heightened responses to re-challenge. This adaptation has been termed “trained immunity”, a de facto form of innate immune memory. Studies over the past few years have pointed to the broad benefits of trained immunity for host defence but have also suggested detrimental outcomes in chronic inflammatory disease, such as atherosclerosis. By inducing metabolic and epigenetic changes in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), trained immunity drives myeloid cell expansion and the sustained generation of monocytes with a “proinflammatory” phenotype. 1 Dr Andrew Fleetwood andrew.fleetwood@baker.edu.au Prof Andrew Murphy n/a Honours students
Factors that determine islet antigen-specific T cell expansion before the onset of Type 1 diabetes St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine Our goal is to prevent the cytotoxic CD8+ T cell-mediated destruction of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells that leads to type 1 diabetes. Islet-specific CD8+ T cells appear in cycles in the blood reflecting waves of clonal proliferation, they expand just before diagnosis of diabetes and their quantity in the islets reflects the extent of pathology. Prof Helen Thomas hthomas@svi.edu.au Dr Bala Krishnamurthy n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Finding a cure for a devastating form of epilepsy Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Epilepsy is a devastating disease with no cure for most. We have engineered a genetic mouse model based on a human mutation to better understand the disease and develop new therapeutic strategies. A/Prof Christopher Reid christopher.reid@florey.edu.au Dr Paulo Pinares-Garcia n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Function and cryo-EM structure of the breast cancer predisposition gene BRCA1 St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine The Genome Stability Unit at St Vincent’s Institute seek an honours or PhD student to join their multidisciplinary team, to uncover the molecular level details of the BRCA1 protein. BRCA1 contributes to the majority of known familial breast cancer risk in women by promoting DNA repair, a process critical to suppression of aging and cancer. A/Prof Andrew Deans adeans@svi.edu.au Dr Rohan Bythell-Douglas n/a PhD students
Genetic Diagnosis of Children with Vascular Anomalies for a Therapeutic Clinical Drug Trial Austin Health Medicine Our understanding of the genetics of vascular anomalies is rapidly advancing but remains incompletely understood. This project provides the opportunity to work in an established multidisciplinary clinical and laboratory research team with clinical trial expertise. In addition to clinical experience and laboratory techniques, the development of project management, sample coordination and communication skills will be fostered. 1 A/Professor Michael Hildebrand michael.h n/a Honours students
Genomics of asthma mortality due to thunderstorm asthma Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Thunderstorm asthma is a global phenomenon with Melbourne Australia having the most frequent reports and severe episodes. The episode on 21st November 2016 was the most severe ever recorded and included 10 asthma fatalities. We have (following ethics approval and informed consent from families) obtained samples from 9 of those who died on that night. This project is to explore the genomics of thunderstorm asthma fatalities. 1 Prof Jo Douglass jdouglass@unimelb.edu.au Dr Vanessa Bryant n/a PhD students; Honours students
Genotype and Phenotype Characterisation Human Circulating Osteo-Progenitor (COP) Cells Western Health Medicine COP (circulating osteogenic progenitor cells) is a term referring to circulating bone marrow-derived progenitor stem cells, which are able to participate in bone formation such as bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and endothelial progenitor cells (EPC). The origin and function of COP cells remain unknown. However, some studies have reported that COP cells are recruited from bone marrow and perivascular niche to fracture sites in order to enhance healing. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies in Papua New Guinea – The impact of nutrition, malaria, and other infections on pregnant women and infants Burnet Institute Medicine In resource-poor regions globally, pregnant women experience high rates of malaria, under-nutrition, and viral and bacterial infections, which can lead to maternal morbidity and mortality and low birth weight in infants, which results in a large number of infant deaths each year. The objective of this project is to determine the major preventable causes of poor maternal health and low birth weight to enable the development of future interventions to improve health and pregnancy outcomes. This project is offered as a laboratory or epidemiological project, or a combination of the two depending on student interests Prof James Beeson beeson@burnet.edu.au Dr Michelle Scoullar n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Post Doctor Researchers
How are autophagic processes involved in bone mineralisation? St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine Our recent discoveries indicate that intracellular vesicles, including autophagy (intracellular recycling), are involved in mineral secretion by osteoblasts and osteocytes. We have carried out RNA-sequencing in bones from mice with brittle bones, and found changes in a range of autophagic genes. This provides new information about the way that cells in the skeleton control bone composition. Prof Natalie Sims nsims@svi.edu.au n/a PhD students
How do Anti-Epileptic Drugs Work? Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Dr Chris French frenchc@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
How do bone marrow microenvironments regulate B lymphocyte production? St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine B lymphocytes, which are essential in eliminating pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, decline during aging, in part due to a reduced bone marrow microenvironment (the factory for B lymphocyte production). The changes that occur in the B lymphocyte factory that cause this decline are unclear and will be investigated in this project. 1 1 Professor Louise Purton lpurton@svi.edu.au Dr Gavin Tjin Ms Diannita Kwang n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Identification and Characterisation of Molecular Mediators of Cancer Metastasis Western Health Medicine Cancer accounts for 1/3 of all Australian deaths and is a major social and economic burden. The prime feature of treatment failure as well as the cause of majority of death in cancer patients is due to the spread of the cancer to other sites within the body, a process termed metastasis A/prof John Price john.price@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Identifying better therapies for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes. St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine In this project you will determine the effects of potential therapies for a pre-leukaemic disease called myelodysplastic syndromes. You will learn different techniques including flow cytometry, cell culture, drug studies and develop an understanding of blood cell production and blood-forming stem cells. Professor Louise Purton lpurton@svi.edu.au Dr Jessica Holien n/a Masters by Research
Identifying targets and mechanisms of acquired immunity to severe malaria in children Burnet Institute Medicine This project aims to identify immune responses that protect against severe malaria in young children. It will involve testing samples from young children in specific immunologic assays Prof James Beeson beeson@burnet.edu.au Dr JoAnne Chan n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Imaging the brain circuits required for new learning Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health Medicine Learning associations between actions and their outcomes is a fundamental cognitive ability that requires the interaction of neural systems mediating cognitive and emotional functions. This learning is critical for normal decision-making, which is central to healthy cognitive functioning and wellbeing. While it is known this learning relies on a neural circuit involving the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and dorsal striatum, the nature of how this circuit changes with learning is poorly understood. This project aims to investigate this circuit in mice, with cutting-edge in vivo cellular activity recording techniques as animals learn associations in a touchscreen chamber. Components of the circuit will be disrupted with genetically encoded inhibition tools to allow us to see how this critical circuit leads to learning and healthy decision-making. 1 1 Dr Simon Fisher simon.fisher@florey.edu.au Associate Professor Jess Nithianantharajah n/a Masters by Research; Honours students
IMpleMenting Effective infection prevention and control in ReSidential aged carE (IMMERSE) Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Older people living in aged care homes are susceptible to infections such as influenza. Our aim is to protect their health by promoting a strong focus on infection prevention and control (IPC). We will investigate gaps in IPC procedures such as how staff training is provided, how residents participate in IPC, and gaps in staff IPC practice, and identify solutions to address gaps. We will upskill IPC leads to drive change and co-design a community of practice that enables IPC leads to share knowledge, experiences, and resources.

PhD Scholarship Opportunity: The PhD candidate will work with the project team to investigate the features of community of practice among nurse IPC leads that improve infection control practices in residential aged care facilities.
Professor Jill Francis jillian.francis@unimelb.edu.au Professor Wen Kwang Lim n/a PhD students
Improve the diagnostic prediction of imaging measures in dementia and epilepsy Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine The aim of this study is to study the impact of neuroimaging tools driven by machine learning on clinical diagnosis in dementia and epilepsy . Dr Vijay Venkatraman vijay.venkatraman@unimelb.edu.au Prof Roland Bammer Dr Chris Steward n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Post Doctor Researchers
In vitro brain tumour model – studying epileptic seizure development and sensitivity to anti-cancer therapy Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine .The project has two aims – to examine the effects of conventional and novel treatments on the tumours aswell as the development of e Dr Chris French frenchc@unimelb.edu.au Dr Rod Luwor n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Inflammation-induced Cancer: Mechanisms and Novel Treatments Western Health Medicine Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most commonly reported cancer in Australia. It accounts for over 1.4 million reports with over 700,000 deaths globally. Chronic inflammation has been considered a direct link to CRC susceptibility. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is considered a risk factor for CRC. A/prof Kulmira Nurgali kulmira.nurgali@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Inflammation-induced Osteosarcopenia: Mechanisms and Novel Treatments Western Health Medicine Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), comprising two main pathologies ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, affects >85,000 Australians. Almost 50% of patients with IBD are affected by osteoporosis or osteopenia and with risk of bone fracture 40% higher than the general population. Many young Crohn’s disease patients have osteoporosis and 60% of CD patients have sarcopenia when they should be at the peak bone and muscle strength. To date, no therapy proven to be efficacious in IBD-related osteoporosis/sarcopenia. A/Prof Kulmira Nurgali kulmira.nurgali@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Inflammatory cytokines involved in obesity and osteoarthritis Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Osteoarthritis (OA) is a most common form of arthritis and is associated with many risk factors, for example, obesity. Inflammatory cytokines have been implicated in facilitating OA progression. This project will use animal models of OA to identify a novel potential therapeutic target(s) for treating OA symptoms (i.e. pain) 1 1 Dr Kevin Lee mingchinl@unimelb.edu.au Prof. John Hamilton n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Honours students; Post Doctor Researchers
Inhibition of microglia inflammation by AMPK for obesity treatment St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine This project will investigate whether AMPK activation in microglia can suppress hypothalamic inflammation and damage of appetite-regulating neurons resulting in reduced body weight gain with high-fat feeding. The study will involve the isolation and culture of primary microglia and handling of knockout and transgenic mice to investigate hormone signalling pathways, gene expression, whole-body energy homeostasis and hepatic glucose production. Dr Sandra Galic sgalic@unimelb.edu.au Prof Bruce Kemp n/a PhD students
Integrative genomics and immunobiology in Hairy Cell Leukaemia Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Hairy cell leukaemia is a rare and slowly growing cancer of B lymphocytes. While many patients treated with frontline treatment achieve durable remission, as many as 50% of patients will relapse and need further treatment. Why some patients require additional treatment and others have long term remissions remains unknown. We believe that understanding the genetics of the hairy cells and how the immune system responds to them will help answer this question. Professor David Ritchie david.ritchie@mh.org.au Dr Rachel Koldej n/a PhD students
Investigating a novel mechanism for improving beta-cell function in type 2 diabetes St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine We aim to investigate whether pharmacological inhibition of Y1 receptor signalling will enhance β-cell function and improve glucose homeostasis in type 2 diabetes. Dr Kim Loh kloh@svi.edu.au n/a PhD students
Investigating Lipotoxic Impacts of Fatty Acid Synthesis on: (1) Osteoblasts, and (2) Osteoclast, in Vitro and (3) Skeletal Muscle Western Health Medicine Bone is a dynamic organ that remodels and changes in composition throughout the lifespan. As a vital organ, bone is required for weight-bearing and motion, for haematopoiesis and energy storage, among others (Suchacki et al. 2017). Aprof Damian Myers damianem@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Investigating the Anabolic Effect Drugs (Picolinic Acid) on Osteocytes in Vitro Western Health Medicine Wnt signalling proteins are small secreted proteins that are active in embryonic development, and tissue homeostasis. Wnt proteins bind to receptors on the cell surface, initiating a signalling cascade that leads to β-catenin activation of gene transcription. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au Dr Ahmed Al Seadi n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Investigating the effects of GM-CSF and M-CSF derived human macrophages on phagocytosing P. falciparum infected erythrocytes and cytokine production Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine In this project you will explore the effects of IE phagocytosis by M1-like and M2-like MDMs on cytokine production and trafficking. Furthermore, you will be investigating the expression and function of signalling proteins that govern phagocytosis and cytokine secretion in these two types of MDMs Dr Adrian Achuthan aaa@unimelb.edu.au Professor Stephen Rogerson n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Investigating the electrophysiology of neuronal network dynamics St Vincent's Hospital Medicine The aim of this project is to understand the relationship between brain structure and brain activity. Specifically, the aim is to uncover the relationship between the structure of in vitro and in vivo neuronal networks and their behaviour, specifically their synaptic connectivity and patterns of neuronal firing. Of particular interest is the pathological case of Epileptic networks that produce abnormal electrical activity. Dr Andre Peterson peterson@unimelb.edu.au Prof Steve Petrou A/Prof Chris Reid n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Investigating the Rapamycin Effect on Induced-Palmitic osteocytes in Vitro Western Health Medicine The accumulation of fats in central regions of the body or peripherally can affect normal organ function, a condition referred to as lipotoxicity. This can also occur in bone and may affect bone health largely through the dysregulation of bone cell interactions and bone turnover Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au Dr. Ahmed Al Seadi n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Investigating the relationship between fat, bone and muscle Western Health Medicine Osteoporosis, sarcopenia, frailty, falls and fractures in older Australians are a huge burden on the economy and health system. There is a great opportunity to address the issue by investigating how changes in the musculoskeletal system can lead to the weakening of our bones and muscles as we age; and how we can prevent falls and fractures by understanding such changes. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Lifestyle Factors and Cognitive Health Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine The main opportunities for this project are: 1. An opportunity for publication 2. Hands-on involvement in participant evaluation 3. Work with a large database with over 20 years of lifestyle data 4. This project would suit a candidate with an interest in neuropsychology 1 Professor Cassandra Szoeke healthy-ageing@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Lifestyle factors and effects on mood in elderly women Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine The Women’s Healthy Ageing Project (WHAP) has prospective longitudinal, epidemiological data on alcohol consumption and mood of Australian women from age 45 over 25 years. This project will provide the opportunity for publication, as well as participant contact and clinical skills experience. Professor Cassandra Szoeke healthy-ageing@unimelb.edu.au Professor Lorraine Dennerstein n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Lipoproteins and Cardiovascular Risk from Mid- to Late-life in Women Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine This project will provide the opportunity to work with a rich database with data that spans over 20 years, as well as having participant contact and clinical skills experience. This project would suit a candidate who is interested in cardiovascular disease. There is also opportunity for publication. Senior Research Fellow Alexandra Gorelik healthy-ageing@unimelb.edu.au Professor Cassandra Szoeke n/a PhD students
Machine learning assisted stroke neuroimaging Medicine Assessment of stroke neuroimaging is increasingly complex. Machine learning assisted (decision support system) will likely enhance clinical decision making to the greater benefit of stroke patients. Professor Bernard Yan bernard.yan@mh.org.au Professor Marimuthu Palaniswami n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Manipulating Recipient Immunological Microenvironment to Improve Outcomes in Allogeneic Transplantation Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Allogeneic stem cell transplant (alloSCT) cures blood cancers by establishing a new immune system from the donor. Currently, AlloSCT has significant side effects including graft versus host disease (GVHD) and toxicity from strong chemotherapy. We will use new types of drugs to more safely modify recipient’s immunity prior to transplantation and examine how modifications in immunity allows for successful engraftment, freedom from toxicity (including GVHD) and improve anti-cancer responses. Prof David Ritchie david.ritchie@mh.org.au Dr Rachel Koldej Dr Joanne Davis n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Marrow Adipose Tissue Functions: Studying Lipotoxicity in Hip Replacement Candidates Western Health Medicine Seven million Australians (28%) have musculoskeletal conditions, resulting in the fourth largest overall contributor to direct health expenditure in Australia, accounting for 8.7% ($5.690 billion) of total health-care expenditure, above all types of cancers combined (AIHW 2014).1 The majority of expenses are spent on two conditions: osteoporosis (OP) with associated fractures and osteoarthritis (OA). Yearly 144,000 older Australians sustain osteoporotic fractures at a significant cost of greater than $3.36 billion, excluding the burden, morbidity and mortality associated with osteoporotic fractures.2 Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au Dr Ebrahim Bani Hassan n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Massively Parallel Optical Imaging of Cognition Events in Neuronal Networks in Freely Behaving Mice Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Dr Chris French frenchc@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Mesenchymal Stem Cell-based Therapies for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Colorectal Cancer Western Health Medicine Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), comprising 2 main pathologies, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, affects >85,000 Australians. The severity of chronic inflammation leads to gut perforations, fistulae, cancer and death. Current therapeutics for IBD are very toxic, have severe adverse effects and become ineffective over time. A/prof Kulmira Nurgali kulmira.nurgali@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Mid-Thigh Bone and Muscle Mass Measurements as an Assessment Tool for Diagnosis of Osteoporosis/penia, Sarcopenia and Osteosarcopenia: A Longitudinal Validation Study Western Health Medicine As we get older we lose bone and muscle mass and quality, known as osteoporosis and sarcopenia, respectively.As we lose bone mass our bones become brittle and easier to break. With less muscle mass we become weaker and possibly frail, in addition to becoming prone to falls. Those who have both weak muscles and brittle bones are called osteosarcopenic. Such patients are very prone to frailty, falls and fractures. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au Dr Ebrahim Bani Hassan n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Modellling severe childhood epilepsy Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health Medicine Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder with a third of patients not responding to currently available treatments. To better understand the underlying mechanisms, our lab is developing and analysing disease models for genetic forms of epilepsy. Dr Snezana Maljevic snezana.maljevic@florey.edu.au n/a Masters by Research
Molecular signalling pathways controlling gene expression during chronic disease progression Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine In this project you will explore in molecular terms how a particular inflammatory cell type (macrophage/dendritic cell) can adapt to provide a pro-inflammatory environment with consequences for persistence or otherwise of these significant diseases. Dr Adrian Achuthan aaa@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Molecular signalling pathways controlling gene expression during chronic disease progression Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Inflammation is now known to be associated with many chronic diseases such as arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, diabetes and heart diseases. This project aims to understand molecular signalling pathways controlling the expression of genes critical for the progression of such diseases. In this project you will explore in molecular terms how a particular inflammatory cell type (macrophage/dendritic cell) can adapt to provide a pro-inflammatory environment with consequences for persistence or otherwise of these significant diseases. More specifically you will investigate how transcription factors control the expression of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Elucidation of these molecular pathways will lead to the development of novel therapies. 1 2 Dr Adrian Achuthan aaa@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Honours students; Master of Biomedical Science
Monocytes in COVID-19: the great influencer of disease severity? Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine This project will examine how monocytes respond to SARS-CoV-2 infection and the role that they play in severe COVID-19. Associate Professor Siddhartha Mahanty smahanty@unimelb.edu.au Dr Louise Randall n/a Masters by Research
Multimodal imaging measures to improve dementia diagnosis Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine The aim of this study is to study the influence morphological and longitudinal measures to improve dementia diagnosis. Dr Vijay Venkatraman vvenkatraman@unimelb.edu.au Prof Patricia Desmond Prof. Roland Bammer n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Post Doctor Researchers
Neural modelling of epileptic dynamics St Vincent's Hospital Medicine This project aims to understand the links between the average single neuron behaviour with the behaviour of a network of neurons.  In particular, we would like to understand how the electrical behaviour becomes unstable, for example, when there is a transition to a seizure-like state from a normal or resting state.  Dr Andre Peterson peterson@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
New methods for investigating bone muscle and fat mass using 2D DXA images to predict performance, risk of falls and fractures Western Health Medicine We have a new region of interest for analysing whole body DXA scans that can determine muscle, bone and fat mass in one go and in a matter of seconds. If validated, we can develop a quick, affordable and efficient way of screening people for bone, muscle and fat mass in one go. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – characterising disease features in order to develop new therapies St Vincent's Hospital Medicine Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is the most common chronic liver disorder in developed countries, affecting up to 30% of the population. 10-20% of NAFLD patients will progress to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, in which inflammatory processes are activated in the liver. NASH can then progress to more advanced liver diseases, including cirrhosis and even hepatocellular carcinoma. Currently, no effective treatments have been shown to alter the natural history of NAFLD progression. Research efforts to understand the pathogenesis of NAFLD progression are hampered by the lack of a robust animal model. Dr Amanda Edgley aedgley@unimelb.edu.au Dr Fay Khong Dr Roy Kong n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Novel Approaches in Therapeutic Endoscopy Western Health Medicine The Western Health Department of Endoscopic Services provides a wide range of advanced gastrointestinal endoscopy services. The scope of minimally invasive therapeutic endoscopy is increasingly expanding in the modern era. A/prof Alan Moss alan.moss@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Novel genetic interactions with the double-stranded RNA-induced autoimmunity pathways St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine RNA editing, principally A-to-I editing, is the most prevalent form of RNA base modification and can lead to structural and functional changes in RNA and any subsequently encoded protein. Genomically encoded adenosine (A) is converted to inosine (I) in double stranded RNA (dsRNA) substrates. Inosine is interpreted as a guanine (G) during translation, thus harboring the potential to alter the protein coding sequence of mRNA substrates. However, A-to-I editing predominantly occurs in non-coding, repetitive elements such as inverted Alu elements and short interspersed elements (SINE). Estimates of the number of editing sites range from hundreds of thousands to millions in human cells, with tens of thousands in the mouse. This project will apply unique mouse models and genome wide screening to definitively understand the consequences of ADAR1 editing on non-coding and small RNA species. A/Prof Carl Walkley cwalkley@svi.edu.au Dr Alistair Chalk Dr Jacki Herard-Farlow n/a Masters by Research
Novel therapies for the treatment of cardiorenal syndrome St Vincent's Hospital Medicine The aim of this project is to investigate the mechanisms underlying the direct effects of uraemic toxins in vitro in cardiac, renal, vascular cells and monocytes, with a focus on actions mediated via the AhR. Dr Andrew Kompa akompa@unimelb.edu.au Dr Amanda Edgley n/a PhD students
Oral Health and Attitudes in Young Adults Aged 15-25 Years with Diabetes Mellitus: A Case - Control Study Western Health Medicine Adults with poorly controlled Diabetes Mellitus (DM) have more advanced gum disease and people with poorer gum health will have greater difficulty in controlling their DM. Most observational and intervention research has concentrated on the bidirectional association between DM and Periodontal disease in older adults and the oral health of children with Type 1 (T1) DM. A/Prof Christine Rodda christine.rodda@unimelb.edu.au Prof Davis Darby n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Osteosarcopenia as a Geriatric Syndrome Western Health Medicine Osteoporosis, the most common bone disease in humans, shares distinct pathophysiological mechanisms with sarcopenia. Sarcopenia, characterized by low muscle strength, mass and physical performance, is an important disease in older adults. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au Dr Ben Kirk n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Osteosarcopenia in community-dwelling older adults attending the Falls and Fracture Clinic Western Health Medicine The Falls and Fracture Clinic was developed to provide a comprehensive assessment for older adults with a risk or history of falls and fractures. Prof Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Osteosarcopenia in Older Adults Attending a Fracture Liaison Service Western Health Medicine Osteosarcopenia describes the significant loss of bone and skeletal muscle mass that occurs during ageing. Although the condition is not well characterised, osteosarcopenia appears to be associated with increased risk for disability, institutionalisation, falls, fractures and mortality in older adults. Dr. David Scott d.scott@unimelb.edu.au Prof Gustavo Duque n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Pacemaker channels and brain excitability Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Pacemaker channels in the brain are important for normal function. In this project we use optogenic tools to better understand what they do in the brain A/Prof Christopher Reid christopher.reid@florey.edu.au Dr Paulo Pinares-Garcia Dr Ming So n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Pathology begins in the cells: Studying lipotoxic stress generated from adipocytes in bone and muscle cell cultures Western Health Medicine Osteopenia, osteoporosis and sarcopenia affect the lives of more than 2 million people in Australia and numbers are increasing exponentially due to increased life expectancy. Ageing is the strongest predictor of sarcopenia which is directly correlated with increased falls and bone fractures. The link between muscle health and the quality and strength of bone is underpinned by cell-cell interactions that regulate both cortical and trabecular bone turnover. A/prof Damian Myers damianem@unimelb.edu.au Prof John Hamilton n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Cognition in Ageing Women Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine This project aims to evaluate the association of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Cognition in Ageing Women over 20 years of follow-up. Dr Jesse Zanker healthy-ageing@unimelb.edu.au Professor Cassandra Szoeke n/a PhD students
Pre-clinical Analysis of Effects of Lamin A Overexpression on Mesenchymal Stem Cell Differentiation into Myocytes Western Health Medicine Falls and fractures are highly prevalent in the elderly. Around 20,000 hip fracture cases are reported in Australia every year, and nearly 25% of patients who sustain a hip fracture die within a year. Since a large number of fractures occur due to a fall, decrease in muscle size and strength with age (sarcopenia) seems to relate directly with the incidence of fall-related fractures. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Pre-Clinical Studies Identifying Novel Molecular Regulators of Skeletal Muscle Growth and Atrophy Western Health Medicine The aim of this project is to use rodent- and cell-based models to examine the potential for specific growth factors, signalling molecules, metabolic enzymes and/or transcription factors to stimulate muscle growth or promote muscle atrophy. Associate Professor Alan Hayes hayes.a@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Predicting Disability and Frailty in Older Persons: The Western Osteosarcopenia and Frailty (WOSF) Study Western Health Medicine Several potential operational definitions of frailty have been proposed, but none has become the gold standard for identifying frailty in the clinical or research setting. Therefore, the research agenda on frailty is focusing on the development of robust biomarkers and diagnostic tests for frailty. Prof Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Quantitative imaging in dementia Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine The aim of this study is to explore the utility of advanced MR imaging approaches in detecting early dementia. Prof Patricia Desmond Patricia.Desmond@mh.org.au Prof Roland Bammer Dr Vijay Venkatraman n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Post Doctor Researchers
Quantitative Measure of Effusions Western Health Medicine Knee effusions are common in mechanical and inflammatory arthropathies. Increasingly it has been recognized that removal/reduction of joint effusions play a key role in improving pain and dysfunction at the knee joint, enabling rehabilitation and recovery A/Prof Keith Lim kklim@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Recipient immunity as a determinant of long term outcome in bone marrow transplantation Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (alloSCT) is a curative therapy for blood cancers. However, up to 50% of patients undergoing alloSCT continue to face the prospect of disease relapse, regimen-related toxicity, opportunistic infections and graft versus host disease. We have shown in mouse models that residual recipient immunity present at the time of alloSCT has a significant impact on outcome. We have launched multiple clinical trials to translate this finding to the clinic which incorporate significant correlative immunology analysis and will form the basis of this project. 1 Professor David Ritchie david.ritchie@mh.org.au Dr Rachel Koldej n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Honours students
Refining the comprehensive geriatric assessment Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Domains of the comprehensive geriatric assessment need urgently to be defined to rationalize care for older individuals. Prof. Andrea Maier andrea.maier@mh.org.au Prof. Kwang Lim n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Regulation of blood cell production by endothelial cell-derived retinoic acid receptor gamma St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine We make billions of blood cells every day due to finely regulated processes involving intrinsic and extrinsic factors. We have shown that the vitamin A receptor, RARg, is a key regulator of blood cell production and this project will explore one of its key roles. Professor Louise Purton lpurton@svi.edu.au Dr Gavin Tjin Ms Diannita Kwang n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Role of the Nervous System in Cancer Development and Progression Western Health Medicine The nervous system governs functional activities of many organs. Solid tumour like organs are also innervated by nerve fibers. The nervous system can modulate angiogenesis, the tumor microenvironment, immune functions and inflammatory pathways to influence metastases. Peripheral nerve invasion provides an alternative pathway for the spread of cancer cells when blood and lymphatic metastases are absent. A/prof Kulmira Nurgali kulmira.nurgali@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Roles of macrophages subpopulations in tumour microenvironment in gastric cancer Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Gastric cancer (GC) is the fourth most common cancer globally and 7th in incidence in Australia. It has a poor survival rate which can be attributed to the advanced stage at diagnosis in most patients. The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the development of GC are not well described. Tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs) are one of the most abundant immune components in GC. Our recent data demonstrated that the heterogeneity of macrophages within the tumour is present at both micro- and macro-levels due to the gradient change of different macrophage markers, namely IRF8, CD68, CD163 and CD206. This study highlights the need for investigating the roles of macrophage subpopulations in a tissue setting, to identify potential therapeutic candidates and to understand the immune landscape of GC. In this project you will explore the roles of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines driving the heterogeneity of macrophage populations and their functions in GC. 1 2 Dr Adrian Achuthan aaa@unimelb.edu.au Dr Yu-Kuan (Tony) Huang Prof Alex Boussioutas n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Honours students; Master of Biomedical Science
Roles of macrophages subpopulations in tumour microenvironment in gastric cancer Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine In this project you will explore the roles of proinflammatory (e.g. IFNgamma) and anti‐inflammatory cytokines (e.g. IL‐10) driving the heterogeneity of macrophage populations. Our previous genomic experiments have provided a number of exciting candidate genes that may be involved in the effector functions of these macrophage subpopulations. Dr Adrian Achuthan aaa@unimelb.edu.au Professor Alex Boussioutas n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Roles of mammary adipose macrophages in breast cancer Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Mammary adipose forms the large fraction of breast tumour microenvironment (TME). Macrophages, in particular tumour associated macrophages, are known to promote immune suppression to promote cancer growth. In the last decade, immune checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionised cancer therapy. However, this approach has had only limited success in breast cancers. While immune checkpoint inhibitors boost anti-tumour immune cells, immune suppression in TME could dampen this process. In this project, you will explore the role of mammary adipose macrophages and their response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. 1 2 Dr Adrian Achuthan aaa@unimelb.edu.au Dr Ajithkumar Vasanthakumar n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Honours students; Master of Biomedical Science
Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll: Young people and risk behaviours Burnet Institute Medicine Every year, we conduct an online survey with young people, asking about about social media use, sexual health and behaviour, alcohol and other drug use, mental health and other risks and behaviours. In this project the student will use the data collected to investigate patterns of risk behaviours and health outcomes in young people. Dr Megan Lim megan.lim@burnet.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Sexting, porn, and Tinder: An investigation of education and health promotion Burnet Institute Medicine Access to new technologies could present novel risks to young people’s sexual health. Dr Megan Lim megan.lim@burnet.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Singing for breathing in people with severe non-malignant, chronic lung diseases Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Group singing for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has not only demonstrated improvement in quality of life, but has been shown to be an enjoyable experience, with the potential for reducing social isolation and enhancing emotional well-being. With the recent events of COVID-19 imposing social distancing and isolation, those with chronic respiratory disease are at greater risk of social isolation and do not have ready access to other forms of social interaction and therapies which may assist in improving symptoms. An alternative approach to group singing through the use of technology will be examined in this series of mixed methods studies, with a focus on its impact on social and emotional well-being, as well as the effects on dyspnoea, activity levels, sleep, anxiety and quality of life Assoc Prof Natasha Smallwood natasha.smallwood@mh.org.au n/a PhD students
Social and physical activities in ageing women Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine This project provide opportunity to work with a rich database with data that spans over 20 years already collected to evaluate the social and physical activities in ageing women. Dr Jesse Zanker jesse.zanker@unimelb.edu.au Professor Cassandra Szoeke n/a PhD students
Sodium Channels in Epilepsy Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine This project is to study voltage-gated sodium channels, membrane proteins that are the basis of almost all electrical signaling in the nervous system, and so of the greatest significance in normal function, as well as disease states including epilepsy. Dr Chris French frenchc@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Stentrode: Tissue Response to Endovascular Stimulation Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Tissue response influences the effectiveness of the bioelectric implants. The aim of this project is to evaluate the Acute and chronic histological, macroscopic changes due to endovascular electrical stimulation to the surrounding blood vessels. Dr Sam John sam.john@unimelb.edu.au A/Prof Nicholas Opie Dr. Brooke Farrugia n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Stroke assessment with multi-modal imaging Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine The aim of this project will be to explore the utility of multimodal imaging in stroke assessment. Dr Vijay Venkatraman vijay.venkatraman@unimelb.edu.au Prof. Roland Bammer Prof Patricia Desmond n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Structural biology of proteins involved in bone diseases St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine Remodelling of bone is critical for normal physiological function and becomes dysfunctional in diseases such as Osteoporosis (bone thinning and fragility) and Osteosarcoma (bone cancer), where a paucity of bone material causes debilitating illness that is currently irreversible. Alternatively, mutation of a specific membrane protein, ClC-7, causes a rare inherited disease (Osteopetrosis) in which too much bone material is deposited leading to abnormally increased bone mass. Our preliminary studies have suggested a molecular basis for aberrant function of ClC-7 mutants in Osteopetrosis. The aim of this project is to fully characterise the mechanism of ClC-7 mutations that cause Osteopetrosis in order to develop drugs that mimic the phenotype of these mutations. Dr Brett Bennetts brettb@unimelb.edu.au Prof Michael Parker n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Structural biology of proteins involved in cancer St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine We are investigating, though structural and biochemical means, how a range of ruthenium, arsenic and osmium-based drugs and drug-like compounds interact with Glutathione S-Transferase (GST) family of proteins. Dr Craig Morton craig.morton@unimelb.edu.au Prof Michael Parker n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Structural biology of proteins involved in infection St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine The b-barrel pore-forming toxins constitute the largest group of functionally related toxins/proteins and are expressed in many species in the prokaryotic and eukaryotic kingdoms and also include the membrane attack complex/perforin (MACPF) family of mammalian immune defence proteins. Despite their widespread occurrence and role in bacterial pathogenesis and immune defence, the detailed mechanism by which they form pores remains an enigma. The overall aim here is to visualise the 3D structures of family members as a basis for functional studies to reveal the molecular details of how these toxins insert into membranes to form b-barrel pores and how the process is regulated. Dr Craig Morton craig.morton@unimelb.edu.au Prof Michael Parker n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Structural biology of proteins involved in mental illnesses St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the fourth biggest killer in developed countries. Amyloid precursor protein (APP) plays a central role in the development of AD, through generation of the toxic Abeta peptide by proteolytic breakdown of APP. Here we will use X-ray crystallography at the Australian Synchrotron to determine the 3D atomic structures of Abeta bound to therapeutic antibodies currently in clinical trials in order to understand how these molecules recognise Abeta. We use this information to engineer more potent antibodies as treatments for AD. Prof Michael Parker mparker@svi.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Systematic EndoscopIc Staging of Mediastinum to determine Impact on radiotherapy for locally advanced lung Cancer (SEISMIC): an international multi-centre cohort study Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Lung Cancer remains the most common cause of cancer death in Australia & the western world. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) comprises 87% of all lung cancers, and of these over 25% are diagnosed with locally advanced disease – defined by involvement of mediastinal lymph nodes (LN). The SEISMIC study aims to identify the optimal method for mediastinal LN and planning of radiation therapy fields. Associate Professor Daniel Steinfort Daniel.Steinfort@mh.org.au Associate Professor Shankar Siva n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
T cell function as a determinant of blinatumomab efficacy in B-ALL Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine The CD3/CD19 bispecific T cell engager blinatumomab (blin) is effective for the treatment of relapsed or refractory B cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (B-ALL). Total CD8 T cell numbers at the time of treatment have been associated with a higher likelihood of response. However, studies have not explored if patient T cell function has an impact on therapeutic efficacy. We hypothesise that response to blin will be dependent on pre-treatment T cell function. 1 1 Professor David Ritchie david.ritchie@mh.org.au Dr Rachel Koldej n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Honours students
Targeting inflammation and fibrosis for the treatment of retinal disease St Vincent's Hospital Medicine Currently, there are no effective treatment options for retinal scarring and limited therapies for neovascularisation, hence there is a high unmet clinical need for novel and cost effective products to prevent vision loss associated with neovascularisation, inflammation and fibrosis. With this focus our group, along with the biotech company OccuRx, has patented a library of new chemical entities with potent anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties to treat inflammatory and fibrotic diseases of the retina. Dr Roy Kong Dr Amanda Edgley n/a PhD students
Targeting microglia in neurodegenerative diseases St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine Microgial cells, the resident immune cells of the central nervous system, act as the first and main form of immune defense against toxic molecules involved in neurodegenerative diseases. We are using structural biology to learn how to modulate microglia receptors to eliminate these toxins from the brain. Professor Michael Parker mparker@svi.edu.au Dr Jon Gooi n/a PhD students
The cellular fuel gauge: Novel mechanisms of metabolic control St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine All living organisms have a critical need to couple energy and nutrient supply with growth. A major sensor of the nutrient status of a cell’s environment is the evolutionarily conserved AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK acts as the cell’s fuel gauge by directly sensing energy state (AMP, ADP and ATP), and orchestrating multiple branches of metabolism by phosphorylating and regulating key rate-limiting enzymes in these pathways. Our research goal is to bridge this knowledge gap by hunting for regulatory AMPK kinases and metabolite ligands. A/Prof Jon Oakhill joakhill@svi.edu.au Dr John Scott n/a PhD students
The Correlation between Knee Effusions and Clinical Presentation in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis Western Health Medicine Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide and its prevalence is increasing. Locally, over 2.1 million Australians are affected and this figure is increasing secondary to our obesity epidemic. A/Prof Keith Lim kklim@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
The development of anti-NPY1 receptor antibodies for research into and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and cancer Austin Health Medicine Research into the developement of an immunotoxin or imaging reagent for potential treatment or imaging of CVD and breast cancer respectively. Dr Peter J Wookey pwookey@unimelb.edu.au n/a PhD students
The impact of cancer therapies on the bone marrow microenvironment St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine Cancer therapies cause profound reductions in blood cell counts in a range of patients and can affect treatment outcomes. We have shown that some of these effects are caused by damage to the non-blood cells that regulate blood cell production, which will be further investigated here. Professor Louise Purton lpurton@svi.edu.au Dr Gavin Tjin n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
The role of AMP-activated kinase in suppressing atherosclerosis St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine The main objective of this project is to study how AMPK controls cholesterol production in the liver and macrophages. AMPK’s activation in response to exercise is thought to be part of the protective mechanism against the development of heart disease. We aim to investigate whether by changing the activity of AMPK, using drugs that currently in clinical trial, we can augment the body’s natural control mechanisms and significantly reduce the development of atherosclerosis. Dr Kim Loh kloh@svi.edu.au n/a PhD students
The role of CCL17 in osteoarthritis Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, for which there are no adequate therapies Dr Kevin Lee mingchinl@unimelb.edu.au A/Prof Andrew Cook n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
The role of Critical Signalling Pathways in Glioblastoma Mediated Immunosuppression Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine The most severe form of brain cancer, Glioblastoma Multiforme is extremely lethal, with the average survival time of less than 12 months after diagnosis. Glioblastoma cells are generally highly proliferative, invasive. Recent evidence suggests that their micro-environment contains factors that suppress anti-tumour immune responses. However, the role of glioblastoma cell signalling in promoting an immunosuppressive environment is not well known. This project will evaluate the role of critical glioblastoma-promoting signalling pathways in promoting immunosuppression. Specifically, we will identify key immunosuppressive factors/cytokines secreted by glioblastoma cells and evaluate their role in blocking immune cell function (activation and killing activity). 1 2 Dr Adrian Achuthan aaa@unimelb.edu.au Dr Rodney Luwor n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Honours students; Master of Biomedical Science
The role of FANCM gene in inherited breast cancer St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine 1 in 10 breast cancers are due to inheritance of a predisposing gene. In half of these cases, the inherited gene mutation is in the well characterised BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. The normal function of BRCA1 and BRCA2 is in DNA repair, to suppress cancer by removing the damage to DNA that is caused by carcinogens. Over the last few years, many other DNA repair genes have been linked with familial breast cancer, including the FANCM gene. Our lab studies the mechanism of DNA repair by the FANCM protein using cell-based and protein chemistry-based approaches. This project will test the breast-cancer associated FANCM mutations identified in a screen of 11,000 women with a history of breast cancer, in a set of assays so that we may determine why they might predispose to breast cancer. A/Prof Andrew Deans adeans@svi.edu.au Dr Elyse Dunn n/a PhD students
The role of microglial cells in epilepsy Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine Epilepsy is a brain disease which has a complex pathophysiology. This project will examine the role of microglial cells in the development of epilepsy using a mouse model. A/Prof Nigel Jones nigel.jones@monash.edu Dr Idrish Ali n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
The role of RECQL4 gene in cancer predispositon St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine This project will test RecQL4 mutations associated with Rothmund-Thomson syndrome in a set of assays so that we may determine how the mutations directly impair DNA replication and/or repair. Dr Andrew Deans adeans@svi.edu.au n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
The role of RNA editing enzyme ADAR1 in liver homeostasis and metabolism St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine We are interested in understanding how the RNA modifying enzyme ADAR1 functions. We will use genetic models to dissect its in vivo function. A/Prof Carl Walkley cwalkley@svi.edu.au Dr Jacki Heraud-Farlow n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Post Doctor Researchers
Towards a patient-specific examination of epileptogenesis St Vincent's Hospital Medicine How can we quantify and model these differences in brain network structures in order to personalise diagnosis and treatment in complex patient-specific diseases such as epilepsy? One direction towards this ultimate goal is to use graph theory and dynamical systems in combination with connectome data to convert brain network structures into matrices. Prof Mark Cook markcook@unimelb.edu.au Dr Andre Peterson n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Transgenerational influence of diet on autoimmune susceptibility St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine While it is not difficult to envisage how an environmental factor can have a direct effect on at-risk individuals, evidence suggest that such cues may also influence autoimmune susceptibility at transgenerational level. That is, the exposure of parent to an environmental factor then affects the susceptibility of their offspring. A/Prof Mark Chong mchong@svi.edu.au n/a PhD students
Treating fibrosis and inflammation to prevent end-organ damage in diabetes St Vincent's Hospital Medicine The Renal and Cardiovascular Translational Research group is focused on developing novel compounds for the treatment of pathological inflammation and fibrosis in diabetic and non-diabetic kidney, heart and eye disease. Our projects adopt a “bench to bedside” approach where we evaluate the efficacy of novel therapies on structural and functional aspects of heart, kidney, liver and eye disease using well characterised animal models that mimic the complications seen in humans. Dr Roy Kong roy.kong@unimelb.edu.au Dr Amanda Edgley Dr Fay Khong n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Treatment outcome in older lung cancer patients: does the biological age predict it? Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine We will determine the biological age of older lung cancer patients and test if the biological age can predict treatment outcome. Prof. Andrea Maier andrea.maier@mh.org.au Dr. Claire Maddison n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Understanding how immune cell function is impacted by novel therapies in patients with B cell malignancies Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine In recent years, new non-chemotherapy based small molecule inhibitors such as Venetoclax and Ibrutinib have been shown to offer improved outcomes in patients with B cell malignancies. Our existing data has demonstrated that these therapies have a significant impact on patient immune function when used long term which will be explored further in this project. 1 Prof David Ritchie david.ritchie@mh.org.au Dr Rachel Koldej Dr Joanne Davis n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Understanding how Type 17 immunity and IL-17 cytokines regulate Type 1 diabetes St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a human autoimmune disease involving the progressive destruction of the insulin producing B-cells in the pancreatic islets. A clearer understanding of the autoimmune processes will provide new opportunities for therapeutic intervention in human T1D patients. Our primary goal is to cure T1D by developing novel immune therapies. Dr Andrew Sutherland asutherland@svi.edu.au n/a PhD students
Using light to control brain activity Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine This project will use laser light to inhibit and activate a specific class of brain cell in mice, and observe how this impacts working memory Prof Nigel Jones Dr. Matt Hudson n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Using Marrow Adipose Tissue to Diagnose Osteoporosis and Predict Fragility Fractures Western Health Medicine Yearly 144,000 osteoporotic Australians fracture, that costs circa $4 billion. If fracture (Fx) risk is identified early, most Fx are preventable. Professor Gustavo Duque gustavo.duque@unimelb.edu.au Dr Ebrahim Bani Hassan n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Using novel animal and stem cell models to investigate the role of genetic cardiac arrhythmia in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health Medicine We recently provided evidence that epilepsy patients carrying loss-of-function variants in a cardiac arrhythmia gene are at greater risk of sudden death, known as SUDEP. This project aims to understand how genetic cardiac arrhythmia contribute to SUDEP risk by using EEG-ECG to monitor the changes in brain and heart function during seizures and sudden deaths in novel SUDEP mouse models. Furthermore, the project aims to develop and measure electrophysiology of stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes, including 3D “mini heart” cardiac organoids, that express the cardiac arrhythmia variant identified in SUDEP patients. These models provide an opportunity to test cardio-protective strategies on SUDEP risk. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to learn to operate multi-electrode array system, optogenetics, patch-clamp electrophysiology, perform EEG-ECG surgery/monitoring/analysis, mouse handling/injections, stem cell culture, molecular biology, and be involved in manuscript preparation. 1 2 Professor Christopher Reid christopher.reid@unimelb.edu.au Dr Ming Soh n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Honours students
Using parasite and vector serosurveillance to inform malaria elimination Burnet Institute Medicine Malaria is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the Asia-Pacific region, however efforts to eliminate the disease are limited by a lack of tools to sensitively detect and monitor malaria transmission over time. This project will focus on understanding how human antibody responses to the malaria parasite and mosquito vector can be used as biomarkers of malaria transmission in populations. It will involve quantifying host antibody dynamics in populations naturally exposed to malaria and will incorporate laboratory-based research and statistical analyses. 2 Professor Freya Fowkes freya.fowkes@burnet.edu.au Dr Julia Cutts Dr Katherine O'Flaherty n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Honours students; Master of Biomedical Science; Post Doctor Researchers
Using the JAK1/JAK2 Inhibitor Baricitinib to treat new-onset Type 1 diabetes St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine The goal of this project is to investigate whether the JAK inhibitor baricitinib dampens autoimmunity and preserves beta cell function in human type 1 diabetes. Prof Helen Thomas hthomas@svi.edu.au Prof Tom Kay n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
Using Wearable Activity Trackers to Monitor Physical Activity in Older Adults Undergoing Exercise Interventions for Falls Western Health Medicine Exercise targeting improvements in muscle strength and balance is beneficial for the prevention of falls in older adults. However, it is difficult to monitor physical activity levels in older adults who have been prescribed exercise training. Wearable activity trackers, such as Fitbit, may provide a useful tool for monitoring physical activity in this population. Dr David Scott d.scott@unimelb.edu.au Professor Gustavo Duque n/a PhD students; Masters by Research
What are antigens/epitopes are recognized in by islet-infiltrating CD8+ T cells in people with type 1 diabetes? St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine This project will reveal the epitopes seen by human CD8+ T cells strongly implicated in the immune pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. The student will learn state-of-the-art human T-cell immunology, retroviral transduction and molecular biology techniques in a stimulating and supportive environment. A/Prof Stuart Mannering smannering@svi.edu.au Dr Colleen Elso Prof Helen Thomas n/a PhD students
What are the functional properties of human CD4+ T cells, from people with type 1 diabetes, that respond to proinsulin C-peptide? St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine The aim of this project is to use 10X Genomics single-cell sequencing to analyse the TCR usage and epitope specificity of human CD4+ T cells that respond to C-peptide. In addition, the genes expressed by CD4+ T cells specific for C-peptide, an autoantigen, will be compared to genes expressed by CD4+ T cells, from the same donor, who respond to the microbial antigens, influenza matrix protein and/or tetanus toxoid. This work will give unprecedented new insights into the function, and TCR diversity, human CD4+ T cells specific for microbial an autoantigens. A/Prof Stuart Mannering smannering@svi.edu.au Dr Colleen Elso Prof Helen Thomas n/a PhD students
What controls the development of strong cortical bone? St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research Medicine Studying cortical bone development has always been difficult because cortical bone develops at the same time as the rapid increase in bone size. We have developed a mouse model that has defective cortical bone formation, including defective skull formation, which provides an opportunity to understand those signalling pathways that contribute to the formation of the layers of the skull. Using in vivo micro-computed tomography and histology on archived samples, this project will map the process of cortical bone formation in the skull, and how it is modified in two different mutant mouse models. Prof Natalie Sims nsims@svi.edu.au n/a PhD students
White matter imaging in the aging brain Royal Melbourne Hospital Medicine The aim of this study is to study the influence of microstructure in the aging brain and its effects on dementia diagnosis. Dr Chris Steward csteward@unimelb.edu.au Prof Roland Bammer Dr Vijay Venkatraman n/a PhD students; Masters by Research; Post Doctor Researchers
Your Muscles Matter – The Sarcopenia Study Western Health Medicine Sarcopenia is associated with age-related loss of muscle mass and strength that can lead to reduced mobility, falls, fractures, loss of independence, and can become life threatening if undiagnosed and untreated. Sarcopenia is now formally recognised as a disease, which will increase awareness, diagnosis, and interest in treatments. A/Prof Alan Hayes hayes.a@unimelb.edu.au Dr. David Scott n/a PhD students; Masters by Research