Archive - 2013

December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013

December 2013

Dr Nicole Pratt receives the Asian Pharmacoepidemiology Network (AsPEN) Rising Star Award

Dr Nicole Pratt from the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre has received the Asian Pharmacoepidemiology Network (AsPEN) Rising Star Award. Nicole was selected from Australia to present her recent work entitled "Validation of Sequence Symmetry Analysis as a tool for multi-country rapid safety signal detection" at the Asian Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology in in Hong Kong. One researcher with less than 5 years post-doctoral research experience was nominated from each of the following countries; Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, to present their research.

The Asian Pharmacoepidemiology Network, or AsPEN, is a multi-national research network which was formed to provide a mechanism to support the conduct of pharmacoepidemiological research and to facilitate the prompt identification and validation of emerging medication safety issues across the Asia-Pacific region. Participating AsPEN nations include Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, China, Singapore, Thailand and Australia, with collaborating nations including Sweden and the USA. Further information about AsPEN can be found at their website here.

November 2013

Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship

Dr Carol Maher from the Sansom Institute’s Health and Use of Time group has been awarded a Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship to focus on developing social media applications to assist adults to engage in physical activity. This research builds on Carol’s recent positive results in a UniSA trial with two new Facebook apps to encourage mothers of young children, and adults in general, to take more steps in their daily routine, Full story. The Heart Foundation aims to support the best and brightest cardiovascular researchers and awarded only 10 of these fellowships nationally.

Dr Grant Tomkinson’s research on the decline of children’s fitness receives international media attention

Dr Grant Tomkinson from the Health and Use of Time Group attended the American Heart Association Conference in Dallas, Texas this week and presented his recent work entitled ‘Global Changes in Cardiovascular Endurance of Children and Youth Since 1964: Systematic Analysis of 25 Million Fitness Test Results from 28 Countries’. In a systematic review, which included fifty studies of more than 25 million children, he demonstrated that there was overwhelming evidence for substantial global declines in cardiovascular endurance performance of children and youth in recent decades. The results have generated huge international media coverage and the research has been reported by USA Today, CBS News,, Medical News Today, The Daily Mail and NBC. Grant has also been interviewed by the NECN/NBC and the video can be found here.

B-HERT Award

Dr Susan Semple has been awarded a Business/Higher Education Round Table (B-HERT) Award Honourable Mention for Outstanding Achievement in Collaboration in Community Engagement. The Kuuku l’yu Northern Kaanju Medicinal Plants Project is a collaboration between the Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation, which represents Kuuku I’ yu traditional owner families from Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, and The University of South Australia. The project aims to commercially develop plants used by traditional owners in a way that respects both Western and Indigenous perspectives.
The B-HERT awards are highly competitive national awards recognising outstanding achievement in collaboration between business and higher education in the fields of research & development and education & training.View the UniSA news story. Congratulations Sue!

October 2013

2013 ECR International Travel Award recipients

Andrea Fielder (nee Gordon)Andrea Fielder
Mothers, Babies and Families Health, Sansom Institute for Health Research
Host institution: University of North Carolina
The travel grant will allow Andrea to build on her Fulbright Scholarship and visit multi-disciplinary treatment facilities which integrate research into treatment of pregnant substance using women and their infants, in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Andrea will also work with Professor Jones from UNC to analyse and interpret clinical data from the “Maternal Opioid Treatment: Human Experimental Research (MOTHER)” study.

Alison HillAlison Hill
Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, Sansom Institute for Health Research
Host institution: Pennsylvania State University, Department of Nutritional Sciences
Alison plans to further her collaboration with world-renowned experts in diet and cardiovascular disease at Penn State. The travel grant will provide the opportunity to access and analyse specific data that is unavailable in Australia.

Natasha SchranzNatasha Schranz

Health and Use of Time, Sansom Institute for Health Research
Host institution: Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute / Active Healthy Kids Canada
Natasha will travel to the coordinating centre of the Physical Activity Report Card (a 15 nation project to benchmark physical activity behaviour and resourcing in children and adolescents) to work on development of Australia’s first activity Report Card.

Tasha StantonTasha Stanton
Body in Mind, Sansom Institute for Health Research
Host institution: Wake Forest University, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy
Travel grant support will allow Tasha to kickstart an ongoing productive collaboration with Professor Coghill, a world leader in pain neuroimaging and psychophysics. Tasha plans to develop critical pilot data and an implementation plan to pursue international collaborative funding.

Roger Yazbek
Mechanisms in CellRoger Yazbeck Biology and Diseases, Sansom Institute for Health Research
Host institution: New Jersey Institute of Technology and Menssana Research, Inc. Breath Research Laboratory
Roger’s visit to Professor Michael Phillips in the USA will allow him to gain experience in using a new breath analysis system, with a plan to bring the apparatus to Australia to be used in ground breaking clinical studies in the non-invasive detection of breast cancer.

Sansom and Centre for Cancer Biology success in NHMRC grants and fellowships

Leader of the Sansom’s Early Origin of Adult Health Research Group, Associate Professor Janna Morrison has received a RD Wright Biomedical Career Development Fellowship for her work into understanding the consequences of impaired cardiac development on heart health after birth.

Professor Lorimer Moseley, Leader of the Sansom’s Body in Mind research group received an Established Career Research Fellowship for his work that focuses on the role of the brain and mind in chronic pain. View the UniSA news story.

Meanwhile Professor Alex Brown from the School of Population Health and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute was awarded over $1 million for his Partnership Project for Better Health. The partnership project will allow Professor Brown and his colleagues to develop and test an integrated cancer monitoring and surveillance system for Aboriginal People in South Australia.

Both Professor Richard D’Andrea, for his research into targeting the EGFR and c-Met tyrosine kinase receptors in myeloproliferative neoplasms, and Dr Sarah Herron from the Epilepsy Group for her work into the identification and characterisation of genes causing autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (ADNFLE) and related phenotypes were awarded Project Grants.

Researchers from the Centre of Cancer Biology were also awarded a number of Project Grants and included:

  • Professor Shard Kumar: A novel mechanism for regulating membrane proteins by ubiquitin ligases and their adaptors
  • Associate Professor Natasha Harvey: Defining the role of GATA2 in lymphatic vascular development as a means to understanding how GATA2 mutations predispose to human lymphedema
  • Associate Professor Michele Grimbaldeston: Mast cells are key negative regulators of skin tumourigenesis
  • Dr Quenten Schwarz: Defining the role of VEGF and vascular formation in craniofacial development
  • Dr Cameron Bracken: How isomiRs expand the microRNA functional repertoire in affecting gene expression

Dr Lisa Nicholas recent paper

Dr Lisa Nicholas (PhD awarded in 2013) together with Associate Professor Janna Morrison, Head of the Early Origins of Adult Health Research Group, Dr Song Zhang, Prof Caroline McMillen and colleagues have recently had their paper in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (The FASEB Journal IF 5.704) selected for a press release. The groups paper determines that the periconceptional period is of vital importance for the nutritional programming in the offspring and that dieting prior to, or at conception, may also be detrimental. The press release can be found here.

Professor Jon Buckley appointed to ARC College of Experts

Professor Jon Buckley, Director of the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, has recently been appointed to the Australian Research Councils College of Experts. College members are experts of international standing within the Australian research community and are appointed from a range of backgrounds, from higher education, industry through to public sector research organisations. The ARC College plays a key role in identifying research excellence, moderating external assessments and recommending fundable proposals. It also assists the ARC in recruiting and assigning assessors and in implementing peer review reforms in established and emerging disciplines as well as interdisciplinary areas. Congratulations to Jon on this prestigious appointment!

September 2013

Australian Primary Health Care Research funding

Dr Kylie Johnston (International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, UniSA), Mary Young (Royal Adelaide Hospital), Professor Karen Grimmer (Director, International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, UniSA) and Chris Seiboth (CEO, Central Adelaide and Hills Medicare Local), with associates Dr Aeneas Yeo (Department of Thoracic Medicine, RAH) and Jo Teakle (Senior Project Officer, Central Adelaide and Hills Medicare Local) have been awarded funding ($100 000) by the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute in a recent call by their Lead Clinicians Group for projects into Clinical Handover/Transitions of Care. Their successful project title is “Implementing care coordination plus early rehabilitation in high risk patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in transition from hospital to primary care”. The project builds on collaborative research conducted by the RAH/UniSA team during the last 3 years and broadens the scope of this work to also collaborate with Central and Adelaide Hills Medicare Local in the care of people with chronic lung disease.

Dr Howard awarded Fellow of the Public Health Association of Australia

Dr Natasha Howard from the Social Epidemiology and Evaluation Research Group has recently been announced as a Fellow of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA). Fellowship is bestowed upon PHAA members who have been members for ten years or more or in recognition of a significant contribution to PHAA and in the field of public health. Dr Howard has played a significant role in the Association and is the Past-President and current Vice-President of the South Australian Branch of the Public Health Association of Australia. In this role, she has been actively involved in advocacy and mentoring of the population health community in both research and practice.

Division success in the University 3MT finals

The University finals of the 3MT competition were held on the 7th of September with the Division sending two PhD students to the finals, Natasha Wilson from the Mosquitos and Public Health Group and Erin McGillick from the Early Origins of Adult Health Research Group. Natasha received 3rd place and presented great story about her research project which investigates the feeding preferences of invertebrates and their tolerance to Cane Toad toxins. Erin also presented an excellent talk about the role of hypoxemia in regulating surfactant maturation in the lungs of small babies which was deemed by many in the room to be flawless. A link to the article about the event can be found here

SAHMRI Beat Cancer Blue Sky Funding success

Professor Xin-Fu Zhou has been successful in securing a research grant for the project entitled: “Generation of hematopoietic stem cells with small molecules". The value of the grant is $70,000.

UniSA Ventures funding for Professor Doug Brooks

Leader of the Institute’s Mechanisms in Cell Biology of Diseases grouping, Professor Doug Brooks, has been awarded a research grant for the project aimed at developing an effective method for the early detection of prostate cancer. The project has also received funding support from UniSA Ventures.

2013 Young Investigator Award finalists announced

Three Sansom researchers are finalists in the YIA Awards, an initiative of the Women’s and Children’s Health Network and the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide, rewarding excellence in South Australia's young researchers in both science and their ability to communicate and sell that science (Full story):

  • Dr Katia Ferrar - Early Career Development Fellow ‘More than just physical activity: Time use clusters and profiles of Australian youth’
  • Dr Rebecca Stanley - Research Fellow ‘Voices in the playground: A qualitative exploration of the barriers and facilitators of lunchtime play’
  • Megan Cooper - PhD candidate ‘How are water immersion for labour and/or birth policies/guidelines informed and to what extent do they facilitate the practice of labour and birth in water?’

August 2013

2013 South Australian Science Excellence Awards UniSA PhD winner

Dr Luke Grzeskowiak won the PhD Research category for Health and Medical Sciences at the recent South Australian Science Excellence Awards for his PhD work investigating the feasibility of using routinely collected health data to examine the long-term effects of medication use during pregnancy. Luke completed his PhD with Professor Andrew Gilbert and Associate Professor Janna Morrison in 2012. Congratulations Luke!

Professor Tim Olds in the news

The seemingly increasingly busy lives of today’s children was the focus of a Page 1 article in The Advertiser, titled ‘Young and the Restless’ with UniSA’s Professor Tim Olds from the Health and Use of Time Group quoted substantially on children’s sporting activity, sleep and eating patterns in relation to the 2013 Census At School survey, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The full article is available here.

The good, the bad and the ugly of botulinum toxin

Dr Rietie Venter from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences penned an article for The Conversation on the botulinum toxin. See the full article here titled ‘Explainer: the good, the bad and the ugly of botulinum toxin’

July 2013

Tall Poppy Awards recognise UniSA's research impact

Four University of South Australia researchers have received South Australian Tall Poppy Awards at a ceremony held at Government House last night (July 30).

From developing a breath test to detect cancer to inventing lightweight, shatterproof plastic car mirrors using nanotechnology, the four researchers are working across the University to make a difference in the world. Full story.

Breaking a sweat to lower stroke risk

Research by Dr Michelle McDonnell into the impact of vigorous physical activity on the risks of having a stroke has received widespread media attention. Her publication in the American Heart Association journal Stroke has been noted by international media including the Huffington Post, the Daily Mail and the Times as well as local and national coverage.

Dr Carol Maher in the news

Research from UniSA’s Dr Carol Maher hit national media headlines recently – including the front page of The Sunday Age, with the headline ‘In the field of dreams, many kids are coming a poor second’. Dr Maher’s research, which was recently presented at a Healthy Kids Cluster forum, found children from wealthy families are almost twice as likely to play sport on the weekend as children from poorer families who are missing out, especially on more expensive sports such as swimming, tennis and hockey. Dr Maher was interviewed by The Sunday Age journalist Daniella Miletic for the in-depth article which was also syndicated to the Sun Herald and other Fairfax publications.

Dr Maher’s busy week in the media also included her doing a to-camera interview with Ten News Adelaide for a prominent story in their 5pm news bulletin, and being interviewed on ABC radio Hobart’s Drive program.

Cochrane Review on Vestibular Rehabilitation

A Cochrane Review by Assoc Prof Susan Hillier and Dr Michelle McDonnell "Vestibular rehabilitation for unilateral vestibular hypo function" has been the most accessed review for the entire Cochrane Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Group for two years running. Full text Access numbers were 1802 (2011) and 1972 (2012) and the authors have been requested to update for a third version in 2013. Cochrane reviews have an impact factor of over 5. Of note for people interested in research metrics the citation rate is low for the review - however these highly regarded reviews are not intended primarily for research, they are written for clinical impact. The clinical recommendations from the review also appear in two international clinical guidelines.

Indigenous Health

In Indigenous health, visiting academic with the School of Population Health, Dr Andrew Black, was featured in The Conversation for an article on subsidised fruit and vegetables improving Indigenous children’s health. He was also interviewed on Melbourne radio. Andrew was an NHMRC Postgraduate scholar who undertook his PhD under the supervision of Professor Kerin O’Dea in the Division of Health Sciences.

Exercise is better together

Taking the dog or kids to the park, playing soccer with mates or a sunset stroll along the beach with a loved one – these types of exercises are actually better for your health, according to UniSA’s Professor Timothy Olds. Full story.

Eat Mediterranean for a healthier mind

Eating a healthy Mediterranean diet has proven physical health benefits but it could also provide positive mental health outcomes. Full Story.

Professor Shudong Wang’s Publication Success

Professor Shudong Wang from the Sansom Institute for Health Research has published one of the most read articles in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry (IF 2011: 5.248) in 2013. The article titled Substituted 4-(Thiazol-5-yl)-2-(phenylamino)pyrimidines Are Highly Active CDK9 Inhibitors: Synthesis, X-ray Crystal Structures, Structure–Activity Relationship, and Anticancer Activities focuses on the design of a series of anti-cancer compounds. In particular a compound named 12u demonstrated potent anticancer activity against primary chronic lymphocytic leukaemia cells. This compound will be developed further with the hope that this will prove effective in the treatment of other human malignancies.

$40 million Federal Government backing for SA pathology’s Centre for Cancer Biology and UniSA

Through a $40m investment from the Federal Government, a new partnership has been funded between the University of South Australia and SA Pathology to accommodate and support the growth of the Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB). The Centre for Cancer Biology will form part of the University’s significant health and biomedical footprint in the North Terrace hospital precinct and will be housed in a new facility currently being planned.

The Centre has a specific focus on fundamental research that is relevant to many types of cancer, as well as the research of blood-related cancers, such as leukaemia and lymphoma. The Centre provides world class cancer research that moves from fundamental discoveries in the laboratory straight into treatments, drug development and improved and sustainable practices to manage and diagnose cancer. Please see the full press release.

June 2013

I rattle when I walk

‘I rattle when I walk’ was a phrase Emily Reeve, encountered regularly when, in her role as a clinical pharmacist, she talked to elderly patients about the amount of medication they were taking. Full story.

Snakes and ladders path to surgery

Patients seeking hip and knee replacement surgery commonly face a ‘snakes and ladders’ type game in trying to progress their way through waiting lists and times to start their treatment in South Australian public hospitals. Full story.

May 2013

Collaborative research grant scheme

The Sansom Institute for Health Research is pleased to announce the outcomes of the 2013 collaborative research grant scheme.

These competitive grants promote strategic activities of greater scale within the SIHR, and the successful projects are exciting with excellent national and international collaborators. The 5 projects funded in this highly competitive round are:

Prof John Hayball ‘Shaping and Tuning Innate Immune Effector Cell Responses to Biomaterial Implants’

Working with collaborators from the Mawson and Ian Wark Research Institutes and the University of Adelaide, this project will test the theory that initiation of a foreign body response and its subsequent progression to fibrotic encapsulation can be modulated by the physical characteristics of the surface of a biomaterial implant, and in particular its nantopography. Currently the pathophysiological processes of FBR and fibrotic encapsulation are poorly understood, leading to pain, discomfort and in some cases rejection of the implanted device. The outcomes of this research will allow rational design of new substrates for the manufacture of biomedical implants of the future.

A Prof Jennifer Keogh ‘Relationship between dairy intake and carotid IMT’

Researchers will undertake a randomised dietary intervention study aiming to determine in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes the effects of advice to increase fruit, vegetable and dairy intake on carotid intima-media thickness progression over 12 months. Carotid IMT is a measure of early atherosclerosis and in people with diabetes it adds significantly to the prediction of future coronary events. Researchers from Victoria and NSW will collaborate with SIHR researchers in the study which will include 160 subjects. In addition to carotid IMT, lipid species which are biomarkers of dairy food intake, dietary carotenoids, urinary sodium, potassium and magnesium, blood pressure, blood measures of HbA1c and fasting lipids will be measured.

A Prof Janna Morrison ‘Rescuing the growth restricted fetus’

An extensive national and international research team will build on the body of research indicating that placental restriction results in fetuses that are chronically hypoxemic and growth restricted, which is associated with increased risk of developing health problems later in life. Led by SIHR researchers, the project will aim to determine whether it is possible to improve fetal growth through a pharmaceutical intervention prior to and following conception. Growth restricted fetuses have fewer and relatively larger heart muscle cells than normal and the ability of this maternal treatment to offset these negative effects of fetal growth restriction will be studied.

Dr Susan Semple ‘Investigation of the pharmacological activity and chemistry of Australian native plant species in the genera Santalum and Acacia’

This collaboration is unique in that it brings together UniSA expertise with cutting-edge international technology and Indigenous traditional knowledge. Building on existing knowledge of the traditional use of native plants for medicinal purposes this project aims to improve the understanding of the medicinal use and ecological interactions of the plant and host species within their natural habitat using both traditional and Western scientific perspectives. Extracts of medicinal plant species will be tested in pharmacological assays, in models of insect feeding and using plant compound metabolomic profiling techniques. Compounds responsible for the pharmacological activity will then be isolated, purified and identified.

Dr Tetyana Shandala ‘Targeting melanoma exosomes as a strategy to observe and inhibit melanoma metastasis’

The aim of this project is to be able to identify the release of melanoma exosomes in an in vivo mouse model as well as a human skin cell culture model, to isolate and define them, and to explore potential mechanisms to either destroy melanoma exosomes or inhibit their release from melanoma cells. The nature and transport of melanoma exosomes are poorly defined , and the long term goal of this activity is to identify drugs and their effectiveness in deactivating exosomes and or blocking their extracellular release, and thus melanoma invasion. This project is supported by a strong multi-disciplinary team of experts and will foster cross-institutional and international collaborations.

April 2013

New study could ease acne burden in our community

Teenagers and young adults across the country could benefit from a new University of South Australia study, which is investigating essential oils and aromatherapy as an effective and inexpensive way to treat acne. Full story.

Combating cancer cells

Professor Shudong Wang’s first year as a researcher in Adelaide has been exceptionally busy – but if she can keep up the pace she knows millions of cancer patients are set to benefit from her work. Full story.

March 2013

Fulbright scholarship awarded to UniSA pharmacologist

A Research Fellow at the University of South Australia has won a Fulbright Postdoctoral scholarship to examine treatment options for women who are addicted to heroin and other opiates during pregnancy. Full story.

February 2013

Australasian Pharmaceutical Sciences Association (APSA) Medal

Emeritus Professor Andrew Gilbert, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences (Quality Use of Medicines & Pharmacy Research Centre), was awarded the Australasian Pharmaceutical Sciences Association (APSA) Medal. Professor Gilbert delivered the APSA Medallist plenary speech at the joint APSA and Australasian Society for Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists meeting December 2012; Sydney.

Weight loss not needed for health gains

In a series of fitness programs, UniSA’s Professor of Exercise Science Kevin Norton has proven that you don’t need to lose weight to see health gains.

Taking groups of people who were relatively inactive, Prof Norton and his team led them through a 40-day fitness program. Full story.

January 2013

Group exercise key for Indigenous women’s wellbeing

A UniSA Women’s Fitness Program has shown that organised group exercise may be the key to improvements in the physical and emotional well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

The three-year research project comprised six 12-week physical activity and nutritional programs with the aim of improving the metabolic health of the women who participated. Full story.

Areas of study and research

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