Archive - 2014

December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014


December 2014

China Australia Centre for Health Science Research (CACHSR) grants awarded

The latest round of CACHSR grants were recently awarded to 10 Division of Health Sciences researchers and the their partners from Shandong University. This round of grant recipients are:

  • Juzheng Sheng (SDU) and Brian Dale (HSC): Synthesis of homogenous low molecular weight heparin (LMWH)anticoagulant and development of an enzyme-based method for the neutralization of LMWH anticoagulant activity
  • Chengsen Tian (SDU) and Hugo Albrecht (HSC): Novel assays for characterisation and identification of allosteric Mnk inhibitiors for cancer treatment
  • Xiao Wang (SDU) and John Hayball (HSC): Development of a novel viral-vector based human papilloma virus therapeutic vaccine
  • Peihong Fan (SDU) and Larisa Bobrovskaya (HSC): Testing neuroprotective properties of natural products from Chinese herbs in cellular models of Parkinson's disease
  • Yuxia Luan (SDU) and May Song (HSC): pH sensitive PEG-PCL-PGA polypeptide-based polymersome as anticancer drugs carrier
  • Lupei Du (SDU) and Sanjay Garg (HSC): Pharmaceutical development and pharmacological validation of SDUD-23,a TrxR inhibitor with anti-cancer potential
  • Xun Li (SDU) and Sally Plush (HSC): Investigate novel luminescent lanthanide coordination compounds as potential diagnostic agents
  • Wen Wang (SDU) and Shudong Wang (HSC): Evaluation of CDK9 inhibitors for treatment of acute mylogenous leukaemia (AML)
  • Aixin Song (SDU) and Timothy Barnes (HSC): Ionic liquid-based therapeutic carriers for biopharmaceutical delivery
  • Qiang Sun (SDU) and Tuan Anh Nguyen (HSC): Access to essential medicines for older people in the Asia Pacific Region

A/Prof Leanne Dibbens publishes research in Nature Genetics

Leader of the Sansom Institute’s Epilepsy research group, Associate Professor Leanne Dibbens, is part of an international team of researchers who have discovered a gene mutation as a new major cause of progressive myoclonus epilepsy (PME), one of the most devastating forms of epilepsy. The new recurrent de novo mutation identified in the study disrupts the function of a potassium channel, KV3.1, which has a central role in signal transmission in the brain. The research is published in Nature Genetics (see the article here). View the full story here.

ECR Networking Award recipients

Four ECR’s in the Division of Health sciences have recently been awarded ECR Networking Awards:

  • Coralie English (HLS): will be visiting Professor David Dunstan, Head of the Physical Activity Laboratory in the Division of Metabolism and Obesity at Baker IDI to develop NHMRC and NHF grants in addition to conducting exploratory analysis within the AusDiab database.
  • Maria Inacio (PMB): will be meeting key researchers who manage the Swedish Knee and Hip Arthroplasty Register and Kaiser Permanente National Implant Registries to establish collaboration opportunities in device epidemiology research.
  • Ian Johnson (PMB): will be visiting Professor Prof John O’Leary from the Institute of Molecular Medicine/ Prostate Cancer Research Consortium at Trinity College Dublin to learn new methods in cancer stem cell culture and prostate cancer stem cell differentiation, which can then be established in Adelaide. Ian was also recently awarded the Trevor Prescott Freemasons Memorial Scholarship.
  • Craig Phillips (NRC): will travel to the University of Western Ontario, University of Buffalo and New York University to meet with senior researchers and establish new international research collaborations on health workforce planning for nurses and midwives.

 November 2014

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

Dr Carol Maher from the Sansom Institute’s Health and Use of Time group has been awarded a grant to examine an online social networking intervention to increase physical activity in controlled (RCT) and ecological (ECT) settings.

Dr Sarah Heron from the Sansom’s Epilepsy research group received a RD Wright Biomedical Career Development Fellowship for her work into gene discovery and characterisation in the familial focal epilepsies.

Professor Alex Brown from the School of Population Health has been awarded a major grant for research into Indigenous health and mortality; ‘Predicting Renal, Ophthalmic, and Heart Events in the Aboriginal Community – THE PROPHECY Study’.

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

  • A/Prof Natasha Harvey: Regulation of VEGFR trafficking and signal transduction by the ubiquitin ligase Nedd4
  • Prof Stuart Pitson: Defining the role of a palmitoylated variant of sphingosine kinase 1 in cancer
  • Prof Hamish Scott: Co-operation between GATA2 mutation or expression and RAS signalling in AML
  • Prof Greg Goodall: Formation and function of circular RNAs in human cells

View the UniSA news story

Nicole Pratt is a finalist in the BUPA rising star awards

Dr Nicole Pratt from the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre is one of 5 national finalists in the 2014 Bupa Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Awards. This award recognises the contribution of emerging health researchers to health outcomes for Australians, and Nicole was recognised for her work investigating ways to use electronic health data to quantify benefits and harms from medicine and medical device use, see the full story here.

October 2014

Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation wins

Congratulations to the following researchers who were successful in the Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation grants:

  • Prof Greg Goodall (CCB): miR-200 and its targets as inhibitors of neuroblastoma growth and metastasis
  • A/Prof John Hayball (PMB): Modulating Fc receptor signalling to treat and prevent peanut allergy
  • Dr Yu-Wen Su; Early Career Recipient (PMB): Accelerating bone healing by locally delivering osteogenic and angiogenic factor neurotrophin-3 (NT-3)
  • Prof Shudong Wang (PMB): Discovery of CDK6 inhibitors for treatment of childhood medulloblastoma

A/Prof John Hayball industry partnership for developing vaccines

The Experimental Therapeutics Laboratory headed by A/Prof John Hayball has recently established a collaborative research partnership between UniSA and Sementis Ltd. Read the full story here.

Dr Rietie Venter Finalist in the ASMR Leading Light Award

The ASMR Leading Light awards recognise exceptional research work performed in South Australia and Dr Rietie Venter, Head of the Infectious Diseases and Microbiology group was announced as a Finalist this year. Research in her laboratory focuses on the identification and characterisation of proteins from bacterial pathogens that could be targeted by antimicrobial drugs and drug efflux pumps. Recently her group has identified three compounds which show inhibition of a bacterial efflux pump and could be drug leads for a future drug discovery program. Congratulations Rietie!

Australia vying to be world champion of inactivity

Professor Tim Olds from the Health and Use of Time group recently penned an article for The Conversation that can be read here which examines the inactivity epidemic.

Appointment of Professor Ian Olver as Director, Sansom Institute for Health Research

Read the press release announcing the appointment of Professor Ian Olver as the new Director of the Sansom Institute for Health Research here.



September 2014

Division of Health Sciences success in 3MT

PhD students Emily Johnston from the Mosquitoes and Public Health group and Natalie Stevens from the Experimental Therapeutics group together took home 1st, 3rd and the People’s Choice Award in 2014 3MT®. Natalie placed 3rd for her talk entitled ‘HMGB1: The key to stopping sepsis in its tracks’ while Emily placed 1st and won the People’s Choice Vote for her talk entitled ‘Mosquito research: Saving lives with pantyhose and paperclips’. Both Natalie and Emily gave excellent presentations and Emily will be heading off to the University of Western Australia to compete in the national Trans-Tasman 3MT® Final in November.

Dr Natasha Schranz to attend the Global Young Scientist Summit

Dr Natasha Schranz from the Health and Use of Time group has been nominated by the Australian Research Council to attend the Global Young Scientist Summit held in Singapore during January 2015. The Summit is multidisciplinary and covers a wide range of fields and includes globally recognised scientific leaders who are recipients of Nobel Prizes, Fields Medals, Millennium Technology Prizes and IEEE Medals of Honour.

Researchers uncover pain of childhood obesity

Dr Margarita Tsiros from the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre appeared in the latest edition of UniSA News to talk about her research that investigates whether obesity is associated with musculoskeletal pain in children. Read the full story here.



August 2014

Dr Rietie Venter publishes research in Nature

Leader of the Sansom Institute’s Infectious Diseases and Microbiology group, Dr Rietie Venter, is part of an international team of researchers who have had a paper published in Nature. The work improves our understanding of multi-drug resistance in bacteria and offers the potential for new treatments to combat super-bugs, see the article here. The research sheds light on the basis for drug resistance in numerous pathogenic bacterial species by defining the pseudo-atomic structure of a complete multidrug efflux pump, AcrAB–TolC, in complex with a modulatory protein partner from E. coli. The model defines the quaternary organization of the pump, identifies key domain interactions, and suggests a cooperative process for channel assembly and opening. Collaborators on this project are from the University of Cambridge and Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, with support from the Wellcome Trust and Human Frontier Science Program (B.L.) and the National Institutes of Health.

Direct causal link between vitamin D and hypertension published in the Lancet

Prof Elina Hyppönen from the School of Population Health has published research in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal which confirms a causal link between hypertension and vitamin D deficiency. Read the full story here.

Sansom success in ARC grants

Researchers from the Division were awarded a number of ARC Linkage Project grants:

  • Prof Jon Buckley: Using heart rate kinetics during the rest-exercise transition to track changes in performance in athletes
  • Dr Tahereh Ziaian: Pathways to active citizenship for refugee youth and their transition from school to further education, training and employment
  • Prof Sanjay Garg is an investigator on a project led by Dr Thomas Barclay (Mawson Institute): Drug targeting to immune cells using modified inulin particles
  • Prof Ross Butler and Dr Roger Yazbek are investigator’s on a project led by Dr James Anstie (UoA): Untangling complex molecular spectra with an optical frequency comb

Brightest young researchers recognised in the state’s 2014 Tall Poppy Awards

Dr Stephanie Reuter Lange and Dr Margarita Tsiros are among eight researchers in South Australia to be named Tall Poppies for 2014. The awards, presented each year by the Australian Institute for Policy and Science, celebrate the best and brightest of Australia’s young scientists, helping to promote science to a new generation via public talks and school presentations. Full story



July 2014

Division of Health Science Researchers in the running for the SA Science Excellence and People’s Choice Awards

Dr Stephanie Reuter Lange from the Therapeutics and Pharmaceutical Science group, and former PhD student from the Early of Origins of Adult Health Group, Dr Shervi Lie, are finalists for the SA Science Excellence Awards. Stephanie is a finalist in the Early Career Research – Tall Poppy of the Year category for her research relating to how drugs are processed within the body and the subsequent treatment response between different people. Shervi is one of 2 finalists in the PhD Research Excellence (Health and Medical Research) category for her research into the impact of poor nutrition before and after conception. You can vote for the People’s Choice Award here (closing 6 August). The awards will be announced at a Gala Dinner on 8 August.

Postgraduate Poster Expo

The inaugural Division of Health Sciences Postgraduate Poster Expo was a success with over 50 posters being showcased and both staff and students being recognised with awards and prizes. The full story can be found in the Research Edge HDR Magazine here.

Port Power Football Club Partnership

UniSA and Port Adelaide Football Club have teamed up to form a high performance partnership centred on research and education in elite sport. Read the full story here.

More International Travel Grants for Division of Health Sciences PhD students

Chiao Xin Lim from the Epilepsy Research Group has received an International Travel Grant to visit The University of Missouri to model human mutations in epilepsy using Drosophila as a model. She will study the potential changes in brain morphology and neuronal activity on Drosophila using electrophysiology and immunochemistry techniques.

Tory Madden from the Body in Mind group has also received an International Travel Grant which will allow her to visit her Associate Supervisor, Professor Johan Vlaeyen at the University of Leuven. Tory plans to develop experimental work for her project which investigates the clinical application of classical conditioning to the development of pain.

Noralyn Manucat-Tan from the Neuroscience group will use her grant to test her hypotheses that Alzheimer’s disease could be treated by using targeted drugs to treat plaques in the periphery of the brain. Noralyn will travel to the Third Military Medical University in China and spend time with her Co-supervisor, Dr Yan-Jiang Wang.

A total of 7 students this year have received International Travel Grants to support their research in 2014.

Susan Hillier Stroke Story

Susan Hillier uses video technology and dance therapy to help stroke patients

New research involving video technology and dance therapy may assist with the recovery from a stroke. Susan was featured on the 7:30 Report.


2014 ECR International Travel Award recipients


Danny CamffermanDany Camfferman
Body in Mind, Sansom Institute for Health Research
Host institution: University of Washington
The travel grant will allow Danny to further the Body in Mind group’s collaborative activities with Professor Mark Jensen’s group at the University of Washington. Danny plans to develop a program of innovative collaborative research in the use of electroencephalography to guide and evaluate brief interventions that modulate pain.

Nathan DaniellNathan Daniell
Health and Use of Time, Sansom Institute for Health Research
Host institution: Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC)
Nathan will visit DRDC, the leading Defence research organisation in Canada. During the visit Nathan will focus on encumbered anthropometry, an emerging research field, and DRDC innovative projects with specialised segment scanners.

Michelle McDonnellMichelle McDonnell
Exercise for Health and Human Performance, Sansom Institute for Health Research
Host institution: Tubingen University, Germany
Michelle has an ongoing productive collaboration with Professor Ziemann at Tubingen University and during her visit will conduct a series of research experiments on healthy participants to test whether a single dose of the drug influences motor learning and excitability within the brain.

Rebecca ThomsonRebecca Thomson
Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, Sansom Institute for Health Research
Host institution: University of Leeds
Rebecca will travel to the University of Leeds to visit Louise Dye, Professor of Nutrition and Behaviour at the Institute of Psychological Sciences. The visit will allow Rebecca to further her research on the longer-term impacts of lutein and how changes in physical activity behaviour could impact on a range of outcomes, including cognitive function.

Dorota ZarnowieckiDorota Zarnowiecki
Public Health, Sansom Institute for Health Research
Host institution: University of Navarra, Spain
The Department of Preventive Medicines and Public Health at the University of Navarra lead two large-scale longitudinal nutrition studies and during her visit Dorota will collaborate on these studies to further her research investigating the physical and mental health benefits of a Mediterranean diet.

June 2014

Travel award for Carla Giles enables her to further her research into equine vaccines

Ms Carla Giles from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences has been awarded a travel grant through the Graduate Research Centre and the School. The travel grant will enable her to visit Professor Giguere based at the University of Georgia, USA. She intends to learn more about his research methodologies in equine vaccination trials and explore the opportunity to collaborate.

iCAHE funding success from Cancer Australia and Department of Health

Dr Saravana Kumar, Dr Lucylynn Lizarondo and Professor Karen Grimmer at the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE) have successfully gained grants from Cancer Australia and the Department of Health, Victoria which focus on health service delivery and improving the quality and safety of health care provided to Australians, with a particular focus on cancer. The first grant will investigate the evidence on barriers and enablers to improving the knowledge and experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer and their families and research will investigate current issues that are encountered by this group to improve their knowledge and experiences. The second grant will investigate the current significant clinical quality registries, including cancer, in operation across Victoria, nationally and internationally and their impact on health care quality improvement.

Dr Craig Williams selected for the Australian Academy of Sciences High Flyers Think Tank

Dr Craig Williams has recently been selected to participate in the 2014 Australian Academy of Sciences Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank which this year focuses on climate change challenges to health and the associated risks and opportunities. The purpose of this Think Tank is to bring together researchers from a range of disciplines to engage in thinking about novel applications of existing science and technology as well as identifying gaps in knowledge that can be addressed through science. Previous Think Tanks have resulted in governmental reports that are instrumental in policy development. Congratulations Craig on this prestigious appointment.

Division researchers participate in prestigious celebrations at 2014 Science at the Shine Dome

Assoc Prof Janna Morrison from Early Origins of Adult Health Research and Dr Tasha Stanton from Body in Mind recently joined with Australia’s foremost scientists in Canberra to celebrate the successes of Australian science and explore the shape of Australia’s science future at the 2014 Science at the Shine Dome. The opportunity for attendance by early and mid-career UniSA researchers at this prestigious event was funded through the UniSA DVC: Research and the Sansom Institute for Health Research; and both researchers were inspired to hear about the amazing science going on in Australia and to chat with Nobel Laureates. Nominations for prestigious travelling fellowships; and honorific and research Australian Academy awards for 2015 are now open.

May 2014

Maurice de Rohan International Scholarship and Travel Awards for Division of Health Sciences PhD students

The prestigious Maurice de Rohan International scholarship was awarded this year to Sarah Wallwork from the Body in Mind group. Sarah will be visiting University College London for 6 months to continue her PhD research into the concept of defensive peripersonal space. The full story in the latest issue of the Research Edge can be found here.

PhD students Suzanne Shultz and Kristina Peterson both from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences received Travel Awards in recognition of excellent applications. Suzanne will be visiting Kings College London for her research on the increasing levels of resistance to existing antibiotics and to discuss potential business models to facilitate the development of antibiotics. Kristina will be visiting Imperial College London to develop research collaborations and skills conducting large cohort epidemiological research for her PhD which is investigating the effect of dietary quality on vascular function.

Health and Use of Time Group in the news with Active Healthy Kids Australian Report

Dr Grant Tomkinson, Professor Tim Olds and Dr Natasha Schranz from the Health and Use of Time group have been in the news recently with research findings on activity levels in kids. Read the full story here.

PhD Candidate Sarah Wallwork receives Ian Gould Experimental Science Grant

Sarah Wallwork from the Body in Mind Group has been awarded the Ian Gould Experimental Science Grant which will fund her PhD work investigating the implicit defensive reflexes within one’s peripersonal space with a specific focus on people with pain. Sarah intends to use this opportunity to fund a 6 month visit to University College London and be immersed in arguably the world’s most prestigious neuroscience department, as well as conducting a series of experiments under the direct supervision of Dr Iannetti, leader of the Neuroscience group in the Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology. Currently, Sarah cannot undertake these studies in Australia, but she plans to learn these critical skills and bring these new techniques back to Australia. Congratulations Sarah!

April 2014

Dr Dorota Zarnowiecki receives media coverage for children’s eating habits

Dr Dorota Zarnowiecki from the Public Health group and colleagues have studied 625 children’s (aged 9-13) eating habits and demonstrated that as few as one in three met the national health guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption. Additionally, they found no link between poor diet and socio-economic standing and geographical location of their families. Read the full story here.

Suzanne Shultz in the fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria

Suzanne Shultz from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences has again received media coverage for her PhD research which is focused on finding new ways to bring drug companies back to the fight against the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria by facilitating antibiotic development. Read the full story here.

March 2014

Launch of the Engaged PhD program in the Division of Health Sciences

With a global change in the PhD degree and an increased emphasis on demonstrable career-specific capabilities upon graduation, the Division of Health Sciences has launched a new program to allow our HDR students to develop these capabilities in a more structured way. The ’Engaged PhD’, is a pilot program for all commencing HDR students in 2014 within the Division and enables PhD students to undertake semi-structured co-curricular experiences in addition to their PhD research. Key to this program is the selection of a ‘career pathway’ which best aligns to the students future career ambitions by allowing them to tailor the Engaged PhD to their interests. The pathways include: Academic, Governance and Policy, Global Outlook, Research Enterprise and Clinical Practitioner Research. Although many of these opportunities are currently already available to our HDR students via the workshops, Masterclasses and online courses the University offers, this program seeks to formalise them and construct an ePortfolio, a useful resource that students can build upon as their careers progress. The Engaged PhD experience will enable our students to develop transferable career skills which compliment their research experiences. This program is the first of its kind at UniSA and kicks off on 28 April 2014 with a retreat for the Engaged PhD students.

Health Sciences HDR students awarded International Travel Grants

Three HDR students from the Division of Health Sciences have recently been awarded International Travel Grants from the Graduate Research Centre. These grants are highly competitive and allow students to gain an international perspective that enhances their research experience by providing the opportunity to undertake research with world class institutional or industry partners.

Joel Fuller from the Nutritional Physiology Research Centre will be presenting data on the acute effects of running in different shoes on running performance at the European College of Sports Science congress in Amsterdam, which is one of the largest international conferences of sports science in the world. Joel will also be visiting the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts which is renowned worldwide for its contributions to the field of Biomechanics.

Emily Johnston from the Mosquitoes and Public Health Research Group will be presenting her mosquito-borne disease ecology research at the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the Entomology Society of America. She will also visit the Wadsworth Centre at the New York State Department of Health and be taught cutting-edge techniques for deep sequencing allowing her to identify novel viruses from South Australian mosquitoes. She also plans to visit her existing collaborators located at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

Sarah Wallwork from Body in Mind will present her research at the International Association for the Study of Pain in Buenos Aries which is the world’s largest conference in her field. She will also visit Dr Giandomenico Iannetti from the Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology at University College London to undertake specialised experiments and gain research experience in a critical mass of over 450 neuroscientists.

Suzanne Shultz receives prestigious Fulbright Scholarship

PhD Candidate Suzanne Shultz from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences has recently been awarded a Fulbright SA State Category Postgrad Scholarship. This scholarship is designed to support students and scholars – chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential – to research and study in each other’s countries, exchange ideas and develop bilateral relations and connections to address common issues.

The Fulbright Scholarship will allow Suzanne to visit and undertake research for her PhD in the US across a number of Universities and research institutions. The work that she will be undertaking will analyse the impact and effectiveness of business models to facilitate identifying, developing and commercialising new, or reviving existing, antibiotics. In particular, Suzanne wishes to understand sustainable drivers of collaboration in the US between research scientists, large pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, government and not-for profit funding organisations in antibiotic development. Congratulations Suzanne on this prestigious scholarship! Read the full story here.

February 2014

Three, to one! The inaugural Tri-University Distinguished Guest Speaker Evening

The 12th of February marked a day that will hopefully change the course of PhD student experiences in South Australia for years to come. In collaboration with The University of Adelaide and Flinders University, UniSA’s health and biomedical sciences PhD students participated in the inaugural Tri-University Distinguished Guest Speaker Evening. A night that bought PhD students from all three Universities together for networking and career advice. The event was fully funded and organised independent of any university society, highlighting the power of collaboration for translating a simple idea into an inspirational evening. The event was spearheaded by UniSA’s representatives, PhD Candidates Susan Christo and Dannielle Post. To support the evening, both Susan and Dannielle secured funds from the Division of Health Sciences and were also awarded a Student Experience Grant from UniSA.

The evening was hosted by Dr Paul Willis from RiAus and consisted of a panel discussion with audience participation and a broad range of feedback from the panellists. Panellists included Nobel Prize winner Laureate Professor Peter Doherty AC, Professor Graeme Young, Professor Tanya Monro, Professor Gary Wittert, Professor Lynne Cobiac and UniSA’s own Associate Professor Janna Morrison; Head of Early Origins of Adult Health Research Group, Sansom Institute. All panellists were able to provide realistic and honest advice making the event a successful and effective night for career advice. Images from the event are available here.

The keynote address by Laureate Professor Peter Doherty AC was the highlight of the evening. It was an inspiring, entertaining, honest and passionate presentation. His true dedication to the science was evident in his humble account of his exceedingly stellar career. The most incidental, and in fact, coalescing aspect of the evening was the overriding theme of collaboration and networking, which was consistently discussed as a key characteristic of a successful career. It is hoped that support for events like this may continue for the next generation of researchers to come.

PhD Candidate Melissa Hull receives SafeWork SA scholarship

PhD Candidate Melissa Hull, who is being supervised by Associate Professor Jim Dollman, has recently been awarded the SafeWork SA Work Health and Safety Scholarship. Melissa will receive an additional $10,000 per year in addition to her Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship to undertake research that focuses on chronic disease in farmers – a population with one of the highest burdens of chronic disease in the world. The focus of the SafeWork SA Work Health and Safety Scholarship aims to support projects that assist with achieving a 40% reduction in injury by 2012 and a further 50% reduction by 2022, by encouraging the conduct of research aimed at preventing work-related injury and illness. Melissa’s preliminary research data suggests that cardiometablic risk in rural men is associated with both lifestyle behaviours and chronic stress. Melissa’s PhD research will analyze the complex interactions with psychosocial and lifestyle factors in this population in order to identify independent and interactive influences on farmers health and expose intervention leverage points which could ultimately prevent work-related injury and illness. Congratulations Melissa!

January 2014

Dr Roger Yazbek elected as Australia Society for Medical Research (ASMR) 2014 President

Dr Roger Yazbek from the Sansom Institute for Health Research has been elected President for the ASMR in 2014. Roger has been an active ASMR board director since 2010, having joined the SA State committee in 2008. The ASMR represents all aspects of health and medical research, and in addition to more than 1700 direct members, the society advocates for 120,000 additional Australians through their affiliated professional societies, medical colleges and corporate and disease related foundation members. This year, Roger will lead an enthusiastic and hard-working board of directors to communicate key messages to Government and key stakeholders, primarily that that Government recognises the value of investment into health and medical research, and commits to an increased and sustainable funding model to the NHMRC. To reflect the Society’s commitment to promoting all aspects of health and medical research, the national ASMR 2014 Conference, to be held in Melbourne in November, will focus on trans-disciplinary approaches to chronic disease, bringing together researchers from disciplinary spectrums such as public health, biomedical science, psychology, physics and materials science, amongst many other areas, to highlight how the answers to the big future health questions will be answered by a trans-disciplinary approach. You can check out Roger’s welcome address as President to the ASMR members here.

Associate Professor Jim Dollman receives wide-spread media coverage from outcomes of children's exercise study

Associate Professor Jim Dollman led a study which found the number of children exercising en route to school and at recess and lunch times has dropped significantly in just one generation. The story received widespread media coverage over the Christmas break. Read the full story.

Sansom Institute Small Grants Scheme recipients 2013

Katia Ferrar
Exercise for Health and Human Performance group
Katia’s grant will allow her to complete a pilot randomised controlled trial to investigate whether affect-regulated exercise, such as walking, can be used as a tool to regulate exercise intensity and the effectiveness of affect-regulated exercise for the management of chronic low back pain. This work will inform a larger multi-arm controlled trial.

Andrew Flies
Experimental Therapeutics laboratory
Andrew’s grant will enable him to see if he can translate successful human cancer immunotherapy techniques to veterinary medicine using naturally transmissible tumours as model systems. The Tasmanian devil facial tumour and canine transmissible venereal tumour provide unique opportunities to assess similar immunotherapeutic treatment regimens for two naturally occurring tumours.

Kristen Georgiou
Bone Growth and Repair research group
Kristen’s grant will enable her to study chronic treatment-induced defects in childhood cancer survivors. The aim of the study is to try and improve the understanding of methotrexate-induced bone defects and potentially uncover therapeutic targets.

Amy Holmes (nee Judd)
Therapeutics and Pharmaceutical Science research centre
In this study Amy will be developing a burn wound model to examine novel and conventional nanosilver burn wound therapies. A range of imaging techniques will be utilised to map the distribution and cellular interactions of the nanosilver after topical application. The overall aim of this work is to decrease patient morbidity and enhance the quality of life for burn wound patients.

Malika Kumarasiri
Centre for Drug Discovery and Development
Utilising the full spectrum of drug discovery techniques, including computational discovery tools, chemical synthesis, and biological assays Malika’s study will look at probing the molecular basis of anticancer properties of polo-like kinase inhibitors. The aim is to design analogues and novel inhibitors to be developed into potent anticancer agents.

Lucy Lewis
Health and Use of Time research group
Lucy’s grant will assist her to conduct a pilot study to determine the feasibility of an incremental goal setting intervention to reduce total sitting time as well as disrupting prolonged bouts of sitting in older non‐working adults. The aim is to decrease the risk of chronic disease which is linked to prolonged sitting in older people.

Lois McKellar
Mother’s, Babies and Families: Health research group
Lois will use the grant to begin a study in partnership with Country Health SA to establish current breastfeeding rates in the Mid North and identify barriers to breastfeeding initiation and duration. The aim is to improve public health care strategies and to reduce the rate of infant morbidity in regional Australia.

Andrea Stringer
Infectious Diseases and Microbiology research group
The multi-disciplinary project will enable Andrea to determine if vitamin D deficiency plays a role in intestinal calcium absorption during chemotherapy-induced mucositis, and the downstream effects this has on bone integrity. As bone loss is a common late side effect of chemotherapy Andrea will uncover if prevention of early intestinal damage reduces the incidence and severity of osteoporosis.

Rebecca Thomson
Nutritional Physiology Research Centre
Rebecca’s study will help her to develop an objective marker of fatigue that can assist in modifying training programs to reduce the risk of overtraining in Army recruits, allowing for optimal improvements in performance, health, safety and combat readiness.

Andrew Turner
Musculoskeletal Biology research laboratory
Andrew will investigate the role of vitamin D supplements in fracture prevention by assessing the contribution of vitamin D catabolism within bone to the maintenance of bone architecture and mineral homeostasis. Such data may assist interpretation of clinical studies using supplements, as well as provide novel therapeutic targets.

Rietie Venter
Infectious Diseases and Microbiology research group
Rietie’s project will look at developing a better understanding of the structure and function of the iron acquisition protein FeoB. This project has the potential for the development of novel antimicrobials which could disrupt the iron transport process, thereby stemming the tide of drug-resistant untreatable infections. 

Areas of study and research

+ Click to minimise