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Health Research News


June 2019

My PhD Story

This short video features PhD candidate Jim Hughes from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences. Jim used mathematical modelling in a human system throughout his PhD, specifically Pharmacometric methodologies and their use for lenalidomide drug development in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Jim was our first PhD candidate to undertake a mandatory oral defence (10th May 2019), and is currently undertaking corrections before moving on to a postdoctoral position with Pfizer in the US. Congratulations!

Research Marketing Information Kit

If you are a UniSA researcher looking to build your research profile, or looking for more information on recruiting research volunteers for your studies, please see our Research Marketing Information Kit.

Success in the 2019 Maurice de Rohan International Scholarship

PhD candidate Chelsea Thorn from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences has been successful in securing this generous award of $17,500 which is for the purpose of undertaking research, data collection or work with institutional or industry partners in the United Kingdom or United States of America. Congratulations Chelsea with your intended internship at the University of Nottingham and the UK Biofilm Centre.

May 2019

ARC recognition of research engagement and impact outcomes

The University of South Australia's research has been assessed as having some of the highest impact in the nation according to the results of the Australian Research Council’s first engagement and impact assessment.

Across 19 case studies, 79 per cent of UniSA's research was assessed at the highest impact level, highlighting the University’s commitment to undertaking research that makes a difference in the world. In addition, 63 per cent were assessed as highly engaged, indicating strong collaboration with industry, business and people and organisations that benefit from the research.

Both measures are well above the national average of 43 percent for impact and 34 percent for engagement and at 65 per cent, infact, UniSA is number one in Australia on a combined metric of Impact, Approach to Impact and Engagement.

You can see and hear more about UniSA’s Health Sciences research and the value it delivers to society here:

Fay Fuller Grant Success

The Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group (MHSPRG) led by Professor Nicholas Proctor has been successful in securing funding from Fay Fuller through a partnership with the Lived Experience Leadership and Advocacy Network (LELAN).

Briefly, the research’s aim is to influence, and effect ongoing system change through answering key questions related to the impact of LE advocacy and representation on individual recovery from mental health issues; to understand the reasons why LE leadership and advocacy is not well recognised or acknowledged by the health system and how this can be changed; and to address need and better design of training resources and networks to guide and support LE advocacy, representation and leadership. This is with a view to embedding LE advocacy and leadership resources and thinking into communities and the SA health system.

Recognition for innovative solutions to industry problems; planting the seeds for collaboration

Three innovative ideas relevant to the business of Vetter Pharma; a global leader in aseptic filling and packaging of medical compounds in syringe systems, were recently nominated for the annual Inno-Award. The winning idea was an alternative sterilization technique, developed by the industry partner, in conjunction with Dr Anton Blencowe from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences.

The innovation, developed after several conversations between Anton and the industry partner,  highlights the importance for early engagement with industry, blue sky thinking, and starts by first identifying a problem that needs to be solved. Subsequently, the suitably impressed Vetter Pharma ran a workshop with a broader group of UniSA researchers, in order to scope additional projects for collaboration, with the view to establishing greater links with our University: thank you Anton! 

Successful outcomes for the 2019 UniSA Research Degree Excellence Grant

PhD candidates Sandra Lucas from the School of Health Sciences, and Julian Carosi from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences have been chosen out of a highly competitive pool of applicants for this inaugural grant.

The grants were fully-funded by a group of donors, who are passionate about helping PhD candidates succeed. The success will be recognised at the UniSA Scholarships and Grants Ceremony in June. 

My PhD Story

This short video features PhD candidate Danielle Pollock from the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Danielle talks openly about her PhD journey, and how she manages this along with her life balance in her PhD story; she is exploring stillbirth stigma and is developing a scale for measuring stillbirth stigma through interviews.

April 2019

ERA Results

The Australian Research Council released their Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2018 results in March and UniSA once again achieved the highest possible ratings of '5' for Research Excellence (well above world standard) reflecting the expertise and breadth of our research.

In Health Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Human Movement & Sports Science, Nutrition & Dietetics, Biochemistry & Cell Biology, Medical Physiology and Physical Chemistry were all being rated as ‘5’.

These results confirm that UniSA has strengthened its research quality and made strong improvements in key areas.

The BI Hub has more detailed information and will be updated as the results are published.

Channel Seven Children’s Research Foundation funding

The following researchers have been awarded funding through the Channel Seven Children’s Research Foundation for 2019:

  • Associate Professor Kristin Carson-Chahhoud: Mixed Reality and Holographic technologies (iHealth) to deliver cognitive and behavioural therapy for treatment of anxiety among teenagers with asthma
  • Dr Yu-Wen Su, Injury site-derived proteoglycan glypican-3 suppresses growth plate cartilage bony repair and bone fracture healing
  • Dr Mingfeng Yu, Developing a new therapeutic for childhood acute myeloid leukaemia (ECR)

Endeavour Leadership Awards

Leah Wright and Chelsea Thorn from the Prestidge Group have been successful in securing Endeavour Leadership Awards for 6 months and 12 months of overseas research, respectively. Leah will travel to Uppsala University in Sweden to work with Professor Christel Bergström utilising their state-of-the-art synthetic gastrointestinal permeability models to analyse protein and nanoparticle transport. Chelsea will travel to the Hemholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland in Germany to work with Professor Claus-Michael Lehr to learn highly sophisticated, bacteria-infected organoid models that will access the pre-clinical efficacy and tolerability of her bacterial-targeting formulations. Both PhD students are eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to experience research in different countries, all of which will uniquely benefit their PhD and future careers as scientists.

GSK Fast Track Challenge

Professor Tom Gonda and Professor Richard D’Andrea have been announced as the winners of the GSK Fast Track Challenge. The UniSA researchers, together with GSK scientists, test GSK compound libraries against a target protein that plays a role in a number of different cancers. It has been shown to be critical in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and the researchers believe the discovery of a molecule, that could block the function of this protein, could ultimately lead to new therapies.

My PhD Story

This short video features PhD student, Lettie Pule, telling her PhD story so far and how she initially became interested in research; Lettie is a PhD student in the School of Health Sciences. This series of My PhD stories aims to encourage future students interested in a career in research.

March 2019

Division of Health Sciences in the Media

You may have noticed that we have had extensive media coverage of our researchers’ stories in January and February 2019; special thanks go to our proactive Media Liaison Coordinator Ms Candy Gibson!

Some of the January and February stories included:

  • Dr Vijay Suppiah, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, highlighted the importance of pharmacogenetic testing to help clarify the potential impact of drug interactions at the genetic level for different people based on his recent publication
  • Dr Rose Boucaut, School of Health Sciences, emphasised ‘Text neck,’ as it is colloquially called, which places stress on the spine and alters the neck’s natural curve, thus increasing the likelihood of associated soft tissue discomfort. The 2018 paper identified the high ergonomics risk of smartphone users resulted from two key risk factors: posture and muscle use
  • Dr Margarita Tsiros, School of Health Sciences, stressed that sitting in front of the TV puts kids in the obesity hotseat. Key findings from the team of predominantly UniSA-based authors included that; not all types of sedentary behaviour are “created equal”, with time spent watching television being consistently linked with adiposity. Furthermore, associations may be sex-specific.

New Director of the Cancer Research Institute

Following the departure of the inaugural Director of CRI; Professor Ian Olver, we congratulate Professor Alan Boddy who recently commenced his new duties as Director of CRI. Alan will retain his duties as Head of School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences and so, will have two important roles for the next 12 months.

Ian Davey Research Thesis Prize 2019 - outstanding nominee

Congratulations goes to Dr Tahnee Dening from Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, whose thesis, entitled “Nanostructured clay materials for solidifying lipid-based drug delivery systems” was one of only four nominated for the 2019 Ian Davey Research Thesis Prize. Whilst not the overall winner, Tahnee’s thesis was recognised for its outstanding research and scholarly contribution. The Ian Davey Research Thesis Prize is awarded to the most outstanding research thesis leading to a Doctor of Philosophy in the preceding calendar year.

My PhD Story

This short video features PhD student, Kristy Gray, telling her PhD story; Kristy is a PhD student in the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences. Kristy’s research is in intermittent energy restriction in weight loss, and diabetes risk markers in women who have had gestational diabetes. This continues a series of My PhD stories which will be released in a variety of formats each month, with the aim of encouraging future students interested in a career in research. 


February 2019

ARC Funding Success

Researchers in the Division and from the Centre for Cancer Biology were awarded ARC Discovery Projects at the end of 2018. Recipients of these grants include:

  • Dr Sang Hong Lee: Whole-genome multivariate reaction norm model for complex traits
  • Prof Janna Morrison: Going with the flow: Directing nutrient rich blood to the brain
  • Dr Cameron Bracken: Transcriptional regulation by microRNAs

CCB Success in Cancer Council Funding Scheme

The outcomes of the Cancer Council/Beat Cancer Projects were announced in late December.

Researchers in our Division were awarded 4 grants, with a further 5 applications not considered for Cancer Council funding because the researchers had already been successful in securing NHMRC funding for the corresponding Project Grant. Congratulations goes to:

  • Assoc Prof Susan Branford: Towards a new genomic classification of risk for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia
  • Prof Greg Goodall: Direct transcriptional regulation by microRNAs
  • Dr Jo Woodcock: A unifying approach to Non-small cell lung cancer therapy
  • Dr Anna Brown: Biological characterisation and therapeutic options for high risk, DDX41 mutated, haematological malignancies

My PhD Story

This short video features PhD student, Hayley Schultz, telling her PhD story; Hayley is a PhD student in the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences. This begins a series of My PhD stories which will be released in a variety of formats each month, with the aim of encouraging future students interested in a career in research.

Scholarship Success

International Scholarship Round

  • The Division received an allocation of 5 RTPi (fees and scholarship fully covered by the university) and 6 UPS (fees covered by the university and 100% scholarship funding required from the local area).
  • All 5 RTPi scholarships were awarded, and 5 of the 6 UPS scholarships available were awarded.

Domestic Scholarship Round

  • The Division received an allocation of 17 x RTPd (fees and scholarship fully covered by the university) and 11 x USAPA (50% scholarship covered by the university and 50% scholarship funding required from the local area)
  • A total of 17 RTPd and 6 USAPAs were awarded.

News archives

Please click on the links below to access pre 2015 news archives.

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