Around the universities and research institutes

Cate Swannell
Med J Aust || doi: 10.5694/mja16.0606C3
Published online: 6 June 2016

The University of Queensland’s Triple P — Positive Parenting Program has been included in US policy recommendations to reduce the toxic effects of poverty on children’s health. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that evidence-based parenting programs, including Triple P, be integrated into services provided by US medical practices. Professor of Clinical Psychology at UQ’s Parenting and Family Support Centre and Triple P founder, Professor Matt Sanders said parenting skills were part of a mix of influences that can affect a child’s health and development. “These influences include housing, social environment, schools and access to medical care. It’s becoming clearer that powerful environmental influences through the family can alter the expression of genes and as a result children’s behaviour.” A technical report accompanying the policy and published in Pediatrics says physicians can help address the health effects of poverty on children and families by helping parents promote resilience in their young children, “giving them the capacity to adapt to adversity and buffering the effects of stress”. Programs such as Triple P have been shown to promote responsive parenting and address common behavioural and developmental concerns, the report states.

Professor Anthony Maeder has joined Flinders University as the country’s first Chair in Digital Health Systems. Professor Maeder, whose position is supported by the South Australian Government Premier’s Research and Industry Fund, is the brains behind the Western Sydney University’s TeleHealth Research and Innovation Laboratory (THRIL). He plans on taking ‘machine learning’ concepts developed at THRIL to the next level at Flinders by making use of advanced devices to monitor the health of the aged at home, alongside interactive assistive systems including avatars and chat bots. Professor Maeder’s work will form part of a new Flinders Centre for Digital Health Technologies, which is supported by funding from the South Australian Government and from the international technology company, Cisco Systems. He was previously Research Director of the CSIRO eHealth Research Centre in Brisbane from 2004-2008. Before that, he was Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Ballarat and subsequently at Queensland University of Technology’s School of Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering.

Professor Shitij Kapur has been announced as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Health) at the University of Melbourne. Professor Kapur comes from King’s College, London, where he is currently Executive Dean of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), Deputy Vice-Principal (Health) and Assistant Principal (Academic Performance). His achievements at Kings include the incorporation of Psychology and Neurosciences to the Institute of Psychiatry, the launch of undergraduate-level education, and a key role in developing the King’s Health Partners’ vision to integrate mental and physical healthcare, education and research. Professor Kapur begins his appointment in October.,-dentistry-and-health-sciences

University of Melbourne researcher and paediatrician Associate Professor Andrew Steer, from the Centre of International Child Health at the Department of Paediatrics, Royal Children’s Hospital and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, is the recipient of the 2016 Frank Fenner Award by the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) for his outstanding infectious disease research on the throat and skin bacterium Group A Steptococcal, rheumatic heart disease, tropical skin diseases and scabies. He received $5000 and presented the Frank Fenner Oration at ASID’s Annual Scientific Meeting recently. Associate Professor Steer has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers, including articles in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet and Lancet Infectious Diseases. He has also received the University of Melbourne Dean’s Prize for Excellence in a PhD thesis in 2010 and the Victorian Premier’s Health and Medical Research Award in 2011.

Professor Dan Lubman, Turning Point Director and Professor of Addiction Studies and Services at Monash University, has been awarded the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Senior Research Award. Professor Lubman’s research is wide-ranging and includes investigating the impact of alcohol and drug use on brain function, the relationship between substance use and mental disorder, as well as the development of targeted intervention programs within school, primary care, mental health and drug treatment settings.

Professor Jamie Rossjohn, from the Biomedicine Discovery Institute, at Monash University’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, has been awarded an Australian Laureate Fellowships from the Australian Research Council. Professor Rossjohn will continue his work in the life sciences with research that will provide a basic understanding of how key immune recognition events enable immunity. He said his project would be supported by the cross-disciplinary approaches within the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging, key platform technologies at Monash and the Australian Synchrotron. Most recognised for his contributions to understanding the function and dysfunction of the immune system, Professor Rossjohn has provided insight into T-cell biology. He has used structural biology to explain T-cell development and pioneered the understanding of lipid-based immunity by T-cells, recently showing how vitamin B metabolites represent an entirely new and important target for the immune system.

  • Cate Swannell



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