Around the universities

Cate Swannell
Med J Aust || doi: 10.5694/mja16.0201C3
Published online: 1 February 2016

The University of Queensland and The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane will lead a new centre dedicated to the early detection of lung cancer thanks to $1 million in funding from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF). The ACRF Centre for Lung Cancer Early Detection would focus on the discovery and development of innovative methods for early stage detection of lung cancer. The Centre will concentrate on three major innovative research streams: innovations in diagnostic imaging using Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) screening and computer-aided diagnosis (CAD); investigating unique molecular profiles and biomarkers of lung cancer; and advanced innovations in bronchoscopy techniques. The Centre will be based at The Prince Charles with major collaborations across key Australian and international sites. Due to the clinical focus of the research, the team will be able to translate findings directly into daily clinical practice.

Two groups of University of Western Australia researchers have successfully secured more than $2.5 million funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Professor Susan Prescott, of the School of Paediatrics and Child Health, received $1.68 million to conduct a clinical trial investigating whether increased dietary fibre in pregnancy favourably influences metabolism and immune function, and can prevent allergies in children. Renowned burns specialist Professor Fiona Wood, of the Burn Injury Research Unit in the School of Surgery, was awarded a development grant of $873,305 to develop the first drug to remove scars which will hopefully be taken to clinical trials. Researchers have discovered a compound that targets collagen in the skin, preventing it from becoming too densely packed so that it remains more like normal skin.

The University of Melbourne has announced the formation of the Primary Care Diabetes Society of Australia (PCDSA). The not-for-profit society has been established to support primary health care professionals to deliver high quality, clinically effective care, in order to improve the lives of people living with diabetes. Department of General Practice Associate Professor Mark Kennedy said most of the one million people in Australia with diabetes receive most of their treatment in primary care, yet there is no primary care-based multidisciplinary society to support those health care practitioners. “Education will be a key role of the society. We are establishing a quarterly online journal, online continuing professional development and will hold the first annual conference in Melbourne on April 30 next year.”

Researchers at the University of New South Wales Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) have been awarded a $40 000 Goldstar Award for research into the structure and function of apolipoproteins that affect brain ageing. CHeBA Co-Director Professor Perminder Sachdev will lead the research team, which includes other prominent CHeBA researchers: Dr Anne Poljak, Leader of the Proteomics Group; Dr Nady Braidy, Co-Leader of the Molecular Biology & Stem Cells Group; Dr Julia Muenchhoff, post-doctoral researcher; and statistician Dr John Crawford. Prof Sachdev said the potential for novel findings of this research is abundant, and it promises to yield new insights into normal ageing, pathological brain ageing including mild cognitive impairment, and longevity.

Bond University will offer a dedicated Indigenous Medical Scholarship, covering all tuition fees through the full 4-year, 8-month medical program for the successful applicant. Over the past 3 years, BU has invested more than $2.5 million in improving tertiary education outcomes for Indigenous students through outreach programs, scholarships, bursaries and a network of on-campus support. BU’s enrolment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students has more than doubled, and their degree completion rate is well above the national average. Applications close on 4 February. The yearly intake for Bond medical students is in May.

Two Monash University researchers have won the RACV Sir Edmund Herring Memorial Scholarships for their studies aimed at preventing road trauma and improving the quality of care delivered to road trauma victims. Dr Rene Stolwyk from Monash’s School of Psychological Sciences received the scholarship for his work in utilising simulator technology to enhance driver rehabilitation following traumatic brain injury. The other winner was Damien Dambrosi, a lecturer in Monash University’s Department of Community Health and Paramedic Practice, for his work looking at the potential efficacy and safety of ketamine as an analgesic by all Victorian MICA paramedics.

UNSW alumnus and current Rural Clinical School Associate Professor Kelvin Kong has been named as a 2016 Australia Day ambassador. Prof Kong was one of the first Indigenous doctors to graduate from UNSW after entering medicine through UNSW’s Indigenous Entry into Medicine scheme. He is an ear surgeon, and a partner in the Newcastle-based Hunter ENT (ear, nose and throat), and often conducts Indigenous health clinics in remote places such as Broome, WA.

UNSW graduate Dr Amanda Cohn has been awarded the Foundation Year Graduates Medal, presented to the graduating medical student who most excels in the areas of leadership and fellowship across the academic and non-academic realm. Dr Cohn completed her medical degree at Rural Clinical School’s Albury campus, and intends to stay on in the area to continue her medical training, and maybe do some teaching at the campus.

  • Cate Swannell



remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.