Around the Precinct – 15 April 2021

Devices are the story of the week, with a new device bringing fast molecular testing to the point of care; another being trialled to target hard-to-kill tumours and a look at new technology to target unstable coronary plaques. We look into a common, but overlooked, STI; and senior colleagues reflect on the vaccine rollout and the virus’ broad impact. Welcome to this week at Alfred Research Alliance…


Portable, pocket-sized device puts molecular testing at your fingertips

Monash researchers have developed a small, ultra-portable, self-contained, nucleic acid amplification test device that can perform molecular testing within minutes, at the point of care / need rather than in the lab. Prof Patrick Kwan (pictured) from Monash CCS and Dr Tuncay Alan from the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, developed the device which they liken to ‘shrinking the power of a large computer mainframe into a smartphone’. Read more…

Mycoplasma Genitalium – the common STI you’ve probably never heard of

Both men and women can have this common STI without even knowing about it. It can be treated with antibiotics, but leaving it untreated can cause similar complications to clamydia in women and of course, the risk of reinfection between partners. Read more in a recent article on by Prof Catriona Bradshaw, and check this update from the MSHC on testing on


PhD Student Peter Fransquet awarded Monash 2020 Vice-Chancellors’ Commendation for Thesis Excellence  

Peter Fransquet, PhD student at Monash SPHPM, has been awarded the 2020 Monash Vice-Chancellor’s Commendation for Thesis Excellence, which are awarded annually to outstanding doctoral and research master’s thesis excellence. Peter is exploring how dementia may be able to be diagnosed before symptoms begin. You can read more about his work here…

Prof Allen Cheng explains the ATAGI position on the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines

Prof Allen Cheng, Victoria’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, member of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, and professor at Monash CCS and Alfred Health, this week took to Twitter to explain the ATAGI’s statement issued late last week, why the Pfizer vaccine is now preferred for under 50s, and what impact this may have on the vaccine rollout. Read more


Trial targets hard-to-kill tumors

A new device that targets hard-to-kill tumours is the focus of a global, randomised research trial led by The Alfred’s interventional radiology team. Because hypervascular tumours are attached to a large number of blood vessels they are prone to bleeding, so they’re often treated by a process called embolisation. The new device is designed to target them deeper, to destroy more cancer cells. Read more…


Behind the Discoveries webinar to look at new tech to prevent heart attacks and stroke

Professor Karlheinz Peter

The next in the series of ‘Behind the Discoveries’ webinars will be on Thursday 29 April 2021, when host and Baker Institute ambassador Matt Keenan will discuss the game-changing discovery that has led to the development of a device that can detect unstable coronary plaques with interventional cardiologist and Deputy Director Prof Karlheinz Peter (pictured). Register here…


Australia’s vaccine rollout pivots with new advice about AstraZeneca vaccine

Director and CEO of Burnet Institute, Prof Brendan Crabb AC, spoke with the ABC last week following the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI)’s advice to the Federal Government that the Pfizer vaccine should now be preferred over the AstraZeneca vaccine for anyone under 50 years of age, following further evidence of a rare, but serious, side-effect. Read more or listen to the interview here…

Prof Mike Toole reflects on the pandemic in Midsumma lecture

As part of the Midsumma Festival, QueersInScience is presenting a lecture series displaying the amazing work of queer scientists in Australia, which will feature Prof Mike Toole, Adjunct Professor at Monash SPHPM, technical adviser to the Burnet’s Know-C19 Knowledge Hub and senior nutrition adviser at the Burnet Institute, reflecting on a retirement postponed by a virus. Read more or get tickets here