Around the Precinct – 19 November 2020

A COVID keynote attracts global interest, the Alfred biobank brings hope for cancer patients, a new chatbot tackles body image issues and COVID research and advocacy continues while researchers warn that superbugs look set to kill more people than the pandemic. And celebrations as our researchers win numerous ARC grants and awards, research prizes are presented, and the Innovation & Education Hub opens on the Alfred precinct. Here’s what’s happened this week at Alfred Research Alliance…

ALFRED RESEARCH ALLIANCE

COVID Keynote from Prof Allen Cheng Attracts Worldwide Interest

A keynote address by Prof Allen Cheng, Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer, attracted worldwide interest this week with well over 1000 people viewing the virtual presentation, in which Prof Cheng provided an unique insight into Australia’s world-leading response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Victoria’s successful response to the second wave. Read more or view the video here…

2020 Alfred Research Alliance Annual Research Prizes Presented

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Alfred Research Alliance Annual Research Prizes. The prestigious annual prizes were presented this week by Professor Allen Cheng, Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer. Two awards were made for Basic Research, going to Dr Tamara Allen and A/Prof Anna Calkin from Baker Institute, and the award for Clinical / Public Health Research went to Michael Traeger from Burnet Institute. Read more…

ALFRED HEALTH

Betty & John Laidlaw AO Innovation & Education Hub Launches at Alfred Precinct

The precinct’s new Innovation & Education Hub officially launched this week. The exciting new facility is a unique space where healthcare intersects with art, technology and people. It will service Alfred Health and its partners on-site in Commercial Road, with spaces to recharge and rejuvinate, share and test new ideas, learn from and with eachother, connect and collaborate. Find out more at www.thehublaunch.com or contact [email protected] for more information.

Eric Chow Awarded 2020 Levinia Crooks Emerging Leader Award

Congratulations to A/Prof Eric Chow, STI epidemiologist and biostatistician from the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) at The Alfred, who has been awarded the 2020 Levinia Crooks Emerging Leader BBV/STI Award for his outstanding work in the field of blood borne viruses and sexually transmissable infections. 

Riding out the wave

While Victoria’s second COVID-19 wave appears to be coming to an end, experts at The Alfred’s Child and Youth Mental Health Service (CYMHS) warn that the mental health battle is only beginning. CYMHS director Paul Denborough said while the number of virus cases are going down, mental health referrals stemming from isolating lockdown rules are likely to remain high for at least six months. Read more…

Biobank brings hope for Demi

This year, 22-year-old Demi Lawson has not only faced a global pandemic, but a diagnosis of brain cancer, an awake craniotomy (brain surgery) – and has been learning to live with the death of her younger brother. During surgery at The Alfred, surgeons collected samples of her brain tumour, which Demi had consented to donate to the Alfred Brain Bio-Bank to help future researchers find a cure. Read more…

MONASH UNIVERSITY CENTRAL CLINICAL SCHOOL

Superbugs on track to kill more people than COVID-19

Without urgent action it’s estimated that superbugs – bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites that are immune to antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals – will kill 22,000 Australians a year by 2040. That’s more lives than the COVID-19 pandemic. Superbugs threaten to be the next great health crisis of our time, and a comprehensive national infection database is urgently needed to arrest the spread, Monash University researchers say. Read more…

Meet KIT, world-first body image chatbot

Body image issues is an epidemic, with over 30% of Australia’s young people extremely concerned about their body image, and more than one million Aussies living with an eating disorder. Now, a chatbot called KIT has been designed to educate and provide information for those seeking help, drawing on expertise from Monash CCS and Swinburne University of Technology, and conversational AI specialists and Iris developers, Proxima. Read more…

Returning to life after brain trauma and stroke

Monash researcher on three new NHMRC funded trials to implement research evidence for better outcomes for people with neurological damage. Prof Natasha Lannin and Dr Laura Jolliffe of the Brain Recovery and Rehabilitation Group in Monash University’s Department of Neuroscience took time this week to explain how their research and practice support the rehabilitation of people with neurological damage from stroke or brain injuries to regain function and independence. Read more or watch the video here

MONASH PUBLIC HEALTH & PREVENTIVE MEDICINE

Coronavirus pandemic: The case for a decetralised national model for infectious diseases management

When dealing with a pandemic, we now know that multi-sectorial and coordinated responses work. Recently, the Victorian government added to its public health capacity by announcing five suburban contact tracing hubs for metropolitan Melbourne. With so much expertise available, including many expert staff seconded from Monash University seconded to DHHS, it’s important we harness that well, says this article. Read more…

Multiple ARC Discovery Grants won by Monash researchers

Trial design, cyclist safety, health impacts of bushfires and teamwork analysis are just some of the focus areas being researched by Monash University’s latest ARC Discovery Award recipients, which were announced earlier this week. Dr Jessica Kasza (pictured), Dr Ben Beck, Prof Yuming Guo, Dr Danijela Gasevic  and Prof Dragan Ilic are among this year’s winners. Read more…

BURNET INSTITUTE

Virus decoy and ‘immune harnessing’ trialled for COVID-19

Understanding how immune cells rally against a threat – and settle down again – is crucial in developing treatments that fight disease but don’t cause damage themselves. It’s an area of expertise that Burnet researchers are bringing to a multi-organisational search for medicines for COVID-19, supported by almost AUD$2m from the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund. Read more…

ASHA Award for Dr Elissa Kennedy

Burnet Institute’s Dr Elissa Kennedy has been recognised for excellence in research, advocacy and teamwork with the Australian Sexual Health Alliance Mid-Career Interdisciplinary Achiever Award for 2020. The award is presented annually to an individual working in the field of sexual health who has demonstrated outstanding achievements, leadership and advocacy as a member of an interdisciplinary team over the previous 12 months. Read more…