Engineering a therapy to improve outcomes after neonatal stroke
Researchers: Dr Bobbi Fleiss, SHBS
Currently, there are no treatments for neonatal stroke, the blockage or rupture of a brain blood vessel in the first 28 days of life. This leads to babies being born with intellectual disabilities, behavioural problems, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. The aim of this project is to investigate the specific nature of the innate microglial and astroglial response to injury for the development of targeted immunomodulatory strategies to facilitate repair and support regeneration.
- This project was selected from an EOI for full submission for project level support from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance –$250,000 over three years.
RMIT-NJUCM joint seminar
Researchers: Prof Jiming Ye, SHBS
A Joint RMIT-NJUCM Symposium on “Discovery New Therapeutics for Chronic Diseases” was convened on the 23rd of July at the SHBS.
- Established links between investigators from both institutions and to share research capacity hence, creating the RMIT-NJUCM research partnership.
- Published one joint publication with Prof Xu Shen at NJUCM - Fan L, Qiu XX, Zhu ZY, Lv JL, Lu J, Mao F, Zhu J, Wang JY, Guan XW, Chen J, Ren J, Ye JM, Zhao YH, Li J & Shen X. Nitazoxanide, an anti-parasitic drug, efficiently ameliorates learning and memory impairments in AD model mice. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2019:1–13; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41401-019-0220-1.
- Jiming Ye delivered a lecturer at NUCM in March 2019. He is collaborating with Prof Lihong Hu, Vice President of NJUCM.
A workshop with the Society for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) of the Nose & Airways
Researchers: A/Prof. Kiao Inthavong, SoE
Established SCONA – the Society for CDF (Computational Fluid Dynamics) of the Nose and Airways to foster knowledge, collaboration and collegiality between researchers in this new field. CFD is a disruptive technology that is changing our understanding of airflow in the human respiratory system and our approach to surgical procedures.
- This led to an industry research project with ENT-Flo for a 2yr project due to end in 2020 ~$70k.
- ENT-Flo has joined us with a medical clinic ENT Sydney for a 2020 Linkage application.
- SCONA has led to a redesign of the Flo Sinus Care Starter Kit. This year, Flo will launch their new design driven by SCONA’s research work and will continue to evaluate and confirm the new design’s effectiveness. Kiao Inthavong led a related journal paper that addresses the performance of the Flo’s Sinus Wash Bottle - Inthavong, K., Shang, Y., Wong, E., Singh, N. (2019) Characterisation of nasal irrigation flow from a squeeze bottle using CFD. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology
- Joey Siu from the University of Auckland, NZ presented at the first SCONA Workshop (funded by BHI ECP CDF) and has since collaborated with Kiao to publish 3 papers:
- Sui, J., Dong, J., K., Inthavong, K., Shang, Y., Douglas, R. (2020) Quantification of airflow in the sinuses following functional endoscopic sinus surgery, Rhinology.
- Sui, J., Shrestha, K., Inthavong, K., Shang, Y., Douglas, R. (2020) Particle deposition in the paranasal sinuses following functional endoscopic sinus surgery, Computers in Biology and Medicine.
- Sui, J., Johnston, J., Pontre, B., Inthavong, K., Douglas, R. (2019) Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evaluation of the distribution of spray and irrigation devices within the sinonasal cavities. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology.
- The initial workshop helped to strengthen SCONA’s relationship with clinicians and led to the follow up event, SCONA2019 held in Chicago, USA http://scona.org/scona2019/
- Prepared video of the large volume irrigation study, which was tremendously popular with GPs and Pharmacists. Used extensively by Dr Sam Barbalatt, Medical Director at ENT Technologies who commented that the video, which he presented to two groups, has changed perceptions of large volume irrigation and brought the technique to the very forefront of these groups’ therapeutic armamentarium when managing patients with airway pathologies like chronic rhinosinusitis and allergic rhinitis.
Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands (AHAH) program
Researchers: Dr Dein Vindigni, SHBS
This program enables Aboriginal students from Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Medical Imaging and Exercise Sciences students at RMIT, enrolled in preparatory First Aid and Sports Training to gain further work experience at the Fitzroy Stars Indigenous football and netball clubs as well as participate in the upcoming Indigenous Sporting Carnivals.
- ECP funds strengthened the case for a recently implemented Master by Research in Indigenous Health. This includes an RMIT subsidised Master by Research Scholarship evaluating the impact of the Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands (AHAH) program and recommendations arising from qualitative research.
- To date, the candidate has successfully met with key members in the Aboriginal Community, helped to collaboratively establish a Community Advisory Group (CAG), prepared and submitted all documents for her Confirmation of Candidature and discussed the beginnings of an AHAH concept paper.
- Collaboration with the Fitzroy Stars is strengthening with the addition of more disciplines including myotherapy and osteopathy. Exercise science will begin once the current conditions stabilise.
Ultrashort self-assembling peptides as novel antimicrobial agents: structure-function relationship and applications
Researchers: Dr Celine Valery, SHBS
This research aims to rationally design novel antimicrobial low cost compounds and materials based on short peptide nanostructures.
- Published 4 peer-reviewed articles.
- Dr Valery invited to present at one international conference in 2019 (University of Tel Aviv, Israel) and delivered an international seminar (ETH Zurich).
- Dr Valery granted a Athena Swan award to visit and collaborate with ETH Zurich (Mezzenga's lab) in 2019.
- Ms Priscila Cardoso invited to present a Poster at an international conference (University of tel Aviv) and 3 in Australia in 2019. Of these, Ms Cardoso won the Best Poster Award category at the ANSTO-HZB Neutron School in Sydney, Aust.
- Received additional funding: i) a 2-year RMIT-CSIRO contract for MSc Scholarship; ii) in-kind funding from the Australian Synchrotron for X-ray scattering (2018-2020), ANSTO Sydney for X-ray reflectometry (2019), and MLZ-Garching (Germany) for neutron scattering (2020); iii) Athena Swan award visiting scholarship (2019); iv) ASCIL Biopharm service contract (2020).
- Progress of HDR students:
- D. Dharmadana: PhD student PASS – to graduate in 2020
- P. Cardoso: PhD Confirmation of candidature completed mid 2019
- S. Appiah-Danso: MSc student commenced in September 2019 and CoC completed in March 2020.
- Industry partnerships:
- MIT, USA.
- School of Physics, School of Engineering, RMIT University
- ETH, Zurich, Switzerland
- ASCIL Biopharm, Barcelona, Spain service contract signed.
Green Paper: EPSoi framework for conducting research into consumer engagement in their own health – to engage patients in managing their postoperative pain after discharge.
Researchers: A/Prof Zhen Zheng & Prof Ieva Stupans, SHBS
Aims of the Green Paper is to:
- provide guidelines on how to design studies of patient engagements in their own health care
- provide step-by-step guidelines on how to understand the engagement components in the intervention
- design studies that reflect real world setting, providing research results that are readily translated into practice.
- A new team was formed at Northern Health on discharge information assessment and linked in with their existing opioid stewardship committee. The team includes surgeons, pain specialist, GP and anaesthetist from several hospitals and clinics. A surgeon registrar is working on the project in 2020.
- Expanded team to include hospital pharmacists and linked with Chief Medical Officer from SafeCare Victoria and Behavioural Insight Unit in Vic State Govt.
- Manuscript has been submitted to a journal.
- Collaborating with RMIT Europe and are part of a team applying for a grant via H2020.
- Completed two Honours projects in 2019 with one that is progressing well this year.
Industry Engagement and Intellectual Property (IP) Enhancement for Microbial Detection Assay Strips (MIDAS) kits.
Researchers: Dr Sarvesh Soni, SoS
A rapid, low-cost, portable, point-of-use assay for the detection of pathogens such as helminths and enteric viruses in wastewater and biosolids. By 2019, this project strengthened to exploring a start-up to take MIDAS on-site real-time microbial detection technology to market.
- Selected for the ON Prime:Defence event on 09.10.19 in conjunction with the PACIFIC 019 International Maritime Exposition in Sydney, a global business event attracting senior merchant marine, shore services, maritime and defence industry, military and government decision-makers from around the world.
- Participated in CSIRO ON Prime 6, conducted 106 interviews from the prospective customers and awarded $ 3,000 as the performance bonus.
- Due to this project’s involvement with CSIRO ON and technology development, MiDeX-MiniLoad has been awarded an ECP-EOF grant of $123K to further develop a commercially viable prototype and a detailed prospective licensee search.
- MiDeX MiniLoad-further shortlisted for CSIRO ON Accelerate BootCamp and successfully completed this activity on 22 .11.19.
- Presented at BHI ECP Diseases of Pollution & Urbanization symposium and initiated discussions with Mr Stephen Tomisich, CEO Trojan Scientific about the MiDeX-MiniLoad. Stephen invited the project team to meet with Trojan’s Chief Scientific Officer on 03.12.19 to present a talk on their project, which resulted in Trojan being interested in working with RMIT’s Contracts team in R&I. Still in progress.
- Currently developing an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant with a prospective industry partner. Preliminary discussions with R&I took place and on hold due to COVID-19.
- The possibility of adapting the start-up route for MIDEX-MiniLoad will be determined on the outcomes of the EOF grant.
- Funding from South East Water as a research contract has been confirmed ($148K): To develop the detection kits for E. coli, Ascaris and Enteroviruses.
- Funding from VIC-EPA as research contract has been confirmed ($60K): To develop detection kits for Enterococci.
- VIC-EPA has asked Sarvesh’s project team to submit further funding request for Field validation. The request for $15K was submitted on 18 May, 2020.
- Funding application for BTB COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding is being developed and matching funding from the School of Science and South East Water is being negotiated.
- Two publications:
- Detection of Helminth Ova in Wastewater Using Recombinase Polymerase Amplification Coupled to Lateral Flow Strips, Vivek B. Ravindran, Basma Khallaf, Aravind Surapaneni, Nicholas D. Crosbie, Sarvesh K. Soni, Andrew S. Ball, Water 2020, 12(3), 691; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030691
- A review on the current knowledge and prospects for the development of improved detection methods for soil-transmitted helminth ova for the safe reuse of wastewater and mitigation of public health risks, Ravindran, V., Soni, S., Ball, A., Water 2019, 11(6), 1212; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061212