2012 SEIB Colloquium

The third annual SEIB/SIBRN Colloquium was held on 11 and 12 October 2012. Dr Michael Spence, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney opened proceedings, praising the multi-disciplinary collaborations and productive research occurring within SEIB/SIBRN.

L to R: Professor Bruce Robinson, Professor Tania Sorrell and Dr Michael Spence

L to R: Professor Bruce Robinson, Professor Tania Sorrell and Dr Michael Spence

Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of the Sydney Medical School, awarded the Bob Ravich Award for the best student abstract. Samantha Ellis won the award for research into novel antimicrobial treatment options with her abstract entitled: The use of pyridoxal isonicotinoyl hydrazone (PIH) derivatives as a treatment against mycobacteria.

Professor Tania Sorrell, SEIB Director, outlined key achievements and milestones view video:

  • Significant growth in SEIB membership, competitive grant income and development of research and capacity-building partnerships in the Asia Pacific Region (Viet Nam, Indonesia, Timor L’Este, Cambodia, Mongolia, Pacific Islands), Africa (Gambia, Zambia, S Africa), and South America (Brasil, Colombia).
  • Establishment of the Sydney Infectious Diseases Research Network (SIBRN) through a Sydney Research Networks (SyReNS) grant that facilitated the establishment of Camperdown-based SEIB “nodes” in the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences (Media and Communications, Political Science) and Natural Sciences (School of Biological Sciences). The latter node will be strengthened by the arrival of Australia Fellow, Professor Eddie Holmes in November 2012 and by the creation of shared scientific positions between SEIB and the Charles Perkins Centre.
  • Establishment of the University’s South East Studies Centre, SEIB has Board and country-specific representation.
  • Particularly exciting, is the award of a $2.5 million dollar, 5-year, grant from the NHMRC (for a Centre of Research Excellence in Tuberculosis Control – CI-A Professor Warwick Britton); partly “leveraged” from existing philanthropic funding.
  • Prof Peter McMinn received a large grant from AusAID for his work on reducing lymphatic filariasis and soil transmitted helminths (worm infestation) in Timor L’Este, as well as a WHO contract for the development of a laboratory capacity development curriculum.
  • SEIB members have applied for two joint Singapore A* STAR and NHMRC grants for the identification of unknown causes of encephalitis (one of a group of critical infections for which a cause is found infrequently) and for the development of novel tuberculosis vaccines. Additional applications were submitted for the AusAID ADRAS and joint India-Australia AISRF Grand Challenges funding schemes.
  • Sexual Health and HIV, both major problems in developing countries and significant in the Australian context, are now formally represented in SEIB.
  • Our Early Career Researcher (ECR) program is gaining momentum and we now have 11 SEIB-affiliated PhD students undertaking projects within the areas of human and animal health, health services, science, ethics and information technology (social modelling), and a number of post-doc positions becoming available in 2013.
  • We have hosted successful national conferences on antimicrobial resistance and on zoonoses (with the Australian Society for Antimicrobials, and with the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases and the Australian Veterinary Association, respectively), a successful 2-day short course on Healthcare-Associated Infections and multiple smaller events, in collaboration with CIDM Public Health.

All this has been achieved through the generous financial support from the Sydney Medical School Foundation and philanthropic donors.

The keynote lecture on “Culture-independent microbial ecology and human microbiome" was delivered by Professor Phil Hugenholtz from the University of Queensland.

The Symposia covered:
1) Microbial ecology and antimicrobial resistance
2) Social networks and communication
3) Food security and safety

Additional sessions focussed on:

  • Global Health security
  • Infection control and disease prevention efforts in in Timor L’Este
  • New collaborations and opportunities within Asia-Pacific
  • Taste of ECR and student projects

Copies of the presentations are available below.


Day 1 - Thursday, 11 October 2012

Microbial ecology and antimicrobial resistance

Day 2 - Friday, 12 October 2012

New collaborations and opportunities
Social networks and communication
  • Active TB case finding in Vietnam - presented by Greg Fox || (view presentation)
  • Community-based approaches to TB control in Eastern Indonesia - presented by Christa Dewi || (view presentation)
  • Effect of different types of dietary fat on inflammation and microbiota - presented by Connie Ha || (view presentation)
  • Economic decision making - Japanese encephalitis as a case study - presented by Professor Michael Ward for Sarah-Jane Wilson || (view presentation)
  • Influenza surveillance from clinical specimens with mass spectrometry - presented by Neil Fernandes || (view presentation)
Food security and safety


The following ECR/Student Abstracts were submitted:

  • Using lipidomics to identify new drug targets for Hepatitis C virus (view abstract)
  • 17-parameter flow cytometry: immunophenotyping cellular infiltration during flavivirus encephalitis in the mouse (view abstract)
  • Role of calsyntenin-1 in Hepatitis C virus pathogenesis (view abstract)
  • Improving public health surveillance of salmonellosis by prospective genotyping of Salmonella typhimurium (view abstract)
  • Aspergillus felis sp. nov. – an emerging pathogen of cats, dogs and humans (view abstract)
  • Spectrum of disease in children treated for tuberculosis at The Children’s Hospital Westmead (view abstract)
  • Exploring the role of plasma membrane microparticles in the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria (view abstract)
  • The use of pyridoxal isonicotinoyl hydrazone (PIH) derivatives as a treatment against mycobacteria (view abstract)
  • Global health issues for human and livestock and their study in local contexts (view abstract)
  • Influenza surveillance from clinical specimens with mass spectrometry (view abstract)
  • Contact investigation for tuberculosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis (view abstract)
  • Contact investigation in households of patients with tuberculosis in Hanoi, Vietnam: a prospective cohort study (view abstract)
  • Associative linkages between gut microbiota and weight loss in human obesity management (view abstract)
  • Tuberculosis in a Papua New Guinea hospital - initiating a quality improvement activity to reduce nosocomial infection (view abstract)
  • Development of an Australian Pathogen Intelligence Community Space (APICS) within the Australian Biosecurity Intelligence Network (ABIN) (view abstract)
  • The role of myeloid lineage cells in response to viral genital infection (view abstract)
  • Are southern cities of Australia under threat from the mosquitoes below? (view abstract)
  • Neurologic complications of influenza H1N1: surveillance in 6 paediatric hospitals (view abstract)
  • Clinical utility of the cryptococcal antigen lateral flow assay in a diagnostic mycology laboratory (view abstract)
  • Dog management in Lombok Indonesia – considerations for assessing rabies introduction risk (view abstract)
  • Dietary effects of phytate levels and ╬▓–glucan yeast immune stimulation to vaccination in pigs (view abstract)
  • Deep sequencing of Hepatitis C virus to detect low-frequency drug resistant mutations (view abstract)
  • The epidemiology of nosocomial candidemia in nonneutropenic, nonintensive care-based patients (view abstract)
  • Comparison of methods used to evaluate the controlled release properties of inhaled liposomal nanoparticles (view abstract)
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis genetic lineage and transmissibility: an assessment of child contacts (view abstract)
  • You are what you eat: “don’t eat me, I’m infectious!” (view abstract)
  • PPAR╬▒ agonist WY14643 increases sensitivity to interferon alpha and may be an effective adjunct treatment for patients with HCV (view abstract)
  • Knowledge of HIV, attitudes toward people living with HIV, and willingness to conduct rapid testing among dental hygienists (view abstract)
  • Cryptococcal meningoencephalitis: role of cryptococcal vesicles in the crossing of the blood brain barrier by cryptococcal cells (view abstract)
  • Cannabinoid receptor 1 antagonists: novel antiviral agents against Hepatitis C virus (view abstract)
  • Seroprevalence of Coxiella burnetii in domesticated and feral cats in eastern Australia (view abstract)
  • Discovery of diverse polyomaviruses in bats and the evolutionary history of the polyomaviridae (view abstract)
  • Evaluation of methods to orally infect Culicoides brevitarsis with bluetongue virus (view abstract)
  • Rapid PCR assays to determine the host species origin of biting midge blood meals (view abstract)
  • The role of the spleen and CNS draining lymph nodes in immune modifying nanoparticle treatment of WNV encephalitis (view abstract)
  • Heterogeneous carriage of Escherichia coli O157 by cattle (view abstract)
  • An epidemiological and economic framework for evaluating the tangible and intangible impacts of emergency animal disease outbreaks (view abstract)
  • Correlating trends of global fund financial disbursement and grant performance: a case study in Papua New Guinea (view abstract)