NEWS AND EVENTS - 2011
John Pollak - A celebration of his life
19th of January, 2012
In memory of John Pollak who died on Monday, December 5, 2011, his children, Linsey, Liesl, Jenny and Ana invited friends and family to celebrate his life with a meal on Wednesday (December 14, 2011) at 1pm, The Edge Art Space, 120 Brooklyn Road, Brooklyn, opposite Brooklyn Park.
You can read John's Eulogy here.
"John lead a lectureship and a scientific career at Sydney University that spanned fifty years, during which time he produced around 80 papers, taught and mentored a string of students and assistants, and furthered his research during three sabbatical years in England."
"John’s smiling face and twinkling eyes (as well as his good humour and hearty laughter) drew people towards him and he developed many good friendships. "
"And this is how it was up to his very last day, an active life helping others just the way he wanted. He made a lasting impact on many lives and his children are grateful for the philosophies he passed onto them and the maxims he left behind: “Do what you love, not love what you do“, “Nothing matters half as much as you think it does“, “Things are always better in the morning” …and if he were here with us today he would tell us all to laugh and be happy."
You can leave a message at John's obituary page - http://tributes.smh.com.au/obituaries/smh-au/obituary.aspx?n=john-pollak&pid=154957596
Mrs Ann Macintosh memorial page
3rd of January, 2012
A web page has been dedicated to the memory of Mrs Anne Macintosh in the 'About Us' section of our website. Mrs Macintosh died on Friday the 1st July 2011 peacefully at home. Ann will be remembered not only for her great generosity but also for her passion for anatomy and anthropology and for her loyalty to our Discipline, to the Faculty and the University.
Please visit the page here.
Willyama High School visit
14th of December, 2011
The Dean, Professor Bruce Robinson, invited high achieving students in Human Biology and Sports and Fitness courses from Willyama High School to visit us at the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology, Faculty of Medicine on Wednesday the 14th of December.
The students were welcomed to the department at 2:30pm by Head of Department, A/Prof Kevin Keay. Thirteen students attended from the Broken Hill school, aged 14-16 years old.
THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE
Volunteers from the Discipline kindly offered their time to show the students some basic limb anatomy, talking to them about the musculoskeletal anatomy of these regions with regards to function (i.e. in elite sports and other exciting applications). The contributors to this effort were Denise Donlon, Jonathan Hakim, Sarah Croker, Nabil El Massri and Ashvini Ambihaipahar.
Luke Henderson introduced them to brain dissections and imaging, including some of the interesting things you can do with various MRI techniques.
THE HIGH SCHOOL
You can visit the high school's website at http://www.willyama-h.schools.nsw.edu.au/home
The Principal of the High school states in his message "Our school motto is We promote: Diversity, effort and achievement. All students regardless of their background are given the right to achieve this knowledge in a supportive and caring learning environment. We are a Good School continually striving to be Better."
The school is located in rural NSW, a similar distance to Sydney as Melbourne - http://maps.google.com/maps?sitesearch=&q=willyama+High+School&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=q4_lTuGoI-uviQfimYG2BQ&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=3&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAg
Kevin Keay offers his gratitude to those that helped make the day such a success and the greatest encouragement to the students of Willyama High School in their studies.
Professor Cristobal dos Remedios wins Health award
14th of December, 2011
Professor Cristobal dos Remedios (of the Muscle Research Unit) has won a Health award at the Australian Innovation Challenge out of a field of 300 entries.
He is part of a cross-discipline team of 3
- Professor Marcela Bilek and Professor David McKenzie - School of Physics
- Professor Tony Weiss - School of Molecular Bioscience
- Professor Cristobal dos Remedios - Discipline of Anatomy and Histology, School of Medical Sciences at the Sydney Medical School
"We're really pleased to have won the Health category of the Australian Innovation Challenge, as it recognises the widespread applicability of our new technique of attaching biomolecules to surfaces," said Professor Bilek.
"There is a vast range of sensing and diagnostic devices that use biomolecules, like proteins, attached to surfaces. Our new technology will enhance the performance of these devices, as it provides a more effective way of attaching biomolecules to surfaces," explained Professor Bilek.
"The technology will also enable implantable biomedical devices that are not only biocompatible, but can stimulate optimal tissue responses in the person who has the implant. This will help reduce the problem of implants - like hip and knee replacements or stents in the heart - being rejected by the body."
Their innovation will also impact on industries such as chemical, food and biofuel manufacturing, as it will allow continuous flow enzymatic processing.
Honours Presentation awards
8th of December, 2011
Congratulations go out to the winners of this years Honours Presentations awards.
- Kennedy Wolfe - Mcavoy Prize 'For outstanding overall performance during the Honours year of a BSc or BMedSc'
- Adam Svahn - Dreher Prize 'For outstanding achievement in research during the Honours year of a BSc or BMedSc'
- Leila Mahmutovic - Head of Discipline Prize 'Commendation for best research presentation during the Honours year of a BSc or BMedSc'
- Anathony Lazarou - Stone Prize 'For novelty in research during the Hounours year of a BSc or BMedSc'
Dr Karen Cullen's research featured in Cosmos magazine
02nd of December, 2011
"With each generation, medical advances and improved living conditions have ensured our bodies continue to function further into old age. Now the challenge is to keep our minds working well for longer. Understanding how the brain ages may hold clues to keeping our minds sharp and spry for longer."
Dr Cullen provided her expertise on Alzheimer’s disease and the article explored some of the research that she has done about neural changes as a result of ageing.
You can save or read an extract of her contribution here.
Dr Denise Donlon - Founding Fellow
22nd of November, 2011
Dr Denise Donlon has been accepted as a Founding Fellow of the Faculty of Science with the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia.
The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) is responsible for the training and professional development of pathologists and for the promotion of the science and practice of Pathology.
"To promote the study of the science and practice of Pathology in relation to medicine; to encourage research in pathology and ancillary sciences, to bring together pathologists for their common benefit and for scientific discussions and demonstrations; and to disseminate knowledge of the principles and practice of pathology in relation to medicine by such means as may be thought fit."
More information is available at http://www.rcpa.edu.au/
The Discipline of Anatomy remembers Mrs Anne Macintosh - colleague, friend and benefactor
27th of October, 2011
Ann will be remembered not only for her great generosity but also for her passion for anatomy and anthropology and for her loyalty to our Discipline, to the Faculty and the University. On the 11th July 2011 friends and colleagues gathered in the Anderson Stuart Common room to celebrate Ann’s life:
Anne Vella, John & David Vella, Diny Kahn & husband, Tim Stokes, Peter & Barbara Mills, Beth & Bill King, Ken Parsons, Ian & Lesley Roache, Sarah Moses, Philamena McGrath, John Morgan, Bob Munro, Rose Stack, Alan Thorne, John Scott-Stevens, Maggie Brady, Claude & Pippa Bilinski, Joy Lockrey, Nick Layton, Matthew Gault, Diny Kahn, Cath Corkin, Jane & Sarah Busby, Lena Ting, Pip Rath, John Ralston, Denise Donlan, Kevin Keay, Marcus Robinson, Darryl Cameron, Clive Jeffery, Bogdan Dreher, Mai Pham, John Dodson, Sue Freedman-Levy, Peter & Esperanza Berrio & family, Mike Harvey and family.
The Discipline has prepared a document reflecting on her life (that also includes photos of this event) for download here.
Congratulations to ARC funding recipients
04th of November, 2011
The Discipline offers its congratulations to Maria Byrne and Chris Murphy, who were amongst the successful recipients of the latest round of Australian Research Council grants.
You can find more information at http://www.arc.gov.au/
Congratulations to NHMRC funding recipients
27th of October, 2011
The Discipline congratulates the recipients of the latest round of NHMRC funding:
From left : Frank Lovicu, Luke Henderson, Nicholas Cole, Bogdan Dreher and Sam Solomon.
Please visit the NHMRC website for more information.
Prosectors Workshop and Competition - applications open 3rd of October, 2011
21st of September, 2011
For those with a special interest in dissection, the opportunity to take part in either the Prosector's Competition or Prosection workshop is coming soon. Applications open 3rd of October, 2011 and both events run from 21st of November to 16th of December, 2011.
The Prosector's Competition is for experienced dissectors who aim to have their dissection placed amongst the hundreds in the J T Wilson Museum of Human Anatomy side by side with the many spectacular examples of anatomy already on display. Participants are eligible for the title of Prosector and there are also prizes on offer.
The Prosection Workshop is designed for those who have not yet had the chance to try dissecting but have always wanted to. No experience is needed but a commitment to producing a standard teaching prosection of the upper or lower limb is a condition of entry. Participants are eligible for the title of Prosector.
Numbers are limited, so get in fast. More information is available from the opportunities to dissect webpage in the Current Students section of this website.
Enquiries concerning either the competition or the workshop can be made by contacting Senior Technical Officer, Marcus Robinson ().
Professor Longping Liu farewell
15th of September, 2011
Visiting Professor Longping Liu was farewelled by staff at the Anderson Stuart Common Room on Friday. He will be returning to his family in China. He has worked in the Discipline from August 2009 until now as a Visiting Academic.
Head of Discipline, A/Professor Kevin Keay explained in a speech that Professor Liu leaves the Discipline with a contribution of over fifty expertly prosected specimens for the teaching collection. Apart from his enormous contribution to our anatomical collections, Professor Liu also performed research and teaching.
Professor Liu spoke highly of the assistance and cooperation he received from Senior Lecturer Robin Arnold, ATTSU manager Marcus Robinson and the team in the Prosectory. Along with Robin Amold and Marcus Robinson, Longping completed research regarding the deep nerves of the human head. Three scientific posters were produced and presented at intemational conferences in Sydney, Hobart and Singapore.
It is not surprising that student feedback for the Professor resounds with the line... ”We love Longping!”. We wish you well on your joumey back to China and hope you will consider coming to visit us again in the very near future!
Anatomy by Whole Body Dissection course receives accreditation from RACS
13th of September, 2011
The Elective Anatomy by Whole Body Dissection Course (AWBD Course) for which Stage 3 Medical Students are eligible to apply in their Elective Term and which has been conducted in 2009, 2010, and 2011, has been assessed by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
It has been recognised and accredited by the College for surgical trainees acting as Demonstrators. The accreditation will apply to the AWBD2012 Course and subsequent courses.
This accreditation will allow participation in the course as a Demonstrator to be recognised as an official component of surgical training. Details of the course can be found on the Anatomy by Whole Body Dissection webpage in the Current Students section of this website.
Surgical Anatomy by Whole Body Dissection course in development with Discipline of Surgery
13th of September, 2011
The Discipline of Anatomy and Histology and the Discipline of Surgery have joined forces and combined to develop and mount a Whole Body Dissection Course (WBDC-MS) for surgical trainees participating in the Master of Surgery (MS) by coursework degree course.
This twelve-week surgical anatomy dissection course, under the direction of Professor George Ramsey-Stewart, will commence in August 2012 and will be conducted on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays of each week of the course, in the Anderson Stuart Building.
Participation in the WBDC-MS Course will constitute four Units of Study of the coursework required and attract 24 credit points of the 48 points necessary to complete the MS degree course. It will be conducted in addition to the current Anatomy by Prosection component of the Master of Surgery course, which currently constitutes one Unit of Study (6 credit points).
Final details are pending approval. However, enquiries concerning the proposed course can be made, by those interested, by contacting the Postgraduate Coordinator Surgery, Professor James May ().
Inas Kansoh (ATTSU) awarded Centenary Fellowship for Medical Technicians
15th of August, 2011
Inas Kansoh from the Prosectory Laboratory (ATTSU), has been awarded this years Centenary Fellowship for Medical Technicians.
As many of you may remember this Fellowship was one of the schemes initiated by Mrs Anne Macintosh, in order to support the advanced technical training of members of our technical staff in the Faculty of Medicine.
Inas will attend two separate mould making courses run by Masterline Molds in Ontario, Canada. The first course is a beginner’s course in mould making, that teaches the basic methodology and various aspects of working with plaster, in addition to making plaster moulds. The second course is a rubber mould making course, that teaches the art of working with RTV silicone and rubber to create moulds.
Armed with these technologies Inas will create teaching casts for use in the anatomy laboratories and museums. including skulls, other bones, neurological models and many other anatomical objects.
Professor John Irvine Hunter Research Prize 2011
13th of July, 2011
Applications for the $5000 prize close on August 5th 2011. Seminars for short listed applicants will be held in late August /early Sept (TBC).
As a requirement for consideration of the award, students must submit a manuscript - either published or accepted (in press) - to the Anatomy & Histology Postgraduate Committee. This manuscript must be from work that has arisen largely from their PhD/MPhil candidature.
Students showing superior qualities in
* Motivation and capacity for independent enquiry
* Technical skill and achievement
* Communication skills, including seminar presentation.
Provided the work is of sufficient merit, the prize may be awarded annually by the Dean of the Sydney Medical School on the recommendation of the Head of the School of Medical Sciences, after consultation with the head of the discipline of Anatomy and Histology, to a candidate for a postgraduate research degree for the best research undertaken in the disciplines of the School of Medical Sciences.
Download more information here.
For further details please contact Frank Lovicu:
+61 2 9351 5170 - Phone
Jonathan Hakim awarded the Istvan Törk Prize
25th of April, 2011
Jonathan received his award at the 31st Annual Meeting of the Australian Neuroscience Society (Auckland). The prize is named in recognition of one of our great neuroanatomists and is awarded for the best oral presentation by a student member of the Society.
Jonathan presented a talk entitled "Loss of pleasure and motivation in neuropathic pain correlates with down-regulation of µ- and D2-receptors in the nucleus accumbens" which described his recent findings concerning individual differences in the behavioural and neural responses to nerve-injury.
Jonathan joins a number of investigators from the School of Medical Sciences who have been awarded this prestigous prize over the last 15 years. Congratulations!
Anatomy By Whole Body Dissection in the Sydney Morning Herald
14th of April, 2011
Professor George Ramsey-Stewart's AWBD course was the focus of an article about dissection in the SMH. The article explores student experiences with dissection and its relevance in modern medical education. The need for dissection as a teaching tool has been subject to debate in recent times and the article explores different points of view on the matter.
Professor Ramsey-Stewart is quoted in the article:
''I don't think you can examine an abdomen unless you know what's underneath what you're touching,'' he says.
Remembering the thousands of unique names for structures and junctions is ''immaterial'', Ramsey-Stewart says, compared with knowing their significance. ''You have to know where tiger country is.''
The article can be read here.
Byrne Lab In The News
7th of March, 2011
The Byrne Lab's research was featured in an article in Sydney Morning Herald in an article "Rising ocean temperatures will be devastating for Sea Urchins and Abalone".
The news article can be read here.
THE JOHN HUNTER MEMORIAL LECTURE - TUESDAY 8 MARCH 2011
How do thalamocortical mechanisms relate to lower motor centres and to the body? A neuroanatomical basis of embodiment.
Ray Guillery is one of the most distinguished contemporary functional neuroanatomists. His work can best be described as pioneering and conclusive. He is best known for his insightful, detailed analysis of the microanatomy of the mammalian visual system, spanning from the optic nerve to the dorsal thalamus.
Ray has been a truly inspirational mentor to several generations of anatomists and his work has changed the way people “see” or view the organisation of the mammalian brain, in particular its visual system.
Ray started his academic career at University College London. He then had several productive interludes in the USA, including the University of Wisconsin and the University of Chicago, before moving back to the UK as the Dr Lee’s Professor of Anatomy at the University of Oxford.
He continues his experimental work and is forever thinking about how the brain is organised anatomically and functionally. In this lecture, Ray will explore his current ideas on the thalamocortical pathways associated with the motor system.
PhD Awarded to Dr. Alison Bembrick and Dr. David Mor (Keay Lab)
9th of December, 2010
Congratulations go out to Dr. Alison Bembrick (Keay Laboratory) for being awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy as well as Dr. David Mor (Keay laboratory), also for being awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
They are due to graduate next week, more information and pictures will available soon.
Anatomy Students On Top
9th of December, 2010
Congratulations go out from the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology on the successes of our Young Investigators, taking out 3 of the 6 awards on offer for the event.
- Agilent Technologies Prize for Best Oral Presentation by a Postgraduate Research Student
Eun Hye Hailey Shin
- Sapphire Prize for Best Oral Presentation by a Postgraduate Research Student
- Lastek Prize for Outstanding Poster Presentation
- Assessors' Acknowledgements - Best Poster selection process
University Medal Awarded to Jonathan Hakim
11th of November, 2010
Congratulations go out to Jonathan Hakim for earning the University Medal.
It should be noted that the University Medal is a result, not a scholarship or prize. It is awarded on graduation to a student enrolled under a graded assessment system (ie not a pass/fail system such as the BDent) who has merited first class honours and whose work is of outstanding merit in the opinion of the faculty.
The University, The Faculty of Medicine and the Discipline of Anatomy and Histology recognise Jonathan's hard work, this is a prestigious and worthy achievement, one that undoubtedly signals a bright future.
Jonathan was also awarded the McAvoy Prize for his Honours efforts and was presented with his prize in the Anderson Stuart Common Room by Head of Department Kevin Keay (more below).
Honours Prize Presentation
11th of November, 2010
The Discipline of Anatomy & Histology hosted a Morning Tea where our completing Honours students for 2010 were awarded Student Prizes. Head of Department Kevin Keay handed out Awards in recognition of the hard work of our students. The following students received prizes for their efforts:
Jose Filipe Gonsalves - Dreher Prize (pictured below - left)
Alexandra Stathis - Stone Prize (pictured below - middle)
Jonathan Hakim - McAvoy Prize (pictured below - right)
Prof. Cristobal Remedios awarded Silver Medal for 40 years of service
14th of October, 2010
Cristobal G. dos Remedios, Professor of Anatomy and Biophysics will be awarded a Silver Medal for 40 years of service to the University in a ceremony that is being held on Tuesday, 16 November 2010. The event will be held in the Great Hall (6pm-8pm) to recognise staff who have completed 15, 25, 40 and 50 years of service as at 31 December 2009.
Prof. Remedios was first employed as a Teaching Fellow in 1966 before being appointed as a Temporary Lecturer in 1969. A wide range of themes are researched in his laboratory - the Muscle Research Unit (MRU).
The Discipline offers its congratulations to Professor Remedios for his long service and the contribution he has made to the University as well as his ongoing contribution to Biophysics and Heart Research.
2010 Prosectors Workshop and Competition now open
05th of October, 2010
Applications for the 2010 Prosectors Competition and Prosection Workshop have just opened and will close on October 29. For further information head to the All Students section of the Opportunities for Dissection webpage and contact Marcus Robinson.
+61 2 9351 2816 - Phone
+61 2 9351 2817 - Fax
Room S421, Anderson Stuart Building - Office (upstairs)
2008-2009 Annual Prosectors Competition - Certificate Presentation
23rd of September, 2010
Prizes and certificates were presented to entrants of the 2008 & 2009 Annual Prosectors' Competition in the Anderson Stuart Common Room at 3pm. The competition is open to all students who have attended the Prosectors workshop or can demonstrate equivalent knowledge.
The aim for entrants is to dissect a specimen worthy of inclusion in the Wilson Museum of Human Anatomy. Anatomy staff adjudicate the prizes and award the sought after title of ‘Prosector’.
The Hunter Prize for dissection in 2008 was jointly awarded to James Robinson, for his dissection of the ear, and Emily Davidson for her dissection of the trigeminal nerve. In 2009 the Hunter prize for dissection was also jointly awarded to Louise Waterhouse for her dissection of the facial nerve and Ibrahim Al Salti for his dissection of the oral cavity and floor of mouth. Ibrahim was also awarded the Lowenthal Prize for the best contribution to the Wilson Museum. All recipients worked hard for this great result and were at the Disciplines award ceremony to receive their certificates.
Many of the other participants in the prosectors competition and prosection workshop for 2008 and 2009 were present to receive their certificates. Congratulations to everyone, your efforts have finally been recognised and your dissections have joined the ranks in our vast teaching collection.
The Head of Anatomy and Histology, Associate Professor Kevin Keay presented the prizes and certificates.
|2008 and 2009 recepients|
|James Robinson and Kevin Keay||Emily Davidson and Kevin Keay|
|Louise Waterhouse and Kevin Keay||Ibrahim Al Salti and Kevin Keay|
Open Day 2010
28th of August, 2010
The University of Sydney will be holding its annual Open Day on Saturday 28 August 2010 from 9.30am until 4pm.
The day is organised to give all prospective students the opportunity to visit the University and seek academic advice as well as find out about the other exciting opportunities and support services available to students who study at Sydney. Major course advice centres will operate on the Camperdown Campus in the Great Hall, Ante Room and MacLaurin Hall and from fete stalls within the Quadrangle.
Parking will be free on the day, however visitors have been advised that it is very limited, and are encouraged to travel to the University by public transport or on the free buses provided from Railway Square. These buses will operate all day from Railway Square, George Street to the Camperdown Campus. Free shuttle buses will also transport visitors to the Rozelle Campus (Sydney College of the Arts), Macquarie St Campus (Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and Mallett St Campus (Nursing and Midwifery). Check the website for information on bus timetables.
Details about activities, faculty tours and mini lectures and all other event information can be found online at http://sydney.edu.au/open_day/
Please feel free to come along and if you have any family or friends who are considering study at the University of Sydney please forward them this email.
For enquiries about Anatomy and Histology please call (02) 9351 2497 or email us .
General enquiries call 1300 362 006 or email .
Bosch Young Investigators
20th of August, 2010
The Bosch Young Investigators seminar was held as the first of the biennial seminar series at 3pm in room N248 in the Anderson Stuart Building.
"As usual, nibbles and drinks will be provided…. So plan your experiments around it, and we look forward to seeing you for some excellent presentations by some of our young investigators."
The presenters were (in no particular order):
- Hailey Shin (Anatomy): “Sprouty prevents TGFβ-induced cataractogenesis”
- Dr. Jie Liu (Physiology): “Calcium and cardiac pacemaking”
- Dr. Thamara Abou Antoun (International speaker): “A proteomics approach to the molecular characterization of murine neuroblastoma stem-like cells”
- Dr. Katherine Locock (Pharmacology): Novel GABAC Receptor Antagonists: Design, Synthesis and Activity
School of Medical Sciences meeting
20th of August, 2010
The School meeting was held on Friday from 3pm in the Professorial Board Room, Main Quad, followed by drinks in the Anderson Stuart Courtyard from 4pm. Attendees were invited to come along and find out what was happening in their Disciplines, the School's other Disciplines, and what is coming up School-wide in the near and not so near future.
Paul Nash (Henderson Laboratory) awarded PhD
14th of July, 2010
The Discipline of Anatomy & Histology Postgraduate Committee and Luke Henderson (PhD Supervisor) pass on their congratulations to Dr. Paul Nash (Neural Imaging Laboratory), who has recently been awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
I first began in the department as a graduate diploma student in Luke's lab in 2005.
After completing that, I started my PhD, also with Luke, studying the central nervous system representation of acute and chronic orofacial pain. The results of which showed that deep and superficial pain have differential representation within the trigeminal system in the brainstem. Furthermore, pain from the face has a bilateral representation within trigeminothalamic tract as well as resulting in a long term depression of the primary motor cortex. The results from the acute pain study were then compared to the pattern of baseline activation in a population of chronic pain patients. The results showed that a similar set of brain structures were active in chronic pain patients, however these areas seemed to be behaving differently.
Since submitting my PhD I've taken up a post doctoral fellowship studying chronic pain in the spinal cord with fMRI in the Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab at Stanford University. This is with the long term aim of returning to Australia one day and taking up an academic position.
Hons candidate Shawna Foo (Byrne Lab) wins national award and research grant
21st of May, 2010
Shawna Foo is currently completing her Honours in the Byrne Lab and has recently been awarded a research grant and has been the recipient of a national Honours award.
Shawna has been successful in her application for the Marine Adaptation Network Honours Research Support Grant. This will support her research investigating the interactive effects of climate change stressors on echinoderm development and their adaptive capacity.
Shawna also has been selected as the recipient of the 2010 NSW AMSA Honours Student Award. This is awarded from the Australian Marine Sciences Association to support honours research.
Frank Lovicu (Postgraduate Coordinator): "This is a great achievement especially for such a junior member of our discipline".
PhD candidate Hailey Shin (Lens Research Laboratory) granted prestigious travel award
18th of May, 2010
Ms Hailey Shin (PhD candidate) from the Lens Research Laboratory was granted a prestigious travel award by the International Society for Eye Research to attend and present her work at the International Congress for Eye Research to be held in Montreal, Canada, in July, 2010.
Our laboratory has shown that proteins in the eye belonging to the Sprouty gene family play a role in maintenance of the integrity of lens cells. These proteins are not only strongly expressed in the lens but we have recently shown them to effectively influence the ability of lens cells to respond to cytokines such as TGFß. As TGFß has the ability to induce cataract in our lines of transgenic mice, we can effectively block this ocular pathology by overexpressing Sprouty in lenses of these mice. Taken together, anatogonists such as Sprouty may have in role in tightly regulating the growth factor signaling in the lens, in effect maintaining the structure and function of this tissue.
Desired outcomes from travel
Hailey: "I would like to form further acquaintances with other fellow researchers in the vision research field. I would like to not only obtain feedback on my current research, but also expand my interest in vision research. I believe that it will provide an invaluable opportunity to obtain deeper insights for my PhD project and also further my career in scientific research."
Ellas Nanitsos (Balcar laboratory) awarded PhD
12th of May, 2010
The Discipline of Anatomy & Histology Postgraduate Committee and Vladimir Balcar (PhD Supervisor) pass on their congratulations to Ellas Nanitsos (Balcar laboratory), who has recently been awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Ellas studied Neuroscience at The University of Sydney and graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Ellas returned to her studies in 2002 and obtained Graduate Diploma in Science for her thesis "The role of Na+-dependent Glutamate Transporters and the (Na+,K+)-ATPase in the CNS" while she developed a novel method (uptake of Rb+ estimated by atomic absorption spectrometry) for studying the activity of (Na+,K+)-ATPase in fresh brain tissue in vitro.
Ellas then extended her interests towards the biochemistry and pharmacology of mental disease. In her PhD thesis "Impact of pharmacological manipulation of neurotransmitter systems on brain metabolism" Ellas focused on actions of neuroleptic haloperidol and other drugs such as dopamine agonists, antagonists and re-uptake inhibitors as well as purinergic agonists and an endocannabinoid anandamide on (Na+,K+)-ATPase, glutamate transporters and brain metabolom studied by 13C-NMR spectroscopy. The latter part of the work was done in collaboration with Professor Caroline (Lindy) Rae at POWMRI. The principal finding was that chronic haloperidol reduced levels of both GLAST and GLT (the two most important glutamate transporters accounting for about 3% of total brain protein) and this was accompanied by significant changes in brain metabolom. Other observations included reversal of ouabain effects (oubain is a (Na+,K+)-ATPase inhibitor and known neurotoxin) by anandamide, possibly providing early glimpses of a previously unexplored mechanism underlying aetiology of schizophrenia.
Ellas: "The field of neurochemistry is a fascinating area as it provides clues to some of the processes underlying the functions of the nervous system. I particularly enjoy the challenge in attempting to unravel the mechanisms with which the various neurotransmitter systems interlink with each other. As such I am looking forward to pursuing a career in neurochemical research in the area of either schizophrenia, food intolerances or perhaps addiction. I currently enjoy conveying to students my passion for the nervous system through my teaching."
Vladimir Balcar: "It was a great pleasure to work with Ellas. After her visit in Prague Centre of Psychiatry, the deputy director remarked to me 'for a PhD student, Ellas is such a gentle and polite person'. He was absolutely right, yet Ellas always managed to get her way. She was rewarded for her persistence with a wonderful set of findings that may help us to understand why the brain sometimes does not function as it should."