Biomedical Science News

Discipline research student obtains grant to study overseas

picture of Victoria Tung

Congratulations to Dr Aaron Camps research student Victoria Tung who obtained a University of Sydney Grant In Aid ($2500) to support a period of overseas research towards her PhD candidature.

Victoria will be working with Dr. Katie Rennie at the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado in Denver USA where she will be characterising the electrophysiological properties of vestibular hair cells in ageing mice. Specifically, while in Colorado Victoria will investigate how the cellular responses of our balance receptors- the vestibular hair cells- change during ageing. Using young and old mice, Victoria will make patch-clamp electrophysiological recordings from the two types of vestibular hair cells (type I and II) as well as the calyx primary afferent neurons that transmit signals from the peripheral balance organs back to the brain. Ultimately, Victoria's work may lead to novel therapeutic targets to ameliorate age-related declines in balance performance. Victoria leaves for the US in 2 months time.

Discipline involvement in brain awareness activities in local school

picture of brain awareness activities in school

Dr Jin Huang organised a variety of fun and hands-on brain awareness activities on Wednesday 18th June 2014. These activities aimed to increase public awareness of the benefits and progress of brain research. Dr Huang and her team (see below) with Year 8 kids from Condell Park High School performed a range of brain related activities. From the positive feedback students provided, it was clear the kids loved to experiment with their reflexes, get their hands dirty (lamb brain dissection) and enjoyed the tasting of jelly beans. They also discovered some amazing body sensations and found out how the brain works! Below are some of the written comments the kids provided:

  • Today's activities in the incursion were amazing and we love to repeat them again!
  • We appreciate your visit and hope to see you again sometime. A warm welcome.
  • Had a great time, learnt many things.
  • Epic and awesome.
  • Great.
  • Fascinated by the particular aspects of science learnt.
  • It was good to have some information on the brain and other functions. Overall, they were well prepared and done.

We would like to thank our Discipline of Biomedical Science for funding these activities. These activities are also part of the activities organised by members of the Sydney Chapter of The American Society for Neuroscience and members of the Australasian Neuroscience Society.

Team members:
Discipline of Biomedical Science: Drs Jin Huang (leader), Alan Freeman, Elizabeth Hegedus, Damian Holsinger and Miss An Truong
Discipline of Physiology: Dr Dario Protti, Mr Josef Daroczy, Mr Ibrahim Darwish and Mr Charles Yates
BMRI: Dr Eryn Werry
ACU: Dr Paul Tawadros

Dr Jin Huang

Anatomy lab student dissection competition presentation

student dissection group picture

Last year 9 students from the FHS took part in our Student Dissection Competition held in the Anatomy lab over the summer break. Students were given sections of the forearm to dissect and devoted much of their holiday time to this project. They all showed great determination to complete their dissections before the commencement of Semester 1 2014.

The specimens were judged accordingly and all of the dissections were of a quality that they will be able to be used in our teaching program. Prizes were given to the 4 best dissections.

  • 1st Feili Zhang.
  • 2nd Place- Natalie Estephan
  • 3rd Place-Valentina Aranda-Blanco.
  • 4th Place –Jeffrey Jusman

[B]All other students who successfully completed their dissections were:

Scott Hardjanto
Daniel Yue Hin Ho
Debbei So
Sarah Weedon
Owen Rollston

Congratulations and thank you to all the students for their contribution to our anatomy lab.
I hope the opportunity to dissect an anatomical specimen remains with you as an invaluable learning experience.

PhD award to Cliffton Chan

thumb image of Cliffton

Congratulations to Cliffton Chan who was recently awarded a degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Cliffton is a sport and musculoskeletal physiotherapist with broad experiences in both the public sector and private practice. He is a lecturer in functional anatomy at the Discipline of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Sydney, and continues to consult as a Senior Physiotherapist at Five Dock Physiotherapy.

Cliffton’s doctoral thesis is entitled ‘Fit to Play: Physiotherapy-Based Interventions for Professional Orchestral Musicians. Alongside the ‘Sound Practice’ research team led by Dr Bronwen Ackermann, Cliffton worked exclusively with the eight premier state orchestras of Australia to reduce performance-related musculoskeletal disorders in professional musicians. He implemented a range of onsite physiotherapy triage clinics, quick recovery treatment services and developed targeted exercise programs via different delivery methods to address the common spinal and upper extremity problems in this population. During his candidature, he won the ‘Best Clinical Research Presentation’ award at the 2011 Australian Physiotherapy Association Conference (Sports stream). Cliffton has also recently won the ‘Alice G. Brandfonbrener Young Investigator Award’ and has been invited as a speaker to present his paper on “The effect of a musicians’ exercise intervention on performance-related musculoskeletal disorders” at the 2014 Performing Arts Medicine Association Conference in Colorado, U.S.A.

Congratulations to Dr Joanna Diong being awarded a 2014 NSF research grant

picture of Joanna

Dr Joanna Diong was awarded a 2014 National Stroke Foundation (NSF) Small Project Grant ($18,308). This project will investigate changes in mechanical properties of the forearm and hand muscles after stroke to determine the mechanisms of contracture (loss of joint range of motion), a common secondary musculoskeletal complication in stroke and other neurological conditions. This project will be conducted in collaboration with Prof Simon Gandevia and Prof Rob Herbert at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA).