Clinical school newsletter

2010 - Issue 4

Clinical School News

Summer Research Scholarship Program


I joined Prof Kathryn North’s lab for six weeks at the end of the second year of my Biomedical Science degree. When I applied for the position I was genuinely unsure whether I was interested in research as a career; by the end of the six weeks I found it hard to imagine doing anything else.
My project involved looking at muscle samples from a variety of patients with currently undiagnosed muscle diseases. With careful tuition from an excellent post-doc (Nan Yang) and a patient PhD student (Harriet Lo) I learnt a set of key experimental techniques and applied them to real samples. Most importantly, I learnt about the real process of science – things that weren’t taught in my undergraduate classes, such as how to approach experimental design and trouble-shooting, think through a multi-step research plan, or present to an actively sceptical audience.
The studentship also led directly to further opportunities: I worked part-time in Prof North’s group during the third year of my degree, then continued to an Honours year and a PhD within the same team. After finishing my PhD I moved to the UK to pursue high-throughput genomics research at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, where I’m currently based.
The studentship was an invaluable introduction to the realities of the research process, which I’d recommend to any undergraduate considering a career in science.

Daniel Macarthur

Thank you drinks and Sustained Excellence in Teaching awards

Two award winners for Sustained Excellence in Teaching were announced during Thank You Drinks on 11 November. The drinks were held after the final Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health meeting of the year to thank all staff who have been involved in teaching and examining medical students and supervising research students this year.

The Sustained Excellence in Teaching awards were presented to Professor Peter van Asperen and Associate Professor John Harvey by the Dean, Professor Bruce Robinson. Peter and John have been involved in teaching for many years, both as lecturers and tutors. They have both won a Lorimer Excellence in Teaching award, following nominations from medical students each year: Peter won the special award in 2007 and John won the award for surgical teaching in 2004.

Over the years Peter and John have received a large number of nominations for Excellence in teaching awards from students. Two students wrote the following in support of their nominations:


Peter van Asperen

‘Peter van Asperen was the ideal PBL tutor - steered us in the right direction if we went off track and encouraged us to look up difficult concepts and bring the answers for our colleagues the following session, instead of him just giving us the answers every time.’

John Harvey

John Harvey

'John Harvey was absolutely hilarious. Has a way of explaining things so that they really stick. I love how he actually explains the hows and whys, rather than just having us memorize things. He was really really busy and always made an effort to set plenty of time aside for us.’

We thank Peter and John for their commitment and dedication to teaching medical students.

Congratulations to Andrew Holland: Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons

Andrew Holland

Following a two-year accreditation process, Andrew Holland was awarded Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons in October of this year. This was in recognition of his expertise and commitment to the surgical care of children and his dedication to research and teaching in paediatric surgery.

Andrew joins the Australian chapter of the American college and remains one of a select few Australian surgeons and clinical academics to have been awarded the FACS.

Research News

Welcome to Yoshita Oza


We welcome Yoshita Oza, who recently joined the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health as Business and Research Manager. Yoshita will work closely with researchers, with an aim to strategically locate funding opportunities and maximise successful funding outcomes. Yoshita will assist academics with all aspects of research funding, including preparation of proposals and post-award management of grants.

Yoshita has two masters' degrees in Genetics and has research experience in Molecular Biology at Penn State University, USA. Her past work experience includes research management positions at UTS and ANU.

Student News

Postgraduate research student - Joanna MacLean


Joanna MacLean recently completed her PhD and has returned to Canada to establish a research program in infant sleep and breathing. Joanna’s PhD, ‘Sleep and breathing in infants and children with cleft lip and/or palate,’ focused on the investigation of clinical features of sleep and breathing disruption in this high risk group. Her study was the first to investigate the effects of sleep disordered breathing on ventilatory control in infants and established that sleep disordered breathing in early infancy changes how infants respond to subsequent exposure to low levels of oxygen.
Joanna has joined the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, as a clinician-scientist and assistant professor in the Division of Respiratory Medicine. She has joined the Women & Children’s Health Research Institute, which is establishing a translational research program in respiratory development. Clinically, Joanna will continue her focus on paediatric sleep medicine and has joined the cleft palate team at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. To keep her returning to Sydney, Joanna has projects continuing at CHW.

Returning to Canada after five years in Sydney is a big adjustment, especially as far as the weather is concerned. Edmonton was briefly the coldest place on the planet last winter with a record low of -59°C! Joanna is attempting to continue her marathon training, stocking up on thermal running wear, with 100+ km of river valley trails outside her back door. She is also preparing to tackle the snow after a couple of trips on to glaciers in the Rockies and Southern Alps.


Sydney Medical Program student - Martha Ghaly


Martha Ghaly is a final year medical student who is completing her PreInternship (PrInt) in a split placement at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School. She has spent the first half of her eight week block in General Surgery and the second half in Emergency under the supervision of Dr Jason Hort.
Martha’s objective for completing her PrInt term in paediatrics was threefold: firstly to increase her exposure to paediatric presentations, especially in Emergency; secondly to test her interest in paediatric surgery; and thirdly to gain clinical experience in a new hospital setting.
In committing to undertake her internship at Lismore Base Hospital in 2011, Martha felt the emergency paediatric experience at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead during PrInt would be invaluable for her regional internship. She has also had a longstanding interest in general surgery and was unsure about whether this applied to paediatrics, given her limited exposure as a medical student.
Over the course of the degree Martha’s primary clinical school was Nepean, with her elective at Lismore Base Hospital, her final year studies (including the Child and Adolescent Health specialty block) at Orange Base Hospital and a general practice placement at Gove Hospital, NT. She thought a PrInt placement at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead would be another “feather in her cap” of clinical settings.
All these varied experiences will enrich and inform Martha’s decision about the speciality she hopes to pursue.
We wish Martha all the best with her internship and her future medical career.

Grants, Achievements, Promotions and Titles


Dr Joshua Burns appointed Director Paediatric Gait Analysis Service NSW.

Dr Yvonne Zurynski together with Dr Danielle Grenier from Canada, will chair the International Network of Paediatric Surveillance Units for the next 3 years until the IPA Congress in 2013 in Melbourne.



NHMRC Project Grants awarded to Researchers at KRI/CHW as the Lead Chief Investigator:

Chief Investigators: Dr Fabienne Brilot-Turville, Dr Russell Dale
Project Title: NMDAR encephalitis in children: an autoimmune model of cognitive, psychiatric and movements disorders.
Total amount awarded: $481,996

Chief Investigators: Prof Kathryn North
Project Title: The influence of a-actinin-3 on muscle structure, metabolism, performance and response to diet and disease.
Total amount awarded: $556,870.60

Chief Investigators: A/Prof David Little, Prof Ian Alexander, Dr Aaron Schindeler
Project Title: Noval therapeutic interventions for the Orthopaedic complications of Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1).
Total amount awarded: $606,732

Chief Investigators: A/Prof David Little, Dr Aaron Schindeler, Dr Mark Hamrick
Project Title: The role of muscle and the application of muscle-cell therapies in bone repair.
Total amount awarded: $423,786

Chief Investigators: Prof Katherine Steinbeck, Dr Catherine Hawke, Prof Philip Hazell, Dr Susan Rachel Skinner, A/Prof Rebecca Ivers, Prof Robert Booy, Prof Robert Cumming, Prof Gregory Fulcher
Project Title: Adolescent Rural Cohort Study Hormones, Health, Education, Environments and Relationships
Total amount awarded: $975,651.60

Chief Investigators: Prof Ian Alexander, A/Prof Filip Braet, Prof John Christodoulou, Prof Philip Kuchel, Dr Kevin Carpenter,
Project Title: In vivo gene transfer and phenotype correction of normal and urea-cycle deficient primary human hepatocytes in chimeric mouse-human livers: Towards gene therapy for metabolic liver disease.
Total amount awarded: $476,706

Chief Investigators: Dr Robyn Jamison
Project Title: High resolution genomics and advances in human eye disease
Total amount awarded: $322,524

NHMRC Project Grants awarded to Researchers at KRI as a Chief Investigator via other Institutions:

Chief Investigators: Prof Mark Connor, Prof Peter McIntyre, Dr Christopher Vaughan, A/Prof Michael Kassiou
Project Title: Molecular targets of amino acid/neurotransmitter conjugates of fatty acids
Total amount awarded: $812,852

Chief Investigators: Dr Li Ming Wen, Prof Louise Baur, A/Prof Chris Rissel, A/Prof Victoria Flood, Prof Judy Simpson, Dr Alison Hayes, Dr Louise Hardy
Project Title: Effectiveness of an early intervention trial to prevent obesity - Phase 2: Follow-up and cost effectiveness analysis
Total amount awarded: $420,488.8

Chief Investigators: A/Prof Ruiting Lan, Dr Sintchenko Vitali, Prof Gwendolyn Gilbert, Prof Peter McIntyre, Dr Helen Marshall, Dr Nick Wood
Project Title: Evolution of pertussis epidemics and effect of genotypes on infection outcomes and immunisation
Total amount awarded: $638,100

Chief Investigators: Dr Charles Verge, Dr Shihab Hameed, A/Prof Adam Jaffe, Prof Jenny Peat, Dr Hiran Selvadurai, Dr Peter Cooper, Dr Jodi Hilton, A/Prof Kim Donaghue, Dr Craig Munns, A/Prof Patricia Crock
Project Title: Cystic Fibrosis - Insulin Deficiency, Early Action (CFIDEA)
Total amount awarded: $381,530.40

Chief Investigators: Dr Rod Hunt, Prof Paul Colditz, A/Prof Terrie Inder, Prof Nadia Badawi, Prof Karen Simmer, Dr Helen Liley, A/Prof David Osborn, Dr Jeanie Cheong, Dr Ian Wright
Project Title: A study of the impact of treating electrographic seizures in term or near-term
Total amount awarded: $130,1309.60

Chief Investigators: A/Prof Sepehr Tabrizi, Dr Julia Brotherton, Dr Susan Rachel Skinner, Dr Matthew Stevens
Project Title: The population impact of human papillomavirus vaccination on circulating genotypes
Total amount awarded: $242,788

Chief Investigators: A/Prof Katherine Clark, Prof David Currow, Prof Nicholas Talley, Dr Philip Dinning, A/Prof Lawrence Lam, Prof Patricia Davidson,
Dr Meera Agar, Ms Tania Shelby-James, Prof Jane Phillips
Project Title: A multi-site randomised controlled trial comparing the severity of constipation symptoms experienced by palliative care patients receiving usual care compared to those diagnosed and managed according to the underlying pathophysiology.
Total amount awarded: $481,469.20

Chief Investigators: A/Prof Helen Leonard, Prof Elizabeth Elliott, Prof John Christodoulou, Dr Jenny Downs, Dr Carolyn Ellaway, Mr Peter Jacoby, Mr Ian Torode
Project Title: Towards evidence-based care for Rett syndrome: a research model to inform management of rare disorders
Total amount awarded: $441,972.80

Star Scientific Foundation: Dr Russell Dale and Dr Fabienne Brilot-Turville – $338,085.

Hoc Mai foundation Research Grant, 2011 – NGUYEN Van Bang, VU Tuong Van, NGUYEN Thi Van Anh, ELLIOTT Elizabeth Jane. Epidemiological and Clinical Aspects of Congenital Rubella Syndrome: A Pilot Study in Vietnam. $10,000

Promotions & titles

New Titles

Dr Iman Ridda – Conjoint Lecturer (NCIRS)
Dr Kate Sullivan – Conjoint Associate Lecturer (Orthopaedics)
Dr Angela Morrow – Conjoint Senior Lecturer (Rehabilitation)
Dr Kristine Macartney – Conjoint Associate Professor (NCIRS)
Dr Madhura Bakshi – Clinical Associate Lecturer (Clinical Genetics)
Dr Dale Wright – Clinical Lecturer (Cytogenetics)
Dr Queenie Chan – Conjoint Associate Lecturer (Surgery)
Dr Nameet Jerath – Honorary Associate (DCH)
Ms Fiona Richards – Clinical Lecturer (Clinical Genetics)
Dr Justin Needs – Clinical Lecturer (General Medicine)
Dr Alan Ma – Clinical Associate Lecturer (Clinical Genetics)
Dr Elizabeth Palmer – Clinical Associate Lecturer (Clinical Genetics)
Ms Cheryl Cotton – Clinical Associate Lecturer (Clinical Genetics)
Ms Zoe Milgrom – Clinical Associate Lecturer (Clinical Genetics)


Dr Yvonne Zurynski – Associate Professor
Dr Russell Dale – Associate Professor
Dr Robyn Jamieson – Associate Professor
Dr Rachel Skinner – Associate Professor
Dr Craig Munns – Conjoint Associate Professor
Dr Geraldine O’Neill – Conjoint Associate Professor


Ms Yoshita Oza – Business and Research Manager
Prof Dianne Campbell - Chair in Paediatric Allergy and Immunology


Upcoming conferences and meetings


First Annual Winter Symposium in Intensive Care & Emergency Medicine: Aspen, Colorado - 9-14/01/2011
Aspen, Colorado.
For further information, please visit the website or .

The 1st Global Congress for Consensus in Pediatrics & Child Health: Paris - 17-20/02/2011
This congress will be held in Paris, France from 17 - 20 February 2011. For more information, please visit the website.

"Quality in Midwifery: Good practice in care and education"
February 25-26, 2010
Gent, Belgium
More information

6th World Congress on Pediatric Critical Care: Sydney - 13-17/03/2011
Sydney Exhibition & Convention Centre
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14th Perinatal Society of Australia & New Zealand (PSANZ) Congress, 28-31 March 2010 Wellington, NZ.
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IV World Asthma & COPD Forum: Paris - 30/04-3/05/2011
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Asia-Pacific Meeting On Simulation In Healthcare (APMSH):
Hong Kong 19-22/05/2011 Website:

RACP Congress 2011: 22 – 25/05/2011
Darwin Convention Centre. Theme: 'Take up the Challenge: Indigenous Health and Chronic Disease.' website

29th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Paediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID): The Hague - 7-11/06/2011
More information

9th International Congress of Tropical Pediatrics: Thailand - 17-19/10/2011
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