Clinical School newsletter

2014 - Issue 4

CHW Clinical School news

Christmas greetings


Welcome to the final Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health newsletter for 2014!

On behalf of DPCH, I would like to thank you all for your hard work and dedication this year, and wish you and your families the very best for Christmas and the New Year.

Professor Peter van Asperen

Congratulations to Professor Kate Steinbeck


Professor Kate Steinbeck has been awarded the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine’s Southern Hemisphere International Chapter Recognition Award for 2015.

Kate is an endocrinologist and adolescent health physician with a strong interest in young people with chronic conditions. She has also actively worked in the transitioning of chronically ill adolescents from paediatric to adult care.

Kate holds Australia’s first University Chair in Adolescent Medicine as the inaugural Medical Foundation Chair in Adolescent Medicine at the University of Sydney. She leads a research team working on a number of important areas in adolescent medicine where there are gaps in the evidence needed to improve the health of this group.

Kate is working to integrate research and teaching in adolescent medicine, to promote youth health issues and educate and support doctors who treat young people.

Medical education update

#edtech Network
The University of Sydney Institute for Teaching and Learning (ITL) have recently set up an #edtechNetwork. The network brings members of the university community together for the #edtech talks to hear about the latest edtech developments, and to share their ideas, experiments and successes in using technology in their teaching. The University will be looking to the members of the Network as a source of expertise, ideas and advice in relation to developing new resources and strategies. For more details click here

You can sign up for The University of Sydney Institute for Teaching and Learning’s monthly eBulletin Teaching@Sydney. The eBulletin aims to keep readers up to date on teaching and learning news, events and funding opportunities at the University of Sydney and elsewhere in Australia.

Postscript Paris


As many of you are aware, while in Paris from September 2013 to September 2014, I was working with Université Descartes Paris 5.

Professeur Patrick Berche, a paediatric microbiologist, had been the Dean of their medical school since 2000, but his term came to an end in June 2014. His successor was elected by a group of academics, students and university staff. After a campaign and ‘professions of faith’ the successful candidate, 23 votes to 17, over Pr Claire Le Jeunne, was Professeur Gerard Friedlander, an adult nephrologist and physiologist based at Hopital Europeen Georges Pompidou.

I met with Pr Friedlander just before I left Paris. He looks forward to continuing our collaboration on student and other exchanges.

Research news

Congratulations to Clinical Associate Professor Nadia Badawi


Congratulations to Professor Nadia Badawi, Woman of Influence! Also Macquarie Group Foundation Chair of Cerebral Palsy at the University of Notre Dame, Professor Badawi was announced a winner in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac ‘100 Women of Influence Awards‘ for 2014.

She has been recognised in the Global Influence category for her contribution in leading international research into cerebral palsy prevention and cure, as well as her contribution to ensuring educational opportunities in developing countries through her support of the School for Life Foundation.

We are fortunate to have Nadia working with us at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead’s Grace Centre for Newborn Care in clinical, research and education roles.

Lifespan Research Day: Congratulations to DPCH members

The Lifespan Research Day held at The University of Sydney on Monday 3 November was an interesting and successful day. Three of our Discipline members were successful in receiving prizes on the day:

Wendy Gold (Metabolic Research) - First prize for Early Career Researcher oral presentation
Marie Deverell (APSU) – First prize for Early Career Researcher poster presentation
Barbara Lucas (The Lililwan Project) – Best short oral presentation by a PhD student

Early Career Researcher profile: Dr Tracey Tsang


Dr Tracey Tsang is an early career researcher with an extensive research background in adolescent and behavioural health, including obesity, metabolic syndrome, physical activity and attention deficit/hyperactive disorder.

She joined the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health in November 2013 as a Senior Research Fellow, working with the NHMRC-funded Lililwan Project team (CIA: Prof. Elizabeth Elliott) to determine the prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.

Tracey is currently supporting five postgraduate students and is supervising a summer scholarship student. At present her FASD work is focused on characterising the behaviour profiles and facial features of Aboriginal children living in remote communities with prenatal alcohol exposure and she is working on the development of a FASD screening tool. The team’s research has important implications for the diagnosis and management of children with FASD and is highly translatable into practice.

Tracey will be presenting some of the team’s preliminary findings in three separate presentations at the 6th International Conference on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in Vancouver, Canada (March 2015) and she has recently been awarded a Sydney Medical School Early Career Researcher Travel Grant for this trip. Having a keen interest in research, Tracey is also an expert reviewer and committee member for the Scientific Advisory Committee for Westmead Hospital.

In addition to her academic interests, Tracey is an avid violinist who has previously co-organised concerts with her pianist-colleague, Professor David Bennett, jointly raising funds for her team’s research as well as Prof. Bennett’s Chronic Illness Peer Support group. Tracey frequently performs with other music colleagues in her spare time.

2015 ECR Talk and Cheese Seminars

Topic Date
Tips on RGMS grant submission Tuesday 27th January
Social Media and your research Wednesday 25th March
Tips on writing your grant rebuttal Tuesday 12th May
CV building Wednesday 29th July
Mentorship Tuesday 29th September
Tips on grant style and budgets Wednesday 25th November

Venue: Doreen Dew Lecture Theatre, L4 Education Centre
Time: 12.30 – 1.30pm

These sessions are intentionally kept fairly informal with lots of time for open discussion and questions. This program has been developed to address ECR education needs identified in the DPCH ECR research study. Seminars are held every two months and address key topics that are relevant for all ECRs (with clinical basic-science and public health interests).

This is an excellent opportunity to meet other ECRs and strengthen ties within the ECR community. The target audience is all ECRs who are in the first 10 years post-PhD, however interested senior researchers and final-stage PhD students are welcome as well. The coordinators of these events are , A/Prof Patrina Caldwell, A/Prof Karen Walker and A/Prof Nigel Clarke.

Medical education research update

ANZAHPE education research grants
The Australia New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators has reintroduced its small education research grants, which are due 19 December 2014. More information.

DPCH medical education research
The DPCH Medical Education Research meetings are held bi-monthly on the first Tuesday of the month from 12 to 1pm in the CHW Clinical School seminar room. The first Medical Education Research meeting in 2015 will be held on 3 March. If you would like more information, please contact or .

The following journal articles in medical education research written by DPCH staff have recently been accepted:

Morris A, Campbell D. The Script Concordance Test for clinical reasoning in paediatric medicine: medical student performance and expert panel reliability. Focus on Health Professional Education.

O’Leary F, Scott KM, McGarvey K, Bennett T, Caldwell PHY & Teixeira-Pinto A. Interactive E-Learning for enhancing health outcomes in people with cultural and linguistic diversity. Proposal accepted by the Cochrane Consumers and Communication Review Group.

Student news

Postgraduate research student profile: Gillian Blue


Gillian completed a BSc (summa cum laude), majoring in Genetics and Psychology, at the University of Natal in South Africa. She continued her studies and obtained her Honours (cum laude) and Masters in Genetics. After moving to Australia, she accepted a position as Genetic Counsellor and DNA Bank Coordinator at Kids Heart Research and at the Department of Clinical Genetics based at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney.

With a particular interest in cardiac genetics, Gillian enrolled as a PhD candidate at The University of Sydney in 2011 and commenced her studies on a project entitled ‘The Genetics of Congenital Heart Disease – new genes, mechanisms and attitudes’. Her PhD is essentially a ‘bench to bedside’ project and includes laboratory-based studies using high-throughput genetic technologies, including whole exome sequencing and targeted next generation sequencing for gene discovery in the field of congenital heart disease. Her research also focuses on improving ways to communicate genetic information on the causes of congenital heart disease to affected individuals and their families.

Gillian was recently awarded the ‘Young Investigator Award’ at the International Clinical Cardiovascular Genetics Conference for her study entitled, ‘Targeted next generation sequencing identifies pathogenic variants in familial CHD’. After completing her PhD she hopes to combine her laboratory and clinical research skills with her genetic counselling skills for the development of a CHD genetics clinic.

Postgraduate research student profile: Roula Ghaoui


Roula Ghaoui is an adult neurologist currently completing the second year of her PhD at the Institute for Neuroscience and Muscle Research (INMR) under the supervision of Associate Professor Nigel Clarke and Professor Carolyn Sue. Her primary clinical and research interests are in the diagnoses and treatment of muscle disorders. She has a recent publication in the Internal Medicine Journal on ‘Muscle disorders: the latest investigations’. Her PhD project focuses on using new technologies, such as whole exome sequencing, to establish the genetic diagnoses in previously undiagnosed limb-girdle muscular dystrophies.

The Gene Discovery Laboratory within the INMR has an established collaboration with A/Prof Daniel MacArthur, Broad Institute, Boston to perform whole exome sequencing on large patient cohorts. To date, whole exome data on 50 limb-girdle muscular dystrophies families has been received and analysed. The use of whole exome sequencing has allowed them to establish a diagnosis and identify pathogenic mutations in 47% of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy patients. The ultimate goal of this research is to achieve higher rates of diagnoses and to optimise healthcare and genetic counselling for people living with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy in Australia.

Roula presented her findings as an oral presentation at two conferences this year: the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurology Annual Scientific Meeting in Adelaide, as well as the Australasian Neuromuscular Network meeting in Melbourne. She also attended the World Muscle Society Conference in Berlin in October, where she presented her findings as a poster presentation and was awarded a fellowship.

Sydney University Paediatric Society (SUPS) Update

The medical student members and executive of SUPS continue to work hard on fundraising and educational activities.

The Incoming 2015 Executive are:
President: Lindsey Jones (RPA, Rising Stage Three)
Vice President – Secretary: Lucy Burgess (RPA, Rising Stage Three)
Vice President – Finance: Ashley Chan (RPA, Rising Stage Three)
Vice President – Policy: Roger Jen (Northern, Rising Stage Two)
Vice President – Events: Adrienne Campbell (Nepean, Rising Stage Three)
Vice President – Events: Chad Abbot (RPA, Rising Stage Two)

Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health members look forward to working with SUPS in 2015. We will read about their activities in this newsletter.

Grants, Achievements, Promotions and Titles

Grant news

Marie Bashir Institute Seed Grant
Prof. Cheryl Jones, Dr Phil Britton, Dr Eddie Holmes, Dr Grant Hill-Cawthorne and Dr Alison Kesson: EV71 molecular epidemiology – informing vaccine effectiveness and outbreak preparedness. Amount awarded $10,500.

Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant
Dr Sarah Garnett, Prof. Louise Baur, Prof. Chris Cowell and Megan Gow. An early start to cardiovascular disease prevention: the intermittent fast diet for obese adolescents.

Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia Grant
A/Prof. Russell Dale and Dr Fabienne Brilot-Turville. MOG antibody: a biomarker of bilateral and relapsing optic neuritis. Amount awarded $220,000

NHMRC Partnerships
A/Prof. Kate Curtis, Prof. Andrew Holland. Evidence to change policy and improve outcomes in children suffering major injury. Amount awarded $501,694.

NHMRC Project Grants
Prof. Ian Alexander. Functional restoration of OTC deficient primary human hepatocytes in a xenograft model using an AAV vector uniquely configured for impending clinical trial use. Amount awarded $229,718

Prof. Ian Alexander. Treatment of genetic liver disease by homologous recombination in vivo, coupled with a pharmocol-genetic strategy for selective expansion of genetically repaired hepatocytes. Amount awarded $885,084.

Dr Fabienne Brilot-Turville and A/Prof. Russell Dale. Dopamine-2 receptor antibody in movement and psychiatric disorders. Amount awarded $402,976.

Dr Yuan Wang and A/Prof. Stephen Alexander. Targeting Tregs Using Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs) for the Treatment of Autoimmune Renal Disease. Amount awarded $798,872.

Dr Nadine Kasparian, A/Prof. David Winlaw and A/Prof. Gary Sholler. Critical illness in children: Can we afford to neglect the psychological risks? The impact, acceptability and cost-effectiveness of routine psychosocial assessment and stepped care for families of infants with heart disease.

NHMRC Career Development Fellowships
Dr Camille Raynes-Greenow. Reducing the global burden of disease in maternal and child health through public health intervention research. Amount awarded $411,768.

NHMRC Early Career Fellowships (Overseas)
Dr Emily Oates. Disease gene discovery and improved genetic diagnosis in neuromuscular disorders. Amount awarded $455,432

ARC discovery grants
Cooper, Dr Spring C; Albury, Dr Katherine M; Chung, Dr Kon Shing Kenneth; Skinner, A/Prof Susan R; Lim, Dr Megan S. This project will explore whether there exists a relationship between adolescents' social networks (both online and offline) and one important aspect of healthy sexual development - the development of sexual agency - and if so, it will investigate the nature of that relationship. The longitudinal mixed methods study proposed here aims to capture the development of sexual behaviours and the online and offline interactions adolescents engage in. This project aims to determine: whether there is a relationship between adolescents' online and offline social networks and the development of sexual agency; if such a relationship exists, what is its nature? And, if the relationship exists, to what extent is the relationship moderated by online social media use? Amount awarded $307,900.00

Congratulations also go to Nigel Clarke, Nadia Badawi, Julian Ayer, Louise Baur, Dianne Campbell, Hasantha Gunasekera, Paul Robinson and others who are CIs on awarded project grants for 2015.

A great achievement, also, for Maria Craig, who is a CI on a CRE award (Centre of Research Excellence for the Protection of Pancreatic Beta Cells, 2015-2019) and for Steve Alexanderwho is a CI on a CRE award to Prof Carola Vinnesa, ANU for “ Center for Personalised Immunology”.

If any members of the Discipline have been awarded a grant which is not noted here, please let Leigh Smith ( know so we can update our records.

Prof. Louise Baur – The Healthy Beginnings Trial team awarded the 2014 NSW Health Preventative Health Award.

New titles

Helen Cheng: Conjoint Associate Lecturer
Christine Peng: Clinical Associate Lecturer
Karen Walker: Clinical Associate Professor
Kristi Jones: Clinical Associate Professor
Bhavesh Mehta: Clinical Associate Lecturer
Kavitha Kothur: Clinical Lecturer
Paul Turner: Clinical Associate Professor
Amanda Charlton: Clinical Senior Lecturer
Deepak Gill: Clinical Senior Lecturer


Upcoming conferences and meetings


4th International Congress of Union of European Neonatal and Perinatal Societies: Greece - 11-14/12/2014
This Congress will be held in Athens, Greece from 11 - 14 December 2014. For more information visit


5th Annual Winter Symposium in Intensive Care, Anaesthesia & Emergency Medicine
The 5th Annual Winter Symposium in Intensive Care, Anaesthesia & Emergency Medicine will be held 11 to16 January 2015 at Four Seasons Resort & Spa, Vail, Colorado. Contact or visit for more information.

The Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman 4th International Conference on Pediatric Chronic Diseases, Disability and Human Development
This event will be held from 20 to 23 January 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel. Visit for more information.

Men’s Mental Health: Building a Healthier Future Forum 2015. Sydney - 19 & 20 Feb 2015. Visit the MHS website for more details.

23rd International Childhood Education Symposium. England - 15 - 19 Mar 2015. More information

ANZAHPE/AMEA 2015 Joint Conference . Newcastle Town Hall, Newcastle, NSW, March 29 - April 1, 2015.

RACP Congress 2015 Cairns, Queensland, May 24-27, 2015.
In 2015, we are ..... moving forward to reinvigorate Congress and challenge delegates to ‘break boundaries and create connections’. For further information please visit the website.

9th World Congress on Pediatric Infectious Diseases. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November 18-21, 2015. For further information please visit the website.