Intensive Care Medicine

Research Staff

Clinical Professor Anthony McLean
Dr Louise Cole
Dr Stuart Lane
Sarah Whereat
Associate Professor Stephen Huang
Dr Marek Nalos - Senior Lecturer and Staff Specialist
Associate Professor Ben Tang - Head of Nepean Genomic Research Group
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow-Maryam Shojaei
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow-Dr Grant Parnell


Clinical Professor Anthony McLean

Clinical Professor McLean

The Nepean Hospital Critical Care Division has a very strong focus on research under the leadership of Clinical Professor Tony McLean. Due to the wide varieties of research interests and the increasing research activities, a special Critical Care Research Team was set-up to administer the research activities within the Division. The Team is chaired by Clinical Professor Tony McLean, and is run by Dr Stephen Huang and Dr Ian Seppelt. The Unit has a number of supporting staff, including research registrars, research nurses, data-managing nurses and sonographers. The research activities can be broadly divided into three main types: Clinical trials, clinical science research and quality improvement research.

The Nepean Hospital Department of Intensive Care Medicine is involved in a number of large national and international clinical trials. While some of these studies are commercially sponsored, others are supported by the ANZICS and NHMRC. These trials ranged from the study of drug efficacies to the investigations of the effectiveness of certain intensive care procedures. The Unit has just completed a trial looking at the benefits of infusing albumin intravenously into patients who require resuscitation. Although Nepean is one of the many hospitals participating the trial, its participation level and devotion has earned itself the highest regards and respect in carrying out clinical trials in Australia.

In addition to clinical trials, Clinical Professor McLean’s special interests in clinical and physiological sciences research has resulted in the publications of a number of articles. The main research interests in this area are cardiovascular diseases, their diagnoses and treatments. One of the most powerful non-invasive tool to evaluate heart functions is echocardiography. Nepean ICU is recognized not only to be one of the birth places of intensive care echocardiography but also as a center of excellence in such applications. Refinement and exploration of new echocardiographic techniques are part of the many research themes. Other new diagnostic methods for cardiovascular disease is constantly being researched and applied in the Unit. Recent discovery of the utilization of a small blood-borne chemical, brain natriuretic peptide (or BNP), to detect heart disease in ICU patients has attracted much attention in the critical care area. Invitations have been received from various bodies to present the findings. In term of treatment, a project has been initiated to investigate the use of a new class of drug, called calcium sensitizers, to treat acute heart failure patients and shock patients. It is believed that calcium sensitizer provides the same efficacy, if not better, than the classis drugs but with less adverse effects.

In addition to clinical research, basic science research also forms an important part in our research profile. Such research includes using DNA microarrays to study gene expressions in septic patients, and the use of cellular physiology and biochemistry methods to study the role of purines in sepsis. It is anticipated that the findings of these studies will substantially add our knowledge in the area of sepsis, and will shed light on the many still unanswered mysteries of sepsis.

Nepean ICU not only strives for scientific advancements but also better patient management and care. A number of quality improvement research has resulted in the implementation of better patient care in the Unit. The recent finding of airborne transmission of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (the Golden Staph) came as a surprise to healthcare workers.

The Nepean Department of Intensive Care Medicine research has attracted external fundings of more than a quarter of a million over the last 2 years. Such fundings are expected to increase in the following years. In recognizing Intensive Care Medicine as a specialized and unique area, the Critical Care Research Team welcome any interested individuals, with medical, nursing or science background, either to pursue a postgraduate research degree (PhD or MSc) or to collaborate research studies.

Research interests

Cardiovascular medicine in the intensive care setting

  • B-type natriuretic peptide in the critically ill
  • The use of a calcium sensitizer (levosimendan) in the intensive care unit
  • The application of echocardiography in intensive care medicine, research and teaching.

Sepsis and septic shock

  • The role of purines in septic shock
  • Gene expressions in septic patients.

Haemofiltration in the critically ill

The AORTIC database for the intensive care setting

Clinical trials

  • Saline Albumin Fluid Evaluation (The SAFE trial)
  • Part I of a Phase II study into the effect of vasopressin on vital organ function in patients with septic shock (The STRIVE trial)
  • Phase II study of CD14 in patients with community acquired pneumonia (The EPN01 trial)
  • Efficacy and safety of drotrecogin alpha (activated) in adult patients with early stage sever sepsis (The ADDRESS trial)
  • Part I of a Phase II study into the effect of vasopressin on vital organ function in patients with septic shock (The VANISSH trial)



Associate Professor Benjamin Tang is the head of the Nepean Genomic Research Group.

He is a critical care physician and immunogeneticist and leads the translational research program at the Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Nepean Hospital.

Dr Benjamin Tang received his medical training at Sydney Medical School. He is a Fellow of College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia and New Zealand. He was awarded the Matt Spence medal from the College of Intensive Care Medicine in recognition of his early research work.

Dr Benjamin Tang was also trained in clinical epidemiology at the School of Public Health, University of Sydney. He had published several highly cited systemic reviews and meta-analyses in Lancet, Lancet Infectious Diseases and Critical Care Medicine.

Dr Benjamin Tang undertook his PhD work in the laboratory of geneticist Ian Dawes. His research in the genomic study of sepsis led to him receiving the prestigious NHMRC Post-doctoral fellowship. During his post-doctoral years, he worked with immunogeneticist David Booth to investigate the immune response of influenza infection. This work has recently led to him receiving the prestigious Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Establishment Grant for young scientist.

Currently, his research includes viral immunology, sepsis and development of molecular diagnostics and focuses on translating the science of gene discovery into the development of new molecular diagnostics and novel immunotherapy.

Read More:A/P Benjamin Tang

Research Interests:
  • The impact of genetic polymorphism on drug response in critically ill patients.
  • The monitoring of immuno-suppression in patients with sepsis.
  • The profiling of metabolic pathways derrangements in immune cells in severe infection.
  • The use of interferon derived biomarker in the diagnosis of severe pneumonia.
  • The use of genomic biomarker in the management of influenza infection.
  • The role of plasmacytoid dendritic cell activity in the pathogenesis of viral infection.
  • The use of dendritic cell vaccination therapy in septic patients with immunosuppression
  • Dendritic cell derived therapy and its mechanism of action in the in vitro setting.
  • The mechanism of immune cell dysregulation in viral and bacterial pneumonia.

Contact details

PO Box 63
Derby St
Penrith, NSW 2751

Tel: (02) 4734 2490
Fax: (02) 4734 3134