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Nepean clinical school
Faculties and schools_

The University of Sydney Nepean Clinical School

Research and teaching in Sydney's fastest-growing area
We provide invaluable learning opportunities for attending medical students and research opportunities in biomedical, clinical and epidemiological research across all disciplines.

About the Nepean Clinical School

The Nepean Clinical School is a network of teaching hospitals of the Sydney Medical School centred in the Nepean Hospital precinct at the base of the Blue Mountains, near Penrith. Our teaching hospitals include:

The Nepean Hospital precinct is currently experiencing tremendous growth as part of the $550 million Nepean Redevelopment Project. The hospital will soon be able to support communities within and outside of Sydney’s western suburbs, providing world-class clinical facilities, services and care.

The school presently supports around 50 students in each of the four years of the MD course. With its relatively high patient load in comparison to the student population, Nepean Clinical School is able to provide invaluable learning opportunities for attending medical students and research opportunities for Australian and international students.

Our disciplines

There are multiple disciplines represented at Nepean, which present possible, or potential career directions for our students:

  • general practice
  • intensive care medicine
  • medicine, including: addiction medicine, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, genetics, geriatrics, haematology, infectious disease, neurology, nephrology, oncology and thoracic medicine.
  • medical imaging
  • obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatology
  • oral surgery
  • paediatrics and child health
  • psychiatry
  • surgery.

Elective placements

We welcome applications from Australian and international medical students wishing to undertake elective periods. Applications will be considered on the basis of previous training and only for students in their final year of study or close to their final year. Limited availability is offered from December to January in emergency, cardiology and intensive care units.

Visit our placements page for more information.

Study options

Nepean provides excellent conditions for learning. The administrative staff and the clinical tutors provide a friendly atmosphere and are flexible and supportive in their approach to your studies. You can be assured of seeing many interesting cases, owing at least in part to efforts made by staff finding patients well-suited to the problem of the week. A high patient-to-student ratio makes it easier to find a patient when you want to practice clinical skills outside of class.

Student Mentor Scheme

All students who undertake study or research at Nepean have access to the Student Mentor Scheme. Running since 2009, this program brings together students with mentors and is a valuable experience for both parties.

The benefits of completing your Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the Nepean Clinical School include:

  • affiliation to the Charles Perkins Institute, with access to multidisciplinary collaborations
  • large local population with a high prevalence of mental and physical health issues, particularly those related to obesity
  • excellent facilities, with a new clinical school building and well-equipped research laboratories
  • mentoring, with training for developing your skills in research methodology, biostatistics and scientific writing and opportunities for presentation of your research.

We welcome expressions of interest from Australian and International students wishing to undertake postgraduate research within our disciplines. Our school is fully equipped for genetic and cell biology studies and epidemiological studies.

To explore current research opportunities, find a supervisor.

Facilities

Our school works out of two sites – the Nepean Clinical School Building and Level 5 South Block, Nepean Hospital. The Nepean Clinical School Building is a state of the art facility that houses education, clinical school administration, clinical research pods and outpatient clinics.

The building was purpose built in 2012 for student education with a 90 seat auditorium, 10 tutorial rooms, computer labs and a large interactive clinical skills laboratory. We also have dedicated research laboratories for postgraduate research students.

Our research

Medical research is a major part of our school's activities. Many postgraduate research students undertake higher degree research in our dedicated research laboratories and facilities, under the supervision of our leading academics and clinicians.
 
Our research is particularly strong in the areas of critical care medicine, endocrinology, gastroenterology, geriatric medicine, haematology, perinatal medicine and surgery.   
 

Research centres and institutes

As part of the Brain and Mind Centre network, Nepean Clinical School shares the mission to transform brain and mind health with world-leading research.

The Brain and Mind Centre Nepean plans to bridge the gap in knowledge and services between Sydney’s western and eastern suburbs by developing numerous cross-campus, multidisciplinary, collaborative research and education projects in neuroscience and mental health.

As part of the Charles Perkins Centre network, Nepean Clinical School shares the mission to ease the burden of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease by enabling collaborative interdisciplinary research and education.

The Charles Perkins Centre Nepean was launched to meet the demand for evidence-based research that could be translated directly into life-changing outcomes for residents of greater western Sydney.

As part of the Marie Bashir Institute network, Nepean Clinical School shares the mission to meet the challenges of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases by connecting researchers from the Nepean campus with like-minded researchers at Westmead, Camperdown and Camden.

The collaborative network helps to grow a successful partnership with the infectious diseases, immunology and biosecurity community in the west.

Our research groups

The Addiction Medicine Research Group at Nepean is an exciting area of medicine. Drug and alcohol use affects and impacts all body systems, affecting individuals, families and societies.

Some of the projects include:

  • gastroenterological impacts of addiction particularly alcohol/addiction
  • pharmacotherapies/hepatitis C genetics
  • burden of disease and innovations for screening and treatment
  • optimising care for improving overall health outcomes for patients and families living with dependency
  • addiction and social determinants of health/dual diagnosis/addiction
  • dependence in the media and the law/ ethics
  • stigma and narratives of addiction and dependency
  • addiction and marginalised populations.

The Nepean Cardiac Research group specialises in multidisciplinary cardiovascular research encompassing cardiovascular intervention, echocardiography, cardiac CT, cardiac magnetic resonance and projects on population health.

Our specific areas of research include:

  • cardio-oncology
  • myocardial mechanics
  • ischaemic heart disease
  • heart failure
  • atrial fibrillation

We're actively involved in health economics and appropriate use of cardiac imaging.

The Department of Intensive Care Medicine has a large and active research program. The three main areas of research that drive our program are:

  • the use of genomics, with the Nepean Genomics Unit researching molecular biological patient responses in sepsis, with a particular focus on respiratory viral infections using transcriptomics of circulating white cells.
  • the Nepean Intensive Care Unit has gained an international reputation in the field of critical care echocardiography research, which runs parallel to an extensive educational program nationally, Asia and Europe.
  • for over two decades, the department has participated in multiple large multicentre studies on critically ill patients, many of these being hallmark studies in the field of intensive care medicine.

The Nepean Gastroenterology Research group has a strong academic and clinical focus in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology and drug and alcohol, and is involved in many clinical trials both locally and worldwide.

Our research includes:

  • the natural history, pathogenesis and therapy of inflammatory bowel diseases
  • hepatitis C and primary biliary cirrhosis
  • non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
  • liver disease and liver cancer
  • dyspepsia and chronic constipation.

The research endeavours of the Haematology Group are focused towards a better understanding of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) through genetic and epigenetic studies of familial CLL and by studying the protein interactions initiated by activation of the B-cell receptor and the influence of the CLL microenvironment on these protein networks.

Our group also has a strong interest in the biology of the ATP-gated, cation-selective, P2X7 receptor and its significance to human infectious, malignant and autoimmune diseases with a particular focus on single nucleotide polymorphisms and splice isoforms of P2X7 and their role in inflammation.

The Nepean Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Group provides a busy consultative and in patient service, dealing with a wide variety of complex conditions including travel associated infections, sepsis, HIV infection and post-operative infectious complications. The department has a strong commitment to teaching medical students as well as physician trainees.

Our research interests include:

  • zoonotic and intracellular pathogens, especially Chlamydia psittaci, Staphylococcal blood stream infections and prosthetic joint infection
  • combination antibiotic treatment
  • HIV and HCV co-infection
  • necrotising fasciitis and the use of a mobile nursing application to enhance the hospital in the home program experience.

The Nepean Medical Imaging Group aims to, through education and research, promote the appropriate use of radiology and nuclear medicine/PET in modern investigation and management of patients. This specialty is at the forefront of new technologies, which requires in-depth knowledge of basic sciences (particularly anatomy, physics and pathology) that is fundamental to the study of medicine.

Our research includes:

  • radiology and nuclear medicine/PET
  • informatics
  • interventional radiological procedures
  • radionuclide therapies and cardiac imaging
  • CT coronary angiogram.

The Department of Renal Medicine at Nepean Hospital has an active clinical research program with ongoing collaborations with the Australasian Kidney Trials Network, George Institute for Global Health, Kolling Institute, ANZDATA, Kidney Health Australia and Sydney Health partners.

At any time, there are numerous investigator initiated and industry sponsored clinical trials for research in diverse areas of nephrology, including dialysis, chronic kidney disease, glomerular disorders, rare kidney diseases, medical disorders of pregnancy, renal supportive care, nutrition in kidney disease, shared decision making and telemedicine.

The department has an impressive track record of publications and members of the department are on the editorial boards of medical journals.

The Nepean Translational / Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology Group collaborates with the Charles Perkins Centre, the Brain and Mind Centre, Westmead Periodontal Unit, Nepean Paediatric Unit, and UNSW Microbiome Research Centre.

Our research includes:

  • the effect of behavioural therapies in women with endometriosis-related chronic pelvic pain
  • aetiology of endometriosis
  • gynaecological ultrasound for endometriosis and other pelvic pathology
  • advanced endosurgery
  • early pregnancy complications (miscarriage, pregnancy of unknown location, ectopic pregnancy)
  • interventions for pelvic pathology.

We also conduct research into pelvic floor trauma in childbirth, including:

  • diagnosis, prediction, prevention, surgical correction
  • urinary incontinence
  • prolapse
  • vaginal birth after caesarean.

Paediatric research at Nepean has a strong focus on the developmental origins of health and disease in the context of allergy and immune development, metabolic health and behavioural disorders, including ADHD and stimulant medication.

This research is conducted in a multi-disciplinary environment fostering collaborations with the Charles Perkins Centre, the Brain and Mind Centre and the Faculty of Engineering and IT.

The Nepean Neonatology group’s research interests include:

  • neonatal nutrition particularly probiotics
  • parental nutrition
  • intravenous lipids
  • evidence-based medicine, systematic reviews. 

Recently our focus was:

  • introducing routine probiotics in preterm neonates for the prevention of necrotising enterocolitis
  • meta-genomics
  • randomised controlled trials of newer lipids
  • evaluation of body composition after selective nutritional interventions in preterm neonates.

The Nepean Oral Surgery Research Group works closely with the Sydney and Westmead dental institutes. It is recent and rapidly growing group at Nepean with special interests in service-education in rural and regional areas and provision of appropriate oral surgery training both in Australia and overseas. Their teaching interests include correction of oral anomalies and evidence-based practice in dentistry and oral surgery.

Their research includes:

  • fibrosis as a result of unresolved epithelial injury triggering a 'reparative' response in the underlying interstitial tissue
  • e-cigarette use in Australia
  • medication related to osteonecrosis of the jaw.         

Areas of research activity and interest of the Nepean Psychiatry Research Group include:

  • problematic risk-taking with emerging technologies
  • conceptualisation of problematic online behaviours
  • cyberchondria (health anxiety associated with online health information seeking)
  • dysphoria
  • psychopathology and borderline personality disorder
  • use of benzodiazepines in the treatment of anxiety and related disorders
  • anxiety disorders during pregnancy
  • cognitive and coping styles associated with anxiety disorders
  • group cognitive-behaviour therapy for hoarding disorder
  • subtyping of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The Nepean Surgery Research Group is a very active group with many research interests including:

  • simple and complex gallstone disease, including common bile duct stones
  • hernia surgery
  • acute pancreatitis
  • emergency general surgery
  • evidence-based surgery
  • surgical oncology
  • cancer epidemiology including oesophageal cancer, gastric cancer, breast cancer, and thyroid cancer.

There is a strong focus in fundamental and translational research. Telehealth, surgical safety and quality are recent additions, with Nepean Hospital being one of the four pilot sites for the introduction of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Safety and Quality Improvement program (NSQIP).     

Our people

  • Associate Professor Stephen Fuller, Head of School and Committee Chair for BMC Nepean
  • Professor Ralph Nanan, Director Charles Perkins Centre Nepean
  • Associate Professor Benjamin Tang, Director Marie Bashir Institute Nepean
  • Dr Kathryn Williams, Sydney Medical School Nepean Metabolic Research Group
  • Dr Karen Fisher, Discipline of Addiction Medicine
  • Dr Faraz Pathan, Discipline of Cardiac Imaging
  • Professor Anthony McLean, Discipline of Critical Care (Intensive Care Medicine)
  • Associate Professor Martin Weltman, Discipline of Gastroenterology
  • Associate Professor Emily Hibbert, Discipline of Medicine/Endocrinology and Diabetes
  • Dr Han Loh, Discipline of Medical Imaging
  • Associate Professor George Condous, Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Dr Stephen Cox, Discipline of Oral Surgery
  • Professor Ralph Nanan, Discipline of Paediatrics
  • Associate Professor Vladen Starcevic, Discipline of Psychiatry
  • Professor Michael Cox, Discipline of Surgery
  • Associate Professor Jinman Kim, Discipline of Telehealth

Head of Clinical School

Associate Professor Stephen Fuller
Associate Professor Stephen Fuller
View academic profile

Contact - Susan Dowd

Website Manager / Research Administrative Officer

Nepean Clinical School