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Research_

Nepean Clinical School research

Medicine and surgery research in over fifteen disciplines
With connections across university research centres, and research groups in a range of medical disciplines, we aim to bring the latest medical research and treatments to Nepean.

Medical research is a major part of Nepean Clinical School's activities. Our research is particularly strong in the areas of critical care medicine, endocrinology, gastroenterology, geriatric medicine, haematology, perinatal medicine and surgery.   

Many postgraduate research students undertake higher degree research in our dedicated research laboratories and facilities, under the supervision of our leading academics and clinicians. If you are interested in undertaking research with us, please contact the relevant project lead, or learn more about postgraduate research in medicine and health.

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

Our groups conduct research across a range of disciplines in medicine and surgery.

Medicine

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.
Key contact

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.

Key contact

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.
Key contact
  • Professor Anthony McLean, Department of Critical Care (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.
Key contacts
  • Associate Professor Martin Weltman, Department of Gastroenterology    

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.

Key contacts

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.
Key contacts
  • Associate Professor James Branley, Department of Infectious Diseases

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.
Key contacts

We are a collection of like-minded healthcare professionals and researchers with an interest in better understanding metabolic health and disease. Specific conditions that are a focus for our group include:

  • those of overweight and obesity
  • pre-diabetes and diabetes
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • dyslipidaemia and cardiovascular risk.

Our research aims to both understand the development of, and manage, these conditions and their associated diseases. 

Current projects include:

  • Fibre supplement and Ginseng for weight loss and blood sugar control. Learn more
  • Randomised controlled trial to investigate the efficacy of dexamphetamine compared to placebo for treating obesity complicated by obstructive sleep apnoea
  • University of Sydney interprofessional student-led health clinic. Contact Associate Professor Stuart Lane to learn more.
Key contact
Obesity study

Obesity is a major problem for our local population in Penrith. Access to specialised treatment is often limited to those with the most severe disease, neglecting people who are only slightly overweight or obese. People who are overweight are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnoea, a condition associated with snoring and pauses in breathing while asleep.

A program to help such people to get their weight under control before they develop more severe obesity could be very worthwhile.

We have a research study testing a 6 month treatment program for establishing a healthy diet and lifestyle changes to help people lose weight. In this study half of the participants will also be given dexamphetamine, while the other half are given placebo (inactive pills). Dexamphetamine reduces the appetite and also increases motivation. The increase in energy and motivation may help people to establish a new lifestyle with more exercise which may help them to keep control of their weight.

Resources

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.

Key contact
  • Dr Eddy Fischer, Department of Renal Medicine

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.

Key contact

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.
Key contact

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.

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.
Key contact
  • Associate Professor George Condous, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Surgery

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).

Key contact

The Nepean Oral Surgery Research Group works closely with the Sydney and Westmead dental institutes. It is a 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.
Key contact