List-2012 Potential MBBS Research Projects-UPDATE 5 by xiagong0815


									                      Potential MBBS Research Projects:
                             Honours, MPhil, PhD
       Students with a ‘genuine interest’ in any of the following projects or areas of
       research are encouraged to enquire by email to the contact person listed and
                          discuss possible project opportunities

                              NEW Projects for 2012

Medication Use in University Students
Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy

There is a growing body of research investigating the utilisation of medications by university students,
however the focus has been on the illicit drugs or the abuse of prescribed medications rather than the
general use of medicines. This population, which accounts for approximately 5% of the total
Australian population, has significantly higher levels of psychological distress compared to patients at
community general practices, with one in two students attending university health services and 83%
of the general student population having elevated levels of distress. Despite these differences with
the general population regarding mental health, very little is known about the types of medication
prescribed to students, their consultation expectations, their beliefs about medications and the way
that they use their medications and how these factors are affected by their general wellbeing. It is
unknown how this population is similar to or different from the general population in regards to these
factors. It is also unknown whether University Health Services may be more attuned to the physical
and psychological problems of university students and respond to them in different ways than
community general practices. The aim of these project is to explore these issues.

Contact: Dr Helen Stallman | Senior Lecturer

Research in Community Health: School of Population Health
The self-management approach is generally implemented to those diagnosed with one or more
chronic conditions e.g. arthritis, diabetes, asthma to support day-to-day management of symptoms.
This Honours project will explore the potential for developing self-management as a tool for
prevention, and for delaying onset of chronic conditions. It will also involve qualitative interviews in an
effort to understand lay beliefs that support and/or hinder scientific knowledge transfer regarding the
onset of chronic conditions at the community level.
Contact: Dr Robyn Mobbs

Respiratory Medicine: Lung & Allergy Research Centre
Princess Alexandra Hospital
Two very interesting clinical projects are available and suitable for Honours.
   1. Outcomes in patients admitted to a Respiratory High Dependency Unit with hypoxic
      respiratory failure.
   2. Outcomes of patients with lung cancer complicated by pericardial effusion.

Contact Prof John Upham MB BS FRACP PhD or
Dr Michelle Murphy

Research in Obstetric Medicine
Royal Brisbane Clinical School, UQCCR
This research group consists of both clinician scientists and scientists in obstetric medicine. We study
complications of pregnancy. We have projects covering a wide area of complications from gestational
diabetes and preeclampsia to thromboembolisms and sleep disorders.
The methods we employ vary from medical chart audits to wet lab based projects with a focus on
DNA methylation, gene expression and glucose and lipid metabolism. We have projects that are
suitable to all levels of study.

Contact: Marloes Dekker Nitert PhD

The Rural Clinical School
Two new projects suitable for Honours or MPhil students

1) NHMRC funded Aus ICUROS study: Involves interviewing patients with fracture to obtain health
economics data

2) ZiPP study, funded by the Medical Research Council, UK: Identifying and interviewing patients
with Paget's Disease of Bone (PDB), getting blood to determine whether they have a gene
mutation commonly associated with PDB, constructing a family tree, then investigating the members
for presence of the gene mutation and/or clinical PDB

Other projects:

1) Osteoclast Biology: Role of M-CSF and other Receptor Tyrosine Kinases in the regulation
of differentiated human osteoclast function. The research team has recently shown that M-CSF is
a potent regulator of human osteoclast resorbing activity and survival. This project will exploit a
unique mature human osteoclast model, which uses CFU-GM cells derived from human umbilical
cord blood, to characterise the molecular mechanism of the M-CSF effect and to study possible
similar effects mediated by other agonists of c-fms kinase and other receptor tyrosine kinases.

2) Co-morbidities in Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians with mental health disorders
– a Case-Control Study. Conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity,
hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and cancer, and risk factors for these conditions, are increased in
persons with mental health disease. This study will characterise the burden of disease and risk
factors in a population-based study set in South Western Queensland. The study will involve
collaboration with Queensland Mental Health Services.

3) Randomly-selected, Population-based, Cohort study - The Australian Regional, Rural, and
Remote Area Health Study, “The A3R Health Study”). A major strategy of this population health
research set in the Darling Downs, South West and South Burnet regions of Queensland will be
the establishment of a large (n=1600 females and 1600 males), representative, cohort study, which
will provide both cross-sectional (prevalence) and prospective longitudinal (incidence) health-related
data. An additional 400 persons of Indigenous origin will be included in the sample. This will be a
unique study for Australia because of oversampling of the remote population, random selection and
high participation. Thus, it will provide unique insight into the health and health risk factors of the 40%
of Queenslanders who do not live in major cities. Of these 21.8%, 15%, 2.0% and 1.2% reside in
Inner Regional, Outer Regional, Remote and Very Remote areas, respectively.

Contact: Professor Geoff Nicholson MBBS PhD FRACP FRCP
Head of School & Director of Research, Rural Clinical School,

Research in General Practice and Pharmacy
Project title: What do consumers and HPs want to know about paracetamol?
Supervisors: Prof. Mieke van Driel (Discipline of General Practice) and Assoc. Prof. Treasure
McGuire (UQ School of Pharmacy)

There are currently three national pharmacist-operated telephone call centres where consumers and
health professionals can seek information and advice about medicines for the cost of a local call:
 NPS Medicines Line (ML) - a service for consumers with questions about medication
 Therapeutic Advisory Information Service (TAIS) - a companion national telephone information
     service for community based health professionals.
 Adverse Medicines Events (AME) line - a service where consumers can report where “something
     has gone wrong with their medicine(s). The service triages calls about possible adverse medicine
     events or medication errors and filters information through to the Adverse Drug Advisory
     Committee (ADRAC) of the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
All contacts over the past 8-10 years (2000/02-2010) with consumers and health professionals are
recorded in an electronic database. It is a valuable source of information that will help us to
understand the health information needs of both consumers and health professionals.

Aims of the Project
To explore the health and medicines information needs of consumers and health professionals; and
relate these identified needs to prescription data and contextual information (such as publication of
evidence, media coverage etc).

We will analyse data collected in ML, AME, TAIS and contextualise the findings. We will explore the
nature of the questions using the “background versus foreground model”.

The written report will be an article to be submitted to a biomedical journal for publication.

List of suggested topics
1 Paracetamol
2. Antidepressants
3. Drugs in lactation
4. “Steroids”
5. Lifestyle drugs

Contact: Professor Mieke van Driel Head of General Practice,
Assoc Prof Treasure McGuire, School of Pharmacy,

Southside Clinical School and Princess Alexandra Hospital
Patterns of care between Indigenous and non-indigenous cancer patients: health care
professionals’ perspectives about cancer treatment for Indigenous & non-Indigenous

Despite a similar incidence of cancers, Indigenous Australians have higher mortality rates and poorer
survival compared to other Australians. The reasons for this are multi-faceted and may be due to later
cancer stage at diagnosis, reduced uptake of or access to treatment, increased comorbidities, and
higher rates of more aggressive cancers, however, little is known about these. This proposed study is
part of a larger study which aims to explore the patterns of care received by both Indigenous and non-
Indigenous cancer patients and whether any differences may be identified to explain the current gaps in
health outcomes. This study will involve interviewing health care professionals at the Princess
Alexandra Hospital and the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

Specific aims are:
    explore health care professionals’ perspectives about Indigenous & non-Indigenous patients
        who commenced treatment
    to examine their clinical decision-making, particularly in the context of comorbidity, Indigeneity
        and geographical isolation from cancer care services
    explore health care professionals’ perspectives about patients who did not commence
        treatment to examine their reasons for non-uptake or non-completion

Please contact:
Dr Jennifer Martin, Head Southside Clinical School, PAH

Queensland Brain Institute (QBI)
Richards Lab Student Projects for Honours, Masters, PhD

Project 1: Finding a possible treatment for glioblastoma multiforme. Glioblastoma multiforme
(GBM) is the most aggressive form of brain cancer, where patients have little chance of survival
beyond one year after first diagnosis. We recently discovered that a specific transcription factor can
halt the progression of brain tumours and presents an exciting possibility for therapeutic treatments.
This projects aims to identify the molecular mechanism by which this transcription factor can prevent
the progression of GBM.

Project 2: Developing a diagnostic test for patients with agenesis of the corpus callosum.
Agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC) occurs in 1:4000 live births and can result in a spectrum of
symptoms ranging from severe mental retardation and sensory and motor deficits to more mild
cognitive disorders. Babies affected by ACC can be diagnosed in utero by ultrasound or fetal MRI
but there is little information that can be given to parents as to the prognosis for each child. A good
diagnostic test is required. This project aims to begin to develop such a test.

Project 3: Understanding the molecular mechanisms of corpus callosum formation. The
corpus callosum is the largest fibre tract in the brain and connects neurons in the left and right
cerebral hemispheres. Our lab is interested in the mechanisms that underlie how the axons that
make up the corpus callosum are guided at the midline and how they find their targets in the
contralateral hemisphere. These mechanisms underlie the fundamental basis for how the brain
becomes wired up during development and defects in these mechanisms may be associated with
mental retardation, autism spectrum disorder and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar
disorder. A number of smaller specific projects are available in this area of research.

Contact: Professor Linda J. Richards,

Queensland Brain Institute (QBI)
Mathematical and computer modelling research to understand spatial navigation circuits in
the mammalian brain.
    Suitable for Honours, MPhil or PhD

Spatial navigation is one of the most important, ancient and ubiquitous functions of animal brains. A
number of eminent scientists believe spatial navigation will be the first non-sensory brain function to
be understood at the microcircuit computation level.

A number of neurons have already been identified in the hippocampus and surrounding brain regions
of mammals which show spatially-selective firing patterns. Their ensemble activity is believed to
represent a neural code for position and direction during navigation. Despite this, models are lacking
which can simultaneously explain the functional requirements of efficient navigation, as well as the
neurophysiology of observed spike patterns and/or brain dynamics.

Recent theoretical work has shown that uncertainty in position and direction place unexpected
constraints on the computations needed for effective navigation. These results provide important
guidance for the development of models of brain circuits which can successfully carrying out spatial
navigation under realistic conditions.

Students (Honours to PhD) with a strong theoretical background (mathematics, physics,
programming) will have the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of the neurobiology of
mammalian spatial navigation, of optimal spatial navigation theory, plus develop, simulate and
analyze neural models of mammalian spatial navigation. For longer projects (e.g., PhD) students can
implement and test models on a mobile robot (the iRat), and some model predictions could be tested
in real rats (in collaboration with another lab).

Contact with a current CV: Allen Cheung
Research Fellow
Queensland Brain Institute

The Qld Centre for Mothers and Babies
The Qld Centre for Mothers and Babies are currently funding evaluation.

An example of a project available could be looking at our preliminary data and determining numbers
of patients already diagnosed with GORD, and whether dealing other problems (eg breastfeeding
difficulties) in these patients decreases the problematic symptoms.

Contact: Dr Pamela Douglas MBBS FRACGP
Discipline of General Practice
School of Medicine

Ipswich Clinical School
Melatonin for initial insomnia in stimulant-treated pediatric ADHD

Synopsis Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurological disorder
affecting 5-12% of children. A highly prevalent problem for children with ADHD is initial insomnia. The
standard management for ADHD symptoms is the use of stimulant medications, which can
exacerbate the severity of existing initial insomnia or cause its development. Children with ADHD
who are prescribed stimulant medications, represent one of the most vulnerable populations to
experience chronic initial insomnia. Sleep problems in children negatively impact their social,
physical, and mental well-being, aggravate the severity of their ADHD symptoms, and cause parental
exhaustion and stress. To combat the problem of initial insomnia, ADHD children are prescribed
sleeping pills which may have serious side effects, are expensive, and may interfere with their
stimulant medications. At present, there is no gold standard option available for these children and
their families.

Melatonin, a popular natural health product (NHP), is commonly used by parents and recommended
by health care providers, but high quality pediatric evidence is lacking. Although randomized
controlled trials (RCTs) are the gold standard for evaluating treatment efficacy, they may fail to recruit
for studies of NHPs as these may be obtained without prescription (& often, potential participants do
not consent to be randomized to placebo). We will offer N-of-1 trials which are multiple crossover,
randomized, triple-blind controlled trials in a single individual. These will maintain methodological
rigor while allowing each participant the opportunity to learn if melatonin is effective for them. Results
from the N-of-1 trials will be pooled for meta-analyses. These aggregated results will be compared
with data from the first period, which will effectively form a parallel group RCT, and a detailed
comparison of the two methodological approaches will be conducted.

Contact: Jane Nikles, Ipswich Clinical School
0408 599 033

Can death in a community-based population be predicted by their GP?

Most patients who die of a predictable disease are not under the care of a specialist palliative care
team. However, most are patients of a general practitioner. If it is possible to predict who may die
within a defined time, for example the next twelve months, then appropriate planning can be put in
place to ensure their needs are met. This project has two parts. 1. Retrospective audit of medical
records of patients who have died within the last five years, in a large general practice, to identify
evidence of involvement in a palliative care service, and record clinical features present within the
last twelve months of life, that may have predicted their death. 2. Compare these features with a
matched cohort to estimate the positive predictive value and negative predictive value of the selected
features that may predict death.

Contact: Professor Geoff Mitchell

Projects on women’s health and related to pregnancy such as;

      Satisfaction with use of MIRENA for menorrhagia and need for further surgery
      Maternal an perinatal morbidity associated with failed attempt at vaginal birth after 1 previous
       c/section - a case controlled study
      pregnancy outcome in women with hyperemesis gravidarum
      experience with the use of foetal fibronection at Ipswich hospital
      GP survey re training in insertion of MIRENA - facilitators and barriers
Contact: Kassam MAHOMED

The Queensland Heart and Lung Transplant Unit, Prince Charles Hospital
The Prince Charles Hospital campus and is a world recognised leader in research in the areas of
lung transplantation and pulmonary hypertension medicine. The research program aims to improve
patient outcomes post-transplant by better understanding the cell biology of the allograft. Due to the
unique nature of our research program which is embedded within the clinical program, we have
unprecedented access to patient samples.

Contact: Dr Stephanie Yerkovich
3130 4050

Centre for Clinical Research, Queensland Centre for Advanced Imaging
One exciting area of research currently underway at the QCPRRC is the use of advanced
neuroimaging technology to measure brain injury and neuroplasticity in newborn babies at high risk
of abnormal neurodevelopment and in children with cerebral palsy. Within the next 12 months there
will be a new state-of-the-art imaging facility located within the UQCCR dedicated to clinical imaging

Contact: A/Professor Stephen Rose

Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Centre
Muscle mechanics and function in Cerebral Palsy. In the past it has been assumed that the main
limitation for normal movement in children with cerebral palsy (CP) is muscle spasticity. We have
been developing highly innovative ultrasound imaging and force measuring techniques to
characterise how the structural and mechanical properties of affected CP muscles differ from typically
developed muscle. Opportunities exist to use these techniques to assess the effectiveness of
interventions such as Botulinum toxin A, strength training or serial casting.

Contact: Dr Glen Lichtwark

Psychiatry: The Prince Charles Hospital
A project is available in this area;
The Prince Charles Hospital has a strong shared care model between the Geriatric Physicians and
Geriatric Psychiatrists, in particular with regards to patients with dementia who suffer from severe
BPSD(Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia), i.e. patient with dementia who are
severely agitated, pose a risk to themselves and others, and whose cares cannot be safely managed
in the community. While this arrangement may exist in other hospitals, TPCH is rather unique
(nationally and internationally), because of our use of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) as a
treatment for severe BPSD.

Contact: Peter DEVADASON Geriatric Psychiatrist

Department of Renal Medicine, RBWH: Two Clinical Research Projects
 (Pharmacokinetics of Enteric Coated Mycophenolate Sodium in Lupus Nephritis)
Mycophenolate Sodium (MPS) is an immunosuppressive drug used in managing patients with Lupus
Nephritis (LN)). The active metabolite is Mycophenolic acid. (MPA).The amount of MPA in the blood
varies from patient to patient. The factors causing these differences were well studied in transplant
patients but not well documented in LN patients.
Aim of the study is to define the relationship between MPA exposure and clinical efficacy and toxicity.

Design: Thirty two participants with clinically defined signs and symptoms of LN who are more than
18 years and on MPS for more than two weeks will be recruited in to this study.MPA drug levels will
be measured in all participants. Patients will be block randomised to one of the treatment groups,
with 16 patients entering each group.
Exposure controlled group: Oral MPS dosage will be modified according to area under curve (AUC);
Fixed dose Group: Sixteen participants will receive a fixed dose regimen in line with current practice.

Primary endpoint: To assess the effect of MPS on clinical improvement in patients with LN
as measured by complete or partial remission
Secondary endpoint(s):
       1) To determine the effect of MPS in improvement in SLE Disease;
       2) To study the relationship between disease activity of LN and MPA blood concentration;
       3) To develop a pharmacokinetic model that can be used to develop MPS dosing
       recommendations in LN patients treated with MPS;
       4) Cost effectiveness of Therapeutic drug monitoring analysis.

Investigators: Dr Dwarakanathan Ranganathan, Dr. George John , Dr.Jason Roberts, Prof. Jeffrey
Lipman, Prof. Robert Fassett, Dr. Helen Healy, Dr. Paul Kubler, Dr. Jacobus Ungerer

Contact: Dr Dwarakanathan Ranganathan ,
Ph: 07-36368576;
Department of Renal Medicine, RBWH, Brisbane

2. Epidemiology of Biopsy proven Glomerulonephritis 1999- 2011
There is limited data on spectrum of glomerulonephritis in Australia. An insight into this can be
obtained from renal biopsy diagnoses.
This study aims to recognize any changes in the prevalence, gender ratios and mean age (at time of
diagnosis) of glomerular disease from 1999 to 2010.
Dr Dwarakanathan Ranganathan, Dr. George John, Dr Leo Francis

Contact: Dr Dwarakanathan Ranganathan ,
Ph: 07-36368576;
Department of Renal Medicine, RBWH, Brisbane

Head of Research      Daniel Chambers MBBS MRCP FRACP MD
                      Thoracic and Transplant Physician
Director              Peter Hopkins MBBS FRACP
                      Thoracic and Transplant Physician
Chief Scientist       Stephanie Yerkovich PhD

The Queensland Heart and Lung Transplant Unit was formed in June 1996 with the addition of lung
transplantation to the established Heart Transplant Unit. The first lung transplant was performed in
Queensland in September 1996. The Queensland Lung Transplant Unit was established as a
separate entity in April 2000 maintaining close professional links with the Heart Transplant Program.
Over 200 lung transplant operations have been performed and approximately 135 outpatients are
cared for the by the Queensland Lung Transplant Program, with approximately 18-24 lung
transplants performed each year. In March 2009 the Queensland Lung Transplant Unit was renamed
the Queensland Centre for Pulmonary Transplantation and Vascular Disease (QCPTVD). This was
to recognise the additional medical services undertaken by the Transplant Program inclusive of
pulmonary hypertension, interstitial lung disease, airway interventional techniques, lung volume
reduction surgery, pulmonary thromboendarterectomy and the care of other patients with advanced
lung disease.

Our Unit has a fully equipped laboratory on site at The Prince Charles Hospital campus and is a
world recognised leader in research in the areas of lung transplantation and pulmonary hypertension
medicine. The research program aims to improve patient outcomes post-transplant by better
understanding the cell biology of the allograft. Due to the unique nature of our research program
which is embedded within the clinical program, we have unprecedented access to patient samples. A
number of projects are available to students wishing to obtain a research higher degree, including:

      Adult lung stem cells
          o Investigating the engraftment and role of recipient derived progenitor/stem cells in the
      Lung fibrosis
          o Better understanding the role of airway epithelial injury and repair in obliterative
      Overcoming lung transplant rejection
          o Phenotyping and understating the biology of immune cell subsets that influx into the
      What is lung ‘normal flora’?
          o The human lung microbiome project – metagenomics of the lung in health and disease
      Human papillomavirus and non-melanotic skin cancer
          o Identifying if human papillomavirus has a role in the development of squamous cell
               carcinomas (SCC) of the skin. Transplant patients have an increased risk of SCC
               development and these are a major cause of morbidity and mortality.

Contact: Stephanie Yerkovich PhD
3130 4050

Mater Mothers' Hospital Neonatology
Timing of elective caesarean section delivery and short term Neonatal
In USA the rate of prematurity is 12.7% with the dramatic growth over the last 2 decades in late
preterm births [34-36+6 weeks]. Australia is following an identical course with consistent state-wide
data available from NSW and QLD. The Australian rate of prematurity is currently 8.7% and
constantly growing, almost exclusively in the late preterm sub-group. Data are now available for
relationship between birth and individual weeks of gestation and rates of ADHD, child protection
problems, learning difficulties, Aspergers, Autistic Spectrum Disorders etc .Rates are lowest at 40
and 41 weeks gestation and progressively increase week by week down to 35 weeks. Of course
there is a major inflection point at 32 weeks gestation.

MMH now has a unique data-set of 5000 public and 5000 private births per annum in 2009 -
2011 having increased from 7627 in 1998. The 13 year data-set 1998-2010 [about 110,000
births] would provide the opportunity to analyse various peri-natal risk factors against short term
neonatal outcomes.

     Perinatal Variables              Outcomes
     Gestational age                  Admission to Nurseries
     Public/Private                   Length of stay [days]
     Mode of delivery                 Respiratory distress [RDS or TTN]
     CS [repeat or initial]           requirement for CPAP or mechanical ventilation
       CS [no labour]                          pulmonary air leak
       CS [labour                              surfactant therapy
       SVD                                    Breast feeding at discharge
       Instrumental Delivery [forceps/vacuum] Duration of breast feeding
       Anaesthetic for CS
       GA, regional

The large sample size would allow for trend analysis over 4 triennia and would lend itself to an
economic evaluation.

The study has major implications for practice improvement and provide adequate evidence based
data for informed decision making by mothers about optimal time and mode of delivery .

Mater Medical Research Institute would be able to offer some infrastructure to facilitate the research.
Of course candidate would need to perform a literature review and further develop the research
project before developing submission to Mater Health Services HREC for Ethical Approval. I would
anticipate this phase of the research taking about 2-3 months. Arrangements regarding supervision
of Research between MMRI and UQ would need to be developed.

Contact: Prof David Tudehope, Director Neonatology Medical, Mater Mothers' Hospital


Clinical School Southside, Princess Alexandra Hospital

Jennifer MARTIN
    Drug induced liver injury project
    Drug doses in morbidly obese people
    Drug dosing in renal failure
    Patterns of Care (chart review/data analysis) focusing on a particular research question or a
       specific cancer group
    Qualitative research, interviewing health professionals and/or patients:
       o Explore health care professionals’ perspectives around Indigenous & non-Indigenous
          patients who commenced treatment to examine their clinical decision-making, in the
          context of co morbidity, culture and geographical isolation from cancer care services;
       o Explore those who did not commence treatment and reasons for non-uptake or non-
       o Explore the patients’ perspective about their treatment: their experiences and
          understanding of cancer and treatment choices

Patricia VALERY
     Use of cancer medications in indigenous people
     looking at quality use of medicines in tertiary hospital setting

Oncology - Princess Alexandra Hospital

Sandro V PORCEDDU - Senior Radiation Oncologist, head and neck cancer research
The following projects are suitable for Honours Projects. Students will be offered either first of 2nd
authorship on publications depending on the amount of work.

1) "The Utility of the 12 week PET scan in the detection of metastatic disease in head and neck
Ethics approved. Data will be extracted from an existing data base - will require updating of some
patients. Aim to write a paper to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Student will be offered
authorship on the manuscript.

2) "Is tumour spill an indication for post-operative radiotherapy"
This project will be a review of the published literature of the problem of operative tumour spill of
head and neck cancers and whether there is evidence that post-operative radiotherapy is required.
Controversial topic and this report is likely to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Student will be
offered second or possibly first authorship depending on the amount of work performed.

3) "The impact of PET in the management of the neck in node positive head and neck cancer treated
with radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy: An international survey of clinical practice in major
cancer centres"
Exciting project. The student will produce an e-survey and approach major head and neck cancer
centres to determine the current practice and variation in the management of the neck in head and
neck cancer. This study will have a high level of interest throughout the international head and neck
community. It will compliment other publications from this unit which has looked at the utility of PET in
head and neck cancer and cost-effectiveness of PET.

Medicine - Greenslopes Clinical School
A/Prof Darrell CRAWFORD
    Investigating the mechanisms of hepatic co-toxicity of iron, fat and alcohol
    Pathogenesis and Therapy of hepatic fibrosis
    The extent of liver disease in community patients with chronic viral hepatitis
    Non invasive measures of liver fibrosis

A/Prof Gerard BYRNE
    Do certain personality traits mitigate the impact of stressful life events on depression and
       anxiety (using a population-based cohort of older women)?
    Does the disability associated with mental disorders vary by age (using national survey data)?
       Do older people with mental disorders have access to appropriate health services (using
       national survey data)?

Prof Graham MARTIN
     Self-injury in students – what are the links to academic performance
     Self-injury in young people – dietetic, fMRI, cognitive correlates, or management and therapy
     Self-injury in young people – what works to help them give self-injury up
     Self-injury and suicidality in young people

A/Prof Jane Turner
    Communication in oncology-communication skills training, barriers, implementation
    Delivery of brief tailored psychosocial therapies to reduce depression in patients with cancer
       (RCT recruiting from Jan 2011)
    Supporting couples coping with cancer
    Impact of parental cancer on children

Dr Helen Stallman
     The role of student expectations on the working alliance with their FP
     Predictors of uptake of low intensity interventions in a university health service
     A comparison of the mental health of tertiary students compared with age-matched peers
       (using national survey data
     Has the prevalence of mental health problems in university students increased over time?

Dr Mark Daglish
    Use of an inpatient self-help handbook and relationship to early relapse to alcohol use
    Mood change profile during inpatient detoxification
    Medical and allied health perceptions of medication as a treatment for mental health disorders

Perinatal Research Centre, RBWH and UQCCR.

Professor Paul COLDITZ, Director
Early brain development in infants at risk of cerebral palsy. New Opportunities exist for medical and
allied health researchers for would be scholars in the area of very early brain development in infants
born preterm and/or at high risk of CP the RBWH and UQCCR work closely with the QCPPRC.
Research methods include (i) natural history models to study for example the effects of brain blood
flow on white matter injury and (ii) RCT interventional models to study the effect/s of physical or
nutritional interventions on brain development, injury and plasticity.

UQ Thoracic Research Centre, The Prince Charles Hospital, Northside Clinical School
A/Prof Ian YANG, Prof Kwun FONG, A/Prof Rayleen BOWMAN
     Projects in lung health, investigating lung cancer, mesothelioma, chronic obstructive
        pulmonary disease and other respiratory conditions

UQ Centre for Clinical Research (CCR)
Prof Murray MITCHELL
    Foetal/placental growth/development, implantation of the embryo and pregnancy and parturition
    Epigenetic regulation of implantation of the embryo
    Epigenetic regulation of parturition
    The role of myostatin on placental glucose transport
    Adverse effects of endocrine disruptors in human reproductive health
    Transfer/actions of endocrine disruptors in human placenta using placental perfusion methods
    Role of endocannabinoids in implantation and preterm labour
    Role of arachidonic acid metabolism in pregnancy and parturition

The UQ Diamantina Institute (UQDI)
Professor Ian FRAZER
    Investigations in cancer immunology and immunotherapy.

Professor Ranjeny THOMAS
    Suppression of autoimmune disease using nanoparticles
    Does atherosclerotic risk precede onset of rheumatoid arthritis? Analysis of a regional
       population-based data collection in Norway.

Dr Gethin THOMAS
    Functional studies in ankylosing spondylitis to elucidate the roles of candidate genes
       identified through genomewide association studies.

A/Professor Melissa BROWN
    Identification of biomarkers of breast cancer predisposition and progression

NHMRC National Centre of Research Excellence for Peripheral Artery Disease
Jonathon GOLLEDGE and Philip WALKER

 An NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) has recently been
established by group of leading clinicians and scientists from throughout Australia, led by Prof
Jonathon Golledge and A/Prof Philip Walker. The centre facilitates research studies designed to
improve the management of PAD through a variety of research initiatives including: pre-clinical
studies in rodent models and human samples, clinical trials and guideline development and
implementation. Examples of studies readily available for student projects include;
     Biomarkers in PAD: Currently diagnostic or prognostic information which enables
         individualisation of management of PAD is limited. Using human samples and rodent models
         the group is carrying out a range of studies to identify novel markers of disease presence and
         progression which identify new disease mechanisms and potential diagnostic aids.
     Development of novel therapies for PAD: Using human samples and rodent models the
         group is carrying out a range of studies to identify novel therapies for PAD. By contrast to
         heart disease there is a current lack of specific medication designed for PAD patients. For
         example there is currently no medical management for patients with small aortic aneurysms.
     Clinical prospective studies: The group is carrying out a range of studies in patients with PAD
         to identify better markers of outcome to help rationalise risk stratification and outcome
         prediction. Examples include: clinical, imaging and circulating markers of cardiovascular
         events and prognostic markers for durable outcomes after surgery.
     Clinical Trials: The group is currently carrying out a range of clinical trials such as medication
         trials in patients with small aortic aneurysms and exercise trials in patients with intermittent
         claudication designed to identify better therapeutic options.
     Guideline development and implementation: Currently there are no national guidelines for
         many of the conditions suffered by PAD patients. Such guidelines need development by
         carrying out appropriate systematic reviewers and appropriate consultation. Furthermore we
         urgently need methods to assist patients to adopt better health behaviours. A motivational
         interviewing method to encourage exercise for example may provide a means to improve
         secondary prevention.

Top up scholarships to high class applicants attached to university scholarships also possible

Dermatology Research Centre
Prof H. Peter SOYER
    Phenotypic characterisation of naevi in high risk melanoma patients and controls
    In-vivo imaging of SCC precursor lesions and surrounding normal skin (“field effect”) using
        reflectance confocal microscopy
    Non-invasive assessment of solar elastosis using multi-photon microscopy
    Teledermoscopy of naevi using cutting edge mobile imaging devices
    An integrated teledermatology service for A&E departments as well as rural and remote

Prof Helmut SCHAIDER
    Epithelial-mesenchymal transition in early melanomagenesis
    Lineage specific expression of target genes in melanocytic cells
    Epigenetic changes in atypical melanocytic lesions
    Genetic profiles of atypical melanocytic lesions

Queensland Cerebral Palsy Research and Rehabilitation Centre
Roslyn BOYD

The QCPRRC is a multidisciplinary Research centre in the SOM with six NHMRC funded clinical
trials (3 current) and 1 NIH funded study. The QCPRRC has nine key research themes reflecting the
key areas of need for investigation in infants and children with cerebral palsy. The key research
themes include:
    1) Early brain development and the impact of early interventions.
    2) Novel therapies – including the potential of Stem cells and Neuroprotection strategies.
    3) Neuroscience – brain structure and the link to outcomes.
    4) Neuro-rehabilitation & the impact on gross, fine motor abilities & musculoskeletal outcomes.
    5) Genetic factors and the relationship to severity of CP.
    6) Growth, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Physical Fitness.
    7) Parenting interventions to assist environmental enrichment.
    8) Translational research: the implementation of science applications to clinical practice.
    9) Evidence and Education; training the next generation of clinical researchers.

The QCPPRC has close collaborations with Orthopaedics, Neurology, and research groups such as
the UQ Perinatal Research Centre, Children’s Nutrition Research Centre, Centre for Magnetic
Resonance Imaging in the UQCCRE, the School of Rehabilitation science (Schools of Occupational
and Physiotherapy) Genetics group at QBI among other national and international collaborations. All
honours students can be involved in our annual training course on systematic reviews and meta
analysis (8 sessions), which will assist them in developing skills for their literature search and
systematic review of the literature or the psychometric properties of measures that they will use. The
following topics are some of those available for Honours or MPhil Students commencing in 2011.

      (1) Longitudinal Cerebral Palsy Child Study- NHMRC 465128
(i)    Early Longitudinal Hip development status and relationship to Motor status in young children with
       cerebral palsy:
(ii) Relationship between Brain Structure and early Gait Patterns in young children with cerebral
(iii) Relationship between Brain Structure and Community Performance in young children with
       cerebral palsy
(iv) Relationship between Gross and Fine Motor functional abilities and community performance in
       young children with cerebral palsy
(v) Cost and Consequences of management of children with cerebral palsy related to functional
      (2) Longitudinal Growth, Nutrition and Physical Activity (NHMRC funded, 569605)
           This study is in collaboration with the UQ Children’s Nutrition Research Centre (Prof Peter
      (i)     Relationship between Levels of Physical Activity, community Motor Performance and
              Brain Structure in young children with Cerebral Palsy
      (ii)    Relationship between brain metrics and longitudinal growth

In addition to the above specific topics the following researchers and collaborators with QCPRRC can
be contacted about Honours/MPhil projects. The Senior Investigators and topics for study include:

Queensland Cerebral Palsy Research and Rehabilitation Centre
A/Professor Roslyn BOYD, Director
New intervention studies for infants at risk of and children with Cerebral Palsy. Opportunities exist for
students (Medical, PT, OT and Psychology) to be involved in two RCT’s of intervention. A very early
rehabilitation trial for your children/ infants at high risk of cerebral palsy (AVERT CP) (MiiTii Australia,
Move it to improve it).

Discipline of General Practice
Professor Claire Jackson
    APHCRI Centre of Excellence in Research in Primary Health Care Research - Quality,
       Governance, Performance and Sustainability: A Clinical Microsystems Approach
    NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in improving quality and safety at the interface
       between primary and secondary level care
    Reform initiatives- health professionals and community engagement in healthcare reforms,
       facilitating reform process
    Innovative primary health care models of care

Dr Margaret KAY
    Doctor’s health
    Refugee health

Dr David KING
    Cochrane Reviews
    Structured problem solving in general practice using physician directed patient workbook
    Predictors of recurrence of major depression: A thematic systematic review
    Audit of prophylactic anticoagulation prior to lower limb surgery, and measurement of DVT
       incidence in the following 3 months
    Health intervention/program development, implementation, and evaluation
    Health service provision- improving interface between primary and secondary care
    Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) education and research in primary care
    Does Post-coital voiding prevent UTI in high risk young women
    Predictors of Recurrence of Major Depression: A thematic systematic review
    Brief structured problem solving in general practice using physician directed patient workbook

    Health service provision- improving interface between primary and secondary care (SOPD
    Primary health intervention/program development, implementation, and evaluation
    Research and evaluation of medical education- improving quality of medical education
       through assessment and evaluation

    What happens to people with Traumatic Brain Injury on stimulants when they become adult
    Exploring the Relationship Between Quality of Life and Clinical Outcomes

A/Prof Jared DART
    Complex care needs of general practice patients and the potential role of GP Super Clinics
    eHealth as a means of enhancing primary care
    Health literacy, eHealth and health information strategies for primary care

     Research into the use of melatonin in children and adults - qualitative research, a
       randomised controlled trial and safety study Thanks Jane

    Qualitative research concerning unsettled babies and their mothers

Discipline of General Practice

Diabetic retinopathy screening and monitoring of early stage disease in general practice
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Australians younger than
60 years, mainly from the development of diabetic macular oedema (DME) and the sequelae of
advanced proliferative DR. This study aims to test the accuracy, acceptability and cost-effectiveness
of general practice based DR screening integrated into the diabetes annual cycle of care compared
to conventional methods of DR screening. Secondly, this project aims to test the accuracy,
acceptability and cost-effectiveness of routine monitoring by the GP of mild to moderate DR levels
with ophthalmic support and education through videoconferencing.

Discipline of General Practice

A project tracking use of and referrals within, health care services by homeless men living in inner
city Brisbane. This mapping will be used to inform the development of a primary care homelessness
service, through the application of a ‘Lean Thinking’ approach to health care.

Centre for Medical Education Research and Scholarship (CMEDRS)
A/Prof Diann ELEY
   Student well being, internationalisation of medical education, interprofessional learning in medical
   education and early career choice, for example;
    ways to monitor and support student well being
    learning objectives for international electives
    personal traits in medical students
    intentions and the decision making process around career choice in medical students
    interprofessional learning models for medical and health science curricula
    e-learning

Dr Jenny ZHANG
    Student selection, progression and professionalism
     Patterns of student performance from year 1 to year 4
     Differences in student characteristics and performance
     Personal professional development (PPD) assessment
    Work based assessment
     Interns confidence and competence, Mini-CEX evaluation and methods
    Methodology and data analysis
     Research design and statistical data analysis methods, instrument validation
    Health care and the underserved population
     Medical Students’ Knowledge and Attitudes Towards Providing Care For The Underserved
     Socioeconomic position and health services utilisation

Medical Ethics
A/Prof Malcolm PARKER; Dr Sarah Winch
    Medical ethics, clinical ethics, medical law, futile treatment, medical professionalism

Centre of National Research on Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine (CONROD)
Prof Justin KENARDY
    Impact of PICU admission on child and parent psychological health
    Preventing postconcussion syndrome in children with mild traumatic brain injury
    e-Health intervention for child traumatic stress
    Burn injuries in pre-school children: psychological impact
    Long-term outcomes of traumatic brain injury in children
    Cochrane reviews

A/Prof Michele STERLING:
    Prevention of chronic pain and disability following musculoskeletal injury
    Exploration of nociceptive processing using psychophysical methods and fMRI in
       musculoskeletal conditions
    Immune and stress responses following whiplash injury
    Predicting outcome following whiplash injury
    Development of clinical methods for the assessment and management of musculoskeletal

Developmental Paediatrics - Mater Children's Hospital
    Projects available in Developmental Paediatrics
    Paediatric sleep medicine
    Hypersomnolence
    Retts syndrome
    A number of projects relating to sleep and specific syndromes

Medicine – Mater Health Services and Mater Medical Research Institute
Prof Timothy FLORIN
    Personalised medicine
    Better use of thiopurines in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases through therapeutic drug monitoring
    Preventing off-target effects
    Drug therapy for Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Disorder in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
    Intestinal epithelial cell communication with the gut immune system

Lung & Allergy Research Centre, Respiratory Medicine – Princess Alexandra Hospital
Prof John UPHAM, Michelle MURPHY:
    Virus infections in patients with lung disease
    Lung cancer – improving the patient journey through diagnosis and treatment

    Grass pollen allergy in asthma & allergic rhinitis

Paediatrics & Child Health
    Telemedicine in PICU,
    Pharmacological approaches to vascular leak

Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability
Prof Nick LENNOX
    Investigating the effects of health screening tools and hand held health records in adolescents
       with intellectual disability
    A qualitative assessment of the acceptability of health screening tools to adults with
       intellectual disability, their carer and their GP
    The health status of prisoners with intellectual disability
    Factors associated with non-adherence to examination for people with intellectual disability
       visiting their GP


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