Dr Carmine De Pasquale, 2000-2002, Heart and Lung Research
Associate Professor Carmine De Pasquale Heart Failure / Clinical Cardiology
Dr De Pasquale completed his under graduate degree at the Flinders University in 1992 graduating with Honours. He worked in Critical Care prior to completing his physician training specialising in Cardiology in 2000. He then completed his PhD in 2003 studying the effects of heart failure on the lungs. In 2003 he undertook a Clinical Fellowship in Heart Failure at the St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney.
Dr De Pasquale has expertise in heart failure and echocardiography. He is also a Senior Lecturer at the Flinders University where he has ongoing research interests in heart failure both at the laboratory scientific level and clinical therapeutics level. While his animal based research involves exploration of the mechanisms of evolution of the heart failure syndrome, his clinical research involves in international treatment trials of novel heart failure therapeutics. He has won research funding through competitive national grants and his research has been recognised with international journal scientific publications.
Dr De Pasquale was the president of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand Heart Failure Council in 2007-8, he took over as the chair of the South Australian Heart Failure Network working group in 2011.
Ms Bakhita Hassan, 2003 - 2004, Upper airway obstruction in infant breathing
Upper airway obstruction is a very common problem in young children and can cause serious problems, such as growth and heart failure. Less severe obstruction can also cause problems with memory, attention, learning and behaviour. In South Australia, 18% of children tend to snore, a sign of possible upper airway obstruction, for more than three nights a week.
Ms Hassan's project will use more sensitive methods to measure upper airway obstruction in infants, and provide observations on infants' sleep-time breathing that are not normally available from standard sleep studies.
Ms Hassan is a student in the University's Department of Paediatrics, based at the Women's & Children's Hospital in the Sleep Disorders Unit.
Dr Andrea Dewar, 2003 - 2005, Leukaemia Research
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a cancer of white blood cells, occurring when bone marrow stem cells undergo a malignant change. It is almost uniformly fatal, except in cases where bone marrow transplants are possible.
This research project focussed on examining the process of cell differentiation in leukaemic cells. Her results may provide important information on the progression of leukaemia and aid in the development of new treatment strategies. Her studies of a new drug that shows promising results in the treatment of CML may also offer new insights into the use of this drug for the treatment of other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
Dr Andrew Philpott, 2003 - 2005, Mechanics and Prevention of Nitrate Tolerance
Nitrates are a family of drugs used for the treatment of chest pain, heart attack, and heart failure. The mechanism by which the body activates these drugs is not completely understood. In addition the use of these drugs is limited by a progressive reduction in effectiveness with constant use, such that they can only be effective for 12-16 hours each day. The mechanism that mediates this effect is also unknown. This phenomenon is known as nitrate tolerance.
This research investigated whether an enzyme called Aldehyde dehydrogenase might be responsible for these effects. This enzyme has many other recognised roles including processing of alcohol. It had been suggested to be important for nitrates based on animal experiments.
We found that this enzyme while likely being involved modestly in the activation of these drugs by the body, was not the principal controller of this effect, and that it was not responsible for the development of nitrate tolerance.
These results were presented at the 2007 meeting of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans, being awarded 2nd place in the Young Investigators Awards.
Dr Nitin Gupta, 2006 - 2011, Upper airway obstruction in infant breathing
I have been working as a Paediatric Gastroenterologist at the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network (Randwick) since 2011. At the Syndey Children's Hospital, I look after infants and children with complex medical and nutritional issues in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and liver. My clinical interests include general gastroenterology, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) as well as Cystic Fibrosis.
During my training years, I took opportunities to move between various gastroenterology departments in tertiary hospitals in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. Each of these centres have specialized clinical and academic interests that allowed me a thorough education into the broader gastroenterological disorders of Motility (Adelaide), Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (Sydney Children’s Hospital) and Liver diseases (Brisbane).
My family moved from India to Australia when I was five years of age. I grew up in regional South Australia before moving to Adelaide for my medical degree and the start of my paediatric training.
My current positions include:
Staff Specialist, Sydney Children's Hospital (Randwick)
Visiting Medical Officer (Honorary), Canberra Hospital
Clinical Lecturer, UNSW
Ms Sarah Carter, 2007 - 2012, Combination strategies for the treatment of prostate cancer
Current therapies for advanced or metastatic prostate cancer are ineffective, and our laboratory aims to develop new, potentially more effective strategies to treat prostate cancer. We have previously found that combining a current hormonal therapy (bicalutamide) and a relatively new anti-cancer agent (vorinostat) markedly suppresses growth of and induces death in prostate cancer cells. The aims of this project were to determine how the combination causes this enhanced effect on prostate cancer cell growth and viability, identify potential cell death pathways involved, and determine whether the combination was effective against human prostate cancer cells grown in a mouse model.
In this project, I have made significant progress identifying the mechanism of action of the combination therapy in prostate cancer cells. I showed that both agents must be administered at the same time to be able to cause significant death of prostate cancer cells. This finding alone will help to determine the optimal dosing regime for this particular combination in the clinic.
Dr Nhan Truong, 2008 - 2012, Neuronal cell death in neurodegenerative diseases
Gliomas are brain cancers that are devastating and incurable in almost 95% of patients. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and aggressive form of glioma in adults and GBM patients have very poor prognosis, with a mean time of survival of 1 year after diagnosis. GBM is associated with mutations of growth factors that mediate survival of these cells, via the activation of downstream signalling molecules. We recently have discovered a new approach that dramatically and potently kills GBM cells in tissue culture. This exciting and quite unexpected discovery has therapeutic potential that I am currently pursuing in the laboratory.
I have presented my work at the International 22nd Lorne Cancer Conference (VIC). Additionally, in September 2010 I presented data at the Postgraduate Research Expo (Adelaide, SA) and won the best poster for translational research with the most commercial potential
Ms Stacey McCallum, 2012 – 2014, Alcohol Dependence and Anxiety
Patients who suffer from co-occurring alcohol use disorders and mental health disorders are at an increased risk of treatment dropout and treatment readmission, and are more likely to relapse to alcohol consumption when compared to patients with a single disorder.
With support from the Lions Medical Research Foundation, I have investigated ways to improve the treatment of co-occurring disorder and patients’ stay in treatment. In order to achieve this, I explored the patients’ perception of care with a focus of continuity of care, treatment needs and treatment satisfaction. Over a period of 10-months, I conducted a series of interviews and surveys with patients receiving treatment across a number of substance abuse services in Adelaide.
Results from this research have produced a number of informative findings that have both theoretical and clinical implications, and have informed a number of specific recommendations to improve the treatment offered by local clinicians and services. Some recommendations include ways to improve the clinician-patient relationship, improving access to services and continuity of care with mental health services. A report of findings will be provided to local drug and alcohol services with the aim of informing current treatment practices.
I have been fortunate to present findings at a number of domestic and international conferences, including the USA, UK and France. I am currently finalising my PhD research as well as completing a Masters in Clinical Psychology program at the University of Adelaide. My research has opened many doors for me and I continue to be driven to improve the treatment of alcohol and mental health problems in Adelaide. I intend to continue working with this patient population, in both research and clinical settings.
Harper, R. L.; (2016); Gene therapy for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension with Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptor Type-2 modulation via engineered endothelial progenitor cells or a targeted Adeno-viral construct: changes in Smad and non-Smad signalling contributed to amelioration of disease.
Dr Rajeev Kumar Pathak, 2012– 2014, Studies in obesity
His expertise is the field of Arrhythmia Atrial Fibrillation Cardiac Arrhythmias Palpitation Sudden Cardiac Death Cardiac Arrest Cardiac Risk Factors.
Dr Tiger Zhou, 2015 – 2017, Genetic causes of glaucoma
Statistics show one in 10 Australians over the age of 80 will develop glaucoma. At present, about 50 per cent of people with the disease remain undiagnosed.
Dr Zhou, who completed his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from Flinders in 2011, said glaucoma usually runs in families, with first-degree relatives of glaucoma patients having a nine-fold increased risk of developing the disease.
Despite the well-established genetic link to glaucoma based on family inheritance, Dr Zhou said only a small number of disease-causing genes have been determined.
“The most common gene that’s linked to glaucoma is the myocilin gene, which accounts for three to four per cent of all glaucoma cases,” Dr Zhou, based in the Department of Ophthalmology, said.