New OpportunitiesCall for Papers-Ageing in a Foreign Land

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4th International Conference on Ageing in a Foreign Land – 21-22 June 2017

Building on an international theme, the title of the conference - ‘Ageing in a Foreign Land’ - highlights the important issue of ageing from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) perspective.

This unique conference with a multicultural perspective journeys into the deep cultural, spiritual, and linguistic areas of ageing amongst CALD communities. It represents a stimulating and colourful cross disciplinary and cross generational insight into our noiseless, but not silent, ethnic communities and neighborhoods.  The theme for 2017 is HOPE, STRENGTH and MEANING.

The abstracts submission deadline is 12 January 2017.  For further details please visit the website

New OpportunitiesCall for Papers-Greek Research

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The 12th International Conference on Greek Research is hosted by LOGOS Australian Centre for Hellenic Language and Culture. This conference is one of the most successful international conferences regarding Greek studies abroad with a great academic impact.  It has attracted more than 2500 participants over the last 22 years and more than 600 refereed papers have been published and are available online internationally.

The abstracts submission deadline is 12 January 2017.  For further details please visit the website

Seminars Conferences and WorkshopsNational Foundation for Medical Research and Innovation Seminar at Flinders

Where: TBC, Tonsley
When: Thursday 9 February 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
RSVP: Please RSVP your interest to

Dr Noel Chambers, Chief Executive Officer of the National Foundation for Medical Research and Innovation will be visiting and delivering a seminar at Flinders in early 2017 on Strategies for success: National Foundation for Medical Research and Innovation funds. The Medical Research Innovation’s primary objective is to support innovative areas of biomedical research to help benefit mankind through the prevention or eradication of diseases.

The Foundation offers research grants and seeks to partner with biomedical researchers to identify, evaluate and support innovative and high quality research projects with identified impact objectives.

More information will be forthcoming in January 2017. Contact Debbie if you wish to receive this information.

Seminars Conferences and WorkshopsResearch Data and Systems Drop-In Session - January 2017

The next Research Data and Reporting Team’s monthly drop-in session for interested academic and professional staff will be held on Tuesday 17 January 2017. The aim of the session is to provide one-on-one assistance to staff who want either a refresh on the research data systems used at Flinders or to learn some new skills to assist them.

Research Data and Reporting staff will be available from 12 PM to 1 PM on Tuesday 17 January 2017. Participants are encouraged to register at ienrol if they are interested in attending.

Flinders Research NewsResearcher Mentoring End of Year Celebration

Michelle Swift, Marina Delpin and Tom Vincent
2016 mentee Dr Michelle Swift, with her 12 week old daughter (School of Health Sciences, Speech Pathology), Dr Marina Delpin, and 2016 mentee Dr Tom Vincent (School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics).

Mentees, their mentors, and invited guests attended the End of Year Celebration for the 2016 Researcher Mentoring Scheme in the Alere Function Centre on December 7. December marks the end of the annual scheme and this event provided an opportunity for networking and reflection on the year’s successes.

Scheme sponsor, Professor Robert Saint, welcomed guests and spoke on the history and positive impact of the scheme – now in its fifth year and having benefited more than 110 of Flinders’ early career researchers (ECRs). Dr Marina Delpin, Project Manager of the Scheme, thanked all who have been involved, and spoke on success of mentoring partnerships and the 2016 scheme’s activities. Marina said that in 2016 there was “an increasing focus on creating a collegial, supportive, peer-learning environment for the mentee cohort.”

The scheme was launched in March, following the February mentoring workshops, and enabled all of the scheme’s participants to meet for the first time before establishing their formalised mentee-mentor meetings for the year. A professional development morning in July gave mentees an insight into “End-user engagement: translating research for societal and economic benefit”. This session weaved together the effective practices of engagement, discussion of the revised ARC Linkage program, and contextualisation of Agenda 2025 and the National Science and Innovation Agenda (NISA).

A November peer-learning and peer-networking event for mentees featured an informative round-table discussion on grant application strategies for ECRs, research record building strategies, career planning and the role of mentors in the career of ECRs. Both the July and November events featured mentee feedback on their appreciation for the opportunity to meet and strengthen existing relationships with peers, and to learn directly from senior researchers and peers who have recently “successfully lived the experience”.

Marina closed her speech by highlighting that “Mentees highly value the opportunity to meet with their mentor, and the insight that they gain from these meetings. Thank you mentors for the guidance you are providing to Flinders’ next generation”.

The 2017 scheme will commence in February.

Flinders Research NewsResearcher Mentoring - new web section and relocation

Dr Marina Delpin, has physically relocated from the Professional Development Unit to the Research Services Office this month. Her contact details remain the same for phone and email.

A new web section has been created under the Research section in conjunction with this move. The new section is Researcher Mentoring and enables users to navigate between current, future and past schemes – accessing mentoring statistics, the scheme’s researcher development activities and the benefits and outcomes the scheme participants have reported.

Research Engagement and ImpactRecent Funding Success

Dr Lily Xiao, School of Nursing and Midwifery, was awarded $5,000 from the National Social Science Foundation of China for the project Developing skilled workforce in long-term care in community care settings to achieve healthy ageing outcomes.

Associate Professor Stuart Brierley, Matthew Flinders Fellow in Gastrointestinal Neuroscience, was awarded $220,000 from Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc for the project Investigating the mechanisms of action of Linaclotide on colonic and bladder afferent pathways.

Dr Mary-Louise Rogers, Motor Neurone Disease and Neurotrophic Research Laboratory, was awarded $94,925 from the Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute for the project CSF and serum p75 extracellular domain as validation of a fluid  biomarker for MND.

Dr Ivanka Pritchard, School of Health Sciences, was awarded $10,000 from Cystic Fibrosis Australia for the project Determining factors that influence the acceptance and adoption of a gene therapy for cystic fibrosis airway disease.

Dr Kate Laver, School of Health Science, and Professor Maria Crotty, School of Health Science, were awarded $276,695 as part of the Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre for the project Evidence-based programs to improve the wellbeing of people with dementia and their carers: Implementing COPE in the Australian health context.

Professor Karen Reynolds, Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor, was awarded $44,010 from the Aged Care Industry IT Company Pty Ltd for the project A technology roadmap for the aged care sector in Australia.

Professor Sabine Dittmann, School of Biological Sciences, has been awarded $4,334 from the Nature Conservancy Australia Program for the project Benthic sediment sampling for baseline survey of proposed artificial reef in Gulf St Vincent.

Dr Diane Colombelli-Negrel, School of Biological Sciences, has been awarded $4,980 from the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife for the project 15.44 Testing Bioacoustic Recorders to survey Little Penguin populations.

Research Engagement and ImpactResearch Impact - Point of Care Testing

If you live in a remote or regional area, getting to the doctor is often substantially more arduous than a quick drive down the road. Magnify the complication and expand the timeframe should medical tests be required and by the time treatment is considered, prescribed and dispensed the entire undertaking becomes unwieldy, inconvenient and often, sadly, ignored. Researchers at the Flinders International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing are making multiple trips and long wait times for remote and regional health care users a thing of the past with innovative research that leads to local programs that ease the burden of managing chronic conditions such as diabetes and, in so doing, save lives.

For the full story and further Flinders Research Impact stories, see the Research Impact section. For assistance in creating a Flinders Research Impact case study, contact Dr Brodie Beales.

Research Engagement and ImpactNew ARC College of Experts

Three Flinders researchers were announced as new appointments to the ARC College of Experts in November 2016. Professor Michael Brunger, (School of Chemical and Physical Sciences), Professor Amanda Ellis, (School of Chemical and Physical Sciences), and Professor Sarah Wendt (School of Social and Policy Studies), join current Flinders College of Experts members, Professor Melanie Oppenheimer (School of History and International Studies) and Professor John Roddick (School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics).

The College of Experts members assess and rank ARC grant applications, provide funding recommendations, and provide strategic advice to the ARC on emerging disciplines and cross-disciplines.

PublicationsPlatypus venom could hold key to diabetes treatment

“Platypus”, 1810 / by John W. Lewin

Flinders and University of Adelaide researchers have discovered remarkable evolutionary changes to insulin regulation in two of the nation’s most iconic native animal species – the platypus and the echidna – which could pave the way for new treatments for type 2 diabetes in humans. The findings, now published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, reveal that the same hormone produced in the gut of the platypus to regulate blood glucose is also surprisingly produced in their venom.

The research is led by Professor Frank Grützner at the University of Adelaide and Associate Professor Briony Forbes at Flinders. The hormone, known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), is normally secreted in the gut of both humans and animals, stimulating the release of insulin to lower blood glucose. But GLP-1 typically degrades within minutes. In people with type 2 diabetes, the short stimulus triggered by GLP-1 isn’t sufficient to maintain a proper blood sugar balance. As a result, medication that includes a longer lasting form of the hormone is needed to help provide  an extended release of insulin.

“Our research team has discovered that monotremes – our iconic platypus and echidna – have evolved changes in the hormone GLP-1 that make it resistant to the rapid degradation normally seen in humans,” says co-lead author Professor Frank Grützner, from the University of Adelaide’s School of Biological Sciences and the Robinson Research Institute.

“We’ve found that GLP-1 is degraded in monotremes by a completely different mechanism. Further analysis of the genetics of monotremes reveals that there seems to be a kind of molecular warfare going on between the function of GLP-1, which is produced in the gut but surprisingly also in their venom,” he said.

The platypus produces a powerful venom during breeding season, which is used in competition among males for females. “We’ve discovered conflicting functions of GLP-1 in the platypus: in the gut as a regulator of blood glucose, and in venom to fend off other platypus males during breeding season. This tug of war between the different functions has resulted in dramatic changes in the GLP-1 system,” said co-lead author Associate Professor Briony Forbes, School of Medicine. “The function in venom has most likely triggered the evolution of a stable form of GLP-1 in monotremes. Excitingly, stable GLP-1 molecules are highly desirable as potential type 2 diabetes treatments,” she said.

Professor Grützner said: “This is an amazing example of how millions of years of evolution can shape molecules and optimise their function. These findings have the potential to inform diabetes treatment, one of our greatest health challenges, although exactly how we can convert this finding into a treatment will need to be the subject of future research.”

GLP-1 has also been discovered in the venom of echidnas. But while the platypus has spurs on its hind limbs for delivering a large amount of venom to its opponent, there is no such spur on echidnas. “The lack of a spur on echidnas remains an evolutionary mystery, but the fact that both platypus and echidnas have evolved the same long-lasting form of the hormone GLP-1 is in itself a very exciting finding,” Professor Grützner said.

Article sourced from the Office of Communication and Engagement

Research Engagement and ImpactFlinders Celebrates - 2016 Research Successes

The Celebrating Success event, held on 7 December in the Alere Function Centre, provided an opportunity for staff to celebrate the University’s research achievements throughout the year and for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Robert Saint, to acknowledge those achievements.   

“Our success over the year has been significant in an increasingly competitive environment and the event provided an opportunity for me to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of our researchers and research support staff who are responsible for the University’s success”, said the DVCR.

Over 80 people attended the event that followed on from the Research Mentoring Scheme end of year celebration for researcher mentors and mentees.

Research Engagement and ImpactVice-Chancellor Awards for Research Excellence

VC Award winners
Vice-Chancellor Professor Stirling, centre, and Deputy Vice-Chanceller (Research) Professor Robert Saint with the Early-Career Research Award recipients (from left) Dr Joshua Newman, Dr Lucinda Bell, Dr Cameron Shearer, Dr Christèle Maizonniaux, Dr Harriet Whiley, Dr Michael O’Callaghan, Dr Renee Smith, Dr Lucy Lewis.
Absent: Dr Sonja Vivienne and Dr Nikki McCaffrey.


Ten early-career researchers have been acknowledged by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling. The awards recognise the outstanding contributions of individual staff members to reward and encourage excellence in their research efforts.

This year’s award recipients were:

Dr Lucinda Bell, School of Health Sciences (research focus – early childhood nutrition); Dr Lucy Lewis, School of Health Sciences (physiotherapy); Dr Michael O’Callaghan, School of Medicine (epidemiology); Dr Nikki McCaffrey, School of Medicine (palliative care).

Dr Cameron Shearer, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences (nanotechnology): Dr Harriet Whiley, School of the Environment (environmental health); Dr Renee Smith, School of Biological Sciences (microbiology).

Dr Christèle Maizonniaux, School of Humanities and Creative Arts (French); Dr Sonja Vivienne, School of Humanities and Creative Arts (digital media).

Dr Joshua Newman, School of Social and Policy Studies (political science).

Up to ten awards can be made each year to PhDs to help fund opportunities for them to broaden networks and enhance their standing and recognition.

Article sourced from the Office of Communication and Engagement.

Research Engagement and ImpactCardiology, Mental Health Projects among NHMRC Grant Success

Addressing heart problems in people with mental illnesses, faster identification of heart attacks and easing internal pain without opiate drugs are amongst the successful Flinders University initiatives awarded 2017 National Health and Medical Research Council funding. Flinders secured $3,817,434 for five Project Grants, and a $470,144 Career Development Fellowship.

They are in addition to the recently announced 2017 Development Grant to Professor John Arkwright for research into obstructive sleep apnoea, and an Early Career Fellowship to Dr Shailesh Bihari for his research into fluid resuscitation, better known as an intravenous drip.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint says the funding supports Flinders’ leading role in making a difference to people’s lives through research and innovation. “Flinders University has a long and proud tradition of solving real world problems and improving health outcomes for all Australians, and these latest NHMRC funded projects further reinforce our commitment to research excellence that delivers health and wellbeing solutions here and around the world,” Professor Saint said.

The successful projects are:

$960,320 for Professor Malcolm Battersby and team, for the project Improving cardiovascular health and quality of life in people with severe mental illness: a randomised trial of a ‘partners in health’ intervention. People with severe mental illnesses have a higher prevalence of heart disease, which researchers hope to address through a “partners in health” support approach. Other chief investigators from Flinders are Professor Michael Kidd, Professor Julio Licinio (also SAHMRI theme leader), Professor Sharon Lawn, Professor Julie Ratcliffe and Dr Stephen Quinn, as well as Professor Philip Aylward (Flinders Medical Centre) and Professor Amanda Baker (University of Newcastle).

$1,095,319 to Professor Derek Chew and team for the project Improving Rapid Decision-Making in the Face of Uncertainty: A randomised trial of a 1-hour troponin protocol in suspected acute coronary syndromes. Team includes Flinders’ Dr Stephen Quinn,  Associate Professor Thomas Briffa (University of Western Australia), Professor Louise Cullen (Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Queensland Health) and Professor Jonathan Karnon (University of Adelaide)

Professor John Miners
Professor John Miners

$558,447 to Professor John Miners and Professor Ross McKinnon for the project The molecular basis of cytochrome P450 ligand binding: Towards predicting enzyme substrate selectivity and drug-drug interaction potential. The researchers will use computational and experimental techniques to better understand how the body metabolises, or breaks down, drugs. For patients on multiple medications such as those being treated for cancer, this knowledge could help to avoid harmful effects from interactions between co-administered drugs.

$565,966 to Professor Justine Smith for the project Regulation of ICAM-1 Expression in Human Retinal Endothelial Cells. Justine is an eye specialist who treats uveitis – sight threatening inflammation inside the eye. Designer drugs that target the proteins that cause the inflammation are a revolutionary 21st Century treatment, but since the proteins are also needed for the normal immune system, people who take these drugs are at risk for serious infections. This research will develop a different drug approach that works by only partially blocking the proteins, so the immune response can function normally and there is no risk of infection.

$637,382 to Professor Nicholas Spencer and Professor Simon Brookes for the project A novel technique for prolonged silencing of visceral pain without opiates. This project uses a harmless virus to carry an RNA molecule that silences a particular type of ion channel essential for pain signals to reach the brain. The major novelty of this technique is that it offers selective silencing of pain signals only at the site of injection, for long periods of time. This means that prolonged chronic pain in mammals can be targeted at the source of the pain, by shutting down the activity of only the sensory nerves that carry the pain signals from the source of the injury. The patient therefore would not rely on regular consumption of non-specific and often highly addictive pain killers, like opiates, that affect so many organ systems.

A $470,144 Career Development Fellowship was awarded to Associate Professor Stuart Brierley for the project Identifying the underlying causes of chronic visceral pain and discovering novel therapeutic treatments. By finding the mechanisms that are changed during chronic pain, researchers hope to find treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and over-active bladder, which affects millions of people across the globe.

The Flinders researchers involved in other NHMRC projects administered by other universities include Professor Chew, Professor McEvoy, Associate Professor Catcheside, Professor Paul WardDr Tamara Mackean, Dr Andrew Vakulin and Associate Professor Michael Sorich.

Article sourced from the Office of Communication and Engagement.

Flinders Research NewsFrom the Deputy Vice-Chancelor (Research)

Professor Robert Saint
Professor Robert Saint
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

It has been a big year for research in Australia. The Federal Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda began taking effect, the Medical Research Future Fund became established and there were major changes to research block grant and research training program funding and arrangements.  At Flinders, we have successfully implemented the recommendations of the graduate research review, consulted widely on future research structures for the University, initiated our participation in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) program and welcomed a group of outstanding researchers as Matthew Flinders Fellows. More importantly, of course, Flinders research has made major contributions to the advancement of knowledge and to improving people’s lives.

We have had a large amount of research success this year. Our researchers have won numerous ARC and NHMRC national competitive grants, carried out crucial contract-and partnership based research that impacts directly on the lives of people in our community and published influential bodies of work. Our researchers have achieved personal landmarks such as being elected to learned academies or short listed for and winning prestigious awards.

Our support for our early to mid-career researchers continues through the Researcher Mentoring Scheme and the Building Research Leaders Program and we recognised the achievements of our PhD students and early career researchers through the awards for the Best RHD Student Publication, the Vice-Chancellor’s Early Career Researcher awards and the Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence.

But the inspiring research comes from you, our inspirational researchers. Thank you and the staff who support you for your dedication and commitment and congratulations on your 2016 achievements. I hope you enjoy a relaxing break and I look forward to your return in 2017 to break new ground in our quest to expand knowledge and understanding and to improve the lives of people everywhere.

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