Highlights and achievements

This issue's media highlights

Grants and funding

Vijay Suppiah & Matt Sykes were successful with a UniSA T&L Development grant for their project titled: “Development of digital resources to advance the design and delivery of practical teaching across chemistry and pharmacy laboratories”.

Leah Wright and Chelsea Thorn from the Prestidge Group have been successful in securing Endeavour Leadership Awards for 6 months and 12 months of overseas research, respectively. Leah will travel to Uppsala University in Sweden to work with Professor Christel Bergström utilising their state-of-the-art synthetic gastrointestinal permeability models to analyse protein and nanoparticle transport. Chelsea will travel to the Hemholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland in Germany to work with Professor Claus-Michael Lehr to learn highly sophisticated, bacteria-infected organoid models that will access the pre-clinical efficacy and tolerability of her bacterial-targeting formulations. Both PhD students are eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to experience research in different countries, all of which will uniquely benefit their PhD and future careers as scientists.

HDR students Liying Lin, Jessica Heatlie and Tamara Paget have each been awarded Research Degree Student International Travel Grants.

Awards and Achievements

Gabrielle Todd was recently awarded with a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning at the Australian Awards for University Teaching. Gabrielle was one of three recipients from UniSA and one of eight from South Australia. The 2018 award ceremony was held late in February 2019.
The citations are awarded through a highly competitive process by the Australian Government through Universities Australia. The citations recognise and reward the diverse, scholarly contributions made by individuals and teams who have had a significant impact on the quality of student learning in a particular area of responsibility over a sustained period.

The Pharmacometrics Research Group and Mayne Pharma’s expert partnership pave the way for vital new medications (project led by David Foster, group leader and Post Doc Research Fellow, Ahmad Abuhelwa). Read more in the UniSA news article here.

Chris Daniels, Adjunct Professor of Biology, qualified academically for the award of the degree of Doctor of Science at the University of Adelaide for his submission entitled, "The Lives of Animals and Animals in Our Lives". This thesis encapsulates his body of work between 1988 – 2017, with the majority having been completed at the University of Adelaide.

Sandra Orgeig completed the UniSA online course, ‘Engaging Learners Online’, achieving an HD overall. She can highly recommend the course to anyone teaching into a blended or fully online course, as it provides a great insight and hence empathy for what it is like to be an online learner and exposes you to a range of useful tools to develop online material.

Michael Ward was invited by the Oman Ministry of Health to deliver a two-day workshop on biosimilar medicines in Muscat, Oman.

Michael Ward was appointed for two years to the TGA Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling (ACMS).

Shudong Wang had Hon David Pisoni, (Minister for Industry and Skills, Government of South Australia), visit her laboratory on 16th February. Shudong gave a presentation to introduce our drug discovery and industry collaboration. Ms Kim Meier (Ministerial Adviser), Prof Ian Oliver and Dr Steve Rodda accompanied the MP.

Following the announcement of Tuan Nguyen’s NHMRC-NAFOSTED grant in Dec 2018, his research and leadership has been featured in the following media highlights/release:
Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre at University of Sydney
University of New South Wales The Vietnam national radio – the Voice of Vietnam (In Vietnamese) In this interview titled: “Dr Tuan Anh Nguyen: Undertaking research on Vietnam to give back to his home country”, he emphasized that one of the key elements contributing to his success is the great support from UniSA, from Ideas Incubator Sessions for the development of his research ideas, to the grant support program provided by Health Sciences Division. This provides an excellent working environment for researchers to develop their career and to succeed.

Renly Lim, Lisa Kalisch Ellett, Sue Semple and Libby Roughead recently had their report for the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Medicine safety: Take care published on the 31st of January 2019. The report was highlighted via many news outlets and websites including 9 News and Sydney Morning Herald.

Anton Blencowe’s collaborator, Michael Vetter, from industry partner Vetter Pharma recently won an Inno-Award for their innovative project on alternative sterilisation techniques. The award is an internal award which recognises innovative ideas to drive Vetter Pharma business.

Master of Clinical Pharmacy graduate, Gauri Godbole, was recently featured in the Australian Journal of Pharmacy 'Staff Spotlight'. Read her story here.

International connections

Brian Dale recently took six fourth year Laboratory Medicine students on a New Colombo Plan funded study tour to Myanmar (11-28 January) visiting Universities of Medical Technology in Mandalay and Yangon, including visits to public and private pathology laboratories, public health laboratories, the National Blood Centre and the Department of Medical Research.

Media Highlights

Medical News Bulletin reports on UniSA research suggesting zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreen pose no toxic threat to humans. Lead researcher, Michael Roberts, comments, “The terrible consequences of skin cancer and skin damage caused by prolonged sun exposure are much greater than any toxicity posed by approved sunscreen.” Read the article here.

Pedestrian TV, SMH and 16 other outlets report on research conducted in conjunction with UniSA indicating Australians spent around $9.3-billion on illicit drugs in 2018. The investigation was undertaken for the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, and involved examination of wastewater treatment plants. Jason White also appears on ABC Radio Melbourne Mornings to discuss the findings. ​

The New Daily publishes an article detailing what it claims is the “best diet of 2019”, citing research by Karen Murphy and Natalie Parletta showing people of all ages and cooking abilities can easily adopt and enjoy Mediterranean-style food. Read the article here.

The continuing coverage of Tahnee Dening’s research into fat absorbing clay sees the South Eastern Times cover the subject, including comments from Clive Prestidge, who supervised the study. Clive Prestidge notes, “This is a significant discovery that provides new and exciting avenues for weight loss research which naturally attracts potential commercial partners.”

News Medical, Science Daily and Pharmacy Daily report that Vijay Suppiah has called for Australia to embrace pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing. He says PGx testing, which maps a person's genetic makeup, is the most effective way to ensure patients are prescribed drugs which suit their specific DNA profile.

Vijay Suppiah was interviewed by ABC Adelaide about new research suggesting people are wasting $2.4b on ineffective prescription drugs, a situation that may be remedied through the use of medication individually tailored to a patient’s genetic makeup.

Vijay Suppiah features on the UK’s Daily Mail,SBS, the Courier Mail, Yahoo News and five other outlets to discuss the benefits of mapping a person’s DNA in order to ensure they are prescribed drugs that will prove effective for their unique genetic makeup.

Aged Care Insite reports on research by Vijay Suppiah showing the benefits of mapping a person’s DNA in order to ensure they receive prescription drugs appropriate to their genetic makeup. Read the article here.

Chris Daniels appears on ABC Radio Adelaide Mornings to explain… what he does as an adjunct professor.

Australian Doctor reports on research co-authored by Libby Roughead estimating 2.5% of all hospital admissions and about 7% of emergency department admissions are caused by adverse reactions to medicines. Read the article here.

Chris Daniels appears on ABC Radio Late Afternoons to discuss the breeding cycles of egg laying animals, including the lack of understanding about how platypi and echidnas produce eggs.

SBS Online reports on a study by UniSA’s Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre which found 250,000 Australians are hospitalised every year because of adverse reactions to the drugs they have been prescribed to get better. Read the article here.

Libby Roughead, from the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre at UniSA, talks to Radio Adelaide about the issues surrounding the misuse of medications. Listen here.

Craig Williams tells ABC Breakfast people are currently seeing more cockroaches in their homes due to the extended dry spell.

Inan article about the current cockroach plague, MSN re-quotes comments Craig Williams made to ABC radio yesterday: “I can personally vouch for the cockroach invasion – I have witnessed it too… They come into the home, because that is cooler, and insects will struggle in the hot, dry weather. It seems crazy but they really do.' Read here.

The 10 Daily website notes research by Vijay Suppiah suggesting genetic testing is an effective way to determine if a drug will be safe and effective for a given individual. Read the article here.

Craig Williams appears on ABC Mornings to discuss ways to treat and control headlice.

Peter Clifton tells the Australian Financial Review fasting diets have been used to help people with type-2 diabetes for 30 or 40 years. “There’s nothing new about it. If someone has just presented with type 2 diabetes, losing weight will work better than any drug.”

Eleven outlets, including Channel Nine and Channel Ten report on a study released by UniSA’s Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre indicating misuse of medicine is rife in Australia. Libby Roughead says, “As the use of pharmaceuticals increases so too do rates of medication error, management problems and interactions with other medicines.”

Get Stem includes an article about Vijay Suppiah's work indicating genetic mapping of patients may improve drug prescription. Read the article here.

Radio Adelaide interviews Jason White about drug use at music festivals. Prof White notes hot weather conditions and other factors in festival environments make taking certain drugs more dangerous, and all people react differently to drugs.

ABC Adelaide interviews Stephen Fricker about mosquitoes, noting numbers are down in many areas due to the hot weather.