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Today's date is Sunday, January 17, 2021
 March 2019
Tuesday 26
13:00 - SEMINAR - Improving Immunity to Melanoma : School of Human Sciences Seminar Series Website | More Information
Abstract: Melanoma is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, resulting in ~1500 deaths each year. While extensive public health campaigns have increased community awareness of the importance of sun-safety and skin monitoring, a substantial number of melanomas remain undetected until late-stage progression. New treatments that harness the immune system offer great promise for melanoma treatment, but further advances are required for these approaches to succeed in the majority of patients. Immunotherapy strategies use a variety of approaches to harness T cell immunity to control melanoma. We have recently identified several new settings of effective T cell cancer surveillance, resulting in either complete elimination of malignant cells or the establishment of a dynamic ‘melanoma-immune equilibrium’. This fundamental knowledge should be of value for the development of novel clinical strategies targeting cancer.

Speaker: Dr. Jason Waithman is a molecular and cellular immunologist having obtained his PhD in 2008. His training was completed in outstanding institutions that include the University of Melbourne, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research under the guidance of multiple international leading immunologists. He relocated to Perth in 2012 to establish and run an independent, original research program at the Telethon Kids Institute. He has successfully attracted fellowship support from 2010-21 and has attracted project funding from multiple sources to support his research program. He is currently working closely with an industry partner and the host institute to develop innovative therapeutic techniques for cancer patients as part of the discovery and translation pipeline associated with his research program.
Thursday 28
13:00 - SEMINAR - The Search for a function of the melanoma tumour antigen melanotransferrin: Iron binding molecule turned pro-tumourigenic signalling protein : School of Human Sciences Seminar Series Website | More Information
Melanotransferrin (MTf) is a membrane-bound transferrin homologue that is found in melanoma cells and was one of the first melanoma tumour antigens to be characterized. It possesses an iron-binding site like the iron-binding protein in the blood, transferrin, but does not play a role in normal cellular iron metabolism. This was shown by Richardson through a variety of studies in vitro in cell culture and in vivo using purpose generated melanotransferrin knockout and transgenic mice. However, Richardson later demonstrated that melanotransferrin stimulates melanoma growth, proliferation and migration and more recently appears to play an exciting role in oncogenic signalling via down-regulating the metastasis suppressor protein, NDRG1. Intriguingly, over-expression of NDRG1 can down-regulate MTf. The studies over a period of 20 years will be discussed.

 April 2019
Friday 05
13:00 - SEMINAR - Measuring physical activity patterns using objective devices: Past, present, and future : School of Human Sciences Seminar Series Website | More Information
There is emerging evidence that how individuals accumulate their physical activity and sedentary behaviour (e.g. bouts, breaks) each day may be important for health. It is possible to assess activity patterns using different objective monitors (e.g. ActiGraph, activPAL, etc), yet there is little consistency in which patterns are examined in children and adults. In this talk, A/Prof Ridgers will discuss her research that is focusing on understanding patterns of activity accumulation. She will describe ways that have been used measure activity patterns, and identify some of the historical and current challenges facing researchers. She will present research that has examined changes in patterns over time and within interventions, and how patterns are associated with health outcomes. She will finish with a discussion that highlights the importance of considering changes in activity across the activity spectrum (from sedentary to vigorous activity). Throughout the presentation, A/Prof Ridgers will highlight opportunities afforded by objective measures to assess activity patterns moving forwards.
Tuesday 23
13:00 - SEMINAR - Surgical wound complications: improving prevention and outcomes : School of Human Sciences Seminar Series Website | More Information
Surgical wound complications such as dehiscence (SWD) are a significant issue that affect large numbers of patients and is almost certainly under-reported. The impact of SWD can be considerable: increased mortality, delayed hospital discharge, readmission, further surgery, delayed adjuvant treatment, suboptimal aesthetic outcome and impaired psychosocial wellbeing. Consequently, it is imperative to raise awareness of SWD and improve identification, prevention and management. Prevention of SWD comprises excellence in surgical practice, prevention of surgical site infection, reducing risk of healing impairment and use of interventional therapies such as single-use negative pressure wound therapy in appropriately identified high-risk patients. Management also involves a holistic approach that includes amelioration of impediments to healing, optimising conditions in the wound bed and using appropriate treatment modalities to ultimately close the wound. The need for international consensus on the core issues around SWD arose from the doctoral research of Kylie Sandy-Hodgetts. The process started with a meeting of an international group of surgical care experts in July 2017. Development of the subsequent consensus document included extensive review by the Core Expert Working Group and a Review Panel. This consensus document is aimed at clinicians in all care settings who work with patients with surgical incisions. The main objective of the document is to inspire clinicians to improve outcomes for patients by providing practical guidance on how to improve prevention and management of SWD.
Wednesday 24
13:00 - SEMINAR - Seeking the secret of longevity, deep in the sea : School of Human Sciences Seminar Series Website | More Information
Abstract: Professor Pierre Blier -Seeking the secret of longevity, deep in the sea. Delineating the physiological and biochemical causes of aging process in the animal kingdom is a highly active area of research not only because of potential benefits for human health but also because aging process is related to life history strategies (growth and reproduction) and to responses of organisms to environmental conditions and stress. In this presentation, I advocate studying bivalve species as models for revealing the determinants of species divergences in maximal longevity. This taxonomic group includes the longest living metazoan on earth (Arctica islandica), which insures the widest range of maximum life span when shorter living species are also included in the comparative model. This model can also be useful for uncovering factors modulating the pace of aging in given species by taking advantages of the wide disparity of lifespan among different populations of the same species. For example, maximal lifespan in different populations of A islandica range from approximately 36 years to over 500 years. In the last 15 years, research has revealed that either regulation or tolerance to oxidative stress is tightly correlated to longevity in this group which support further investigations on this taxon to unveil putative mechanistic links between Reactive Oxygen Species and aging process.

Bio: Pierre Blier is Professor of Evolutionary Physiology at the Université du Québec à Rimouski in Canada. He obtained a PhD at Laval University in Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry and has been invited professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the “Institution des Sciences de l’Évolution de Montpelleir and at the Linus Pauling Institute of Science. He is currently invited Scholar at Monash University. He has been interested in the evolution of mitochondria in animals (mostly ectotherms) for the last 30 years and worked on the links between evolution of mtDNA and mitochondrial phenotype. In the last 15 years he studied the mitochondrial characters potentially associated with lifespan animals.
Friday 26
13:00 - SEMINAR - Phenotypic consequences of mutation accumulations on mitochondria : School of Human Sciences Seminar Series Website | More Information
Abstract: Professor Dufresne France - Phenotypic consequences of mutation accumulations on mitochondria. Mitochondria are essential organelles that generate ATP necessary to sustain life via the oxidative phosphorylation. The mitochondrial genome is known to be sensitive to the accumulation of deleterious mutations due to its highly mutagenic environment. Yet we lack a complete understanding of the impact of spontaneous DNA mutations on heritable damages within the germ line and how these affect mitochondrial functions. Exposure to mutagenic environmental contaminants can accelerate mutation accumulation. However, little is known about how mutagenic compounds affect the scope and extent of the phenotypic effects of spontaneous mutations on the mitochondria. In this talk, I will present our recent work on the effects of mutation accumulations (MA) on mitochondrial traits and fitness in the microinvertebrate, Daphnia pulex. We used lines of Daphnia that were bottlenecked every generation for 120 generations under mild copper and benign conditions. We compared life history traits, mtDNA copy number and mitochondrial respiration in bottlenecked Daphnia lines to those of control lines (Daphnia that were kept in large numbers for the same period of time). Our results are the first to empirically demonstrate the alleged sensitivity of mitochondria to mutational load and point at modulation of mtDNA content as an important mitigation mechanism of mutational impacts.

Bio: France Dufresne is a professor of genetics at the Université du Québec à Rimouski. She obtained her Ph.D. in zoology from the university of Guelph. She held postdoctorate fellowships at the Université Laval and at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography (San Diego). She has major interests in genome size evolution, and more specifically in how increases in genome size through polyploidy affects adaptation to cold environments. Another major aspect of her studies is the evolution of sexual reproduction. She applies genetic and genomic tools to examine the evolutionary consequences of a lack of genetic recombination in her model system, Daphnia. Other areas of expertise in her laboratory include genetic connectivity and local adaptation in various marine invertebrate species and algae.

 July 2019
Wednesday 03
13:00 - SEMINAR - Deconstructing, replicating and engineering instructive niches for stem cell differentiation : School of Human Sciences Seminar Series More Information
Abstract: Most cells in our bodies are embedded in a complex matrix of extracellular molecules. These tissue-specific and dynamic microenvironments are essential for the functioning of the cells. But exactly what these microenvironments, or so-called "cell niche", are doing to the cells? Can we capture the "design principles" of these complex matrices on engineered microsystems, and guide in vitro cultured cells to form and function as a tissue? Traditional two-dimensional cell culture systems have been used to investigate the roles of tissue microenviroments. But these experimental systems are often too simplistic to reflect the complexity of the natural microenvironment. On the other hand, native tissue microenvironments, such as those provided by decellularised organs, are too complex to be reverse-engineered into model systems that can be studied and applied. This talk summarises our lab's recent attempts to deconstruct tissue microenvironments into their biochemical and architectural components, and investigate the roles of each components in guiding adult stem cell differentiation. The objective of this seminar is to introduce an interdisciplinary audience to the nature and challenges of our research question, and to present some of the approaches we are using to tackle it. Discussion with the cell biologists, bioengineers, materials scientists after the talk will hopefully bring forth fresh and creative ideas on this project.

 September 2019
Tuesday 03
13:00 - SEMINAR - School of Human Sciences Seminar Series : Age-related pathway signatures – relevance for treating ageing disorders Website | More Information
Abstract: Ageing occurs in a regulated manner and the associated gene expression changes could contribute to the onset of many diseases, either by creating a permissive environment for pathology, or by directly inducing these conditions. We identified an Age-related Gene Expression Signature (AGES) in rats, by studying a time course of gene expression throughout the lifespan of the animal. Examining multiple tissues in rats aged 6, 9, 12, 18, 21, 24 and 27 months, we demonstrated tissue-specific and common gene pathway changes. Since AGES were shared by multiple tissues, it is plausible that perturbation of a discrete cell signalling pathway can extend life span and delay age-related diseases. We next asked, what is the impact of clinically-relevant low doses of rapalog on age-related pathway changes? Rapamycin or rapalogs (e.g. RAD001) that are inhibitors of mTORC1 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1), have been shown to increase lifespan and forestall age-related phenotypes in multiple species, including humans. Interestingly, the effect of RAD001 on age-related gene pathways was more pronounced in kidneys compared with other examined tissues (liver, skeletal muscle and hippocampus). The majority of the age-related pathways in the kidney were counter-regulated by a low dose of RAD001, and this was accompanied by reduction of age-related renal histopathology. We also examined the impact of RAD001 on molecular pathways implicated in skeletal muscle ageing (sarcopenia). This partial inhibition of the mTORC1 pathway counteracted age-related changes in expression of several genes related to senescence, muscle atrophy and deterioration of neuromuscular junctions, plus prevented loss of muscle mass for select muscles. These studies emphasise the potential benefit of drugs that target global signalling pathways as a successful strategy to reduce the adverse consequences of ageing.
Wednesday 04
14:00 - SEMINAR - School of Human Sciences Seminar Series : Cancer associated fibroblast mediated remodelling of the extracellular matrix as a driver of tumour progression and metastasis Website | More Information
Abstract: Homeostasis of the extracellular matrix (ECM) is critical for correct organ and tissue function. It plays a critical role in normal tissue homeostasis and pathological disease progression. Both the biochemical and biomechanical properties of the ECM contribute to modulating the behaviour of resident cells and are more than just passive bystanders. In tissue diseases such as cancer, the ECM undergoes significant change. These changes, driven by both tumour and stromal cells, feed into the progression of the disease. As such, changes in the ECM mark significant transition events in disease progression. Understanding how the changing ECM facilitates tumour progression and metastasis is an important step in the development of new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer.

 October 2019
Tuesday 08
11:44 - EVENT - Agriculture 4.0 (The Future of Agriculture) : AGRI 4.0 2020 More Information

 November 2019
Wednesday 27
13:00 - SEMINAR - Heat Therapy: An ancient practice to target modern diseases : School of Human Sciences, Seminar Series Website | More Information
Presentation Summary:Chronic heat exposure, in the form of saunas, hot water baths, and sweat lodges have been utilized in many cultures for thousands of years. While repetitive bouts of heat exposure is generally believed to be healthy, it is only recently that we are beginning to understand the full benefits of ‘heat therapy’ across the spectrum of human health. Passive heating results in a rise in body temperature and changes in cardiovascular hemodynamics, including altered shear patterns of blood flow. There is growing evidence that these responses to acute heat stress combine over repetitive sessions to provide a stress-resistant profile to counter inflammation and oxidative stress, as occurs with aging and chronic disease, as well as from acute damaging events such as ischemia-reperfusion injury. There is also growing evidence heat therapy can be used to target metabolic dysfunction in obesity and diabetes through improvements in insulin signaling in fat and muscle cells. This ancient therapy needs broader application to treat modern diseases, particularly in those not able to obtain the full benefits of exercise. Speaker Biography:Dr. Christopher Minson is the Kenneth and Kenda Singer Professor of Human Physiology. His research focuses on topics related to integrative cardiovascular physiology in humans. His lab investigates how we can use exposures to extreme environments to gain a healthy and resilient physiology. He is also involved in projects related to endocrine function in women, biomarkers of aging and the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and finding novel ways to improve thermal comfort and safely in work environments. He also works with elite athletes in the use of environmental stressors to improve performance.

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