Menzies Annual Report 2018

Page 1

Menzies Institute for Medical Research

Annual Report 2018


contents

4

7

11

17

20

30

3 About Us

17 Awards and Recognition

Menzies exists to perform internationally significant medical research leading to healthier, longer and better lives for Tasmanians.

Our staff and students’ groundbreaking work gains global recognition.

6 Message from the Chairman and Director 9 Multiple Sclerosis Research Program

19 Education and Training Menzies had more than 100 research higher degree students and a strong professional development program for staff.

Menzies partnered to develop a massive online course about MS and launched a major report on the disease’s economic impact.

21 Global Collaboration

12 Research Highlights

30 Philanthropy and Community Engagement In 2018, Menzies received $3.63 million in philanthropic income and almost 4,300 people attended our events.

33

Financial Report

1 January to 31 December 2018

34 Board and Management

Menzies collaborates in many international research consortia.

25 Major Grants and Competitive Funding

Summary findings of a selection of our leading research papers in 2018.

Front cover: Professor Mark Nelson, a principal investigator on the ASPREE study. Back cover: Associate Professor Fay Johnston, researcher into the health effects of air quality, and MS researcher Associate Professor Ingrid van der Mei.

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

2


About us

Menzies exists to perform internationally significant medical research leading to healthier, longer and better lives for Tasmanians. Menzies has five key research areas

We aim to advance human health and wellbeing by contributing significantly to knowledge on prevention and treatment of conditions including multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease, obesity, hypertension, stroke, motor neurone disease, inherited eye diseases, mental illness, dementia, cancer, arthritis and osteoporosis.

Public Health and Primary Care The Public Health and Primary Care theme seeks to better prevent and manage important population health problems. Projects address a broad range of conditions including cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, multiple sclerosis, type-2 diabetes and depression. Several projects are investigating how lifestyle factors (for example, smoking and physical activity) and obesity in childhood and early adulthood affect the risk of developing disease later in life. Research in this area includes epidemiology, behavioural science, environmental health, biostatistics and health economics.

Menzies performs excellent clinical, population health and laboratory research in themes that reflect the burden of disease in Tasmania and our expertise in addressing those diseases. We conduct research that relies on the unique, stable base that characterises Tasmania’s population, managing nationwide studies and collaborating with interstate and international researchers. Our context is an island community that has limited funding for health care and specific challenges relating to disadvantage.

Within this theme we have established partnerships with the Tasmanian Government. This theme also includes the management of the Tasmanian Cancer Registry and Tasmanian Data Linkage Unit.

Neurodegenerative Diseases/Brain Injury Menzies neuroscientists aim to understand the mechanisms underlying diseases such as dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and motor neurone disease, as well as the brain’s response to trauma. This research will assist in the development of new ways to diagnose, prevent and treat these devastating disorders.

We serve the community in both disease prevention and treatment. We aim to translate the knowledge we gain into recommendations for better treatment, improved health policies and the highest quality training. We educate and train future research scientists and health professionals.

Continued on page 4

HOBART: Situated on the River Derwent, Hobart is home to Menzies Institute for Medical Research.

iStock

3

University of Tasmania


Peter Mathew

AIR QUALITY RESEARCH:

Associate Professor Fay Johnston analysed the relationship between air quality and ambulance call-outs, with interesting results.

Continued from page 3

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Health and Diseases The primary aim of this theme is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular and respiratory disease on our community. The group uses interventions targeted at identifying and preventing hypertension, heart disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes, stroke, asthma, allergy to airborne particles and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Areas of interest include improving the management of problematic blood pressure and using smartphones to help measure and prevent the impact of air quality on health. Research techniques mainly focus on clinical and population health studies.

We aim to translate the knowledge we gain into recommendations for better treatment, improved health policies and the highest quality training. Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

4

Musculoskeletal Health and Diseases Research in this area engages with the Tasmanian community to investigate musculoskeletal disease, with an emphasis on clinical drug trials for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Epidemiological research into musculoskeletal disease helps us understand the impact of arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions on the individual and the community, so the best medical care can be developed and delivered where needed.

Cancer, Genetics and Immunology Work in this theme is aimed at identifying the underlying causes of complex disease and the drivers of disease progression. These complex diseases include eye disease, cancer and immune disorders, including multiple sclerosis. We are using innovative technologies to identify the genetic changes that underlie the risk of developing a disease or influence disease progression, in addition to laboratory-based approaches to understanding the biology of these


Gifts to the Menzies Institute for Medical Research are an investment in a healthier future for all Tasmanians. diseases. Our work includes studies of immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis; eye diseases such as keratoconus and glaucoma; prostate and breast cancer and the Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease.

We have a history of discoveries Menzies was established in 1988 by the University of Tasmania with support from the Menzies Foundation and the Tasmanian Government. Menzies was primarily established to address the health issues facing the Tasmanian community and was originally named the Menzies Centre for Population Health Research. We are located within the University of Tasmania’s state-of-the-art Medical Science Precinct, near the Royal Hobart Hospital. Over our 30 years, significant discoveries have been made by Menzies scientists into the cause, prevention and treatment of several diseases impacting on Tasmanians and people around the world.

without a history of heart attack or stroke; ■ Quantifying the number of people in Australia with multiple sclerosis and the economic health cost of the disease; ■ The limitations of the upper arm cuff in measuring blood pressure; ■ Remodelling of nerve cells in undamaged parts of the brain in response to acquired brain injury; ■ Genetic markers linked to men’s risk of developing prostate cancer; ■ Understanding how bones develop in childhood and risk factors for childhood fracture; ■ The impact of childhood exposure to parental cigarette smoke on cardiovascular health later in life; ■ Development of risk algorithms to predict heart failure in at-risk people.

How we spend our donor funds Every donation received by Menzies, whether big or small, goes towards research undertaken in Tasmania. Donations may fund research projects, provide student scholarships, contribute to researcher salaries, or finance equipment purchases. They may also support an initial research project that later attracts government funding. This is very important because government and competitive funding bodies favour funding established projects, which can make it difficult to get new research off the ground. Gifts to the Menzies Institute for Medical Research are an investment in a healthier future for all Tasmanians.

Menzies’ impressive record of research discoveries includes: ■ Key evidence on the link between babies’ sleeping position and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); ■ Recognition of high rates of vitamin D deficiency in Tasmania, development of ways to improve this and the association of higher vitamin D levels with a lower relapse risk in multiple sclerosis; ■ Helping lead a global study that concluded aspirin should not be prescribed daily to those over 70

Jim Rice

IMPROVING LIVES: Associate Professor Ingrid van der Mei manages the Australian MS Longitudinal Study.

5

University of Tasmania


Message from the Chairman and Director

Peter Mathew

In today’s medical research environment, the pressure to make a real and visible difference to people’s lives gets stronger every year. We are proud of our efforts to face this challenge head-on by developing and shaping our research to ensure we are providing the maximum public benefit.

2018 was something of a watershed for us in terms of building capacity in areas where we know we have a competitive advantage. Our program of research in multiple sclerosis (MS) earned national attention. In regional health, we built relationships with partners who will be vital as we pursue a goal to lead a Centre for Innovation in Regional Health from Tasmania. In both MS and regional health, we are looking outward to build and lead interdisciplinary teams, taking full advantage of the knowledge and experience that exists across the health sector – in the University of Tasmania’s College of Health and Medicine, and in

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

6

government, allied health professions, advocacy and the community sector. We are committed to making a difference in Tasmania, to be undertaking research that is place-based but globally significant. Our highlights in 2018 included the launch by the then Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison, of the Health Economic Impact of Multiple Sclerosis in Australia in 2017 report. From this report, produced for MS Research Australia, we know that 25,600 Australians now live with MS, a rise of 4,400 in eight years. The report also quantifies the disease’s impact on quality of life for people


We are committed to making a difference in Tasmania, to be undertaking research that is place-based but globally significant. with MS and the cost of the disease to them and the health system. Menzies led the development of a world-first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) called “Understanding MS” in 2018, collaborating with the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, MS Limited and, most importantly, many people with lived experience of MS.

Left, Professor Alison Venn; and above, Chairman Bruce Neill.

We saw our work have impact with the expansion of the AirRater smartphone app into the ACT. AirRater helps people with asthma, hay fever and other lung conditions to better manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Building on its success in Tasmania

and the ACT, the team has been working to support policy and practice across Australia, releasing AirRaterSmoke to support a new smoke intelligence system for the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and working with the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority and Department of Health to make the app available to the Northern Territory public in 2019. We were excited to celebrate the commercialisation of an algorithm for automated control of oxygen therapy in newborn intensive care (the OxyGenie®). Continued on page 8

A genie saving lives Groundbreaking technology developed in Tasmania to help pre-term babies to breathe became available to the world in 2018 after almost a decade of development.

The technology is an oxygen controlling device – called the OxyGenie® – and has been licensed to SLE Ltd, a UK-based developer and manufacturer of infant life support devices that are used worldwide.

The ability to breathe normally is often the biggest challenge facing premature babies, many of whom need respiratory support, including oxygen therapy for some time after birth. The OxyGenie® automatically controls the concentration of oxygen in the gas delivered to a baby’s lungs while they are receiving breathing support.

Peter Mathew

The technology was developed by a team of scientists led by Professor Peter Dargaville, a clinical researcher with Menzies and the Tasmanian Health Service, and Dr Tim Gale, a biomedical engineer in the University’s School of Engineering.

“This cross-disciplinary project, where expertise from the University and the clinical experience of the Tasmanian Health Service came together, has produced an exciting innovation in neonatal respiratory support that everyone involved can be proud of.” – Professor Peter Dargaville “Conventionally, keeping a pre-term baby’s blood oxygen concentration at the right value is a challenging task that, despite constant vigilance from bedside staff, is difficult to achieve,” Professor Dargaville said.

7

“This can now be done effectively and mostly automatically with the new technology, freeing staff to concentrate on the care of the baby with only relatively rare interventions in regard to oxygen control.”

University of Tasmania


$3.63 million philanthropic gifts

Continued from page 7

The algorithm was developed, evaluated and refined over nearly a decade by Professor Peter Dargaville (Menzies/ Royal Hobart Hospital) and Dr Tim Gale (School of Engineering, University of Tasmania). The commercialisation gives approval for use of the OxyGenie® throughout the European Union, with automatic approval by other regulatory authorities in many jurisdictions worldwide.

50 Professor Alex Hewitt discovered 50 new genetic markers that increase a person’s risk of developing glaucoma

We also celebrated the simultaneous publication in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine of three journal articles by the ASPREE research team that included Professor Mark Nelson as a chief investigator (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly). Again, this was the culmination of years of work that commenced in Tasmania in 2002. By 2018, the project had more than 19,000 participants worldwide, including 2,000 in Tasmania. This research has implications for elderly people globally by providing clear evidence on the appropriate prescription of aspirin. Another publication highlight was the glaucoma project co-led by Professor Alex Hewitt that discovered 50 new genetic markers that increase a person’s risk of developing glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness. This study began in the 1990s as the Glaucoma Inheritance Study in Tasmania

(GIST) and grew to become the largest genetic study of glaucoma performed to date, involving participants from all over the world. Beyond these specific examples, we have begun new projects and published work across our five research themes, with another strong year in research publications by Menzies researchers. In 2018, a total of 284 journal articles were published in peer-reviewed journals. This effort would not be possible without strong enrolment of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students. In 2018 we had 101 HDR students enrolled, 80 of them in full-time PhDs. Competitive grant income is harder to secure every year, but in 2018 we were awarded $3.8 million in nationally competitive funding. This was well balanced by an increase in philanthropic gifts, which totalled $3.63 million. This community support for our mission is one of our greatest strengths. We would like to acknowledge the very wide circle of individuals and organisations who contributed to our success in 2018. These are exciting times for us as we look ahead to future growth in our research output and our contribution to the community.

Findings from the ASPREE study provide clear evidence on the appropriate prescription of aspirin for the elderly.

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

8

Mr Bruce Neill, Chairman Professor Alison Venn, Director


MEASURING IMPACT: Professor Andrew Palmer’s Health Economics team reported on the largest study of its kind in Australia.

Multiple Sclerosis Flagship Research Program

Peter Mathew

The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Flagship Program saw a year of growth and consolidation since beginning in 2016. Highlights included both individual and group research successes, a study launch by now Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison, and major progress in the development of the ‘Understanding MS’ Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

The flagship benefited from the establishment of a steering committee, comprising national leaders in MS, medical research and strategy, to guide the future directions of our research and deliver improved outcomes for people living with MS. Members of the steering committee are: Mr Bruce Neill, Board Chair, Menzies Institute for Medical Research (Chair);

The cost of MS to Australia has increased, rising by 41% to $1.75 billion

9

Professor Alison Venn, Director, Menzies Institute for Medical Research; ■ Professor Moira Clay, Board Member, Menzies Institute for Medical Research; ■ Professor Bruce Taylor, Clinical Neurologist, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, Royal Hobart Hospital; ■ Ms Deidre MacKechnie, CEO, MS Australia; ■ Adjunct Associate Professor Desmond Graham, Vice President, MS Australia. ■

Continued on page 10

University of Tasmania


NATIONAL LAUNCH: The now Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison launches a major study report on the economic impacts of multiple sclerosis.

Angela Wilson

Continued from page 9

Economic Impact of Multiple Sclerosis Launched by THE HON Scott Morrison MP We were fortunate to have the now Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, launch the Health Economic Impact of Multiple Sclerosis in Australia in 2017 report on 22 August, just two days before he became our 30th prime minister.

The report was commissioned and funded by MS Research Australia and prepared by Professor Andrew Palmer’s Health Economics team at Menzies. It is a very significant piece of work, the first of its kind in Australia since 2010, and shows the number of people living with MS in Australia has increased by just over 20 per cent in that time. The cost of MS to Australia has also significantly increased, rising by 41 per cent to $1.75 billion. In more positive news, the research highlights that the course of the disease

is shifting. More people living with MS are able to stay in work and need less care and support due to improved treatment strategies. The research was based on an analysis of the Australian Multiple Sclerosis Longitudinal Study (AMSLS), which is a partnership between MS Research Australia and Menzies. It is the largest study of its kind in Australia and has over 3,000 people completing research surveys each year. ‘Understanding MS’ Online Course DEVELOPED The MS Flagship joined forces with the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre and MS Limited to create a groundbreaking MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to help educate the community about MS.

Wicking has an award-winning ‘Understanding Dementia’ MOOC, which has seen 155,000 people from more than 180 countries enrol in it since 2013. The Centre has been working

closely with Menzies to establish our ‘Understanding MS’ course. The MOOC has been designed to enable people living with MS, their carers and support networks, and healthcare providers to easily learn accurate and up-to-date information about the disease. Information on risks, symptom management, interventions and lived experience is given through a series of video interviews with people living with MS, academics, nurses and allied health professionals. A short assessment at the end of each chapter allows participants to track their knowledge and what they have learnt along the way. The free course will be launched for the general public in the first half of 2019. For further information please visit https://ms.mooc.utas.edu.au/

The MOOC has been designed to enable people living with MS, their carers and support networks, and healthcare providers to easily learn accurate, up-to-date information about the disease.

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

10


Dr Yuan Zhou said the conference allowed him to make connections with leading scientists.

Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity with Nobel Laureates In June this year, one of our most promising young researchers travelled to Lindau, Germany, for the annual global gathering of Nobel Laureates.

Dr Yuan Zhou was one of eight rising stars from around Australia chosen, along with almost 600 other scientists under 35. He presented his research identifying genetic variants and environmental factors that influence the development of MS. Dr Zhou said the conference was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and allowed him to make connections with leading scientists around the globe, which will be invaluable for his future research. Many of the Lindau alumni have become highly successful scientists, with one going on to win a Nobel Prize themselves.

After the meeting, Dr Zhou also visited several sites in Munich, which included the Munich Center for Neurosciences, Gene Center Munich, the Helmholtz Neurogenetics Institute, the IBM Watson Headquarters and the prestigious Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry. Dr Zhou’s trip to Germany was supported by the Australian Academy of Science and the Science and Industry Endowment Fund. World MS Day Symposium And MS Stem Announcement World MS Day is held on 30 May every year, and in 2018 MS Limited held their national symposium in Hobart. Menzies neuroscientist Associate Professor Kaylene Young was a keynote speaker at the event, announcing the creation of a Stem Cell Repository for MS research with the aim of identifying the cause of MS.

11

MS Stem is a world first. It will allow Menzies researchers to carry out detailed genetic and cellular studies and determine what role cells in the nervous system play in initiating MS. A group of five Menzies researchers received seed funding to begin generating stem cell lines from people with MS. Their goal is to generate stem cell lines from 100 people with MS – 40 people with primary progressive disease and 60 people with relapsing remitting disease.

RED COAT DAY: The 2018 MS Limited national symposium was held in Hobart. Image by Miranda Harman

University of Tasmania


Papers recognised in the Menzies Excellence ‘Ten of the Best’ Awards

Research Highlights

Peter Mathew

SIGNIFICANT FINDING: Professor Mark Nelson won Menzies’ Best of the Best award for his landmark paper about aspirin use.

Best of the Best Effect of aspirin on all-cause mortality in the healthy elderly Menzies lead author: Professor Mark Nelson; ASPREE lead investigator: Professor John McNeil, Monash University; New England Journal of Medicine This landmark paper looked at whether daily aspirin for people aged over 70 could prolong good health. The study, called ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) involved 19,000 participants and 2,000 Australian GPs, many of them from Tasmania. The study found that the drug aspirin did not extend healthy active life. It found an expected excess of bleeding in those taking aspirin, and showed that those taking aspirin were slightly more

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

12

likely to die. The findings mean that clinical aspirin will not be recommended routinely in those aged over 70, unless the patient has had a heart attack or stroke.

Other papers to receive a Menzies Excellence Award Distinct child-to-adult body mass index trajectories are associated with different levels of adult cardiometabolic risk Lead author: Dr Marie-Jeanne Buscot; Senior author: Dr Costan Magnussen; European Heart Journal In this longitudinal study, researchers described body mass index (BMI) trajectories from early childhood


to adulthood and investigated their association with risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), addressing a gap in the scientific literature. They found that worsening or persisting obesity was associated with increased risk of CVD in adulthood (24-49 years). Their findings suggested that, while some risk factors are reduced if overweight or obese children lose weight in young adulthood, the risk of hardening of the arteries remains high. This is the leading cause of heart attacks, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.

DIETARY LINK: Professor Wendy Oddy has found a link between diet, BMI and depression in adolescents.

Peter Mathew

Discovery of new blood pressure phenotypes and relation to accuracy of cuff devices used in daily clinical practice

Dietary patterns, body mass index and inflammation: Pathways to depression and mental health problems in adolescents

Lead author: Dean Picone; Senior author: Professor James Sharman; Hypertension

Lead author: Professor Wendy Oddy; Brain, Behavior and Immunity

This study identified four distinct blood pressure types with different levels of aortic blood pressure. Standard cuff blood pressure measurements did not detect high aortic blood pressure. This suggests the increased risk conferred by high aortic blood pressure is inadequately detected by standard cuff blood pressure. The findings were confirmed using data from several international collaborators.

Study puts limits on daily aspirin

Menzies clinical researcher Professor Mark Nelson is a chief investigator on the ASPREE study, which in 2018 had three papers published in one edition of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. The ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) trial of more than 19,000 participants in Australia and the US is the largest and most comprehensive study to look at whether the many millions of people over 70 around the world who take daily low dose aspirin (100mg) to

This study of approximately 1,600 participants from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study found that diet and overweight/obesity are linked to inflammation and mental health

problems in adolescents. It found that a dietary pattern high in fruit, vegetables, fish and whole grains protects against depression in adolescents through reduced body mass index (BMI) and associated inflammation, while a Western dietary pattern of a high intake of red meat, refined and takeaway foods and confectionery is associated with increased depression risk in adolescents, most likely through increased BMI and underlying inflammation. Continued on page 14

Standard cuff blood pressure measurements did not detect high aortic blood pressure.

preserve good health are deriving any benefit by doing so. Despite the fact that aspirin has been around for more than 100 years, it had not been known whether healthy older people should take it as a preventive measure to keep them healthy for longer. The study found an aspirin-aday did not prolong life free of disability, or significantly reduce the risk of a first heart attack or stroke among participants. The results of the trial will result in a rethinking of global guidelines relating to the use of aspirin to prevent common conditions associated with ageing. Tasmania was a significant contributor to this research, with more than 2,000 participants from

13

the community, hundreds of GPs involved from Smithton to Cockle Creek and a dedicated group of staff working out of Burnie, Launceston and Hobart. Professor Nelson said all patients should follow the advice of their doctor about their daily use of aspirin. He cautioned that the results do not apply to those with existing conditions such as a previous heart attack, angina or stroke, where aspirin is recommended as a valuable preventive drug. The trial’s principal investigator is Professor John McNeil, head of Monash University’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine.

University of Tasmania


JOINING THE DOTS: Dr Costan Magnussen’s research explores the relationship between youth body mass index and cardiovascular disease in adults. Continued from page 13

Factors contributing to sex differences in functional outcomes and participation after stroke

This study provided the first reliable estimates of the difference between men and women in functional outcomes and participation after stroke. It found that women were about 30 per cent more likely to have worse functional outcomes and participation restriction up to five years after stroke. The difference was mostly explained by women, on average, being older when they had a stroke, having more severe strokes and having worse pre-stroke functional limitations. Immunisation strategies producing a humoral IgG immune response against devil facial tumour disease in the majority of Tasmanian devils destined for wild release Lead author: Dr Ruth Pye; Senior author: Professor Greg Woods; Frontiers in Immunology Immunisation trials on captive Tasmanian devils previously demonstrated that an immune response against devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) can be induced, and that tumour regression can occur. However, these previous trials were limited by their small sample sizes. This study involved two release phases of immunised devils in Northern Tasmania – 19 at Narawntapu National Park and 33 at Stony Head – as part of the Tasmanian

Peter Mathew

Lead author: Hoang Phan; Senior author: Associate Professor Seana Gall; Neurology

Government’s Wild Devil Recovery project. Of the 52 devils immunised and released, 95 per cent made DFTDspecific antibodies.

Effect of zoledronic acid and denosumab in patients with low back pain and modic change: a proof-ofprinciple trial Lead authors: Guoqi Cai and Dr Laura Laslett; Journal of Bone and Mineral Research This paper describes a pilot randomised controlled trial of two drugs used to increase bone strength (zoledronic acid and denosumab) in a type of low back pain. Both drugs have been used effectively for treatment of osteoporosis. The findings of this study suggest potential for a new application for these drugs in people with this particular type of low back pain. These drugs worked better in people with earlier disease, suggesting the importance of early intervention.

Of the 52 devils immunised and released, 95 per cent made devil facial tumour disease-specific antibodies.

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

14

Effects of multiple sclerosis diseasemodifying therapies on employment measures using patient-reported data Lead author: Jing Chen; Senior author: Associate Professor Ingrid van der Mei; Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry Few studies have examined the benefits of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) on employment outcomes in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). For this paper, the researchers compared the effects of DMTs used in the previous five years on improving work attendance, amount of work and work productivity. They found that the probability of experiencing improvements in employment outcomes was two to three times higher for those using higher efficacy DMTs. The drugs Natalizumab and Fingolimod demonstrated superior effectiveness in patient-reported outcomes than beta interferons, glatiramer acetate and dimethyl fumarate, with Natalizumab having the largest magnitude of effect.

Association of youth tri-ponderal mass index vs body mass index with obesity-related outcomes in adulthood Lead author: Dr Feitong Wu; Senior author: Dr Costan Magnussen; JAMA Pediatrics


Youth BMI is the best single predictor for obesity-related outcomes. This is the first report on whether youth tri-ponderal mass index (TMI) (which is based on the statistical distribution of body fat levels) and its combination with body mass index (BMI) or subscapular skinfold thickness (SST) (the measuring of skinfold just below the shoulder blade), compared to BMI alone, is better at predicting adult obesity-related outcomes. It used data from a 31-year follow-up of a multi-centre cohort and showed that the combination of TMI or SST with BMI did not improve the predictive utility compared to BMI alone. These findings suggest that youth BMI is the best single predictor for obesityrelated outcomes, though TMI could better estimate body fat levels.

The great leap backward: changes in the jumping performance of Australian children aged 11-12 years between 1985 and 2015 Lead author: Brooklyn Fraser; Senior authors: Professor Tim Olds (University of South Australia) and Dr Costan Magnussen; Journal of Sports Sciences

mediates associations between T2D and cognitive decline. The study found that although verbal memory and executive function declined at a greater rate in people with T2D, this was not explained by decline in brain volume. Interestingly, brain volume was lower in people with T2D at the start of the study, suggesting that the effect of T2D on brain volume begins earlier in life.

This study found a dramatic decline over 30 years in the muscular fitness of Australian 11 and 12-year-olds. Researchers looked at the distance 11 and 12-year-old children could long jump from a standing start, a common measure of muscular power. They compared data from 1,765 children in 2015 with data from 1,967 children in 1985 and found that the children surveyed in 1985 could, on average, jump 11.1cm further, even allowing for the fact that children were smaller back then.

Other leading papers Genome-wide association study of intraocular pressure uncovers new pathways to glaucoma Senior author: Professor Alex Hewitt; Nature Genetics

Type-2 diabetes mellitus, brain atrophy and cognitive decline in older people: a longitudinal study Lead author: Dr Michele Callisaya; Senior author: Professor Velandai Srikanth (Monash University); Diabetologia This study examined whether type-2 diabetes (T2D) is associated with greater brain atrophy and cognitive decline, and whether brain atrophy

Iodine adequacy in Tasmania sustained after seven years of mandatory bread fortification

This research identified more than 50 new gene markers that increase a person’s risk of developing glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness. The study included 134,000 people from around the world and found 101 genetic markers that influence the fluid pressure in a person’s eye, including 85 not known previously. The genes identified are now able to be targeted for new therapies.

Senior author: Dr Kristen Hynes; Medical Journal of Australia The findings of the Iodine Survey of Tasmanian School Children indicate that the iodine nutrition of Tasmanians continues to be within the adequate range recommended by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders. A total of 413 Tasmanian schoolchildren aged eight to ten participated in the survey, which was part of the Department of Health’s five-yearly monitoring program. These findings cannot be generalised to include pregnant and breastfeeding women, as their iodine requirements are much higher. Continued on page 16

Peter Mathew

15

BRAIN EXPERT: Dr Michele Callisaya is head of the Brain Ageing Group at Menzies.

University of Tasmania


The total economic cost of MS to the community stands at $1.75 billion – an increase of $510 million since 2010. Continued from page 15

Health Economic Impact of Multiple Sclerosis in Australia in 2017. An analysis of MS Research Australia’s platform – the Australian MS Longitudinal Study (AMSLS) Lead author: Professor Andrew Palmer This report was produced for and published by MS Research Australia The number of Australians living with multiple sclerosis (MS) continues to rise and is now at 25,600. However, the course of the disease is shifting, with more people able to stay in work and needing less care and support as a result of changes in treatment strategies. This report found that the annual costs for people living with more advanced MS are more than triple per person than for those with milder disease (from $30,561 for people with no disability to $114,813 for people with severe disability). The total annual economic cost of MS to the community stands at $1.75 billion – an increase of $510 million since 2010.

Ambient particulate matter and paramedic assessments of acute diabetic, cardiovascular, and respiratory conditions Lead author: Associate Professor Fay Johnston; Senior author: Professor Geoff Morgan (University of Sydney); Epidemiology Air quality is commonly thought of as a respiratory issue, but the findings of this study support the strong evidence that worsening air quality can lead to cardiovascular conditions, and the emerging evidence of its links with diabetes. Researchers looked at the medical reasons behind almost 400,000 ambulance call-outs, and matched this information with the air quality at the time of the call-out. They found that increases in air pollution particles of less than 2.5 micrometres in size (one-thousandth of a millimetre)

were associated with increased risk of ambulance call-outs for low blood glucose levels, irregular heartbeats, heart failure, fainting, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and croup.

Reduced excitability and increased neurite complexity of cortical interneurons in a familial mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Lead author: Dr Rosemary Clark; Senior author: Professor Tracey Dickson; Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience The activity of brain circuits is tightly controlled by a group of inhibitory cells called interneurons. This study demonstrated a link between a genetic mutation in the interneurons of the cerebral cortex and inherited forms of the motor neurone disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It showed that interneurons with this mutation respond abnormally to stimuli and have abnormal cell structure. This data gives important insights into the role that reduced capacity to regulate the activity of brain circuits may play in driving the early stages of this disease.

Epothilone D accelerates disease progression in the SOD1G93A mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Lead author: Jayden Clark; Senior author: Professor Tracey Dickson; Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology This study aimed to use the compound Epothilone D to improve outcomes in a mouse model of motor neurone disease (MND). Epothilone D improved the survival of the key cell type that degenerates in MND, the motor neurone, early in the disease course. However, as the mice aged it became apparent that Epothilone D becomes toxic, leading to a decrease in survival

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

16

and a worsening of motor functions. The researchers concluded that Epothilone D may be beneficial as a treatment early in the disease but would not be beneficial in later disease stages. This justifies a multi-therapy approach to MND treatment, using multiple drugs to help improve outcomes for people living with MND.

The microtubule-modulating drug Epothilone D alters dendritic spine morphology in a mouse model of mild traumatic brain injury Lead author: Dr Jyoti Chuckowree; Senior author: Professor Tracey Dickson; Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience This study investigated repurposing the anti-cancer drug Epothilone D to treat mild traumatic brain injury. Used at high concentrations in cancer therapy, Epothilone D acts on the internal scaffold, or cytoskeleton, of cells to block cell division and prevent the growth of cancerous cells. Studies have shown that low concentrations of drugs like Epothilone D may also have beneficial effects after injury to the nervous system. In this study, the researchers used a mouse model of mild brain injury to show that one low-concentration dose of Epothilone D altered the connections between nerve cells. This shows that drugs that act on the cytoskeleton warrant further investigation as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of brain injury.

The retail availability of tobacco in Tasmania: evidence for a socioeconomic and geographical gradient Lead author: Dr Shannon Melody; Medical Journal of Australia This study found that cigarettes are more readily available in Tasmania’s most regional and remote areas and areas of socio-economic disadvantage compared to other areas. The researchers, working with the Department of Health and Human Services, found that the density of outlets was 79 per cent greater in suburbs or towns in outer regional, remote and very remote Tasmania than in “inner regional” Tasmania.


Awards and Recognition Emeritus Professor Stephen Rattigan was awarded an Honorary Membership Medal by the Australian Physiological Society for services to the society. Multiple sclerosis researcher Dr Yuan Zhou was nominated by the Australian Academy of Science to attend the 68th Meeting of the Nobel Laureates (dedicated to physiology and medicine) in Lindau, Germany.

PhD student in blood pressure Dean Picone was one of three finalists for the CSL Florey Next Generation Award. Environmental epidemiologist and leader of AirRater, Associate Professor Fay Johnston, was one of three Australians named in the paper, “Recognising Leading Women in Fire Science”, published in the research journal Fire. Musculoskeletal researchers Dr Feng Pan and Ishanka Munugoda received a 2018 Osteoarthritis Research Society International Young Investigator Award. Dr Pan also received a 2018 International Osteoporosis Foundation Young Investigator Award. Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease researcher Dr Amanda Patchett was awarded the 2018 Peter W. Smith CSL Postgraduate Award for most outstanding publication that made extensive use of the CSL facilities and expertise.

Peter Mathew

The Menzies Deputy Director and leader of blood pressure research, Professor James Sharman, was awarded a Distinguished Mentor Award by the International Society of Hypertension Council. international society for bone and mineral research; ■

The 2018 Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society Kaye Ibbertson Award for the five best papers in the past five years in the area of bone and mineral research; and The Tasmanian Young STEM Researcher of the Year award.

PhD student in blood pressure Niamh Chapman was selected to represent the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia in Science Meets Parliament 2018. Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease researcher Dr Andy Flies was part of the team to receive the University

17

Neuroscientist Dr Carlie Cullen was awarded a University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor’s Annual Award for Outstanding Research Performance by an Early Career Researcher. PhD student in cancer epidemiology Yuanzi Ye received a European Society for Medical Oncology Merit Award for her abstract, which was accepted for presentation at the European Society of Medical Oncology 2018 Congress. Musculoskeletal researcher Dr Benny Eathakkattu Antony received a 2018 Osteoarthritis Congress (OACON) International Young Investigator Award. Continued on page 18

Peter Mathew

Peter Mathew

Musculoskeletal researcher Associate Professor Dawn Aitken was awarded: ■ The 2018 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Rising Star Award. ASBMR is the largest

of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor’s Annual Award for Community Engagement for their work with ‘Science in the Pub’.

LEADING THE WAY: Clockwise from above, Dr Yuan Zhou, Associate Professor Dawn Aitken and Professor James Sharman were all recognised for their significant contributions to research.

University of Tasmania


Continued from page 17

Menzies Excellence Awards

Musculoskeletal PhD student Yi Yang was awarded:

In addition to the Menzies Ten of the Best Awards given for outstanding academic publications and covered in the Research Highlights of this report, three other internal excellence awards are presented to Menzies staff.

The 2018 ESCEO-AgNovos Healthcare Young Investigator Awards to attend WCO-IOF-ESCEO;

Research Impact Prize To recognise research that has had demonstrable benefits to society.

The 2018 International Osteoporosis Foundation Young Investigator Awards for the top-ranking abstract submitted to the 7th Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting; and

The Multiple Sclerosis Flagship Team for the report: Health Economic Impact of Multiple Sclerosis in Australia in 2017

The 2018 ASBMR Annual Meeting Young Investigator Travel Grant.

Authors: Hasnat Ahmad, Andrew Palmer (senior author), Julie Campbell, Bruce Taylor, Ingrid van der Mei, Vivienne Jones and Angela Wilson. Manager and team members for the AMSLS: Kirsty Hawkes, Carol Hurst, Alice Saul, Bronwyn Weaver-Pirie, Furley Johnstone, Heather Chaplin, Mithun Rajshekar, Carol Ingram, Dot Melross and Wendy Davidson.

Musculoskeletal PhD student Guoqi Cai received the 2018 European League Against Rheumatism Congress Abstract Award. PhD student in blood pressure Vincent Ezegbe was a finalist in the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia Student Oral Awards.

Academic Mentoring Award For recognition of the significant and ongoing contributions made to the career and professional development of staff and students.

Professor Graeme Jones – Leader, Musculoskeletal Health and Diseases research theme. Professional Staff Award: For outstanding achievement through exceptional performance and contributions to the Institute.

Magdalena Lane – Institute Advancement Manager and Miranda Harman – Institute Marketing and Communications Manager.

A leading voice in medical research national and international standing as an epidemiologist.

One of the highlights of the year was the appointment of the Menzies Director, Professor Alison Venn, to the Council of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Throughout her career, Professor Venn has been awarded more than $30 million in research funding and has had more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles published. Her current research has a focus on the prevention and treatment of obesity and the factors in childhood that affect the risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes in later life.

An internationally renowned population health expert with broad experience in chronic disease, Professor Venn is well known for the partnerships and collaborations she has forged with government, clinicians and the community, as well as through her

Comprising two-thirds of female appointees and a diverse membership with a broad range of expertise and experience, the Council will advise the NHMRC on health matters for a three-year term. The NHMRC is an Australian funding body for medical research established to develop and maintain health standards and is responsible for implementing the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992.

Peter Mathew

“The NHMRC has been central to the development of Australia’s capability and excellence in health and medical research for many years and I consider it a great privilege to be able to contribute to the Council’s work.” – Professor Alison Venn

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

18


education and training

Peter Mathew

Excellent graduate research training and professional development for staff continues to be a priority for Menzies.

a long research career in Tasmania and Western Australia centred around better lung health. He will work on integrating research and teaching, increasing medical students’ access to researchers and laying the foundations of ongoing research for students who become clinicians.

Higher Degree Research In 2018, we had more than 100 research higher degree students, 80 of them enrolled full-time in a PhD. Thirteen students completed their PhD in 2018 and 22 candidates began their PhD candidature.

KISSING GOODBYE TO MS: PhD candidate Renee Pepper’s research is investigating brain cells and their role in multiple sclerosis.

Mentoring Honour Another highlight in this area was the awarding to Professor Zosky’s co-Deputy Director, Professor James Sharman, of a Distinguished Mentor Award by the International Society of Hypertension Council in Beijing.

Integrating Research and Teaching Our new Deputy Director appointed in 2018, Professor Graeme Zosky, will oversee learning and teaching to ensure the Menzies strategy in this area is aligned to the objectives of the broader College of Health and Medicine. Professor Zosky is a respiratory physiologist who has had

Collaborating in China Professor Heinrich Korner, who coordinates Menzies’ international engagement, spent several months teaching, advising on technologies such as flow cytometry and microscopy, Continued on page 20

19

University of Tasmania


Continued from page 19

and writing papers with Chinese colleagues at Anhui Medical University in Hefei. MS Focus Group Professor Ken Walsh from the University’s School of Nursing facilitated a focus group session for the multiple sclerosis (MS) MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) team. Participants came from MS consumer groups, service providers, MS nurses and people living with MS, and key findings were integrated into the MS MOOC curriculum.

Leadership Matters Our annual Institute Leaders Retreat was held in April and focused on research impact and engagement and research capability gaps. In November, senior researchers met to review NHMRC outcomes and discuss the 2019 research strategy and flagship programs. Two development days for early career researchers were held during the year, focusing on leadership and issues identified by the group.

seminar series, including external speakers, seminars conducted by academics from within the University of Tasmania and PhD seminars. Academic Visitors Knowledge exchange is integral to our mission, and interstate and international visitors are critical to this. Our academic visitors in 2018 included: Professor Bo Fernhall, from the Integrative Physiology Laboratory at University of Illinois, who presented ‘Inflammation, exercise and cardiovascular function’ ■ Dr Susanne Heinzel, President of the Australasian Society of Immunology, who presented ‘Time counts – Regulation of lymphocyte proliferation’ ■ Professor Philip Clarke, Chair of Health Economics, University of Melbourne, and incoming Chair, Health Economics, Oxford, who presented ‘Health economic evaluation throughout the ages’ ■ Professor Doug Hilton, Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, who met with senior researchers at Menzies ■ Dr Yvonne Learmonth, Murdoch University, who presented ‘Physical activity in multiple sclerosis: next steps in research, translating research into practice’ ■ Professor Jonathan Sprent from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne who presented a seminar and met with research leaders. ■

Menzies and School of Medicine seminars Thirty-two seminars were conducted in the Menzies and School of Medicine

Peter Mathew

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

20

DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Professor Graeme Zosky will oversee learning and teaching.


Menzies continued to pursue global collaboration opportunities in 2018 and was actively involved in the following international consortia.

Global Coll aboration

Eddie Safarik

HUnt for a cure: Dr Liesel FitzGerald’s primary research interest is prostate cancer.

Cardiovascular disease The International Childhood Cardiovascular Cohort (i3C) Consortium: This consortium was established by former Menzies Director Professor Terry Dwyer in 2002, initially with three cohorts (Australia, Finland and the US). It has grown to include seven cohorts, with five from the US. The study pools data on cardiovascular risk factors in childhood, following participants over several decades into adulthood. Menzies’ involvement is through the Childhood Determinants

21

of Adult Health study, which in 2018 continued the third follow-up on adults who took part in a 1985 health survey.

INvaSive blood PressurE ConsorTium (INSPECT): This consortium is led from Menzies. The overall aim is to determine the mechanisms of cuff blood pressure inaccuracy. The consortium database consists of more than 3,000 participants, with data contributions from 41 investigators in 14 countries. Continued on page 23

University of Tasmania


Closing in on the sneak thief of sight Research that originated almost 25 years ago in Tasmania helped a team of Australian researchers identify more than 50 new gene markers that increase a person’s risk of developing glaucoma, which is the leading cause of irreversible blindness. By the time the study was published in 2018, it had grown to include more than 134,000 people from around the world, becoming the largest genetic study of glaucoma to date. The research team found 101 genetic markers that influence the fluid pressure in a person’s eye, including 85 not known previously. Elevated intraocular pressure is commonly associated with an increased risk of developing glaucoma. The study, originally called the Glaucoma Inheritance Study in Tasmania (GIST), was established by Professor David Mackey at the University of Tasmania in the 1990s. It is now led by the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Queensland in collaboration with Menzies and the Flinders Centre for Ophthalmology, Eye and Vision

“We are very grateful to many patients and their family members who have contributed to this research. Without their participation, new insights into this potentially blinding disease would not be possible.” – Professor Alex Hewitt Research in South Australia, and involves ophthalmologists from around Australia.

treatment that could stop people from going blind as they age.”

Menzies clinical researcher Professor Alex Hewitt, who is a senior author on the 2018 paper, said glaucoma was the leading cause of irreversible blindness and was largely preventable through timely treatment.

Glaucoma has been labelled the sneak thief of sight because it is generally asymptomatic in the early stages of the disease. “Early treatment is vital because once a person experiences vision loss, it is impossible to reverse.”

“All the currently available treatments aim to reduce the pressure in the eye. This new work is important because we have identified a number of new genes that could be targeted as new therapies,” Professor Hewitt said.

The study was published in Nature Genetics. It used genetic information of participants from the UK Biobank and the International Glaucoma Genetic Consortium and involved multiple clinicians, hospitals and institutions across Australia and New Zealand. Menzies eye genetics researcher Professor Kathryn Burdon is also an author on the paper, “Genome-wide association study of intraocular pressure uncovers new pathways to glaucoma.”

“Although a predictive test for glaucoma is not available yet, our new research will improve our ability to identify people at risk of developing glaucoma and this takes us one step closer to a preventive

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

Dan Cripps

PROTECTING SIGHT: Professor Alex Hewitt was an investigator on a major collaborative study on glaucoma.

22


EXPERT: Clinical neuroscientist Professor Bruce Taylor sits on the steering committee of the International MS Genetics Consortium.

Continued from page 21

The Long-Term Effects of Early Nutrition on Later Health Project: Researchers from 35 institutions in 12 European countries, the United States and Australia are studying how early nutrition programming and lifestyle factors affect rates of obesity and related disorders.

i24ABC, the International 24-hour Ambulatory Aortic Blood Pressure Consortium: Its aim is to derive reference standards for 24-hour ambulatory central blood pressure and pulsatile hemodynamics.

SUCCOUR: An international multicentre randomised controlled trial attempting to demonstrate that the use of strain imaging can alter heart function in patients with breast cancer and haematological malignancy.

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

INternational STRoke oUtComes sTudy (INSTRUCT): A consortium of 14 population-based stroke incidence studies with long term follow-up data. The study is being used to explore the reasons for differences in outcome between men and women after stroke.

ANZgene: An investigator-led consortium across Australia and New Zealand, coordinated by MS Research Australia and to which Menzies is a key contributor. The consortium is aligned with the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium. ANZgene is a collaboration between a team of neurologists, geneticists, bioinformaticians and molecular biologists. It comprises eight geographical nodes and has

23

stewardship of over 3,500 DNA samples for use in MS research.

International MS Genetics Consortium: This consortium uses large-scale whole genome association studies to identify the genes that play a part in the development and progression of multiple sclerosis.

MSBase: An international, online registry and platform for collaborative outcomes research in multiple sclerosis.

International Progressive MS Alliance: A collaboration of 15 MS organisations and other stakeholders that brings together researchers from around the world. Continued on page 24

University of Tasmania


Continued from page 23

Genetics PRACTICAL consortium (the Prostate Cancer Association Group to Investigate Cancer Associated Alterations in the Genome): The PRACTICAL consortium aims to combine data from many studies to provide a reliable assessment of the risks associated with genes that may be related to prostate cancer, and to validate new findings.

The International Consortium for Prostate Cancer Genetics (ICPCG): Its focus is on the genetic causes of familial and hereditary prostate cancer.

The Prostate Collaborative Cancer Research Alliance: A group of scientific and clinical prostate cancer experts focusing on advancing and translating prostate cancer research.

Multi-ethnic genetics study of diabetic retinopathy: Researchers are looking for genes that lead to diabetic eye disease.

TREATOA: A consortium that is studying genes for pain and osteoarthritis.

GeFOS: Studies genes for osteoporosis.

GOBS (Genetics of Brain Structure Study): This multi-centre study uses large families to study the genetics of MRI-measured traits and cognitive phenotypes in generally healthy people. The study is run from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Yale University.

Healthy ageing International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium (IGGC): This consortium has members from Australia, North America, Asia and Europe and uses population-based studies to map genes for clinical traits that lead to glaucoma, and family and case control studies to look at how those genes influence glaucoma risk.

The International Age-related Macular Degeneration Gene Consortium: Multiple groups from all over the world have assembled the largest collection of AMD cases ever studied.

Consortium for Refractive Error and Myopia (CREAM): CREAM aims to identify genetic risk factors for refractive error and the overlap with related eye diseases using multi-ethnic population cohorts.

ASPREE-XT, the post-trial phase of ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly): This collaboration is through Monash University and the Bermann Center in Minneapolis.

HALO: The Health of Adults Longitudinal Observational (HALO) study for primary and secondary prevention of knee osteoarthritis. This collaboration, with the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and the University of Sydney, is examining the effect of physical activity on the development and progression of osteoarthritis.

STAREE (Statin use in the elderly trial): STAREE is a community-based public health trial and is not sponsored by pharmaceutical industries. It will determine whether statins maintain

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

24

and improve quality of life in the elderly population.

GOOD (Gait, cOgnitiOn & Decline consortium): An international collaboration investigating the interplay between gait and cognition/dementia in older people.

ISN iNET-CKD: The International Network of Chronic Kidney Disease cohort studies includes the Tasmanian Chronic Kidney Disease Study.

CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium): Facilitates genome-wide association study meta-analyses and replication opportunities among multiple large and well-phenotyped longitudinal cohort studies.

Motoric Cognitive Risk syndrome (MCR): A consortium led from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Other OPTIMIST-A: Menzies leads the OPTIMIST-A trial, which has a team of investigators across 35 centres and 10 countries. The trial is investigating minimally-invasive surfactant therapy in pre-term infants.

Mt Hood Diabetes Challenge Network: This is dedicated to promoting an exchange of ideas and information between those developing and using health economic diabetes simulation models.


Major grants and competitive funding FELLOWSHIP: Dr Rosemary Clark received the Bill Gole Postdoctoral Fellowship from Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia.

Peter Mathew

Major Competitive Grants Funding body

Grant category

Menzies researchers

Project title

Value $

NHMRC

Project

Professor Graeme Zosky

The link between regional lung stretch and distal organ injury in response to mechanical ventilation

732,607 (administered through University of Tasmania School of Medicine)

National Heart Foundation

Fellowship – Future Leader

Associate Professor Seana Gall

Improving the prevention and management of stroke

552,000

Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation

Major Project

Dr Michelle Kilpatrick and Professor Alison Venn

Health in Preconception, Pregnancy and Post-Birth (HIPPP): An antenatal lifestyle promotion program for the Royal Hobart Hospital

445,410

Cancer Council Tasmania/ College of Health and Medicine

Research Fellowship

Dr Liesel FitzGerald

The genomics of prostate cancer risk and outcomes

340,000

NHMRC

Early Career Fellowship

Dr Feitong Wu

Early life strategies for improving fracture risk factors throughout life

327,192

NHMRC

Early Career Fellowship

Dr Feng Pan

Identifying osteoarthritis phenotypes and developing tailored treatments to specific phenotypes of patients with osteoarthritis

327,192

Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia

Bill Gole Postdoctoral Fellowship

Dr Rosemary Clark

Clinical heterogeneity in ALS: insights from interneurons?

300,000

25

University of Tasmania


Major Competitive Grants (continued)

Recognised: Dr Verity Cleland is a recipient of an NHMRC Partnership grant.

Peter Mathew

Value $

Funding body

Grant category

Menzies researchers

Project title

NHMRC

Partnership

Dr Verity Cleland, Professor Leigh Blizzard, Dr Kim Jose, Professor Andrew Palmer and Professor Alison Venn

Health by stealth: Increasing physical 272,362 activity through active travel in Tasmania

University of Tasmania

Grant – Strategic Research

Professor Jo Dickinson, Professor Kathryn Burdon, Dr Jac Charlesworth

Tasmanian Genetic Research in Inherited Disease (TasGRID)

200,000

Ian Potter Foundation

Grant – Medical Research

Dr Owen Marshall

Imaging to overcome dementia

150,000

NHMRC

Postgraduate Scholarship

Dr Michael Thompson

Achieving a balance between the risks and benefits of cumulative lifetime sun exposure

114,033

Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia

Innovator Grant

Dr Catherine Blizzard

Can estrogen protect against synaptic disturbances in ALS?

99,700

NHMRC

Postgraduate Scholarship

Dr Shannon Melody

Maternal exposure to air pollution and perinatal outcomes in Victoria

98,451

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

26


Major Competitive Grants (continued)

Rising star: Dr Feitong Wu has an Early Career Fellowship from NHMRC.

Peter Mathew

Funding body

Grant category

Menzies researchers

Project title

Value $

Dementia Australia Research Foundation Ltd

Scholarship Grant

Associate Professor Kaylene Young, Dr Catherine Blizzard, Dr Carlie Cullen

The pathological effects of Alzheimer’s disease on axons

90,000

American Society for Bone and Mineral Research

Grant – Rising Star Award

Associate Professor Dawn Aitken

Improving musculoskeletal pain by matching the right treatment with the right patient - Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Next Generation Clinical Researchers Program Career Development Fellowship

82,000

Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia

Postgraduate Scholarship

Alice Saul, Associate Professor Ingrid van der Mei

Understanding the role of diet in multiple sclerosis

78,000

Dementia Australia Research Foundation Ltd

Grant – Project Grant Funding

Dr Catherine Blizzard, Associate Professor Kaylene Young, Dr Katherine Lewis, Professor Tracey Dickson

Do therapeutically targetable deficits in neuroplasticity drive frontotemporal dementia?

74,984

National Heart Foundation

Vanguard Grant

Professor James Sharman, Dr Martin Schultz

Clinical value of accurate blood pressure measurement

72,484

27

University of Tasmania


SMALL GRANTS

Funding body

Grant category

Menzies researchers

Project title

Value $

Diabetes Australia Research Program

Grant

Professor James Sharman, Dr Martin Schultz

Prevalence and cardiovascular risk associated with exaggerated exercise blood pressure among people with type-2 diabetes

59,958

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

Diabetes Australia Research Grant

Professor Tania Winzenberg, Dr Verity Cleland, Dr Aroub Lahham

Understanding the perspectives of general practitioners regarding sedentary behaviour management in primary care: a qualitative study

54,977

Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia

Grant – Research

Dr Guei-Sheung Liu

49,920 Switchable gene therapy for controlled intervention in neovascular blindness

University of Tasmania Foundation Inc

Grant – Dr Eric Guiler Tasmanian Devil Research Grant

Dr Andy Flies, Professor Greg Woods

Identification of devil facial tumourassociated antigens for vaccine development

34,256

University of Tasmania Foundation Inc

Grant – Dr Eric Guiler Tasmanian Devil Research Grant

Dr Amanda Patchett

Can the DFTD tumour microenvironment influence vaccine responses in the Tasmanian devil?

32,775

Medibank Better Health Foundation

Grant – Project Grant Funding

Associate Professor Dawn Aitken, Dr Aroub Lahham, Dr Kim Jose, Dr Verity Cleland, Professor Graeme Jones, Professor Tania Winzenberg

Unlocking the potential of a novel setting to promote physical activity among patients with knee osteoarthritis – a parkrun feasibility study

31,313

University of Tasmania

Grant – Research Enhancement Program

Dr Jing Tian, Professor Alison Venn, Dr Liesel FitzGerald, Professor Kathryn Burdon

Understanding the life course relationship of DNA methylation with obesity traits and its association with obesity-related diseases

25,000

Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation

Grant – Project

Dr Julie Campbell, Professor Andrew Palmer, Professor James Sharman, Dr Barbara de Graaff

The Royal Hobart Hospital’s innovative Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic (RACPC): A health economic evaluation of patient, RHH and community benefits

24,952

University of Tasmania

Grant – Research Enhancement Program

Dr Liesel FitzGerald, Professor Jo Dickinson

Inherited genes in prostate cancer: addressing the gaps in our understanding

24,933

University of Tasmania

Grant – Research Enhancement Program

Dr Jac Charlesworth, Associate A family-based approach to studying neurodegeneration in multiple Professor Kaylene Young, sclerosis Professor Kathryn Burdon, Professor Bruce Taylor, Dr Bennet McComish

24,928

University of Tasmania

Grant – Research Enhancement Program

Professor Kathryn Burdon

Molecular, biochemical and genetic mechanisms of cataract in adults and children – improving diagnosis and outcomes

24,783

University of Tasmania

Grant – Research Enhancement Program

Dr Guei-Sheung Liu

Targeting dysregulated miRNAs and transforming growth factor-Bactivated kinase 1 (TAK1) to stop the growth of leaky blood vessels in diabetic eyes

24,540

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

28


SMALL GRANTS (continued)

Funding body

Grant category

Menzies researchers

Project title

Value $

Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation

Grant – Project

Dr Liesel Fitzgerald, Professor Jo Dickinson

Is EEF2 a potential biomarker for more aggressive prostate cancer in Tasmanian patients?

23,906

Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation

Grant – Project

Dr Dean Picone, Professor James Sharman, Dr Martin Schultz

A smarter way to measure blood pressure

23,189

University of Tasmania

Grant – Research Enhancement Program

Dr Martin Schultz

The EXERcise stress Test collaboratION (EXERTION)

22,500

Foundation for High Blood Pressure Research

Grant – Transition

Associate Professor Seana Gall

Early markers of pre-clinical and clinical HF during the transition to middle-adulthood

20,000

University of Tasmania Foundation Inc

Grant – Dr Eric Guiler Tasmanian Devil Research Grant

Dr Ruth Pye

Monitoring DFTD-immunised devils after their release to the wild

19,999

Tasmanian Community Fund

Grant

Dr Amanda Wheeler, Associate Professor Fay Johnston

Can portable air cleaners protect health?

19,443

University of Tasmania

Grant – Research Enhancement Program

Associate Professor Kaylene Young, Professor Tracey Dickson, Dr Jac Charlesworth, Professor Bruce Taylor

Investigating glutamate transporters in the brain

10,186

Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation

Grant – Incubator

Dr Barbara de Graaff, Dr Julie Campbell, Professor Andrew Palmer

Evaluation of the Tasmanian Elective Surgery Panel Project

9,980

Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation

Grant – Incubator

Dr Andy Flies, Professor Alex Hewitt

Rapid antibody development for improved cancer immunotherapy diagnostics

9,841

University of Tasmania

Grant – Research Enhancement Program

Dr Kristen Hynes, Professor Wendy Oddy

Collaboration to build laboratory capacity within Tasmania for measurement of iodine in biological samples

9,800

University of Tasmania

Grant – Research Enhancement Program

Dr Feng Pan, Professor Graeme Jones, Professor Tania Winzenberg, Dr Jing Tian, Associate Professor Dawn Aitken

Improving outcomes in patients with knee osteoarthritis: identifying pain phenotypes with relationships to long-term health outcomes

9,669

Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia

Ian Ballard Travel Award

Dr Yuan Zhou

Role of sex chromosomes in genetics of MS

9,369

University of Tasmania

Grant – Research Enhancement Program

Dr Michele Callisaya

A cognitive-mobility stress test to improve the prediction of dementia

9,185

Asthma Australia

Scholarship – PhD

Associate Professor Fay Johnston

Assessment framework for the evaluation of wildfire risk reduction strategies

9,000

Australian Academy of Science

Fellowship – Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Dr Yuan Zhou

Attend 68th Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting

6,750

29

University of Tasmania


Philanthropy and Community Engagement

Peter Mathew

Menzies exists to advance the health of Tasmanians. In turn, we benefit from the support and participation of the community in our research studies, programs, activities and events.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Osteoarthritis was the focus of this year’s annual debate.

4,300

people attended the events we hosted, including presentations, talks, on-site tours and fundraising events

Community Engagement Almost 4,300 people attended the events we hosted, including presentations, talks, onsite tours and fundraising events. The annual Menzies Debate was again hosted by the ABC science communicator Bernie Hobbs, with two expert teams debating the topic ‘Surgery is the best therapy for osteoarthritis’. We held public talks on ‘Seeking better outcomes for people with liver cancer’, ‘Cancer – a disease of our genes’ and ‘Maintaining cognition

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

30

– the key to quality of life in multiple sclerosis’. It was wonderful to see more than 680 people participate in the Menzies 5km Walk which was part of Hobart Run the Bridge. A total of 29 Menzies students and staff contributed to Science Week events. Members of the Cancer, Genetics and Immunology research theme ran activities at the Science Worth Seeing event. Menzies contributed content and research expertise to a major five-month exhibition at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery titled ‘The Remarkable Tasmanian Devil’. Devil facial tumour disease researcher Dr Andy Flies is a leader of the popular


‘Science in the Pub’ series. This contribution was recognised this year with a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement. We sent out our Bulletin publication four times during the year, each time to about 3,000 supporters and donors. Philanthropy Our philanthropy and community engagement program allows us to connect with the community. In 2018, $3.63 million was secured in philanthropic income, including just under $1.54 million in Wills. We received planned gifts from 16 estates and 3,126 individual donations. In 2018, we reached 250 supporters who have advised of their interest or intent to leave a gift to Menzies in their Will. This information helps us to plan for the future and to track and estimate the value of philanthropic income in future years. Our 127 regular donors (the Everyday Angels) donated monthly and over $271,911 was raised statewide through community fundraisers.

All donations received by the Institute go directly to medical research and every dollar donated also attracts further funding to the Institute through the Australian Government’s Research Block Grant program. Investment Overview With an increasingly competitive national funding context, philanthropic funds are of vital importance to the Institute. Philanthropic funds allow us to invest in priority projects, to stimulate new projects and investigations, purchase equipment, develop our future medical researchers through scholarships and attract the best researchers internationally through competitive salaries and fellowships. Strategic Priorities Our fundraising efforts reflect our strategic priorities. In 2018, $394,000

was pledged towards the MS Flagship Program, including from MS Limited, MSWA and the War Widows Guild. In December, we began our global search for the Menzies Community Bequest Fellow, targeting a worldleading researcher in the area of cancer and genetics. This is made possible by the generosity of our supporters, with our community bequest fund reaching $6.4 million in 2018. We look forward to an exciting announcement in 2019. Stimulus Funds We established the Philanthropic Fund and Panel in 2017, making philanthropic funds competitively available internally to stimulate new projects and to provide development funding for projects that will go on to apply for nationally competitive funding. More than $185,000 was distributed from the Philanthropic Fund in 2018.

Menzies exists to advance the health of Tasmanians. In turn, we benefit from the support and participation of the community.

Sandi Doherty

31

‘DRIBBLE AND SHAKE’: Boating mates ran a competition to land the biggest flathead to raise funds for research into prostate cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

University of Tasmania


CONTRIBUTION: Dr Andy Flies and Dr Emily Flies with their Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement. Continued from page 31

Scholarships and Fellowships We distributed more than $1 million of philanthropic funds to scholarships and fellowships, growing capacity and the future of medical research in Tasmania.

Bequests We acknowledge the generosity of gifts made from the following Estates: ■ Estate of the late Margaret Denise Thompson ■ Estate of the late Josephine M Denne ■ Estate of the late Joy Scott ■ Estate of the late Alice Ann Coombs ■ Estate of the late Janet Mary Patterson ■ Estate of the late Joseph Henry McCormack ■ Estate of the late Douglas Beath ■ Estate of the late Olive Ruth Atherton ■ Estate of the late N M Copeman ■ Estate of the late Elizabeth Joy Smith ■ Estate of the late Carol A Davenport ■ Estate of the late Rosemary Agathe Heinrich ■ Estate of the late Rex Ernest Morriss ■ Estate of the late Beryl Kitty Bates ■ Estate of the late Marlene Fielding ■ Estate of the late Barbara Reardon Major Donors Just over 50 donors made a gift of $5,000 and over and contributed $1,861,737 in donations.

We acknowledge the following fellowship supporters: ■ Broadreach Holdings Early Career Medical Research Fellowship ■ Farrell Family Elite Research Fellowship in Medical Research ■ Henry Baldwin Senior Research Fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis ■ Select Foundation Elite Research Fellowships in Medical Research We acknowledge the following scholarship supporters: ■ Ashdown Family Elite Postgraduate

Karen Brown

Thank you We acknowledge and appreciate the generosity of all supporters who made a philanthropic contribution to the Institute in 2018.

Scholarship in Medical Research roadreach Holdings Postgraduate B Scholarship in Medical Research ■ Cuthbertson Elite Postgraduate Scholarship in Medical Research ■ Diabetes Tasmania Postgraduate Scholarship in Medical Research ■ Diagnostic Services Honours Scholarship in Medical Research ■ Doctors Tasmania Honours Scholarships in Primary Care Research ■ Farrell Family Elite Postgraduate Scholarships in Medical Research ■ Fred Binns Parkinson’s Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship in Medical Research ■ Heart Foundation / Menzies Institute for Medical Research Honours Scholarships ■ Helene Matterson Honours Scholarship in Medical Research ■ Menzies Community Postgraduate Scholarship in Cancer Research ■ Moonah Navy Club Honours Scholarship in Medical Research ■ Morrell Family Trust Postgraduate Scholarship in Medical Research ■ MPST Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship in Multiple Sclerosis ■

Patricia F Gordon Postgraduate Scholarship in Medical Research ■ Pennicott Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship in Medical Research ■ Tasmanian Masonic Medical Research Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship ■ Tasmanian Police Charity Trust Honours Scholarship in Breast Cancer Research ■ TasNetworks Postgraduate Scholarship in Medical Research ■ WINC Australia/Konica Minolta Postgraduate Scholarship in Medical Research ■

Just over 50 donors made a gift of $5,000 and over and contributed $1,861,737 in donations.

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

32


Financial report 1 January to 31 December 2018 2017 Actual

2018 Actual

Income Commonwealth Government Research Support Teaching Income Menzies Foundation

$5,133,445

$5,015,212

$893,217

$617,467

$75,000

$-

$3,558,812

$3,856,354

Tasmanian Government grants

$1,367,454

$1,762,148

Other Contracts and Agreements

$4,400,913

$4,847,207

Donations

$1,803,715

$2,088,616

Bequests

$1,165,587

$1,540,392

Investment Income

Commonwealth Government Research Grants

$1,403,170

$34,298

Sales

$304,826

$358,294

Other Income

$426,792

$452,694

UTAS Contributions

$496,213

$123,616

$21,029,146

$20,696,299

$12,856,402

$13,721,410

$957,796

$861,285

Medical and Laboratory Materials

$1,286,361

$1,411,082

Travel and Training Related Costs

$726,324

$742,048

Expenses Salaries and On-Costs Depreciation, Equipment and Infrastructure

Scholarships Research Sub-Contractors and Consultants Other Expenses

Surplus/(Deficit)

$987,682

$1,028,037

$1,012,301

$734,841

$720,745

$804,964

$18,547,610

$19,303,667

$2,481,535

$1,392,631

Notes 1 Trust Funds As at 31 December 2018, Menzies held Trust Funds valued at $20,647,835. The capital amount of this trust was valued at $14,699,750. Interest distributions provide a source of research income for Menzies. The non-capital component of these trust funds is available for use in accordance with the benefactor’s instructions. The University Foundation manages a number of trusts on behalf of Menzies. As at 31 December 2018, the value of these trusts was $851,075. Distributions are made by agreement between the University Foundation and Menzies in accordance with the benefactor’s instructions.

33

University of Tasmania


Board and Management

Alistair Bett

The 2018 Menzies Board Mr Bruce Neill (Chairman) Professor Alison Venn (Director) Professor Moira Clay Professor Denise Fassett Professor Brigid Heywood Ms Pip Leedham Professor Stephen Tong Professor Bob Williamson

The 2018 Menzies Senior Management Team Professor Alison Venn (Director) Professor James Sharman (Deputy Director) Professor Graeme Zosky (Deputy Director) Mr Peter Hicks (Business Manager) Professor Kathryn Burdon Ms Miranda Harman (Institute Marketing and Communications Manager) Professor Heinrich Korner Professor Graeme Jones Ms Magdalena Lane (Institute Advancement Manager) Professor Andrew Palmer Dr David Steele (Research Laboratory Manager) Professor Bruce Taylor Associate Professor Kaylene Young

Menzies Institute for Medical Research Annual Report 2018

34

LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Front row, left to right, Professor Brigid Heywood, Professor Alison Venn (Director), Mr Bruce Neill (Chairman); back row, left to right, Ms Pip Leedham, Professor Stephen Tong, Professor Moira Clay; absent: Professor Denise Fassett and Professor Bob Williamson.


If you would like more information about our research programs, collaborations or education opportunities, please contact us.

Menzies Institute for Medical Research ❙ Medical Science Precinct 17 Liverpool Street (Private Bag 23) ❙ HOBART TAS 7000 Phone: +61 (0)3 6226 7700 ❙ Email: enquiries@menzies.utas.edu.au www.menzies.utas.edu.au facebook.com/MenziesResearch @ResearchMenzies

ABN 30 764 374 782 – University of Tasmania


Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, is proudly supported by:


Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.