Tag: Monash University

Monash, Art, Design and Architecture (MADA) NOW: Amazing examples of graduates creativity

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The Hidden Hybrid (2021) by Lili Xilai Li. Photo- medianet

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 23 November 2021: The ‘MADA (Monash, Art, Design and Architecture) Now’ exhibition is active online and and open physically at the Monash Caulfield campus till 3 December 2021. This hybrid exhibition (Monash.edu/mada/now) showcases the work of over 750 graduating artists, curators, designers, architects and urban planners.

A number of significant prizes were announced at the launch, including The Daniel Dorall prize for highest achieving student in Fine Art awarded to Erin Hallyburton, and the Damian Bertoli Award, dedicated to his memory as a dear MADA colleague, artist and mentor, going to Alexis Kanatsios.

Full details on outstanding students and prize winners across Architecture, Urban Planning, Design and Fine Art, as well as recorded messages from each head of department and the Dean are viewable on the website.

Fine Art Interim Head of Department, Spiros Panigirakis said at the launch: ‘What a year and what an astounding response from our fine arts community. With too many obstacles to note, students practising across many fields, studios and occupations, made art matter.’

The Dean, Professor Shane Murray also pointed to the importance of this year’s show, ‘I am immensely proud of our staff and of the remarkable creative community we have here at MADA’ he said.

‘These students have achieved amazing results through an incredibly challenging period. This whole show is truly full of energy and provocation. It demonstrates that the creative sector is in great hands.’

Megan Kamei, Asobi, details of installation (2021)
Megan Kamei, Asobi, details of installation (2021). Photo- medianet

Online exhibition: monash.edu/mada/events/2021/madanow

SAT Special: Pandemic stigma – Foreigners, doctors, minority wrongly targeted for COVID-19 spread in India, says Monash study

People wait to get the COVID vaccine
People wait to get the COVID vaccine at a government dispensary, in New Delhi. Photo-ANI

By SAT News Desk/MediaNet

MELBOURNE, 17 May 2021: The Indian public blamed foreigners, minority groups, and doctors for the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the country during the first wave, due to misinformation, rumor, and long-held discriminatory beliefs, according to an international study led by Monash University. The study was supported by funding provided by the Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability (CDES), Monash University.

This resulted in people refusing to get tested for fear of humiliation or public reprisals, which included attacks on Muslims and health care workers.

However, when presented with accurate and reliable information about the virus spread, the Indian public back-pedaled on those negative sentiments and was more likely to get tested and seek medical help, highlighting the importance of health advice from credible sources.

A world-first study by researchers in the Monash Business School, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, and the University of Southampton found the prevalence of accurate information decreased the stigmatization of COVID-19 patients and reduced the belief that infection was confined to religious minorities, lower-caste groups, and frontline workers.

Led by Professor Asad Islam*, Director of the Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability in the Monash Business School, the study surveyed 2,138 people across 40 localities in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on their views about the spread of COVID-19.

Ninety-three percent of respondents blamed foreigners for the spread of COVID-19, while 66 percent also blamed the Muslim population. Surprisingly, 34 percent and 29 percent of people blamed health care workers and police respectively for failing to contain the virus spread.

The social and physical consequences of stigmatization were found to be severe, as those with symptoms refused to step forward and get tested for fear of public humiliation.

Other examples included the refusal of non-Hindu doctors and patients to have a dignified burial; attacks on Muslims during and after religious events; health care workers being assaulted and asked to vacate their residences due to fear of virus spread; and incidents of COVID-19 patients leaving self-isolation early.

As India comes to grips with a devastating second wave, with an average of 350,000 new cases and 4,000 deaths daily, researchers say these incidents during the first wave are happening again.

“We believe the results are as relevant today, as widespread stigmatization is visible even during this wave,” Dr. Islam said.

“Cases of stigmatization during the second wave have resulted in doctors being verbally abused and prevented from taking a lift in their own residential flat, old parents being abandoned, several patients fleeing medical facilities across the country, and dead bodies being dumped in rivers.

“Most importantly, we found that stigmatization of COVID-19 can have negative public health implications as it may lead people to avoid getting tested and respecting prevention measures. This is essential if India is to get on top of this second wave.”

During the study, which took place in June 2020 at the height of the first wave, researchers surveyed individuals by phone and followed up with a randomized controlled test. The treatment group received information about COVID-19 and preventive strategies.

Researchers followed up with participants about one month later to assess if the information intervention was effective in improving knowledge about the transmission and prevention of COVID-19.

More than half of the participants who received the information brief were less likely to believe that any particular group was to be blamed for the spread of the disease and thus reduced stigmatization of COVID-19 patients, frontline workers (health care workers, sanitary workers, and the police), and marginalized groups such as religious minorities.

Furthermore, researchers identified a significant increase in the self-reporting of COVID-related symptoms and subsequent medical treatment in the Indian population, including treatment for mental health. There was a 75 percentage point reduction in stress and anxiety experienced by participants in the treatment group.

An additional 10 percent of participants reported greater quality of life as a result of heightened information awareness and consumption.

“Health advice from credible sources in simple language is of utmost importance as individuals are still taking the pandemic lightly, not wearing their masks and are reluctant to get vaccinated due to widespread ignorance and misconception, even when the numbers are soaring,” research co-author Associate Professor Liang Choon Wang from the Monash Business School’s Department of Economics said.

“Raising awareness and reducing stress and stigmatization could lead to encouraging vaccination rates, following prescribed quarantine or lockdown guidelines, coming forward and getting tested if symptoms are visible (or in early stages of infection) and getting help at the earliest time.”

* Professor Asad Islam (Monash Business School) led the study titled ‘Stigma and Misconceptions in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Field Experiment in India’. Contributing authors of this research include Associate Professor Debayan Pakrashi (Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur), Professor Michael Vlassopoulos (University of Southampton), and Associate Professor Liang Choong Wang (Department of Economics, Monash University).

World-first technology from Monash University breathes new life into cystic fibrosis detection & treatment

XV Imaging 1

By SAT News Desk/Medianet

MELBOURNE, 17 August 2020: A world-first technology from the Monash University could hold the key to better monitoring and treatment of lung disease associated with cystic fibrosis (CF) – a condition thousands of people are diagnosed with each year.

Using X-ray velocimetry (XV), the multi-disciplinary collaboration of physicists, engineers, biomedical engineers and clinicians was able to measure the dynamics of airflow through the lungs during the course of a natural breathing cycle, and measures the presentations of CF lung disease.

The research team, led by Dr Freda Werdiger from Monash University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was able to pinpoint the exact locations of abnormal airflow within lungs with CF-like disease, and better quantify the level of disease present.

The successful trial opens up avenues for a range of respiratory diseases to be diagnosed, treated and managed earlier than current technology allows and at a lower radiation dose than current CT scanning.

The study was published in the prestigious journal Nature Scientific Reports.

“In this study we present two developments in XV analysis. Firstly, we show the ability of laboratory-based XV to detect the patchy nature of CF-like disease in affected mice. Secondly, we present a technique for numerical quantification of that disease, which can delineate between two major modes of disease symptoms,” Dr Werdiger said.

“This analytical model provides a simple, easy-to-interpret approach, and one capable of being readily applied to large quantities of data generated in XV imaging. Together these advances show the power of XV for assessing local airflow changes.

“We propose that XV should be considered as a novel lung function measurement tool for lung therapeutics development in small animal models, for CF and for other muco-obstructive diseases.

”Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, chronic and debilitating genetic disease caused by mutations in the CF Transmembrane-conductance Regulator gene. Unrelenting CF airway disease begins early in infancy and produces a steady deterioration in quality of life, ultimately leading to premature death.

Effective lung health assessment tools must capture the patchy nature of muco-obstructive lung diseases such as CF, which is important during the early stages of the disease when local treatments could be applied to prevent disease progression.

But, current lung function assessment methods have many limitations, including the inability to accurately localise the origin of globally-measured changes in lung health.

Assessments of overall lung health in humans and animals are made using lung function tests that screen for abnormalities by measuring the flow of gas in the airways. Spirometry is the most common tool for assessing lung function, however it measures global airflow at the mouth.

Despite the availability of techniques that assess either lung function or lung structure, none of these are able to simultaneously quantify function and identify the origin of those functional changes. Abnormal lung motion during breathing has been demonstrated to be an indicator of disease.

X-ray velocimetry provides non-invasive, high-definition and sensitive real-time images of airflow through the lungs in live organisms.

The technology was designed and commercialised by Australian-based med-tech company 4DMedical, led by CEO and former Monash University researcher Professor Andreas Fouras. The technology has since been upscaled for clinical use, and in the USA was recently given FDA approval for all respiratory indications in adults.

“To effectively diagnose, monitor, and treat respiratory disease clinicians should be able to accurately assess the spatial distribution of airflow across the fine structure of the lung. This capability would enable any decline or improvement in health to be located and measured, allowing improved treatment options to be designed,” Dr Werdiger said.

“The success of XV lies in its ability to draw reliable and meaningful quantitative measures, and this study shows how this can be accomplished.

“In the future, these techniques can be expected to be applied to the numerical characterization of CF lung disease in larger cohorts and other CF animal models.

“These methods allow analyses to be applied in a straightforward fashion and with minimal manual processing, to enable ongoing study and development of the treatment of CF and other respiratory diseases.”

Collaboration on this project was undertaken with respiratory physicians at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide and the University of Adelaide. Gandel Philanthropy provided funding to assist in Dr Werdiger’s investigation.

Monash University breakthrough blood test detects positive COVID-19 result in 20 minutes

COVID Monash
Photo- medianet

By SAT News Desk/Medianet/aap

MELBOURNE, 17 JULY 2020: Monash University in a world-first has claimed a major breakthrough in Australia by being able to detect positive COVID-19 cases using blood samples in about 20 minutes, and identify whether someone has contracted the virus. Researchers developed a simple assay based on commonly used blood typing infrastructure. Positive COVID-19 cases cause an agglutination or a clustering of red blood cells, which is easily identifiable. This breakthrough can help governments and health experts with contact tracing to limit community spread. More than 700 samples can be assessed each hour on high-grade diagnostic machines.

In a discovery that could advance the worldwide effort to limit the community spread of COVID-19 through robust contact tracing, researchers were able to identify recent COVID-19 cases using 25 microlitres of plasma from blood samples.

The research team, led by BioPRIA and Monash University’s Chemical Engineering Department, including researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent BioNano Science and Technology (CBNS), developed a simple agglutination assay – an analysis to determine the presence and amount of a substance in blood – to detect the presence of antibodies raised in response to the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Positive COVID-19 cases caused an agglutination or a clustering of red blood cells, which was easily identifiable to the naked eye. Researchers were able to retrieve positive or negative readings in about 20 minutes.

While the current swab / PCR tests are used to identify people who are currently positive with COVID-19, the agglutination assay can determine whether someone had been recently infected once the infection is resolved – and could potentially be used to detect antibodies raised in response to vaccination to aid clinical trials.

Using a simple lab setup, this discovery could see medical practitioners across the world testing up to 200 blood samples an hour. At some hospitals with high-grade diagnostic machines, more than 700 blood samples could be tested hourly – about 16,800 each day.

Study findings could help high-risk countries with population screening, case identification, contact tracing, confirming vaccine efficacy during clinical trials, and vaccine distribution.

This world-first research was published today (Friday 17 July 2020) in the prestigious journal ACS Sensors.

A patent for the innovation has been filed and researchers are seeking commercial and government support to upscale production.

Dr. Simon Corrie, Professor Gil Garnier and Professor Mark Banaszak Holl (BioPRIA and Chemical Engineering, Monash University), and Associate Professor Timothy Scott (BioPRIA, Chemical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering, Monash University) led the study, with initial funding provided by the Chemical Engineering Department and the Monash Centre to Impact Anti-microbial Resistance.

Dr Corrie, Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering at Monash University and Chief Investigator in the CBNS said the findings were exciting for governments and health care teams across the world in the race to stop the spread of COVID-19. He said this practice has the potential to become upscaled immediately for serological testing.

“Detection of antibodies in patient plasma or serum involves pipetting a mixture of reagent red blood cells (RRBCs) and antibody-containing serum/plasma onto a gel card containing separation media, incubating the card for 5-15 minutes, and using a centrifuge to separate agglutinated cells from free cells,” Dr. Corrie said.

“This simple assay, based on commonly used blood typing infrastructure and already manufactured at scale, can be rolled out rapidly across Australia and beyond. This test can be used in any lab that has blood typing infrastructure, which is extremely common across the world.”

Researchers collaborated with clinicians at Monash Health to collect blood samples from people recently infected with COVID-19, as well as samples from healthy individuals sourced before the pandemic emerged.

Tests on 10 clinical blood samples involved incubating patient plasma or serum with red blood cells previously coated with short peptides representing pieces of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

If the patient sample contained antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, these antibodies would bind to peptides and result in aggregation of the red blood cells. Researchers then used gel cards to separate aggregated cells from free cells, in order to see a line of aggregated cells indicating a positive response. In negative samples, no aggregates in the gel cards were observed.

“We found that by producing bioconjugates of anti-D-IgG and peptides from SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and immobilizing these to RRBCs, selective agglutination in gel cards was observed in the plasma collected from patients recently infected with SARS-CoV-2 in comparison to healthy plasma and negative controls,” Professor Gil Garnier, Director of BioPRIA, said.

“Importantly, negative control reactions involving either SARS-CoV-2-negative samples or RRBCs and SARS-CoV-2-positive samples without bioconjugates, all revealed no agglutination behavior.”

Professor Banaszak Holl, Head of Chemical Engineering at Monash University, commended the work of talented Ph.D. students in BioPRIA and Chemical Engineering who paused their projects to help deliver this game-changing COVID-19 test.

“This simple, rapid, and easily scalable approach has immediate application in SARS-CoV-2 serological testing and is a useful platform for assay development beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. We are indebted to the work of our Ph.D. students in bringing this to life,” Professor Banaszak Holl said.

“Funding is required in order to perform full clinical evaluation across many samples and sites. With commercial support, we can begin to manufacture and roll out this assay to the communities that need it. This can take as little as six months depending on the support we receive.”

COVID-19 has caused a worldwide viral pandemic, contributing to nearly 600,000 deaths and more than 13.8 million cases reported internationally. Australia has reported 10,810 cases and 113 deaths (figures dated 17 July 2020).

To download a copy of the research, please visit https://doi.org/10.1021/acssensors.0c01050 .

To watch a video of this research in action, CLICK HERE.

Co-authors of this study are:

- Diana Alves (BioPRIA and Chemical Engineering, Monash University)
- Rodrigo Curvello (BioPRIA and Chemical Engineering, Monash University)
- Edward Henderson (Chemical Engineering, CBNS, BioPRIA and Centre to Impact AMR, Monash University)
- Vidhishri Kesarwani (Chemical Engineering, CBNS, BioPRIA and Centre to Impact AMR, Monash University)
- Julia Walker (Chemical Engineering, CBNS, BioPRIA, Centre to Impact AMR and Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University)
- Samuel Leguizamon (Chemical Engineering, BioPRIA, Materials Science and Engineering, Monash University and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
- Heather McLiesh (BioPRIA and Chemical Engineering, Monash University)
- Vikram Raghuwanshi (BioPRIA and Chemical Engineering, Monash University)
- Hajar Samadian (ARC, BioPRIA and Chemical Engineering, Monash University)
-Erica Wood (Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University and Monash Health)
- Zoe McQuilten (Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University and Monash Health)
- Maryza Graham (Clinical Sciences, Monash University, Monash Infectious Diseases, Monash Health)
- Megan Wieringa (Clinical Sciences, Monash University and Monash Health)
- Tony Korman (Clinical Sciences, Centre for Inflammatory Diseases, Monash University and Monash Health)

Source- medianet Distribute/aap, 17 July 2020.