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Articles categorized as ‘Research Programs at Australian Universities’

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

What do your music preferences say about your study habits?

It’s well known that certain human behaviours such as eating, having sex or shared social moments lead to a release of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

“Dopamine is a very common neurotransmitter, sometimes called a feel-good neurochemical. More accurately, it is released in response to a rewarding activity, and its presence helps drive our motivation and reinforces the activity that led to its release,” says University of Sydney Professor Alais.

What do your music preferences say about your study habits?

What you listen to may affect how you study

Now music can be added to the list, since it’s been found that listening to emotionally engaging melodies also results in the release of dopamine—one of few intangible practices to do this.

Prof Alais discussed a behavioural study on rats to demonstrate the relationship between dopamine and motivation.

“Given two pathways to find a food reward, rats with high dopamine levels took the effortful path to receive twice the amount of food, while those with low levels took the easy path and received less food,” he says.

So, how does this relate to studying?

“When you are sitting down to study, boosting dopamine through music is good because it will increase your motivation levels. The satisfaction you feel when reaching your study goals will be intrinsically rewarding and reinforce your willingness to study,” Prof Alais explains.

“For the maximum dopamine boost, you should choose music that gives you a positive emotional response,” he suggests. “People who are happy and less stressed are going to feel better and therefore learn better.”

Certain music can boost memory

In neuroscience there are several networks in the brain including the executive attention network and the default mode network, the latter being more active when you are calm and inwardly focused.

“In this reflective state you are more likely to imagine and visualise things; you can find connections between information and memories. You are less focused on logical sequences and instead on broader associative connections that can help you encode things in a richer network.”

And visualisation is apparently the best way to memorise things.

Alais gives the example of how famous Roman orators from times before cue cards harnessed the power of visualisation to recite their extraordinarily lengthy public speeches utilising the default mode network of their brain.

“They would model the sequence of their speech off their house which they knew backwards. They would use this to create an order for their talk and in each room of the house they would mentally input a couple of object cues,” the University of Sydney professor explains.

“They only had to remember the sequence of their speech in global terms (e.g., the route they would take to walk around their house) and the rest of the information would flow on from there.

“The imagination is a powerful tool and it’s one that we don’t use enough.”

In order to reach this part of the brain Alais suggests we need to remove extraneous stimuli.

“In order to switch off your externally focused frontal lobe and achieve a more reflective headspace you can meditate, practice mindfulness, take a walk or listen to calming, ambient music.”

Music with lyrics and complex technical sequences is more distracting, making it harder to reach this reflective inner state as you will be focused on outside factors.

“You can’t ignore someone speaking to you, even through song; so often the logical part of your brain that you’re trying to use when you’re studying is conflicted. You’re detracting from your focus.”

Alais suggests avoiding music with lyrics or that compels you to move physically, “choose music that flows over you rather than grabbing you.”

Work over twerk, if you will.

Tunes can be even more distracting if you have a background in music, something Professor Alais can attest to having worked for six years as a live sound engineer while an undergraduate and PhD student.

“If you are musically trained, you are probably a very analytical listener. You will likely engage more with the music and analyse the rhythm, key, chord changes, instrumentation etc. Something ambient may be better for you to reach that inner default mode network. Or perhaps a genre that is outside your area of expertise.”

What about personality and music preference?

Only a small amount of research exists, but what’s there suggests people can be broadly categorised into three types: empathisers, systemisers and those considered a little bit of both.

Empathisers were found to enjoy pop music because it speaks to the emotions with lyrics and in using rhythm and beat to convey mood. This type of person enjoys the global effect of the music rather than isolating aspects of it. A systemiser, meanwhile, will be more scientific in approach and therefore enjoy complex forms of music like jazz or electronica which requires some effort to decode it.

So as you settle in for another study session, give an extra thought to the tunes you choose because it’s proven that listening to certain music can indeed help you out come exam time. For Professor Alais nothing beats the Bach cello suites.

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Find out how you can study science at the University of Sydney. Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston for more information at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Sydney School of Public wants to know if dogs make people happier

The effect of dog ownership on adult human health is the focus of a new pilot study by the University of Sydney.

Sydney School of Public wants to know if dogs make people happier

Do dogs make people feel happy?

Led by Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the Charles Perkins Centre and Sydney School of Public Health, the research team is seeking 100 non-dog owners to participate in the trial—people who are considering owning a dog as well as those who have no interest in doing so.

“Dog ownership is very popular in Australia with over 40 percent of households owning at least one dog,” Associate Professor Stamatakis said. “While anecdotal evidence suggests dog ownership is beneficial for human health, there is currently scant scientific evidence to back up this perception.

“Our research will provide valuable insight into the health benefits of dog ownership which could support programs promoting and enabling dog ownership as a means to increase physical activity, improve general health and prevent cardiovascular and mental illness.”

Differences in physical activity, cardiovascular and metabolic health, and psychosocial well-being will be assessed for three groups: participants who acquire a dog within one month, after an eight-month waiting period, or do not adopt at all.

Over the course of eight months, participants in the Physical & Affective Wellbeing Study of dog owners (PAWS) pilot will be asked to complete a small number of questionnaires over the phone and visit the Charles Perkins Centre or be visited at home three times for some simple physical measurements.

“These initial results will also inform the methods of a much larger trial, the first controlled trial to examine the health effect of ‘real world’ dog ownership,” Associate Professor Stamatakis explained.

What is public health?

Public health is society’s response to threats to the collective health of its citizens. Public health practitioners work to enhance and protect the health of populations by identifying their health problems and needs, and providing programs and services to address these needs. Studying in this field as an international student gives Canadians an understanding of the public health realm on an international scale, making Australia a top choice for Canadians.

At the Sydney School of Public Health, the Master of Public Health program is open to students from health and non-health backgrounds. Public health is

  • preventing disease;
  • promoting health; and
  • prolonging life.

Program: Master of Public Health
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intakes: March and July
Duration: 1 year
Application deadline: Candidates are encouraged to apply a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.

Entry Requirements: A successful applicant for admission to the program requires

  • a minimum four-year full time degree or equivalent qualification from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification; or
  • a shorter degree from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification, and non-degree professional qualifications and/or substantial relevant experience and/or other relevant qualifications.

Apply to the Sydney Public Health School!

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If you have any questions about studying at the Sydney School of Public Health, please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Public Health Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com.

Friday, April 21st, 2017

JCU medical research finds new drug to ease C-section trauma

James Cook University researchers from the College of Medicine and Dentistry may have found a way to reduce trauma and prevent infections after Caesarean births.

JCU medical research finds new drug to ease C-section trauma

L to R: Lisa Davenport, Professor Geoffrey Dobson, Dr Hayley Letson (Photo: JCU)

Caesarean delivery rates are increasing worldwide and around a third of all mothers in Australia, USA and UK give birth surgically each year, but a C-section is not without risks.

Fourth-year JCU Medical School student Lisa Davenport joined Dr Hayley Letson and Professor Geoffrey Dobson from the Heart, Trauma and Sepsis Research Laboratory at JCU to research ways to reduce the stress response to the trauma of surgery.

Caesarean sections involve one or more incisions in a patient’s abdomen, known as a laparotomy, and are a common option for delivering babies.

But they have a raft of potential side-effects, including cutting the baby, post-surgery infection, fever, excessive blood loss or clotting, scar tissue formation and extended stays in hospital.

Dr Letson said a single laparotomy is a major injury.

“It can activate the brain’s stress response from the multiple ‘damage’ signals sent out from the original incision,” she said.

The JCU research showed that a laparotomy causes inflammation and an early activation of the immune system, which can then spiral out of control.

Ms Davenport examined whether an Adenosine, Lidocaine and Magnesium (ALM) drip could reduce the trauma of surgery when used by itself in experimental models. She discovered that adverse responses were reduced when the subject was infused with a small amount of the ALM drip.

“Low volume therapies may be important, because you want to avoid large fluid volumes that can shock the body a second time,” she said.

Professor Dobson said that precisely how tiny volumes of the ALM drip works is an active area of investigation in the Dobson Laboratory, but experiments have shown it protects against infection as well.

Dr Letson said the ALM therapy appears to be linked to improved brain control over whole body function at times of surgical stress. “It suppresses signals that activate immune cells and promote inflammation,” she said.

The work has applications to other major surgery and especially to rural and remote medicine. Professor Dobson said new frontline drugs are urgently required to make major surgery safer for the patient and more predictable for the surgeon, with the potential to reduce complications and massively reduce health care costs, and possibly reduce waiting times for elective surgery.

“The global surgical statistics are staggering. Of the 234 million major surgeries performed every year, every hour there are around 1,000 deaths and 4,000 major complications, and 50% may be preventable,” he said.

Ms Davenport has completed the study and is currently analysing the data and writing a paper for a high-profile surgical journal.

Her study parallels the Dobson Lab’s ongoing trauma work being supported by the US Military, and a new collaboration that started late 2016 with the National Institutes of Health in the United States.

The research team is also pursuing funding opportunities to investigate the use of ALM fluid as a potential treatment for post-partum haemorrhage. Of the 500,000 maternal deaths each year, approximately 25% are due to haemorrhage.

Study medicine at JCU Medical School

JCU Medical School offers an undergraduate-entry medical program that specializes in rural, remote and indigenous medicine and is located in north Queensland, Australia. Rather than having to earn a bachelor degree first, undergraduate-entry medical programs allow students to enter directly from high school. If you have completed high school studies or would like to apply to a medical school in Australia without using your MCAT score, you may wish to learn more about undergraduate-entry medical programs offered by Australian universities.

Program: Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Next semester intake: February 2018
Duration: 6 years
Application deadline: August 30, 2017

Apply now to James Cook University Medical School!

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Would you like more information about studying medicine at JCU Medical School? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

UQ medicine flagship research program to deliver health outcomes

Projects tackling key health challenges of antimicrobial use and skin cancer are the first to be funded under a flagship initiative by the University of Queensland Faculty of Medicine.

UQ medicine flagship research program to deliver health outcomes

UQ Centre for Clinical Research

Deputy Executive Dean and Associate Dean of Research, Professor Melissa Brown, said the faculty is committed to progressing worthy world-class research by providing operational support over five years to deliver health outcomes.

“Our Health Outcomes Programs, or HOPs, represent a strategic approach to faculty research, in collaboration with our hospital and health partners,” Professor Brown said.

“These are very specific and targeted programs of research that address an identified health problem and will produce a specific and visible benefit.”

The first project selected will address high rates of infection in critically ill patients by optimising antimicrobial therapy.

The research team will use whole genome sequencing to rapidly determine which bacteria are causing infection so the most suitable drug and dose combination can be given. Once the process is established, the research team will test it in the clinic and determine its benefits to individual patients and the health system.

The project led by Professor Jason Roberts and Professor David Paterson includes researchers from UQ’s Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR) and School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences (SCMB).

The second program to be supported focuses on harnessing technology to address the problem of high melanoma incidence and mortality.

The research team will recruit high risk participants to test targeted screening using 3D total body photography and mobile teledermoscopy in the context of the Australian health care system.

Results will be used to drive evidence-based changes to clinical practice.

The project will be led by Professor Peter Soyer of UQ’s Diamantina Institute and Professor David Whiteman, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, and includes collaborators from QUT, QIMR Berghofer and UQ’s Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Business.

Professor Brown said both teams should be congratulated for working collaboratively to create change and translate research into tangible health outcomes.

“These projects were selected following a competitive application process engaging interstate reviewers in late 2016, and we look forward to seeing them make a difference to health care in the years ahead.”

About the UQ Medical School Program

The UQ School of Medicine conducts a four-year, graduate-entry medical program, the Doctor of Medicine (MD). The School of Medicine is a leading provider of medical education and research in Australia, and with the country’s largest medical degree program, they are the major single contributor to Queensland’s junior medical workforce.

Program: Doctor of Medicine (MD)
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: January
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: Applications are assessed on a rolling admissions (first come, first served) basis. It is recommended that applicants apply as early as possible to increase their chances of timely assessment. This program can fill quickly!

Apply to the UQ School of Medicine!

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Find out more about studying medicine at UQ. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Admissions Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com, or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

JCU researchers say rural children’s oral health in question

James Cook University researchers say children in rural Queensland are three times more likely to be admitted to hospital for dental problems than in other parts of the state.

The team from JCU’s Anton Breinl Research Centre for Health Systems Strengthening, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, looked at three rural communities within 400 kilometres of Townsville. The names of the towns have not been publicly released.

JCU researchers say rural children's oral health in question

Dr Karen Carlisle (Photo: JCU)

Dr Karen Carlisle said although these communities were better served than those in more remote locations, access to services was still an issue for many community members.

“Children under 14 were three times more likely to be hospitalised for dental conditions when compared to residents of the rest of Queensland,” she said.

Dr Carlisle said JCU researchers had been working in the communities for a number of years and suspected overall oral health was poor, but now they had the hard data to back this up.

She said they had some unexpected results, too.

“Indigenous persons living in Queensland as a whole are already more than three times as likely to be hospitalised for a dental condition than non-Indigenous people,” said Dr Carlisle. “But this pattern worsened only slightly in the particular rural communities we looked at.”

The researchers said that parents or caregivers play a crucial role in influencing children’s oral health and rural children under 14 years may not be accessing public oral health services in proportion to their need. They said strengthening health promotion though schools, community events and primary health care is vital.

Co-author Professor Sarah Larkins said there were a number of recognised reasons for the poor oral health of rural communities and that the social determinants of health play a major role.

“There are problems with the retention of the oral health workforce in rural areas and reduced availability of oral health services. There may be less access to fluoridated water and the social determinants of ill health, such as poverty and low levels of education, are all more prevalent in rural and remote areas.”

She said the stoicism of rural people and difficulties in accessing care tended to encourage them to tolerate oral health problems until they became acute.

Professor Larkins said the findings highlight the vital importance of a collaborative approach to planning and service delivery to improve oral health for rural communities.

JCU partners with communities in research to try to make services work better for people living and working in the bush. This extends to frontline engagement too.

“The university sends its health professional students, including dentistry students, to remote and rural regions on placements, to do outreach in schools and encourages its graduates to return back to rural and remote areas to work after graduation,” said Professor Larkins.

Dr Felicity Croker said the communities JCU has focused on have been very receptive to working with students and academics.

“They have really taken charge of improving the oral health in their community, particularly for the younger members of their community.  Engaging these communities in changing the direction of their own health care means that the changes are more likely to be appropriate and sustainable.”

By Prof Larkins

JCU Bachelor of Dental Surgery

The BDS program at JCU is a five-year undergraduate degree that provides students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to become competent practitioners of dentistry. It is a broad-based program which includes all aspects of dental practice but also has a special focus on issues of special concern to the northern Australian region, particularly those relating to tropical, rural and Indigenous practice.

Program: Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
Location: Cairns, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 5 years
Application deadline: August 30, 2017

Entry requirements

1. High School

These qualifications are considered on an individual basis, subject to satisfying prerequisite requirements.

  • A minimum of 92% average from grade 12 subjects.
  • Completion of prerequisites in English, Calculus, and Chemistry at a grade 12 level or higher.

2. Partially or fully completed undergraduate degree

A high level of academic standard is required for entry.

  • Students need to have met the prerequisite subjects at least at the high school level to meet the prerequisite requirements.
  • A minimum of 80% cumulative average across all university studies is required.

Please note the DAT is not required for entry into the Bachelor of Dental Surgery program.

Apply to JCU Dental School!

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Learn more about JCU Dental School! For more information, contact OzTREKK’s Australian Dental Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com.

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

University of Sydney offering $10 million in new scholarships for international postgraduate students

International students will have even more reason to choose the University of Sydney for their postgraduate research degrees, with the announcement of 40 new fully funded PhD scholarships available from 2017.

“We want to attract the best students from anywhere in the world and these new scholarships—growing to an investment of $10 million per year—will help us do that,” said Associate Professor Ross Coleman, the university’s Director of Graduate Research.

University of Sydney offering $10 million in new scholarships for international postgraduate students

Find out how you can apply for a Sydney scholarship (Photo: University of Sydney)

“The university was founded on a principle of meritocratic admission and we are pleased to build on this foundation with these new PhD scholarships,” said Associate Professor Coleman.

“Graduate students are future researchers and high-level thinkers who will help solve the problems facing the world, as well as making new knowledge available to everyone. These new scholarships will help more of the cleverest people do their PhD studies with us.”

The new scholarships will be available to all international postgraduate research students in any discipline, and students will be considered for the scholarships when they tick the scholarship option on their application to study. Scholarship winners will be selected on the basis of academic performance in qualifying degrees and any prior research experience.

Like all University of Sydney centrally awarded postgraduate research scholarships, these new scholarships will be available all year with no application closing dates. The best students will get a scholarship offer in less than two months from submitting their application to study.

The new scholarships follow the same allocation as the federal government’s Research Training Program scholarships, which are for both domestic and international postgraduate research students. The university’s new international student scholarships include

  • tuition fees for the postgraduate research degree;
  • a stipend to assist students with their living costs while undertaking their postgraduate research degree; and
  • an allowance to assist students with ancillary costs of their degree, including relocation costs to Sydney, thesis printing and academic publication costs, and overseas student health cover costs.

“The value of a PhD is in the capacity of the doctoral graduate to identify and think through difficult problems. By increasing the number of funded PhD scholarships for students to work with our world-leading researchers, the University of Sydney is investing significantly in a better future,” said Associate Professor Coleman.

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Would you like more information about research degrees available at the University of Sydney? Contact OzTREKK Australian Research Programs Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com.

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

University of Melbourne joins Epilepsy Centre Without Walls in $28m global research push

People with epilepsy acquired following brain trauma are the focus of a new $28 million global push for a long-awaited research breakthrough to develop treatments that for the first time could prevent or mitigate this disabling and potentially life-threatening condition. The University of Melbourne, in partnership with the Royal Melbourne Hospital, is the only Australian institution to take part in the project, funded by one of the largest grants to date awarded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research into the elusive condition.

Melbourne joins Epilepsy Centre Without Walls in $28m global research push

People with epilepsy acquired following brain trauma are the focus of a new $28 million global push (Photo: University of Melbourne)

Some 250,000 Australians suffer from epilepsy, the causes of which range from tumours to infections, genetics, hemorrhages or stroke, in addition to brain trauma.

Principal Investigator neurologist Terry O’Brien said epilepsy caused by traumatic brain injury, the major cause of epilepsy in people aged 15–24, is harder to predict and control than many other forms of epilepsy.

“Up to 20 per cent of people who’ve had a traumatic brain injury will develop epilepsy, yet researchers know very little about why, and have no way to prevent or mitigate it,” Professor O’Brien said.

“It’s the nasty sting in the tail for people who’ve got through a difficult rehabilitation, only to be hit by their first seizure just when they think they’re on the mend—anywhere from six months to two years after they were first injured.

“More than a third of these patients’ seizures can’t be controlled by drugs.”

Professor O’Brien—who is the James Stewart Chair of Medicine and Head of the Department of Medicine (Royal Melbourne Hospital) at The University of Melbourne—said the key to Melbourne’s appeal to be invited to be part of this international research collaboration was its location in the Parkville Precinct.

“Being in the Parkville Precinct will enable clinicians and researchers from disciplines such as neuroscience, electrophysiology, imaging, bioinformatics and molecular biology to work very closely together, at the Melbourne Brain Centre and the Royal Melbourne Trauma Centre and ICU.”

The project, one of three NIH Epilepsy Centres without Walls, will be led by researchers at five institutions—the University of Melbourne, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, and the University of Eastern Finland.

About Melbourne Medical School

The Melbourne Medical School is part of the Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences. It is the oldest medical school in Australia and internationally renowned for global leadership in teaching and training, health research, policy and practice. The school encompasses all major fields of medicine and rural health.

Renowned for global leadership in health research, policy and practice, the University of Melbourne educates more health professionals than any other university in Australia.

Program: Doctor of Medicine (MD)
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Semester intake: February
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: TBA. For the 2017 intake, the deadline was June 23, 2016.

The Melbourne MD is a four-year, graduate-entry medical program that builds on the University of Melbourne’s reputation for excellence in teaching and research. It enables students to become outstanding medical practitioners who will excel as world-class leaders in their chosen field.

Apply to the University of Melbourne Medical School!

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Want more information about Melbourne Medical School?  Please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Admissions Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com.

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Griffith University scientist named Australian of the Year

Griffith University Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim has been honoured as this year’s Australian of the Year recipient.

The retired biomedical scientist, whose ground-breaking stem-cell research was instrumental in helping a paralysed man walk again, accepted the prestigious award during a live announcement at Parliament House in Canberra on Australia Day eve.

Griffith University scientist named Australian of the Year

Griffith University Professor Emeritus Alan Mackay-Sim is the 2017 Queensland Australian of the Year (Photo via Griffith University)

Professor Mackay-Sim has spent his career researching how nerve cells in the nose regenerate and pioneered a way to safely apply that same regenerative process to damaged spinal cords.

Recognised as the 2003 Queenslander of the Year and the 2017 Queensland Australian of the Year, Professor Mackay-Sim will now spend the next year fulfilling his duties for the Australian title while still overseeing several research projects at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery.

Those projects include stem cell research into treatments for conditions such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease and Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to talk about the importance of research on spinal cord injury and brain diseases,” Professor Mackay-Sim said in his speech.

“About new treatments using stem cells and cell transplantation, undreamed of 20 years ago. About how we must, as Australians, prioritise our spending so that we can afford not only to look after the diseased and disabled in our communities but also to afford the research for new and radical treatments to reduce future health costs.

“As a nation we must be part of this. And we must invest in young scientists.”

Professor Mackay-Sim highlighted the vital need for continued support and funding for research to ensure this life changing work isn’t compromised.

Vice Chancellor Professor Ian O’Connor congratulated Professor Mackay-Sim on his national award.

Griffith University is extremely proud to have such a remarkable man and scientist among us,” he said.

“Alan’s research has laid the foundation for global efforts to use stem cell surgery to repair spinal cord injury. It is an extraordinary field.

“He is a deserved recipient of Australian of the Year and we join the rest of the country in applauding him.”

Pro Vice Chancellor (Sciences) Professor Andrew Smith said, “We are delighted Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim and his research has been recognised at the highest level. Griffith Sciences Group remains committed to supporting this pioneering stem cell research towards new innovative treatments for spinal injury.”

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Find out more about studying science at Griffith University! Contact OzTREKK’s Admission Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com for more information.

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

UQ research students recognised for documenting “amazing work” of occupational therapists

Two Queensland research students have been recognised for documenting the “amazing work” occupational therapists do to help child asylum seekers in Australian detention facilities.

UQ research students recognised for documenting “amazing work” of occupational therapists

Find out more about studying OT at the University of Queensland

Kelly Mitchelson and Hannah Begg of the UQ School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences earned acclaim at the Occupational Therapy Australia (Northern Territory/Queensland) annual conference.

“The well-being and rights of child asylum seekers are things I am very passionate about,” Ms Mitchelson said.

“We sought the perspectives of occupational therapists on what they saw as the needs and challenges faced by children in detention.

“The research also sought to understand how occupational therapists practice in this unique context.”

Ms Mitchelson noted that previous literature about occupational therapy and asylum seekers in Australia was limited and did not include research about services for children seeking asylum.

UQ research was gathered from interviews with 10 occupational therapists who had worked in Australian detention facilities. Their feedback included experiences of fear, deprivation and perceived insensitivity.

“One of the therapists said their main observation was detainees being stuck in the mindset of ‘Am I allowed to do this or will I be yelled at?’” Ms Mitchelson said.

Ms Mitchelson and Ms Begg received the Kryss McKenna Award from Occupational Therapy Australia for the best student presentation.

Featured in their presentation were drawings made by children before and after they engaged with occupational therapists, highlighting “a dramatic difference in content.”

Supervisor Dr Emma Crawford was full of praise for the UQ duo.

“They demonstrated extraordinary professionalism and sensitivity in their research project,” Dr Crawford said.

“Researching asylum seekers can be a sensitive area when discussing trauma, working within government legislation and policies, and balancing relationships with different stakeholders.

“The students have been outstanding representatives of UQ and have bright futures.”

Fellow UQ researchers Tim Barlott and Dr Merrill Turpin also featured in the study which the conference presentation was based upon.

UQ Occupational Therapy School

Master of Occupational Therapy Studies program equips graduate-entry students with the theoretical knowledge, clinical skills and professional attributes necessary for a career in occupational therapy.  In addition to a focus on clinical occupational therapy practice, emphasis is placed on the use of prior skills and knowledge to enhance the effectiveness of occupational therapy practice; and the development of advanced adult learning skills for ongoing professional development. In second year, management, research, and advanced clinical practice is covered.

Program: Master of Occupational Therapy Studies
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Next semester intake: July 2017
Duration: 2.5 years
Application deadline: February 27, 2017

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Would you like more information about studying occupational therapy at the University of Queensland? Please contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh at krista@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Students make $750 drug cheaply with Open Source Malaria team

Sydney Grammar School students, under the supervision of the University of Sydney and global members of the Open Source Malaria consortium, have reproduced an essential medicine in their high school laboratories. The drug, Daraprim, had been the subject of controversy when the price was hiked from US$13.50 to US$750 a dose last year.

Students make $750 drug cheaply with Open Source Malaria team

(L-R) University of Sydney researchers Associate Professor Matthew Todd and Dr Alice Williamson with Sydney Grammar School students and teachers Erin Sheridan and Dr Malcolm Binns (Photo via University of Sydney)

Daraprim—originally used as an antimalarial after its synthesis by Nobel Prize winner Gertrude Elion—is now more widely used as an anti-parasitic treatment for toxoplasmosis, which can be a dangerous disease for pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems, such as those living with HIV or AIDS.

Daraprim is listed by the World Health Organization as an essential medicine.

In September 2015, Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired the market rights to Daraprim and raised the price of a dose more than 5000 percent overnight. CEO at the time, Martin Shkreli, stuck by the price, despite criticism.

To highlight the inequity of the monopoly, high school students in Sydney have been working with the Open Source Malaria consortium to make Daraprim in the laboratory using inexpensive starting materials, as part of the Breaking good – Open Source Malaria Schools and Undergraduate Program.

Scientists anywhere in the world were able to view all the data generated and mentor the students to accelerate the science under the coordination from the University of Sydney’s Dr Alice Williamson and Associate Professor Matthew Todd.

Dr Williamson from the Sydney School of Chemistry said the scientific community could provide advice and guidance to the students online in real time.

“The enthusiasm of the students and their teachers Malcolm Binns and Erin Sheridan was translated into a complete route in the public domain by the use of the Open Source Malaria platform,” Dr Williamson said.

“Anyone could take part and all data and ideas are shared in real time.”

Associate Professor Matthew Todd said the innovative open-source approach lowered the barrier to participation by researchers outside traditional institutions, such as universities and pharmaceutical companies, allowing students to work on real research problems of importance to human health.

“Daraprim may be quickly and simply made, bringing into question the need for such a high price for this important medicine,” Associate Professor Todd said.

Open Source Malaria is supported by the Medicines for Malaria Venture and the Australian Government.

Research at the Sydney Faculty of Pharmacy

Postgraduate study allows interested students to gain experience and skills in research. The Sydney Faculty of Pharmacy has a rich research track record and students have the opportunity to work with world leaders in several research fields. Pharmacy qualifications offer unique career options and flexibility, combining a professional degree with research experience. Graduates may seek employment in full-time research work or choose to pursue a research-based higher degree.

Sydney Pharmacy School graduates with research experience are sought after candidates for senior roles in the pharmaceutical industry.

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Would you like more information about studying pharmacy at the Sydney Faculty of Pharmacy? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Pharmacy Schools Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh at krista@oztrekk.com.