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Dear Biomedical and Health Innovation ECP affiliates

We are already into the second quarter of 2019
and so much exciting and positive progress
has taken place within BHI ECP. So far,
we have run two events at the annual Engaging
For Impact 2019 (February); as well as a separate industry engaged cross-disciplinary workshop and symposium on one of the BHI-ECP priorities on ‘Global and Regional Citizenship in Health’ with plans for our second symposium on the priority theme of 'Healthy Ageing' to take place on 
Monday 6 May.  Other symposia on priority themes, including the ‘4.0 Revolution and Personalized Medicine’ and ‘Diseases of Pollution and Urbanization’ will be held in August and November respectively.
Watch this space!

RMIT's ‘Engaging For Impact 2019’ hosted the Biomed fast pitches sessions. We were blown away by the excellent outcomes from the CDF funding awarded in 2018. Congratulations!  I am so pleased to let you know that the BHI ECP has now received over 30 Expressions of Interest for its 2019 Capability Development Fund (CDF) call recently. Successful EOIs are now at Stage 2 of the application process where the ECP Directors and ADVC, Research Capability will assess the final outcome. I am hoping to officially announce the successful recipients soon. Thank you to all who submitted. There could be a chance for another call during the year. If there is, I would like to encourage you to reapply at this round.
I would also like to introduce you to our three dynamic recent Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellows affiliated with the BHI-ECP who recently joined us (2018/2019). Dr Bobbi Fleiss, Dr Kylie Quinn and Dr Cesar Huertas. Dr Andrew Guy was appointed separately across disciplines and is already collaborating with BHI-ECP teams. Many congratulations to them for receiving fellowship awards given these were extremely competitive rounds. You will find more information about them below.
Shortly, we will be able to announce the opening of the EOF funding round. It will provide substantial funding for impactful, cross-disciplinary, translational and/or transformative research (previous rounds have ranged $200,000 to $750,000 per award). Details for this funding are almost final, but heads-up, as once EOIs are announced. The clock will be ticking! If you have a project in mind, it is best to contact the relevant ECP Directors if you have queries about this funding early on.

If you haven't had a chance to do so, I'd like to ask you to encourage your PhD students to affiliate with the ECPs, particularly if their area of research and study is relevant to the BHI-ECP. Many opportunities will become available to affiliated students, for example, some recently attended the industry engaged, Frontiers in Science conference (where they received a Prize!). To be eligible for such benefits, they will need to become affiliated with the BHI ECP. Please take a minute to talk to your students about this as well as send them this link

If you have ideas or stories that you would like to include in the next issue of our newsletter, please email Michelle.
Best wishes

Magdalena Plebanski   




Local Engagements


'Healthy Ageing' Symposium (Invitation and Call for Presenters)

Monday 6 May, 2019
9.00 am - 1.00 pm
Building 16, Level 7, Conference rooms 1 & 2
Green Brain, RMIT University, City campus

The Biomedical and Health Innovation ECP invites you to the 'Healthy Ageing' Symposium, which will host expert speakers from industry as well as RMIT researchers from various disciplines to represent a truly multidisciplinary approach to this themed

Confirmed industry speakers will be from Bolton Clarke, Telstra Health and NARI. We will also be joined by our BHI ECP Sector Expert Research Advisory Group (SERAG), many of whom attended the EFI2019 this year.

Members attending representing a diversity of industries include:
  • Penelope Lane, CEO, Optix Advisory
  • Andrew Crettenden, Executive Director Strategy & Planning, St Vincent's Hospital
  • Andrew Batty, Managing Director, Lincoln Consulting Group
  • Katie Flanagan, Head of Infectious Diseases, Launceston General Hospital & Clincial Professor at the University of Tasmania
  • Bronwyn Le Grice, Founder & Managing Director, ANDhealth
Confirmed RMIT speakers include:
  • Prof Madhu Bhaskaran, Assoc. Dean, HDR, School of Engineering
  • Dr Kylie Quinn, Vice Chancellor's Research Fellow, School of Health & Biomedical Sciences
  • Dr Dein Vindigni, Senior Lecturer, School of Health & Biomedical Sciences
  • Assoc. Prof Flora Salim, Deputy Director, Centre for Information Discovery and Data Analytics (CIDDA), School of Science. We will also have a speaker from the School of Design.
If you are interested in attending this event, please REGISTER your details by clicking here.


Communicating and Connecting with
External Partners for Collaborations

Tuesday 7 May 2019
10.00 am - 11.00 am
Building 16, Level 7, Seminar rooms 3 & 4.

Throughout 2019, R&I's Research Engagement and Business Development team will host a number of outreach activities for the RMIT academic
community. The second session of the year is, 'Communicating and Connecting with External Partners for Collaborations'.

This session will support researchers to understand those key decision makers often found in organisations that we wish to partner with, and how to better understand what influences their decisions.

Register your attendance here.

For more information contact Maria Christensen.
Visit Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.



Our People

Vice Chancellor's Research Fellows

Dr Bobbi Fleiss and Dr Kylie Quinn have recently been appointed as RMIT's Vice Chancellor's Research Fellows. They are currently sitting in the School of Health & Biomedical Sciences and are directly aligned to the Biomedical and Health Innovation ECP. Dr Cesar Huertas has been appointed Vice Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Engineering and Dr. Andrew Guy as a cross-disciplinary Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in the School of Science.

Dr  Bobbi Fleiss is a developmental neurobiologist with considerable expertise in modelling perinatal brain disorders (inflammatory, hypoxic/ischemic,traumatic), with a particular
focus on identifying novel mechanisms of injury mediated
by microglialactivation and in testing neurotherapeutics. 

Dr Fleiss and Prof David Walker will soon bring a novel precocial rodent species, The Spiny Mouse, to RMIT. They are interested in sharing their knowledge of these  fascinating acrobatic animals.
If you are interested in finding out more about them,
contact Bobbi Fleiss.

For more information about Dr Fleiss' research, click here.

Dr Kylie Quinn has extensive research experience in vaccines,
immunotherapeutics, and ageing. After a PhD in New Zealand
on vaccine strategies for Tuberculosis, Dr Quinn took post-doctoral positions in Dr Robert Seder’s lab (2008-13; Vaccine Research Center, NIH), where she defined the mechanism of action for a number of novel vaccines.

Dr Quinn has provided key pre-clinical data for Ebola vaccine selection by the World Health Organisation in 2014. Prior to RMIT she worked in Prof Nicole La Gruta’s lab at the University of Melbourne and Monash University, where she developed a project on how ageing limits the function of immune cells known as CD8 or “killer” T cells.

For more information about Dr Kylie Quinn's research, click here.

Dr Cesar S. Huertas obtained his PhD at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain in March 2016. Prior to RMIT, he worked with the Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications (NanoB2A) group, led by Prof. Laura M. Lechuga, and located at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), where he introduced and established a novel research line for
the analysis of genomic and epigenomic markers using nanophotonic biosensors.

Dr Huertas is currently working in the Integrated Photonics and
Applications Centre (InPAC), led by Distinguished Prof. Arnan Mitchell in the School of Engineering to develop diagnostics and prognostics applications for microfluidics-integrated optical biosensors.



Dr Andrew Guy will sit across two disciplines; Biosciences
& Food Technology and Computer Science. He completed
his PhD at the Burnet Institute via Monash University in 2018. 
The focus of his PhD work was developing computational
methods to understand the interaction of the adaptive
immune system with the malaria parasite.

During this time he developed several approaches to use
protein structural information to improve genetic tests of
immune selection pressure. Dr Guy also has a Bachelor of
Science (Honours) from Monash University, with a major
in both Immunology and Physics.
For more information about Dr Andrew Guy's research, click here.


DMTC Medical Countermeasures Program -
Call for EOIs for Round 4

The National Medical Countermeasures (MCM) 
activity led by the DMTC, is focused on vaccines,
therapeutics and diagnostics for the protection
of military and civilian personnel against
Chemical Biological and Radiological (CBR)
threats, emerging infectious diseases and
pandemics. In addition, proposals are
welcomed for therapeutics against chemical
threats, regional tropical diseases such as
Malaria and Dengue; and Alphaviruses. 
Proposed projects are expected to have at
least one industry partner and one
research/academic partner.  

To view the flyer, click here. 
For more information, contact Dr Felicia Pradera at DMTC on (03) 9214 4447 or
Quadcharts closing date:  4.00 pm AEST on 6 May 2019.


DST Call for Proposals:  HPRnet - Wearable Assitive Technologies


The Department of Defence, Science &
Technology (DST) is undertaking a programme
of work that aims to better understand the
efficacy of wearable assistive technologies for
enhancing the physical and physiological
performance of the dismounted combatant.

For more information, click here.
Closing date:  4.30 pm (ACST) 8 May 2019


Applications Open at Medtech Accelerator

Applications for the MedTech Actuator Accelerator Winter 2019 intake is OPEN to aspiring entrepreneurs around Australia. 

The MedTech Actuator Accelerator takes two cohorts of 10+ early-stage medtech startups (Summer & Winter intake) through a rigorous 15-month industry-led, mentor-driven technology and entrepreneurial skill development program. 

Promising early-stage MedTech startups are accelerated from seed to series A investment
Key Details
MedTech: devices, diagnostics, instrumentation,
bionics, health services, digital health, AI, VR
Eligibility: all entrepreneurs across Australia
Project Stage of Development: prototype ~TRL 4
Program Duration: 15 month industry-led,
mentor driven program: 2 month intensive
kick-start sprint + 4 month tailored
development program + 9 month
market-focused scale-up pathway.
To apply, click here. 

Applications close on Wednesday 29 May 2019.

Further details can be found on the website.



Our Achievements


Global and Regional Citizenship  

on Health Symposium

Straight after RMIT’s Engaging For Impact 2019 event, the Biomedical and Health Innovation ECP held a Symposium on 'Global and Regional Citizenship on Health', which was opened by Prof Peter Coloe,
PVC, College of Engineering followed by a talk
by international guest speaker, Professor Sarah Rowland-Jones. Sarah is President of the Royal
Society of Tropical Medicare and Hygiene and
Professor of Immunology at The University of Oxford, UK. She talked about her research on the immune responses to HIV infection to identify the elements needed for a successful vaccine.

Other speakers included Prof Ivan Cole, Director of the Advanced Manufacturing & Fabrication ECP who spoke about 3D printing and Karen Matthews from RMIT Europe.

Over 30 people attended this engaging event, including Prof Billie Giles-Corti, Director of Urban Futures ECP and Prof Julian Thomas, Director of Social Change ECP. This symposium enabled guests to interact with expert speakers via Q&A. For more information about other speakers and the program, click here.


Engaging For Impact 2019

The EFI2019 was a huge success with a large number of industry international and interstate presenters and guests attending our four--themed event covering the great work currently taking place and the potential that RMIT researchers have. The 'Empowering Health' agenda covered areas such as ageing, non-binary gender, personalised treatment
of cancers, biomolecules used for biomedical materials and patients developing their own management of care plans.

This event attracted 1,664 registrations with an
83% increase in the number of HDRs registering.
This year's event saw an overall increase in 20%;
a very positive figure!

The Knowledge Exchange session hosted by the BHI ECP included invited
high-profile researchers who also work as clinicians such as Prof Sarah Rowland-Jones, Prof Katie Flanagan and Prof Maria Kavallaris who discussed their recent findings with the audience who in turn challenged the presenters with many though-provoking questions. 

Planning for the EFI2020 has already commenced
so if you have a great idea for a session at the
event, tell us soon as possible to lock it in!     

Pictured above: (L to R) Prof Maria Kavallaris, Prof Katie Flanagan &
Prof Sarah Rowland-Jones


Towards a Sustainable Development Goals Transformation Platform for RMIT

Following the recent launch of the ECP Concept
Paper, the RMIT Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Innovation Platform has
released the following documents:
If you would like a copy of the 'Towards a SDG Transformation Platform at RMIT' report, send an email to Michelle Nicolo.


Internal Capability Building


2019 BHI ECP Capability
Development Fund (CDF)

Expressions of Interest for the 2019 BHI ECP
CDF are now closed with over 30 submissions received. Several of these proposals are
requesting co-funding with other ECPs, a
genuine display of multidisciplinary research
teams forming. As there were so many EOIs,
a more competitive approach was required
leading to unfortunately, some submissions
who could not progress to the second stage of
funding. These applicants are encouraged
to re-apply if a second round is announced.


Frontiers in Science conference

The cross-disciplinary and industry engaged 2019 Theo Murphy Australian Frontiers
in Science - Redefining Healthy Ageing Together
was held from 8-9 April 2019 and
the following BHI ECP affiliates were selected
to attend based on their submitted abstracts on the
theme of this event.
The successful recipients of this funding are:
Dr Leah Heiss and Emma Luke (School of Design) for their abstract, 'Ambient personalised wearables for the elderly'; 
Sudip Dhakal (PhD candidate, School of Science), for his abstract, 'Yeast as model organism to study ageing related neurodegenerative disorders'; and
Irini Logothetis (PhD candidate, School of Engineering) for her abstract, 'A new era of wound management'.

Funding for this event was provided by the Biomedical and Health Innovation ECP.

Congratulations to Dr Leah Heiss and Emma Luke who were awarded the prize for Best Poster and VC's Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr Thomas Angelovich who attended independently, received the award for Best Presenter. Congratulations!

Pictured (from L to R): Sudip Dhakal, Emma Luke, Leah Heiss, Irini Logothetis and Thomas Angelovich,


Researcher Portal: 
Game-Changing for Researcher Support


The reviews are in and people are loving the new Researcher Portal. Following the first release earlier this year, some exciting new features have just been added including filters across Milestones, Publications and Project lists and enhanced visibility of contracts, and more.

The Researcher Portal is designed to provide one place for research information and support through the lifecycle of a project.

If you’re a researcher, please give it a try. You can provide comments on what you think about this new tool via the Portal’s feedback tool. 

Funding Opportunities with RMIT Europe

We are closely working with Susan Feitoza, Business Development Associate at RMIT Europe to provide her with our affiliates’ research capabilities, their industry partners and collaborations in Europe. We now have quick access to this information, making it easier to create a fully prepared application on behalf of our researchers at RMIT University, Australia. If you have yet to send us details about your current research or capabilities, send your email by clicking here.
We are still collating capabilities of infectious diseases, cancer, digital health and vaccines for future funding rounds. If you have yet to provide us with your capabilities in this area, add your details by clicking here - Mapping capabilities of infectious diseases and vaccines and/or here - Cancer and Inflammatory Diseases - BHI ECP form.
If you are interested in knowing more about what RMIT Europe can do for you, watch this video from Susan Feitoza and Gareth McNaughton. To view, click this link -

We'll keep you updated with the funding opportunities available via RMIT Europe for 2019!!




There are several conferences listed in this issue that you may be interested in attending this year, including the Australian Biology of Ageing Conference, which will take place during August. Professor Magdalena Plebanski will be attending several conferences to present talks in Europe from mid-April to mid-June.

She will be presenting at 'Value Based Care linked to Precision Medicine'  at RMIT Barcelona, followed by the Immuno-Oncology 2019 2nd World Congress. She will also meet with researchers and potential collaborators at the Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Vall d'Hebron Hospital, the Institute for Research in Biomedicine and the Hospital "Sant Pau Research Institute. Her visits also include the Bristol Centre for Functional Nanomaterials, UK and strategic meetings in Oslo to discuss the Cancer Cluster.

If you are looking for collaborative opportunities in this space, please let Magdalena know before Monday 6 May as she may be able to schedule additional activities on your behalf as BHI ECP affiliates. 

An update on how these visits and networking can further support you at RMIT will be provided upon Magdalena's return.


2019 Winter School in                  

& Computational Biology 

1-5 July 2019
Queensland Bioscience Precinct
The University of Queensland, Brisbane

  • Postdoctoral researchers,
  • Advanced graduate students,
  • Honours students,
  • Postgraduate students.
  • Next generation sequencing & bioinformatics
  • Long read bioinformatics and applications
  • Data science and machine learning for bioinformatics
  • Getting started with bioinformatics software
To register to attend this event, click here.
For more information, contact Lanna Wong, Winter School Coordinator.


MARC 4th Annual Symposium -
Redefining Quality in Aged Care - Multidisciplinary Perspectives

19 July 2019
9.00 am - 4.30 pm
Building 80, Level 7, Lecture Theatre 1
445 Swanston Street, Melbourne

The Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration
(MARC) invites you to their 2019 Annual Symposium. this year the symposium will consider various aspects and definitions of quality in aged care. Evidence and
research from a number of differing perspectives
will be presented by experts in various fields.

Further program and registration details to follow shortly.

For more information about MARC
or for contact details, click here.


Australian Biology of Ageing Conference 2019

26 - 28 August, 2018
University of Sydney,
Camperdown, NSW

The Australian Biology of Ageing Conference 2019 will focus on the seven "Pillars of Ageing" and will address how genetic, dietary and pharmacological interventions impact the ageing process. The aim is to highlight new technologies, cutting-edge advances and novel interventions to delay age-related disease and extend health span and lifespan.​

This conference will emphasise the wide range of research conducted in the ageing field, spanning basic biological mechanisms to preclinical and translational research. Featuring a combination of world leaders, emerging leaders and early-career scientists, this meeting will forge a deeper understanding of the underlying causes of ageing, which will ultimately drive future research directions that will extend health span and lifespan in humans.

Early bird registration AND Abstract submissions close on 30 June 2019

To register to attend and for more information, click here.


CSIRO's The Role of the Gut in Health and Wellness:
Commercial Opportunities

3-4 September 2019
CQ Functions
113 Queen Street, Melbourne


This event is for SMEs and larger companies
working in the food, nutraceutical and health
industries who are developing and/or marketing solutions to improve human gut health.

Delegates will learn about the science, product
innovation and global/local market trends in food,
supplements and nutraceuticals for gut health
including the impact of food on the gut microbiota.

To register and view the program, click here.
For more information, contact Kim Anastasiou.

3rd International Caparica Christmas Conference on
Translational Chemistry (IC3TC-2019)

2-5 December, 2019
Caparica, Portugal


IC3TC-2019 aims to be an International forum to share the
most recent knowledge in Translational Chemistry, to help
defend the name of Chemistry worldwide and to
acknowledge the value of Chemistry as a central science
for a better living.

Professor Magdalena Plebanski is the invited International
Plenary speaker, representing RMIT University. She will talk
about how nanoparticles can be precise tools in manipulating
the immune system.

If you want your research also mentioned at this meeting, let Magdalena know well in advance. This is an opportunity to showcase some of our exciting research more broadly on an international scale. 

To register to attend and/or for more information about this conference, click here.


In the Media

Articles about RMIT and its researchers feature in many forms of the media. Here are some recent ones.


Diagnostic advance:  gas-sensing capsule set to hit
market by 2022
Mornings with Leon Compton:  World Autism
Awareness Day

The science of fighting brain injuries in babies
Q&A:  RMIT's Dr. Kate Fox adding nanodiamonds to 3D printed implants
RMIT, innovAGEING collaborate on aged care 'knowledge alliance'
Australian study supports the use of zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens
Ischaemic stroke in mice induces lung inflammation but not acute lung injury
Parkinson's Disease and the environment
Local aged care joins RMIT project
Geoff Hutchison:  Sleep apnea
Antioxidants help contain killer bug
Six images reveal how we 'see' data and capture invisible science
Automated detection of eye surface cancer
Pharmacists back S4 codeine
We must get up early to tackle ovarian cancer

Newsletter Contributions

If you have items of interest for the next Biomedical and Health Innovation ECP Newsletter, please send your information to Michelle.



Interested in registering as an ECP Affiliate? Do you know someone who is? Just click here to register. You can send the link to someone you know who would like to join the ECPs.
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