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Student news

Sara Pasic, Honours student with Nina Tirnitz-Parker and Arunasalam Dharmarajan, was awarded a $300 Cell and Developmental Biology Poster Award at the Combined Biological Sciences Meeting 2017.


Sara Pasic, winner of best poster.

Francis Gratte (Tirnitz-Parker group) had an abstract selected for oral presentation at the Australian Gastroenterology Week 2017 at the Gold Coast.

Jully Gogoi-Tiwari (Tirnitz-Parker group) was a finalist in the Young Investigator session at the Australian Gastroenterology Week 2017, in recognition of the most meritorious research contribution to the scientific program by a Young Investigator in Basic and Clinical Research.

Dr Jully Gogoi-Tiwari (third from the right) at the Young Investigator Award Ceremony during the Australian Gastroenterology Week 2017 Gala Dinner.

Two PhD completions under JakCCANDO

In July, I returned to University of Indonesia for the Graduation Seminars of two students completing their PhDs in the UI Biomedical Programme. Whilst I have been supervising PhDs at UI since 2007, these were the first graduations under the JakCCANDO study.

This seems a good time for a quick review of what we have achieved since the project was designed in 2012. JakCCANDO is a prospective study of 80 HIV patients beginning ART at the Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital and followed for their first year on treatment.

The picture below was taken after I presented a seminar about our studies of CMV, and captures all the people who make JakCCANDO possible. Dr Endah Wulandari (Oral Medicine Specialist, in pink) was the first to complete her PhD. Endah showed that oral candidiasis remains a problem in the HIV patient population and linked this with low salivary IgA responses.

The JakCCANO Team celebrate two PhD completions

The other graduation was Dr Riwanti Estiasari (Neurologist; in yellow). Riwanti monitored the patients improved neurocognitive status and showed that memory skills remain impaired. She followed humoral responses to CMV and established some links with neurocognitive recovery.

Cardiologists, Dr Birry (back row, centre) and Dr Ika (front left) followed the cardiovascular health of the cohort – showing a decline on ART when general health is improving. Dr Lukman (Ophthalmologist, back left) used retinal photographs to monitor small blood vessels.

This data will now be correlated with data from the carotid artery, neurocognitive health, immune recovery and the burden of CMV. The laboratory work will shortly resume with Ibnu Ariyanto (back, second left) starting a PhD. Ibnu will continue his masters studies examining molecular changes to T-cell and NK cell populations associated with the clinical data and measures of burden of CMV in all JakCCANDO patients. He works in parallel with Dr Silvia Lee and Shelley Waters, and will be returning to Curtin soon for more training.

Also in the picture – Professor Samsuridjal (front centre) first set up HIV care in Jakarta and has created an environment where JakCCANDO is possible, and next to him we have Professor Fransiscus Suyatna (Head of the Biomedical PhD Programme) and Dr Budiman Bela (Head of the Virology Laboratory). It was a rare meeting of all the key people to mark the completion of our first two PhDs.

Contributed by Patricia Price

PhD thesis submission: (June 2017)

Malini Visweswaran

Title: Implications of the WNT Signalling Pathway for Adipose-derived Mesencymal Stem Cells in a Breast Tumour Environment.

Supervisors: Professor Arun Dharmarajan and Professor Philip Newsholme.