Latest News

May 2018


A Star is Born – UNDA’s new web site

Notre Dame has just launched its new web site which provides a more modern and interesting description of the courses and activities available at the University.

One of the ‘Stars’ highlighted on the site is the IHR’s very own Chair of Biostatistics, Professor Max Bulsara.

Max is known for his expertise in undertaking complex analysis but also the ease with which he can convey these skills to new and eager researchers.  It is great to see the important role that Max, and his biostatistics team in the IHR, has made to the research success at Notre Dame recognized in this way.

Upcoming statistic courses

In the coming few weeks, the IHR will be running three statistics training courses.

Friday 8th June: Introduction to QSR NVivo (Version 11) will be offered by A/Professor Caroline Bulsara. This hands-on session is intended to provide the necessary experience to analyse qualitative data.

Monday 25th June: Introduction to STATA v15 will be run by Dr Paola Chivers and will provide an understanding of using the drop-down menus of STATA to undertake data management and simple statistics.

Monday 25th June: Logistic Regression. Provided by Professor Max Bulsara, this workshop will provide give you the practical knowledge required to undertake logic regression modelling.

For further details, please email

Launch of National Guidelines

IHR Adjunct researcher, Dr Asha Bowen has led a team whose work has resulted in the publication of the first National Healthy Skin Guidelines. The report is housed on the Telethon Kids Institute website with a suite of learning tools including photographs, a visual clinical handbook and an interactive questionnaire.

The Guidelines were launched last week by Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt and has been endorsed by close to 20 health organizations.

Details on how skin infections affect Western Australian children and adolescents can been found in one of the group’s recent publications.


Science on the Swan - 2018

Spanning three days, the 2018 Science on the Swan Conference was held at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle.

One of the keynote speakers at this year’s conference was Prof Jill Zwicker who talked about her work in DCD in children. Jill’s work is closely aligned with research by a number of other IHR staff and HDR students, some of whom also presented their studies.

One of the highlights of the event was the attendance of the Federal Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health who announced $6.1 million in funding to the WAHTN over the coming 3 years.

April 2018


ANZGOG Scientific Meeting

The Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG) held its Annual Scientific Meeting in Brisbane last week.

The purpose of ANZGOG is to improve outcomes and quality of life for women with gynaecological cancer through conducting and promoting cooperative clinical trials and undertaking multidisciplinary research into the causes, prevention and treatments of gynaecological cancer.

This year’s Scientific Meeting was led by the IHR’s Adjunct Professor Paul Cohen with Dr Aime Powell and Professor Jim Codde attending.


March 2018


Spinnaker planning session

Spinnaker Health Research Foundation is a key funding source for health research in the south metropolitan area that all research active staff and higher degree students should know about.

The Foundation provides travel bursaries, PhD scholarships and small to medium sized research grants.

At a recent workshop the Foundation received input from Paul Forden, CEO SMHS, Geraldine Carlton, ED Organisational Development & Transformation, Professor Fiona Wood, Burns specialist, Tim McInnis, Head of Development, Telethon Kids Institute & Professor Shirley Bowen, CEO SjoG Subiaco.


Science meets Parliament

On the 13th March, the Minister for Water, Fisheries, Forestry, Innovation & ITC and Science, the Honorable Dave Kelly and Professor Dawn Freshwater (UWA Vice Chancellor) hosted the inaugural ‘Science meets Parliament’ event to enable members of parliament to learn about initiatives and opportunities directly from researchers from all the Western Australian universities.

The event was well attended by representatives of Notre Dame and provided a great opportunity to network within Parliament House.

February 2018


Ovarian cancer project

The Australian Government has just announced it will provide almost $3 million to support a ground-breaking project that helps women identify whether they are at risk of developing ovarian cancer.

The project will be run by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne where tissue samples of 11,000 women diagnosed between 2001 and 2016 will be tested to see if they are carriers of the BRCA gene mutations. As reported on the ABC News, approximately 1,500 Australian women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year and estimated 1,000 more died.

IHR Adjunct Professor, Dr Paul Cohen, is a co-investigator in the study which will see Western Australian patient samples from SJOG Subiaco and KEMH included in the study.


Increasing risk of osteoporosis in WA children

Research by the WA Bone Research Collaboration (WABRC) has confirmed that the number of children aged between 0-16 years presenting at PMH with fractures has risen significantly over the last decade.

Adjunct Professor Aris Siafarikas suggests this may be a sign of increased risk of osteoporosis in our community and is seeking to establish an integrated care clinic at PMH for children with Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Further details on this condition can be found on patient support group’s web site.

For people with an interest in this research and have a suitable background, the WABRC has just advertised for a PhD student to join the team through Notre Dame (see below).


Lunchtime statistics series

The Institute for Health Research has just commenced running its series of lunchtime seminars on a variety of research and statistics topics.

Over 13 people attended the first session which suggests the following sessions may also be well attended.

Details of the sessions can be found here but please remember to reserve your spot as there is limited number of places in the room.

Similar events run at PMH are also listed on the IHR Web site. These can be accessed remotely by using Scopia video conferencing.

January 2018


Is social media affecting your mental health?

School of Health Sciences tutor and PhD candidate Carmen Papaluca is exploring this intriguing subject in her PhD thesis titled “The Power of Pictures: Exploring the association between the level and type of Instagram use and wellbeing among female emerging adults.”

Although some of her initial findings were reported in June 2017, her work has just received coverage in SciTech’s online magazine, Particle.

Go online and see what she has found!


PhD Scholarship available (2018-2020)

Notre Dame is offering a PhD scholarship worth $30,000 per annum or up to three years for a suitable applicant to join the successful international collaborative research team looking into bone health in apparently healthy and/or diseased adults and children.

WA Bone Research Collaboration (WABRC) was established in 2016, and includes Dr Paola Chivers (Notre Dame), Dr Nicolas Hart (Edith Cowan University), Clinical Lead Adjunct Professor Aris Siafarikas (Princess Margaret Hospital) and Dr Timo Rantalainen (University of Jyvaskyla).

Full details of the scholarship can be found here.

December 2017


Merry Christmas from the IHR

This year has been a good one for the IHR with many new faces joining the team and as outlined in the Institute’s 2017 Annual Report.

Despite the collegial nature of the team, the recent end-of-year breakfast was the first chance for some of our part-time staff to talk to the ‘names’ of those they had heard of but yet to meet.

On behalf of the whole team, we wish all our students, colleagues and collaborators a very Merry Christmas and Happy new Year. We look forward to seeing you all in 2018!


Another one bites the dust!

Masters candidate, Ms Casey Murphy, has just submitted her MPhil thesis for examination. Casey’s thesis is titled “The Importance of active play and organised physical activity for young children: The parents’ perspective.”

Casey was been working towards her research degree on a part-time basis through the School of Health Science. Pictured here in the ceremonial “dress” with her two supervisors, Professor Beth Hands and Dr Duncan Picknoll just prior to presenting her thesis to the Research Office for examination by independent reviewers.


Introducing Dr Duncan Picknoll

Graduating with his Doctorate this week was Dr Duncan Picknoll. Duncan’s thesis was titled “The nature and scope of outdoor education in Western Australia”.

Although enrolled to do his doctorate through the School of Education, Duncan is the Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation in the School of Health Sciences so well known by many students, some whom were there to cheer for him as he received his degree.

Duncan was supervised by Professor Beth Hands who is pictured with him in the adjoining photo.