Jamie ranked as a 2018 Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics

Two Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) researchers have been recognised for their exceptional research performance, determined by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top one per cent by citations for a field and year.

Professor Jamie Rossjohn and Professor Charles Mackay have each been ranked as a 2018 Highly Cited Researcher in the prestigious list released on Tuesday 27 November by Clarivate Analytics.

As Head of the Monash BDI’s Infection and Immunity Program, Professor Rossjohn’s research is centered on an understanding immunity. Professor Rossjohn has used structural biology to explain pre-T- cell receptor (TCR) self-association in T-cell development, and how the TCR specifically recognises polymorphic Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) molecules in the context of viral immunity and aberrant T- cell reactivity. He has unearthed structural mechanisms of HLA polymorphism impacting on drug and food hypersensitivities, as well as Natural Killer cell receptor recognition. He has pioneered our molecular understanding of lipid-based immunity by T cells, revealing that it can differ fundamentally from peptide-mediated adaptive immunity.

Professor Mackay has forged a new understanding of the gut microbiome and the important role it plays in immune responses including allergies and in a number of diseases including type 1 diabetes. His research into how immune responses can be manipulated using ‘medicinal foods’, as well as novel gut microbial species, is attracting both clinical and public interest, with the latest research findings moving to clinical trials.

He was highly cited from 2005 to 2010 under what was then the Institute for Scientific Information citation, and was again identified as a Highly Cited Researcher last year.

“I’m both humbled and honoured to be part of this distinguished list, and hope that I continue to be highly cited in the future,” Professor Mackay said.

Professor John Carroll, Director of the Monash BDI, congratulated both researchers on their achievement.

“It is great to see Monash BDI scientists once again recognised as international luminaries. This sort of acknowledgement demonstrates the calibre of research conducted here at the Monash BDI. Congratulations to both Jamie and Charles,” Professor Carroll said.

Now in its fifth year, this annual list identifies the most influential researchers as determined by their peers around the globe. A new ‘cross-field’ category was added this year to recognise researchers with substantial influence in several fields, but who do not have enough highly cited papers in any one field to be chosen.

Original article

Outstanding contribution to diversity and inclusion

The Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity and Inclusion Awards recognise students and staff who have made an outstanding contribution to supporting diversity and fostering inclusion at Monash. Recipients of these awards have gone above and beyond to further inclusion, connection and belonging for people from disadvantaged or marginalised groups.

The team behind the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI)Sensory Scientific Exhibit were recognised at the recent 2018 Vice Chancellor’s Diversity and Inclusion Awards.

The Sensory Science Exhibition was initially put together in May this year for a special event for members of the blind and low vision community, giving them the opportunity to explore the world of infection and immunity through a specifically designed, interactive exhibit.

Including a range of accessible activities and tactile displays, the exhibit highlights research areas such as vaccination, the evolution of flu viruses, and the process of how our bodies recognise pathogens.

There are plans to share the exhibit across Australia, starting by assisting the University of New South Wales in setting up their own sensory exhibit.

The team was also recognised for their work experience program, aimed at providing members of the blind and low vision community with an opportunity to get hands-on experience in a biomedical research laboratory. This program began when Professor Rossjohn put out the call for anyone interested in completing work experience in his lab at the inaugural Sensory Scientific Exhibition and Discovery Day earlier in the year. They have had one student complete the program, with more interested in doing so in 2019.

Congratulations to all Monash BDI recipients of the award:

  • Professor Jamie Rossjohn
  • Dr Gabrielle Watson
  • Professor Nicole La Gruta
  • Professor Ramesh Rajan
  • Dr Erica Tandori
  • Sabrina Constantin

This initiative exemplifies best practice both in developing teaching programs and experiential learning, and engaging with the wider community to encourage participation by a diverse range of people.

Original article

Sensory Scientific Showcase brings infection and immunity research to life for low vision community

Monash University recently opened its doors to the low vision community with an inaugural Sensory Scientific Exhibition and Discovery Day. Held on May 31 to coincide with the end of Macula Month, over 80 attendees had the opportunity to explore the world of immunity and infection through interactive exhibits specifically designed for a low or no vision audience.

This innovative event was conceived by Professor Jamie Rossjohn, ARC Australian Laureate Fellow and Head of the Immunity and Infection Program of the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI).  “I thought it would be great for us to take the time to talk about what we do and make sure that it’s completely accessible for people who are blind or have low vision,” said Professor Rossjohn.

Led by Professor Rossjohn and Dr Gabby Watson, researchers from the BDI Infection and Immunity created a range of accessible activities and displays to highlight their exciting research. Artist in residence, Dr Erica Tandori, collaborated with the Rossjohn lab to create a collection of tactile materials and models that detail aspects of vaccination, the evolution of flu viruses, and the process of how our bodies recognise pathogens.

From experiencing the different smells of microbes, using the lab tools of a superbug researcher and being immersed in the 360-degree CAVE 2, visitors took part in a range of discovery activities engaging the full range of senses.

Genie Lim bought her two young sons from Mount View Primary School to take part in the half-day event. “I’m so proud the university is making an effort to engage with the outside community” she commented.

“Events like this open up the university and my kids are now saying they want to come here! It’s really inspiring – we hope you run this every year.”

The enriching event was enjoyed by attendees of all ages, and the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute looks forward to expanding on the event’s success in the future.

Original article

Jamie launches Sensory Scientific Exhibition and Discovery Day

ARC Australian Laureate Fellow, Professor Jamie Rossjohn, and colleagues, are helping people with low or no vision to experience the fruits of the latest infection and immunity research through a special Sensory Scientific Exhibition and Discovery Day, held at the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University.

“The Australian Laureate Fellowship really gives you a chance to do something different,” says Professor Rossjohn, who is a Chief Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging, and Infection and Immunity Program leader within the Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University.

“I had been employing people in my research group for sixteen years, but had never employed someone with a disability. Taking proactive measures, one of the first people who I employed was someone with low vision. This experience has really ‘opened my eyes’ to the possibilities for vision impaired people by looking past the disability, to the ability,” says Professor Rossjohn.

Professor Rossjohn says that he realised that this was a community that often didn’t get to hear about science, and that unless scientists made it accessible and employed engaging efforts to explain their research breakthroughs, even revolutionary events like the invention of the microscope could remain intangible to someone who had low or no vision.

Driven by this, Professor Rossjohn’s research team, spearheaded by project leader, Dr Gabby Watson, and other Infection and Immunity laboratories at Monash, organised a half-day scientific exhibition at Monash University, targeted towards a vision impaired community.

The event was held on 31 May 2018 to coincide with Macula Month, and had the full support of Vision Australia and Monash University. Researchers developed an innovative program targeted at those who have low vision or are blind, complete with tactile 3D models, 2D graphic displays, olfactory displays, large print and braille formats,all specifically geared to a low vision/blind audience.

To guide them expertly and creatively in this process, the research team engaged Dr Erica Tandori, who is legally blind, as artist-in-residence for three months to design and develop tactile materials and models that detailed aspects of vaccination, the evolution of flu viruses, and the process of how our bodies recognise pathogens.

Some of the displays included 3D-printed models of immune cells, sounds which were synchronised to live videos of immune cells, and even a section which featured ‘smells from a microbiology lab’. All the models were accompanied by descriptions in both large text and braille. Participants were also able to experience Monash University’s CAVE2 facility which is a 360-degree immersive experience that had immune molecules projected onto enormous surround screens.

Professor Rossjohn says that he considered the event to be a successful showcase of the great science being undertaken at Monash University, which particularly highlighted the latest breakthroughs in infection and immunity research.

Approximately 90 guests attended the exhibition, ranging from primary school students to grandparents. “Most of all, I want people to have a rewarding and educational time,” said Professor Rossjohn.

Professor Rossjohn is using his Australian Laureate Fellowship, ‘A molecular investigation into immune function’, to understand how immune reaction events enable immunity. The project is using multidisciplinary approaches empowered by technological innovations, including the latest advances in atomic and molecular imaging. The research is expected to identify new approaches for the biotechnology industry.

Group Image: Left to Right: Project Leader Dr Gabby Watson, ARC Australian Laureate Fellow Professor Jamie Rossjohn, Ms Liz Visher (ARC), Dr Erica Tandoori, Mr Wayne Seary (ARC). Credit: Hynesite Photography & Monash University.

Original article

Jamie and Erica join Jon Faine on The Conversation Hour

Word nerd David Astle is Jon Faine’s co-host.  He is a cruciverbalist, author, columnist, and star of the inexplicably discontinued Letters and Numbers (SBS TV). His books include WordburgerRiddledomCluetopiaPuzzled, and most recently David Astle’s Gargantuan Book of Words Puzzles, games and stories for wordy whiz-kids! David will be presenting Evenings, ABC Radio Melbourne & Victoria for a couple of weeks from next Wednesday. He is also host of the 2018 Albury-Wodonga Winter Solstice for Survivors of Suicide and Friends featuring poet Les Murray, actor Samuel Johnson, and NRL footballer Ian Roberts at QEII Square, Albury on Thursday 21st June from 5:00pm.

Their first guest is Psychoanalyst and Organisational Consultant, Phil Stokoe. He is a Training Analyst with the British Psychotherapy Foundation, and was the Clinical Director at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London. Phil is in Melbourne for the 2018 Freud Conference: populism and the attack on knowledge elites – psychoanalytic and political science perspectives at The Melbourne Brain Centre, Kenneth Myer Building, 30 Royal Parade, Parkville tomorrow (Saturday 26th May 2018) 8:30am to 6:00pm.

Then they are joined by immunologist Prof Jamie Rossjohn and artist Dr Erica Tandori.

Jamie is Head of the Infection and Immunity Program at Monash University, an ARC Laureate Fellow, and Professor of Structural Immunology at the School of Medicine, Cardiff University, UK. He is the 2018 Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Lemberg Medal recipient.

Erica Tandori is Artist in Residence for the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute’s Sensory Scientific Exhibition and Discovery Day on Thursday 31 May2018, 8.45am – 1pm (G54, Learning and Teaching Building, 19 Ancora Imparo Way, Monash University, Clayton). She is legally blind and has been making tactile models of various molecules to make understanding of their form possible for those who can’t see them through a microscope.

Original article 

Listen to interview (skip to 29mins for Jamie and Erica).