Meet our new Fellows

Meet the newest members of Australia’s advanced imaging network.

Their expertise is vital in applying imaging technologies, processing and interpreting imaging data, and applying imaging to solve complex problems.

We’re proud to extend our welcome to, and introduce, the newest members of NIF’s Fellows network, joining our team of experts enabling Australian imaging science to unlock solutions to major challenges.

USyd/ANSTO Facility Fellow
SAHMRI Facility Fellow
Monash Facility Fellow
Macquarie Facility Fellow

World-leading imaging technology reveals insights into cancer treatment for children with Down Syndrome

World-leading imaging technology reveals insights into cancer treatment for children with Down Syndrome.

The National Imaging Facility (NIF) continues to enable imaging science to unlock major health challenges with break-through research coming out of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

Leading-edge research conducted at the NIF’s South Australian Node has provided critical insight into the development of cancer in children with Down Syndrome.

Scientists from SAHMRI have identified an epigenetic regulator, HMGN1, on chromosome 21 that cooperates with a high-risk gene fusion to give rise to acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in paediatric patients with Down Syndrome.

Children with Down Syndrome are 20 times more prone to developing leukaemia, and are more susceptible to experiencing additional side effects from chemotherapy. In addition to these statistics, 60% of children with Down Syndrome ALL harbour this high-risk gene fusion, and all have high expression of chromosome 21 genes.

SAHMRI’s findings suggest HMGN1 is a potential target for a precision treatment approach in Down Syndrome ALL. The outcomes from this study present an opportunity to reduce exposure in patients to the toxic side effects of chemotherapy and improve survival outcomes for children with Down Syndrome ALL.

NIF Node Co-Director, Dr Chris Christou praised the work of the SAHMRI team, including Prof Deborah L White and Dr Elyse Page and congratulated them on the findings which present potentially life-saving data.

“These dedicated and highly-skilled scientists have demonstrated the critical role imaging has in responding to major health challenges,” Dr Christou said.

“I congratulate them on this vital discovery and look forward to updates on their continued work progressing their research to improve the lives of children with Down Syndrome.”

You can read a detailed post about the study here.

For more information, contact Wick Lakshantha, Imaging Scientist and National Imaging Facility Fellow, SAHMRI.

Ape-y ending for sick Orangutan at the National Imaging Facility SA Node

Ape-y ending for sick Orangutan at the National Imaging Facility SA Node

Image credit: Adrian Mann

Puspa, the 46-year-old female Sumatran Orangutan from Adelaide Zoo was taken to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute Preclinical, Imaging and Research Laboratories (SAHMRI PIRL) for CT imaging last year to investigate the cause of a sudden change in behaviour and suspected pain in her lower abdomen.

Diagnostic imaging plays a critical role in healthcare in human- and animal- patients, enabling the best evidence for decision making, and coordinating the most effective treatment options.

Sumatran Orangutans are critically endangered, and a patient like Puspa can’t tell us what’s wrong. Having access to a CT scanner within the SAHMRI Large Animal Research and Imaging Facility (LARIF) is extremely valuable for diagnosis and treatment, protecting the species.

The expert team *swung into action* to find the CT scan revealed a number of gallstones, along with inflammation of the bile duct and gallbladder – and determined the best course of action for Puspa’s wellbeing to be surgical removal.

Due to the unique nature of the operation, the veterinary team consulted with human medical experts from Flinders Medical Centre and the Royal Adelaide Hospital to determine the best procedure to remove all the gallstones and gallbladder based on the CT findings.

The uniquely diverse medical team removed nine large gallstones and a gallbladder that was definitely past its prime(ate).

We’re ape-solutely delighted to report that since surgery, Puspa is back to her usual self, but hasn’t been up to any monkey business, leaving her stitches alone. She’s eating well, has been out and about and is climbing.

For more information, contact: Georgia Williams, Research Radiographer and National Imaging Facility Fellow, SAHMRI.

If you’re a fan of gore(illa) (sorry) you can watch the video of Puspa’s surgery below.

You can *hang out* with Puspa at Adelaide Zoo.

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