Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Faculty of Science Alumni Newsletter | Issue 1 2013

Faculty of Science Alumni Newsletter

Research to avoid chemotherapy side-effects

Research to avoid chemotherapy side-effects

Bachelor of Clinical Science students at CSU in Orange are researching a new approach to chemotherapy that could spare patients the side-effects caused by today's drugs.

The students, Ms Stefanie Martin, Mr Shae Tripp, and Ms Emily Nadwie, are testing the effects of two substances, used in conjunction, on cultured breast cancer cells.

Ms Martin said the substances tested, Curcumin and Artemisinin, had previously been shown to affect the levels of anti-oxidant molecules and free radicals within cells.

"Artemisinin has been shown to increase the production of extremely reactive molecules called 'free radicals', which can damage the cell," she said.

"Curcumin is a component of the spice turmeric, and has been shown to decrease the concentration of anti-oxidant defense substances within a cell".

Mr Tripp said the combination of Curcumin and Artemisinin might kill the cancer cells by tipping the balance of free radicals within them to induce oxidative stress".

"We're hoping to increase the amount of free radicals and simultaneously decrease the cell's ability to defend itself from the damage they cause," he said.

Ms Nadwie said the key was to use the cancer cell's biology as a weapon against itself.

"Cancer cells have a very high metabolism which means they reproduce much faster than other cells, but also means they need more oxygen and produce more free radicals," she said.

"That makes them more vulnerable to this type of approach than normal cells so patients might not suffer the type of side-effects they experience with current drugs."

The research is being overseen by senior lecturer in medicinal chemistry Dr Christopher Parkinson and biomedical science lecturer Dr Scott Andrew.

"I'm a medical chemist with an interest in drug discovery and Scott is a cancer cell biologist," Dr Parkinson said.

"Taking that multidisciplinary approach to research means you draw from the range of expertise available and hopefully gain insights you might have otherwise missed."

Dr Andrew said the research also highlighted the opportunities CSU's Bachelor of Clinical Science offered students interested in careers in research.

"Not many undergraduate students have the chance to get hands-on experience like this and develop research skills that will equip them to take on a PhD," he said.

"The research focus in this course means students graduate with skills they can take into a variety of careers or into further specialist studies."

New partnership brings Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management to WA

New partnership brings Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management to WA

Starting next year, CSU is offering its Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management at Muresk Institute in Northam, Western Australia. CSU will offer 30 student places in the degree annually in conjunction with higher education provider C.Y. O'Connor Institute.

The Muresk training facility, 90km east of Perth, includes 1,738 hectares of research and training farm as well as teaching and accommodation facilities for on-campus students.

C.Y. O'Connor director of Higher Education Dr Christine Storer will head the agribusiness team, and said the Institute was excited to be offering the Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management with CSU.

"Charles Sturt University have had a lot of experience in offering degrees on regional campuses around Australia," she said.

"The Institute's higher education team is enthusiastic to be out at the Muresk campus and to be offering a course where the students will work closely with the farm and other farmers around the state.

"In over 20 years of experience in higher education I have observed many students engage more with education when it is linked to employers and when they can work with employers through their studies.

"I have already had students very keen to study the degree next year so they can work with employers in their Industry Practice subject and go overseas to places like China for the International Experience subject.

"I have also had employers telling me they will be looking forward to working with the students during their studies, and how excited about the recruitment opportunities that the course will create."

Agribusiness is a huge and perse industry in Australia, offering between 2 000 and 5 000 jobs to approximately 700 graduates each year. Of those working in the Agribusiness industry half are based in the city and half based rurally, with approximately 70 per cent of jobs being off-farm (Australian Council of Agricultural Deans).

"This degree will provide an opportunity for students to expand their knowledge both on and off the farm," Dr Storer said.

"Employment possibilities for graduates range from banking and farm input supply to farming and commodity trading."

CSU offers Australia's only distance education Master of Speech Pathology in 2014

CSU offers Australia's only distance education Master of Speech Pathology in 2014

Speech pathology services are in demand to aid Australia's ageing population, higher incidence of chronic disease and the increasing awareness of the benefits of early intervention, particularly in rural and remote areas.

In response to this, CSU has developed Australia's only Master of Speech Pathology that can be studied part-time and by distance education, to allow students to continue working in their existing career.

The Master program is open to students with a Bachelor level qualification in any discipline. It is recommended that students have prior knowledge of linguistics and head and neck anatomy, though bridging courses can be completed in these areas.

With an emphasis on utilising the latest developments in flexible learning, quality workplace learning and support from some of Australia's leading Speech Pathologists, this course will allow students to gain valuable hands on experiences at both the clinical and community level.

CSU's Master of Speech Pathology places a strong focus on core speech pathology skills, research, the development of reflective practice, and family and community engagement. Students will develop skills in intervention and clinical reasoning with a range of typical and complex clients.

The course gives you the option to graduate with a Master of Speech Pathology or the choice to exit after 2 years of part-time study with a Graduate Diploma of Speech and Language.

Welcome

Welcome

Welcome to the first seasonal Charles Sturt University (CSU) Faculty of Science Alumni Newsletter.

Whether you graduated a while ago, or as recently as last year, we hope that you enjoyed studying with us and that your skills have served you well in your career.

There is a lot happening in the Faculty, so there is plenty of news in the following pages. We are focused on ensuring our courses are aligned with current and future industry needs, as well as conducting cutting edge community focused research.

We Look forward to keeping connected with you and encourage you to register with the CSU Almuni and take advantage of the benefits available to you.

Professor Tim Wess
Executive Dean
Faculty of Arts

Amanda Watts Bachelor of Pharmacy - Class of 2004

Amanda Watts Bachelor of Pharmacy - Class of 2004

Charles Sturt University (CSU) pharmacy graduate Mrs Amanda Watts's unconventional approach to addressing rural healthcare shortages has delivered surprising results.

After completing her Bachelor of Pharmacy at CSU in Wagga Wagga in 2004, Mrs Watts was determined to use her degree to make a difference in the Orange region where she had grown up.

"I had seen from first-hand experience the need for more and better-integrated health care in and around the Central West," she said.

"I also felt pharmacists, who are often the patient's first point of contact with the health care sector, weren't properly included in team-based healthcare."

Two years ago Mrs Watts took her first step towards rectifying those deficiencies, buying the Millthorpe Post Office and opening a pharmacy in the building while continuing to offer full postal services.

"It's an unusual business model, but it made perfect sense for us and for the community," she said.

"More recently we opened a medical centre here as well, so now it's a pharmacy, post office and doctor's surgery all in one."

CSU pharmacy graduates Mrs Amanda Watts and Mrs Kate Wright. Mrs Watts manages the business with the help of another CSU pharmacy graduate, Mrs Kate Wright, who moved to the region to study at CSU in Orange.

"I came to Orange from Nowra originally because I wanted to stay in a rural area," Mrs Wright said.

"My husband and I loved it so much we built a house in Millthorpe and now I've learned how to run a post office, how to run a medical centre, I've joined the local Rural Fire Service and I'm training to be a diabetes educator."

Mrs Wright said working in a small town was personally and professionally satisfying.

"You tend to personally know everyone who walks in," she said.

"Some patients drop off flowers they've grown at home, some bring in scones for morning tea, it's lovely.

"It's very rewarding professionally because you are able to be involved with the patient's care from the beginning to the end.

"It makes for a great continuity of care and you get to see the patient outcomes."

And those outcomes are much improved under the new healthcare model, says Mrs Watts.

"Co-locating the doctor's offices with the pharmacy is working very well for patient care," she said.

"Kate and I manage the surgery so we're arranging appointments and helping when we can, which means we can work in very close collaboration with the GPs.

"We can organise appointments and follow-ups, or if patients are struggling with medication dosages we are able to dispense very specific medication schedules to fit around their appointments with the GP or specialists."

Mrs Watts plans to expand the practice by early next year to include several new serviced medical rooms to make more GP services and other allied health practitioners available to the area's growing population.

"In the last census there were 1 100 people in Millthorpe and five years previously there were only 650," she said.

"The town is growing fast and there are 7 000 people in the Blayney Shire, so there is certainly a market need.

"We've already spoken to several GPs and allied health practitioners in various fields who are keen to offer their services and we plan to start capital works on an expansion later this year.

One of a kind Graduate Diploma of Mammography

One of a kind Graduate Diploma of Mammography

CSU's Graduate Diploma of Mammography has been developed in collaboration with BreastScreen Australia, the Australian Institute of Radiography and the Department of Health and Ageing to combat a workforce shortage in mammography and support our aging population. CSU is the sole provider of mammography qualifications for students from non-radiography backgrounds in Australia.

CSU's Graduate Diploma of Mammography has been developed in collaboration with BreastScreen Australia, the Australian Institute of Radiography and the Department of Health and Ageing to combat a workforce shortage in mammography and support our aging population. CSU is the sole provider of mammography qualifications for students from non-radiography backgrounds in Australia.

Senior Lecturer in Medical Radiation Science Dr Kelly Spuur said, "The new program is the first of its kind in Australia to educate and train mammographic technologists.

"Previously, radiographers were the only people qualified to work in mammography, but our Graduate Diploma in Mammography will provide a pathway for graduates of health and science degrees to develop the knowledge and clinical skills to become a mammographic technologist.

"It is an unparalleled shift in education in the medical radiation sciences and I am very excited to be involved in the new program which will benefit Australian women.

Dr Spuur specialises in mammographic imaging and has worked as a radiographer with both BreastScreen Australia and in private practice for over 20 years.

The Graduate Diploma of Mammography will be offered over one year by distance education from 2014 through the University's School of Dentistry and Health Sciences. Applicants to this course should hold a Bachelor degree or equivalent in a health or science-based field, such as nursing, biomedical sciences, medical radiation science, medicine or other health sciences.

Education is a precious gift

CSU prides itself on preparing its students for the world beyond university. One way we help students on that journey is through the Charles Sturt University Foundation Trust. The Fund aids and promotes excellence in the education, research and service activities of Charles Sturt University by seeking, receiving and administering private sponsorship for the benefit of the University.

This support helps Charles Sturt University place a priority on areas of regional and professional importance as well as provide valuable assistance in the way of scholarships to students. With your help, we can continue to ensure all students with the desire to study at university have the same opportunity to achieve their goals.

Contact us today to find out how you can make a real difference.

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