Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

School of Biomedical Science Alumni Update | 2014

School of Biomedical Sciences

NSW award for International Student

NSW award for International Student

CSU student Ms Saba Nabi can't stop smiling - and for good reason. The postgraduate pharmacy student was named a winner recently at the 2014 NSW International Student Awards. 

Saba Nabi at 2014 NSW International Student Awards. At a ceremony in the Sydney Opera House, Ms Nabi, from the School of Biomedical Sciences at CSU in Wagga Wagga, took out the Higher Education category.

From New Delhi in India, Ms Nabi has taken to living and studying in regional NSW since arriving with her young family to undertake a PhD at CSU in 2011. 

She was is the first international student elected to the CSU Council in 2012 and was also the postgraduate student representative on the University's Faculty of Science Board.

Ms Nabi is President of the International Students Club, part of the CSU Health Promotion Group, CSU Green programs, the University's Future Moves programs and Secretary of the Islamic Students Association. 

She is also involved in the wider community through the Cancer Council Wagga Wagga, and the Multicultural Council of Wagga Wagga. Earlier in 2014, the PhD student was a finalist in the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber's annual Crow Awards.

Ms Nabi said, "This award is actually for Charles Sturt University and the Wagga Wagga community". 

"I really thank God that I live in a regional location which is full of opportunities, especially engaging a lot with the local community.

"It's true that Wagga Wagga is my soul and Charles Sturt University is the heart of my body."

Student Liaison Officer (International) at CSU Ms Jacqui Blomfield and pharmacy program leader Mr George John attended the Awards ceremony in Sydney.

"Saba truly deserves this International Student Award for her many contributions to Charles Sturt University and the city of Wagga Wagga," she said.

"Saba has managed to draw together Charles Sturt University and the wider community with international students.

"She has worked collaboratively to raise the profile of international students at Charles Sturt University."

Mr John said, "Saba's win is an outstanding achievement for a student who keeps on giving to Charles Sturt University and the local community through a variety of ways". 

"She is a wonderful advocate for Charles Sturt University and regional Australia." 

Ms Nabi was presented a trophy and certificate by NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Regional Development John Barilaro, MP at the Sydney Opera House on Monday 15 September. 

The NSW International Student Awards are organised by StudyNSW and the NSW Government 'to celebrate the outstanding contribution international students make to communities in NSW'.

Partnership to study changes private health insurance

Partnership to study changes private health insurance

CSU and Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) have formed a ground-breaking partnership linking post-graduate distance education and health services.

The partnership enables students in the Master of Health Services Management to work with MLHD on a project to research the changes in private health insurance coverage and usage in the public sector in rural areas. 

The student team members, who have never met face-to-face, will work collaboratively using CSU's online learning systems.

Professor Wess said CSU has developed online learning in health services management to allow students already working as health care professionals to work with real problems identified in their workplaces.

"The project extends this learning by enabling students to work as a team on a complex real-world problem," Professor Wess said.

MLHD identified several potential projects which were presented to the CSU student team.

The students rated the projects in order of interest and developed an expression of interest presented to MLHD.

"The students were expected to represent themselves as management consultants and to identify the expertise, skills and knowledge they brought to the project, and to negotiate a timeline of milestones," Professor Wess said.

"It is unlikely any of the participants will meet face-to-face while the project is underway, but will instead meet by video and telephone conferencing.

"Both the students and MLHD staff will develop an understanding of how technology might be better used to enhance the management of health services."

Ms Ludford welcomed the partnership and said the project will provide MLHD with practical and valuable information, and has the potential to inform planning and policy at a broader level across the health system.

"This is an innovative partnership which will lead to real outcomes to improve healthcare in the local region," she said.

Professor Wess said he hoped the partnership would lead to an ongoing relationship between CSU and MLHD, and assist the University in developing relationships with other health organisations.

The pilot study is the culmination of several years planning and builds on a Teaching Fellowship awarded to Dr David Ritchie by the CSU Flexible Learning Institute.

Developing Research Skills in Sweden

Developing Research Skills in Sweden

CSU student Ms Annette Jacobsen brought home a unique souvenir from her year in Sweden – an international research credit.

The CSU Bachelor Medical Science/ Bachelor Forensic Biotechnology student spent a year on student exchange at Örebro University in Sweden and the research she carried out there has been published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine.

"During the student exchange I selected a number of practical and project based subjects, which meant I spent more time in the lab than in the classroom," said Ms Jacobsen. "This helped me to pick up a range of practical research skills, which has augmented the theoretical grounding I have received from Charles Sturt University."

Ms Jacobsen was part of a team investigating the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of cachexia or muscle and body mass wastage in inflammation based diseases.

"One of the most common inflammatory diseases is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which affects around one in 20 people and is the fourth highest cause of death world-wide," she said. "Although typically thought of as a lung disease, it affects multiple organs and tissues with loss of muscle mass, cachexia, being one of the most significant."

Ms Jacobsen said independent of lung function, the presence and extent of cachexia in COPD patients is strongly correlated to patient outcome.

"This muscle wastage is thought to start early in the disease, in conjunction with, if not predating, onset of lung damage. Additionally, the lung damage in COPD is currently considered poorly reversible, so treatment currently focuses on management of symptoms, not repairing the damage," she said.

The researchers hope that understanding more about how muscle function is compromised in inflammatory diseases such as COPD, will lead to better treatment.

"This research may help to identify markers of disease that can be used to diagnose COPD earlier, improving patient outcome," said Ms Jacobsen, who is studying through CSU's School of Biomedical Sciences via distance education.

The exchange to Örebro University was supported by CSU Global, a CSU initiative to promote international study experiences.


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