Masters (Honours) Research Opportunities

Project Title

Aim

Supervisor/s

Women's Health

Research training opportunities exist to address a wide range of chronic women's health conditions using integrative and complementary therapies and medicines The women's health programme at NICM covers menstrual health of young women, pregnancy, infertility, menopause and gynaecological disorders In addition, opportunities exist to address the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases in women such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, the management of mental health and wellbeing, healthy aging and examining the adjunctive role of complementary therapies with the management of women's cancers.

Acupuncture for weight loss in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: a systematic review and qualitative study
  1. To conduct a systematic review on acupuncture for weight loss in PCOS, including search of Chinese databases.
  2. To conduct focus groups/interviews of health professionals involved in care of PCOS patients to explore their views on acupuncture as an adjunct to weight loss in PCOS.

Professor Caroline Smith
caroline.smith@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Carolyn Ee
carolyn.ee@westernsydney.edu.au

Associate Professor Xiaoshu Zhu
x.zhu@westernsydney.edu.au 

The role of acupuncture and complementary therapies in weight loss in breast cancer survivors
  1. To describe the prevalence of use of complementary therapies to manage weight gain in breast cancer survivors.
  2. To conduct focus groups/interviews of BC survivors to assess feasibility and acceptability of acupuncture for weight loss.

Professor Caroline Smith
caroline.smith@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Carolyn Ee
carolyn.ee@westernsydney.edu.au

Development of a treatment protocol for pre birth treatment PDF, 104.61 KB (opens in a new window)
  1. To undertake  focus groups with pregnant women to explore their views towards pre-birth acupuncture.
  2. To develop acupuncture treatment protocols for cervical ripening for women.

Professor Caroline Smith
caroline.smith@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Mike Armour
mike.armour@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Debra Betts
d.betts@westernsydney.edu.au

The role of acupuncture with achieving weight loss prior to gynaecology surgery PDF, 87.99 KB (opens in a new window) To undertake a feasibility randomised controlled trial of acupuncture compared with a wait list control.

Professor Caroline Smith caroline.smith@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Carolyn Ee
carolyn.ee@westernsydney.edu.au

Acupuncture to treat sleep disorders during pregnancy: development of a treatment protocol PDF, 77.9 KB (opens in a new window)

To examine women's sleep during pregnancy, and for a group of women with difficult sleep to examine their interest in using complementary therapies

Professor Caroline Smith caroline.smith@westernsydney.edu.au

Professor Hannah Dahlen h.dahlen@westernsydney.edu.au
Complementary therapies to assist with anxiety disorders in young women
  1. To undertake a literature review of CM modalities used to assist with managing anxiety
  2. To examine women's interest to participate in a clinical study

Professor Caroline Smith caroline.smith@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Carolyn Ee
carolyn.ee@westernsydney.edu.au 

Provision of health information to women on CMTo examine health literacy and decision making regarding women's health

Dr Caroline Smith
caroline.smith@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Mike Armour
mike.armour@westernsydney.edu.au 

Developing, implementing and evaluating a model of care for integrative women's health in an academic clinic
  1. Involves conducting a systematic reviews
  2. Qualitative research on how to integrate well-evidenced complementary therapies into routine care for female reproductive health (pregnancy and birth/fertility/gynaecology)

Dr Carolyn Ee
carolyn.ee@westernsydney.edu.au 

Recommendations on complementary medicine use in women's health

Dr Carolyn Ee
carolyn.ee@westernsydney.edu.au

Use of complementary medicine and therapies for the treatment of vaginal thrush PDF, 80.15 KB (opens in a new window)
  1. To undertake a systematic review of the Complementary Medicine literature regarding its application to treat vaginal thrush.
  2. To examine women's interest to participate in a clinical study.  

Professor Caroline Smith caroline.smith@westernsydney.edu.au

 

Cochrane systematic review: Chinese herbal medicine for female sub-fertilityTo investigate evidence of effectiveness and safety on use of CHM for female sub-fertility conditions

Associate Professor Xiaoshu Zhu
x.zhu@westernsydney.edu.au 

Chinese herbal medicine for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: a systematic reviewTo investigate evidence of effectiveness and safety on use of CHM for PCOS

Associate Professor Xiaoshu Zhu
x.zhu@westernsydney.edu.au 

Dr Henry Liang
h.liang@westernsydney.edu.au 

Neurological and Mental Health

 The primary focus of our neurodegenerative research is on prevention and treatment of dementia and neurocognitive decline and improvement of mental health in response to complementary medicine treatment.. One in ten Australians aged over 65 has dementia and this number is likely to increase. Researchers at NICM are also interested in how the brain and the neurological system changes in response to treatment with complementary medicines.

Effect of a standardised herbal formulation on age-related memory and cognitive decline in mice PDF, 132.03 KB (opens in a new window)

This study aims to evaluate the effects of SLT and its individual components on memory and cognitive function in aging mouse model.

Professor Alan Bensoussan a.bensoussan@westernsydney.edu.au

Associate Professor Dennis Chang
d.chang@westernsydney.edu.au

Associate Professor Chun Guang Li
c.li@westernsydney.edu.au

Professor Gerald Muench
g.muench@westernsydney.edu.au

Complementary medicine use by people living with dementiaWhen conventional therapies are limited people living with chronic diseases such as dementia use a wide range of complementary medicines.  The aim of this project is to assess the global prevalence of complementary medicine use by people living with dementia.

Dr Genevieve Steiner
g.steiner@westernsydney.edu.au 

Associate Professor Dennis Chang
d.chang@westernsydney.edu.au

Tropical rainforest plants as a source of anti-inflammatory compounds for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease PDF, 171.41 KB (opens in a new window)
  1. To determine the potency of a variety of extracts from tropical rainforest plants to down-regulate the LPS, IFN-γ -induced production of free radicals (superoxide and nitric oxide) and pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and TNF) in immortalized murine microglia (anti-inflammatory potential).
  2. To fractionate potent extracts and ultimately isolate the active compound, and determine its / their chemical structure (s) using modern analytical and spectrometric methods.

Professor Gerald Muench
g.muench@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Erika Gyengesi
e.gyengesi@westernsydney.edu.au

Effect of acupuncture on neuroplasticity

Professor Alan Bensoussan a.bensoussan@westernsydney.edu.au

Cancer Care

Our research focuses on understanding how complementary medicine may assist with cancer management and side effects of conventional cancer treatment. Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and other cancer treatments can have side-effects such as oedema, fatigue, dermatitis and nausea. Some of these may persist for the duration of the treatment whereas others may continue once the patient has recovered. Complementary medicine treatments are being developed to assist with the alleviation of these symptoms. Translation of this research into better clinical practice will make a meaningful difference into the lives of cancer patients, survivors and their families.

Chinese herbal medicine for lung cancer: a systematic reviewTo understand overall research strengthen in the field

Dr Henry Liang
h.liang@westernsydney.edu.au 

Associate Professor Xiaoshu Zhu
x.zhu@westernsydney.edu.au 

Examining Chinese herbal formulation for breast cancer: a retrospective clinical studyTo understand clinical approaches in a Chinese hospital

Associate Professor Xiaoshu Zhu
x.zhu@westernsydney.edu.au 

Acupuncture for cancer-related symptoms: protocols and safety considerations PDF, 95.64 KB (opens in a new window)

To create protocols for the acupuncture treatment of cancer-related symptoms and document any safety considerations for specific symptoms.

Dr Suzanne Grant s.grant@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Xiaoshu Zhu x.zhu@westernsydney.edu.au  

Exploring evidence of safety of use of Chinese herbal medicine for women with breast cancer PDF, 95.78 KB (opens in a new window) To evaluate the contents of phytoestrogens in defined Chinese herbal formula

Associate Professor Chun Guang Li c.li@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Xiaoshu Zhu x.zhu@westernsydney.edu.au  

Chinese herbal medicine for local treatments related side effect in women with breast cancer: development of a clinical protocol PDF, 74.88 KB (opens in a new window) Design a clinical protocol on use of CHM for lymphodema and radiodermatitis caused by local therapies in women with breast cancer

Dr Xiaoshu Zhu x.zhu@westernsydney.edu.au

Outcome measurement on TCM pattern diagnosis in patients with cancer PDF, 95.22 KB (opens in a new window) To implement appropriately designed outcome measurements for TCM treatments that are reliable and valid

Dr Xiaoshu Zhu x.zhu@westernsydney.edu.au  

Professor Pingping Li (Beijing Cancer Hospital China)
lppma123@sina.com

Anti-cancer actions of Chinese herbal medicines

Associate Professor Chun Guang Li c.li@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Xiaoshu Zhu x.zhu@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Henry Liang  h.liang@westernsydney.edu.au

Associate Professor Qihan Dong  q.dong@westernsydney.edu.au

Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health

Our research focuses on understanding how complementary medicine may assist with cancer management and side effects of conventional cancer treatment. Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and other cancer treatments can have side-effects such as oedema, fatigue, dermatitis and nausea. Some of these may persist for the duration of the treatment whereas others may continue once the patient has recovered. Complementary medicine treatments are being developed to assist with the alleviation of these symptoms. Translation of this research into better clinical practice will make a meaningful difference into the lives of cancer patients, survivors and their families.

In vitro activity of the Chinese medicinal herb, Nao Xin Qing for the treatment of stroke PDF, 127.12 KB (opens in a new window)

  1. To assess the antioxidant activity and effect on endothelial dysfunction of the components of the standardised herbal extract, NXQ.
  2. To determine the synergistic or additive nature of these components.

Associate Professor Dennis Chang
d.chang@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Sai Wang Seto
s.seto@westernsydney.edu.au 

Regulation of tight junction proteins claudin and occludin by herbal medicine in endothelial cellsThis in vitro study will assess the action of herbal medicine on the expression of tight junction protein critical to the blood brain barrier function.

Associate Professor Dennis Chang
d.chang@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Sai Wang Seto
s.seto@westernsydney.edu.au 

Effects and mechanism of actions of herbal medicines in vascular reactivityThis project will investigate the vascular effects of Chinese herbal medicines for the treatment of hypertension, stroke and/or diabetes-related vascular complications using both ex vivo and in vivo models.

Dr Sai Wang Seto
s.seto@westernsydney.edu.au 

Associate Professor Dennis Chang
d.chang@westernsydney.edu.au

Professor Hosen Kiat
hosen.kiat@chi.org.au 

Effects and mechanism of actions of herbal medicines in neurovascular unit (NVU)This study aims to develop novel herbal formula for the treatment of cerebrovascular diseases, such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. The effects and mechanisms of action of herbal preparations will be assessed using a co-culture model of neurovascular unit.

Dr Sai Wang Seto
s.seto@westernsydney.edu.au 

Associate Professor Dennis Chang
d.chang@westernsydney.edu.au 

Discovery of new therapeutic agents from Danshen (red sage)

Associate Professor Chun Guang Li c.li@westernsydney.edu.au

Associate Professor Dennis Chang
d.chang@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Feng Li
feng.li@westernsydney.edu.au

Bioavailability of natural compounds and derivativesTo assess the bioavailability of selected natural compounds and their derivatives in vitro

Associate Professor Chun Guang Li c.li@westernsydney.edu.au

Associate Professor Dennis Chang
d.chang@westernsydney.edu.au

Synergistic actions of natural compoundsTo assess the synergistic actions of commonly used natural products and their mechanisms

Associate Professor Chun Guang Li c.li@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Mitchell Low
mitchell.low@westernsydney.edu.au

Effect of the effect of Olive Leaf extract versus olive oil supplementation on biomarkers associated with cardiometabolic risk and glycaemic control and serum antioxidant levelsThis clinical study will investigate the effect of supplementation of Olive leaf extract versus Oilve oil on metabolic risk factors BP, BSL, HBA1c, LDL-, HDL & T-cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting insulin and insulin growth factors, inflammatory markers, and glutathione peroxidase and various extracellular antioxidant proteins

Dr Kellie Bilinski
k.bilinski@westernsydney.edu.au 

Associate Professor Dennis Chang
d.chang@westernsydney.edu.au

Professor Alan Bensoussan
a.bensoussan@westernsydney.edu.au 

Effects of supplementation of Omega Quant Krill oil on cardiovascular risk factors and/or type II diabetesThis clinical study is designed to investigate the effects of a novel high-phospholipid krill oil supplement versus traditional omega-3 fatty acid supplements or placebo on biomarkers associated with cardiovascular disease and fatty acid profile, biomarkers associated with glycaemic control (HOMA of insulin resistance, fasting insulin, and glucose)

Dr Kellie Bilinski
k.bilinski@westernsydney.edu.au 

Associate Professor Dennis Chang
d.chang@westernsydney.edu.au

Professor Alan Bensoussan
a.bensoussan@westernsydney.edu.au 

Association between vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids with cognition assessed by a computerised batteryTo determine the association between vitamin D and omega-3 status and cognition as assessed by a computerised battery and EEG testing. Serum vitamin D and fatty acid status will be measured and vitamin D and omega-3 intake from foods will be assessed by a validated food frequency questionnaire.

Dr Kellie Bilinski
k.bilinski@westernsydney.edu.au 

Associate Professor Dennis Chang
d.chang@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Genevieve Steiner
g.steiner@westernsydney.edu.au 

Nutrient supplementation and complementary medicine use in people with type II diabetesThis project will assess the use of nutritional supplements and complementary medicine practices by people living with type II diabetes.

Dr Kellie Bilinski
k.bilinski@westernsydney.edu.au 

Associate Professor Dennis Chang
d.chang@westernsydney.edu.au

Policy and evidence translation

Projects in this area focus on working with Government to build appropriate policy frameworks and improving integrative healthcare practice by translating high quality research into relevant guidelines and practice protocols. Our research is focussed around the accuracy and of information available for both practitioners and consumers, the integration of complementary medicine in clinical medicine, understanding how complementary medicine is practiced and its impact.Two in three Australians report using complementary medicines to address their health and wellbeing needs. The scientific
evidence is increasingly clear that some Complementary Medicine interventions offer substantial value to our health system in improving clinical outcomes and can make a cost-effective contribution to public health in chronic disease management, preventative care and aged care.

Bush medicines and their use in Indigenous healthcare

Dr Joanne Packer
j.packer@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Jennifer Hunter
jennifer.hunter@westernsydney.edu.au  

Decision making in the use of complementary medicine PDF, 109.59 KB   (opens in a new window) To understand the reasons behind consumers' preference for using complementary medicine or circumstances around this decision making and the associated cost benefits

Professor Alan Bensoussan a.bensoussan@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Jennifer Hunter  jennifer.hunter@westernsydney.edu.au

Professor Caroline Smith caroline.smith@westernsydney.edu.au

Practising Chinese medicine in non-private practice PDF, 101.26 KB (opens in a new window)

To explore the work experience of TCM practitioners who work in other than private practice settings, focusing particularly on the benefits and dilemmas of working in an integrated team and working with clients who do not pay directly for service.

Dr Suzanne Grant s.grant@westernsydney.edu.au

Integrative medicine centres in Australia: How integrative medicine is being practiced in clinical centres across Australia

Dr Suzanne Grant s.grant@westernsydney.edu.au

Professor Alan Bensoussan a.bensoussan@westernsydney.edu.au

Quality control of complementary medicines

Concentrations of research in this area focus on quality assurance and standardisation of herbal medicines and the development of protocols and instruments for use in clinical trials. Researchers at NICM are also involved with the standardization of complementary medicines research through the development of protocols and instruments for use in clinical trials. As with any other medicine or
treatment, it is important that complementary medicine is safe and does not make unsubstantiated claims. Important also is developing an understanding of the most effective methods of administration.

Effect of preparation methods on the bioactivity of traditional medicines PDF, 77.51 KB (opens in a new window) Study the chemistry of a selection of medicinal plants and assess the influence that the preparation method can have on the final formulation and bioactivity

Associate Professor Chun Guang Li c.li@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Mitchell Low
mitchell.low@westernsydney.edu.au

Associate Professor Dennis Chang
d.chang@westernsydney.edu.au 

Factors affecting the diffusion of actives in complementary medicines through the dermis in topical products

Associate Professor Chun Guang Li c.li@westernsydney.edu.au

 Quality control of traditional medicines

Development of chemical assays for the quality control of traditional medicines.

Associate Professor Chun Guang Li c.li@westernsydney.edu.au

Professor Alan Bensoussan a.bensoussan@westernsydney.edu.au

Understanding the bioactivity of Australian medicinal plants

Dr Joanne Packer j.packer@westernsydney.edu.au

Associate Professor Chun Guang Li c.li@westernsydney.edu.au

Professor Gerald Muench
g.muench@westernsydney.edu.au

Other emerging areas of complementary medicine research

NICM is also involved with a number of other areas of research including the identification of bioactive compounds found in natural products and complementary medicine approaches to addressing other common and problematic medical conditions. As with all other concentrations of research, these projects can have a focus of laboratory based work, clinical research, increasing an understanding of
complementary medicine use or translating research into policy and practice. 
Development of new metal-based derivatives of natural products for medical applications

Associate Professor Chun Guang Li c.li@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Feng Li
feng.li@westernsydney.edu.au