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

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
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

 

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

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

Chinese herbs for vascular dementia

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

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

Mechanisms behind how dementia may be delayed

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

Dr Genevieve Steiner 

g.steiner@westernsydney.edu.au  

Neuroprotective and angiogenic effects of herbal medicine in zebrafish

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

Associate Professor Chun Guang Li
c.li@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.

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)

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

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

Professor Alan Bensoussan
a.bensoussan@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

Mechanism of actions and synergistic effects of a standardised herbal extract for stroke

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

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

Anti-glycaemic effects of a ginger preparation in rats

Associate Professor Chun Guang Li c.li@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

Effect of complementary medicine formulations on the bioavailability of commercially available and prepared dosage forms

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 TCM herbs


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