Masters (Honours) Research Opportunities

Select a research stream below to view the current opportunities and projects on offer at NICM Health Research Institute.

To register your interest in a project, please contact the lead supervisor. For information about applying for higher degree research and scholarships, please contact the Graduate Research School.(opens in a new window)


Healthy Women

The women's health program at NICM covers menstrual health of young women, pregnancy, infertility, menopause and gynaecological disorders.

Project TitleAim/sSupervisor/s

Development of a treatment protocol for pre-birth treatment

  1. Undertake focus groups with pregnant women to explore their views towards pre-birth acupuncture.
  2. Undertake 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

  1. 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

  1. Examine the feasibility of conducting research using this treatment with pregnant women.
  2. Develop a treatment protocol for use in future clinical studies.

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

Complementary therapies to assist with anxiety disorders in young women

  1. Undertake a literature review of complementary medicine modalities used to assist with managing anxiety.
  2. 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 complementary medicine

  1. Examine health literacy and decision making regarding women's health.

Professor 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. Conduct a systematic review.
  2. Conduct qualitative research on how to integrate well-evidenced complementary therapies into routine care for female reproductive health (pregnancy and birth/fertility/gynaecology).

Dr Carolyn Eecarolyn.ee@westernsydney.edu.au

Cochrane systematic review: Chinese herbal medicine for female sub-fertility

  1. Investigate evidence of effectiveness and safety on use of Chinese herbal medicine for female sub-fertility conditions.

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

The role of non-pharmacological interventions to reduce anxiety and stress in pregnancy among high risk pregnant women

  1. Review evidence of non-pharmacological interventions, and feasibility studies with women regarding their participation in future studies involving these interventions.

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

Complementary and integrative therapies in women's health centres in NSW: a mapping survey

  1. Conduct a mapping survey of women's health centres in NSW and to describe the complementary therapies that are currently provided, the credentialing process for practitioners, the reasons for not providing complementary therapies (if none are provided), and the funding model for provision of complementary therapies.

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

Acupuncture for weight loss in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): a Delphi study

  1. Investigate and determine the consensus amongst acupuncture practitioners on the optimal dose of acupuncture for weight management in PCOS, using the Delphi consensus method.

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

Healthy Minds

The neurological and mental health program at NICM focuses on the prevention and treatment of dementia and neurocognitive decline and improvement of mental health in response to integrative medicine treatment.

Project TitleAim/sSupervisor/s

Australian bush medicines as a source of anti-inflammatory compounds for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease

  1. Assess the potency of a variety of extracts from Australian bush medicines for their anti-inflammatory potential.
  2. Fractionate potent extracts and isolate active components, and determine their chemical structure using 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

Functional connectivity in older adults

  1. Identify the neuroplastic mechanisms for cognitive reserve/decline by exploring how task and resting-state brain networks change with age.

Associate Professor Genevieve Steiner
g.steiner@westernsydney.edu.au

Trial medication compliance through standardised multi-herb formula assessment

  1. Assess the plasma concentrations of a multi-herb formula in samples collected from people with mild cognitive impairment participating in a clinical trial.

Associate Professor Genevieve Steiner
g.steiner@westernsydney.edu.au

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

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

Healthy Lives Through The Cancer Journey

The cancer care program at NICM focuses on understanding how integrative medicine may assist with cancer management and side effects of conventional cancer treatment.

Project TitleAim/sSupervisor/s

Exploring evidence of safety of use of Chinese herbal medicine for women with breast cancer

  1. Evaluate the contents of phytoestrogens in defined Chinese herbal formula.

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

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

Chinese herbal medicine for lung cancer: a systematic review

  1. Investigate the overall research strength in the field.

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

Weight after breast cancer

  1. Review the effectiveness of complementary and lifestyle medicine for managing weight after breast cancer
  2. Conduct qualitative research with consumers to determine research priorities and design in this area
  3. Conduct interventional and mechanistic research to identify effective interventions for weight after breast cancer (e.g. acupuncture, mind body therapies, Shared Medical Appointments).

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

Acupuncture for cancer-related symptoms: protocols and safety considerations

  1. Develop 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

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

Healthy Hearts

The cardiovascular and metabolic health program at NICM focuses on understanding how integrative medicine can assist with the prevention and treatment of various cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Project TitleAim/sSupervisor/s

Association between vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids with cognition assessed by a computerised battery

  1. Determine the association between vitamin D and omega-3 status and cognition as assessed by a computerised battery, electroencephalogram (EEG) testing and a validated food frequency questionnaire.

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

Associate Professor Genevieve Steiner
g.steiner@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Anjalee Amarasekera
a.amarasekera@westernsydney.edu.au

Dr Diana Karamacoska
d.karamacoska@westernsydney.edu.au

In vitro activity of the Chinese medicinal herb, Nao Xin Qing (NXQ) for the treatment of stroke

  1. Assess the antioxidant activity and effect on endothelial dysfunction of the components of the standardised NQX herbal extract.
  2. Assess the synergistic or additive nature of these components.

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

Dr Srinivas Nammi
s.nammi@westernsydney.edu.au

Regulation of tight junction proteins claudin and occludin by herbal medicine in endothelial cells

  1. Assess the action of herbal medicine on the expression of tight junction protein critical to the blood brain barrier function, using in vitro models.

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

Dr Nady Braidy

Dr Ying Xu

Nutrient supplementation and complementary medicine use in people with type 2 diabetes

  1. Assess the use of nutritional supplements and complementary medicine practices by people living with type 2 diabetes.

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

Dr Angelo Sabag
a.sabag@westernsydney.edu.au

Synergy of natural products

  1. Investigate the synergy of natural ingredients in modulating cell functions focussing on on anti-inflammatory cell signalling mechanisms, and involve cell culture and bioassay techniques.

This research is linked to an ARC funded project.

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

Shared medical appoinments (SMAs) and mindfullness for type 2 diabetes

  1. Conduct a systematic review on mindfullness and other mind body therapies for type 2 diabetes.
  2. Conduct a randomised controlled trial on SMAs and mindfullness for type 2 diabetes.

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

Complementary therapies for weight management

  1. Conduct a systematic review on complementary therapies for weight management (acupuncture/mind body/nutraceuticals).
  2. Conduct a qualitative study (e.g. randomised controlled trials, mechanistic work) exploring the views of people with obesity (PwO) on complemetnary therapies for weight management.

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

Effects and mechanism of actions of herbal medicines in vascular reactivity

  1. 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 

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

Effects and mechanism of actions of herbal medicines in neurovascular unit (NVU)

  1. Develop novel herbal formula for the treatment of cerebrovascular diseases, such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.
  2. Assess the effects and mechanisms of action of herbal preparations using a co-culture model of neurovascular unit.

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

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

Combined effects of curcumin and resveratrol on endothelial cell survival against oxidative stress

  1. Investigate the combined effects of curcumin and resveratrol in the protection of the endothelium against oxidative stress using cellular assays and animal models.

Dr Xian (Phoebe) Zhou
p.zhou@westernsydney.edu.au

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

Policy and Evidence Translation

The integrative medicine policy and evidence translation at NICM focuses on working with government to build appropriate policy frameworks and improving integrative healthcare practice by translating high-quality research into relevant guidleines and practice protocols.

Project TitleAim/sSupervisor/s

Practising Chinese medicine in non-private practice

  1. Explore the experience of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners in a non-private practice setting, with a focus on the benefits and challenges of working in an integrated team and with clients who do not pay directly for service.

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

Complementary and integrative therapy education for medical doctors and allied health in Australia: a scoping review

  1. To conduct a scoping review of current educational offerings to medical doctors and allied health professionals to map the current state of complementary and integrative medicine training in Australia, identify gaps, and propose methods to address these gaps.

Dr Carolyn Ee
c.ee@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.
Project TitleAim/sSupervisor/s

Development of new metal-based derivatives of natural products for medical applications

  1. Develop and investigate novel metal-based derivatives of natural products and the medicinal potential.

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

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

Australian medical honey and propolis - chemistry and bioactivity

  1. Identify and charactise active molecules in Australian honey or propolis and study their antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities.

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