The Aftershock Grant – Research Project Update October 2019

Monash University and the Department of Neuroscience

Monash University was established in Melbourne, Australia in 1958, centred in Clayton. Monash is a youthful organisation, enthusiastic, optimistic and accessible. Monash believes quality education and research can change the world for the better.

The Department of Neuroscience is one of the departments within the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. It is the first and only university academic department in Australia specifically focusing on neuroscience. Established in early 2018, we collaborate with the Alfred Hospital to work on the clinical and basic research challenges of neurology and neuroscience. With more than 170 clinicians, researchers and students involved across 20 critical areas of neuroscience, the Department’s pioneering research takes a bedside-to-bench-to-bedside approach to directly improve outcomes for patients. This integrated way of solving major challenges in neurological diseases is due to strong collaborations with healthcare providers. These local, national and international partnerships give the Department’s researchers the opportunity to work closely with clinicians and patients to translate findings from the lab into clinical trials or treatments that will have tangible health benefits for people and communities.

The Aftershock Grant – Neuroscience Research Update

Earlier in 2019, The Aftershock commenced support for Professor Meng Law, Head of Clinical Imaging, and his team to research into how to use AI to predict the appearance and growth of brain tumours on MRI.

Professor Law’s research aims to determine imaging, genomic, other biomarkers in the early diagnosis of neurogenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimers Disease), apply artificial intelligence for diagnoses and test new therapeutic agents in clinical trials. The research centres on pre-clinical and translational clinical imaging in neurological disease but also some non-neurological diseases. Meng and his team utilize state of the art and ultra-high field MRI, PET, CT, magnetic particle imaging, photon microscopy approaches towards imaging pathology. They also house a data warehouse and repository for imaging, genomics, biomarker, pathology and other data to be used for machine learning, deep learning, artificial intelligence applications in diagnostics and therapeutics. They also perform pre-clinical and clinical trials on novel therapeutics in neurodegenerative diseases and non-neurological diseases.

The research so generously supported by The Aftershock will look at improving the diagnosis and management of brain tumours through the use of novel artificial intelligence, to visualise the future growth patterns of brain tumours and their response to treatment on MRI. This research is crucial in the fight against cancer. Predicting growth and response to treatment is difficult, and due to the availability of significantly improved computing power, the sheer amount of data that can be processed and analysed by AI is growing exponentially, and allows AI to learn from researchers’ and clinicians’ accumulated prior experience. This pioneering approach can then be applied to other cancers.

The team wishes to express their appreciation to all The Aftershock supporters and donors.