In mid-2016 our Department received seed funding from South West Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) to establish a new Academic Unit - the Liver Cancer and Disease Centre. The funds have allowed us to establish the Gastroenterology and Liver laboratory at the Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research. The funding has also enabled infrastructure support for the Hepatitis Clinical Research Unit under the leadership of Conjoint Associate Professor Miriam Levy. Their effective research team of basic scientists and clinical research staff have expanded involvement and capabilities to participate in sponsored clinical trials and investigator-led research projects.
The Liver Research Group (LRG) was established under the leadership of Associate Professor Miriam Levy. Research contributions have improved care and understanding of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in setting of pregnancy, produced materials to empower patients infected with HBV or hepatitis C virus (HCV), and addressed challenges in chronic liver disease and liver cancer. Multiple publications in peer reviewed journal and international recognition have resulted from this work. (South Western Sydney Area has one of the highest rate of viral hepatitis and liver cancer in Australia. Patients are often from Non-English Speaking Background).
Clinical research interests include the use of probiotics to change the composition of the gut flora, nutritional interventions in end stage liver disease, and identifying biomarker predictors of liver injury.
In addition to the above investigator led studies, the group participates in national and international clinical trials and collaborative studies, including many with the clinical trial network of Australian Liver Association (ALA) / Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA).
The Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Research Group was established in 2011 and uses quantitative and qualitative methodology to study and enhance care in clinical service. Research includes designing patient and physician support tools to facilitate patient empowerment in IBD care, investigating the genetics of IBD, the role of diet and the microbiome. We have established Australia’s only public therapeutic drug monitoring service.
The Research Group is a member of National collaborative research organisations including the Australian and New Zealand IBD (ANZIBD) Consortium, Australian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Association (AIBDA), and the Triple I Academic group of Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE). The Group also participates in other collaborative research group studies nationally and internationally as well as sponsored clinical trials.
The Research Group has successfully supervised 9 Independent Learning Project (ILP) students and 1 PhD student with the University of New South Wales. There are currently 2 PhD and 2 Master's students working with the team, which is also involved in research projects with Nursing and Allied Health researchers.
The Gastroenterology and Liver Laboratory (GLL) was established in 2016. The main aim is to understand the molecular mechanisms regulating liver inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and cancer. Novel agents with therapeutic and diagnostic potential using transgenic animals to model human liver disease are under development.
We are studying liver cancer attempting to identify biomarkers to predict patient outcomes. Organoid-related research will increase capacity to study liver disease In Vitro. There are currently 4 PhD students and 2 Masters students working in these areas.
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