Higher Degree Research Opportunities

Area of Research
Supervisors
Acupuncture for weight loss in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: a systematic review and qualitative study

The project will conduct a systematic review on acupuncture for weight loss in PCOS, including search of Chinese databases.  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 will also be undertaken.

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

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

Discovery of new therapeutic agents from Danshen (PDF, 41.7 KB)  (opens in a new window) The project will study the pharmacological actions of bioactive compounds of Danshen and their derivatives.  

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

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

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

Anti-cancer actions of Chinese herbal medicines (PDF, 41.69 KB)  (opens in a new window) The project will investigate the anticancer actions of Chinese herbal medicines in vitro and in vivo. 

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

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

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

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

Neuroprotective and angiogenic effects of herbal medicine in zebrafish This project will assess the neuroprotective and angiogenic effects of herbal medicine and its key bioactive components using the zebrafish model.

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

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

A pilot randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled trial to evaluate the effects of NXQ for ischemic strokeThere is a lack of pharmaceutic options for ischemic stroke. This pilot trial aims to evaluate the clinical effectiveness and safety of NXQ in patients with ischemic stroke during the rehabilitation period

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

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

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

In vitro activity of a standardise herbal formula Nao Xin Qing (NXQ) for the treatment of stroke
  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.

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

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

Effectiveness and safety of a standardised herbal formulation on diabetic kidney diseaseDiabetic nephropathy is one of the common causes of renal failure. This clinical study aims to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of a standardised herbal formula in patient with diabetic nephropathy.

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

Professor Alan Bensoussan
a.bensoussan@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.

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 

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

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

In silicon modelling to identify potential herb(s) for cardiovascular diseasesThis project aims to identify potential herbs which can be used for cardiovascular diseases management using an in silicon model. The effects and toxicity of the identified herbs identified will be evaluated using a pre-clinical assays and clinical trial.

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

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

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

Multi-omics study of the effects of herbal medicine in zebrafish model of chronic ischemiaThis project will evaluate the neuro- and cardio- protective effects of herbal medicine using 'omics' approach.

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)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 

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

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 

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 diabetes

This 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  

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 

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  

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

Clinical / Translational

The role of acupuncture with achieving weight loss prior to gynaecology surgery

The aim of the project is 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

Development of a treatment protocol for pre birth treatment

The aim of the project is to:

  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 and complementary therapies in weight loss in breast cancer survivors

The aim of the project is to:

  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

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

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. 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

The impact of the menstrual cycle on professional and semi-professional female athletes: a mixed methods study
  1. To explore the potential impact of menstruation, PMS and dysmenorrhea on training and sports performance.
  2. To explore the feasibility of therapeutic interventions for PMS/dysmenorrhea based on diet, exercise and lifestyle.

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

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

Barriers to healthcare in women with chronic pelvic pain
  1. To explore the experiences of women with chronic pelvic pain, with and without a diagnosis of endometriosis.
  2. To develop guidelines for both groups of women that can be used to help improve the groups access to healthcare resources.

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

Functional connectivity in older adultsNeuroplasticity is thought to be one of the mechanisms behind cognitive reserve – the reason why cognition declines in some people and not others as we age.  This project will identify neuroplastic mechanisms by exploring how task and resting-state brain networks change with age.

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

Dr Siobhan Schabrun
s.schabrun@westernsydney.edu.au 

 

Electrophysiological correlates of decision-making strategies in older adultsOlder adults tend to use strategies that emphasise task accuracy over speed, where young adults, typically do the reverse, emphasising speed over accuracy.  There are distinct changes in brain function with age, but it is unknown whether any of these changes are actually due to the task strategy, rather than age-related pathology.  This project will explore this important question by assessing differences in the brain function that underpins decision-making strategies in young and older adults.

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

Dr Phoebe Bailey
p.bailey@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

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

 

Electrophysiological biomarkers of Alzheimer's diseaseThis project will triangulate data from a range of sources in order to identify novel, inexpensive, yet widely available biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease.  Applicants with a background in neuroscience, anatomy and physiology, medical science, or computer science would have a distinct advantage.

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

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

Using plasma concentrations of a standardised multi-herb formula to assess trial medication complianceAssessing drug plasma concentrations provides an objective measure of compliance in clinical trials.  This pharmacokinetic project will assess the plasma concentrations of a multi-herb formula in samples collected from people with mild cognitive impairment participating in a clinical trial.

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

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

A multimodal mind-body exercise program for people living with dementia and their carers: The Tai Chi ChallengeDementia is the leading cause of disability in older adults, and second leading cause of death in Australia – currently there is no cure.  Non-pharmacological therapies that may slow disease progression offer the greatest chance of reducing disease burden.  Tai Chi is a multimodal mind-body exercise that has been shown to improve cognition, physical function, activities of daily living, and reduce falls in older adults at risk of cognitive decline, and may be beneficial for people with dementia.  This Australia-first project will assess the feasibility and efficacy of a Tai Chi program designed specifically for people with dementia and their carers.

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

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

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

Working to integrate Australian Indigenous medicines in to local healthcare 

Working with specific Aboriginal communities and knowledge holders to explore ways of integration of local medicinal knowledge and culture into local healthcare practices.  

Dr Emilie Ens

Chinese herbal medicine for hot flushes in breast cancer survivors: A randomised, placebo-controlled, cross-over, multi-central clinical trialThis project will explore evidence of effectiveness and safety in the area

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

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

Professor Paul de Souza
p.desouza@westernsydney.edu.au

Chinese herbal medicine for chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy: A randomised, placebo-controlled, multi-central clinical trialThis project will explore evidence of effectiveness and safety in the area

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

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

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

Professor Paul de Souza
p.desouza@westernsydney.edu.au