OCTOBER 15th, 12-1pm


Health Sciences Building, Lecture Theatre Room 1.09

Flinders University, Bedford Park Campus


Professor Julie Ratcliffe

"Balancing a career with family life"


Julie is the Professor and Head of Flinders Health Economics Group (Flinders Health Care and Workforce Innovation) and Chair of the Flinders Centre for Clinical Change and Health Care Research, a Flinders University collaborative of over 80 members focusing upon the translation of evidence to clinical outcomes across multiple health care disciplines. Prior to this appointment Julie has held academic positions at Sheffield University, Brunel University and the University of Aberdeen.

She has established a strong track record in health economics research. During the course of her career she has been a chief investigator on 35 research grants totalling over $18 million. Julie has over 130 papers in peer reviewed journals, including some of the most prestigious international health journals such as the British Medical Journal, Health Economics, and Social Science and Medicine. She has co-authored 40 commissioned reports and discussion papers. She has also written a book commissioned by Oxford University Press and three book chapters.

She is also a wife, a mother to three children, a daughter and a friend. She has offered to share her hard won insights into achieving a successful career and having a life that works – most of the time!



Advanced Studies Research:
Information for Clinical, Academic and Professional Staff
who are considering to offer a Research Project

Presenter: Professor Neil Piller,
Advanced Studies Coordinator, School of Medicine

Thursday 14th May, 3pm – 4pm
Room 103/105 Health Sciences Building, Repatriation General Hospital
If you missed the seminar it can be view here!

What is Advanced Studies?

• It is a research/scholarship theme integrated across all years of the Flinders MD program.
• It is an opportunity for MD students to undertake supervised research activities (or postgraduate coursework) in Years 2 and 3 of our MD program.
• It offers collaborative research opportunities for our students with clinical, academic and professional staff within and across all sites and discipline areas broadly related to Medicine.

How can you be a part of Advanced Studies Research?

• By offering a research project for a student (or multiple projects);
• By listing your name as a potential research supervisor with details on your broad area of research interest.
A research supervisor will
• Receive $1000 per 4.5 units (a total of $2000 over two years) to assist with project consumables and other costs (such as publication).
• Require the student to undertake a literature review/critique of the area.
• Monitor student progress through regular meetings and provide progress reports.
• Expect the student to present findings in a peer-reviewed setting and encourage the student to publish the research outcomes.

Applications close on June 1, 2015.





Low Dose steroids linked to diabetes

Dr Carolyn Petersons

Anti-inflammatory steroids are known to increase the risk of diabetes in high doses, but now researchers from Flinders University have discovered a link between low dose steroids and diabetes.

As part of her just-completed PhD in the School of Medicine, Dr Carolyn Petersons (pictured) studied the effect of anti-inflammatory steroids on the body’s ability to metabolise glucose – a key factor in diabetes – in a sample of patients who were taking the drug in low doses to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

The study analysed nine patients given anti-inflammatory steroids for rheumatoid arthritis for a one-week period and compared the results with 12 long-term steroid users.

Anti-inflammatory steroids are traditionally administered post-transplant and to treat a range of autoimmune disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease. In rheumatoid arthritis, steroids may help relieve pain and discomfort, reduce swelling and provide better joint function and mobility.

While steroids have been previously found to raise blood sugar levels in high doses, which can lead to diabetes, Dr Petersons said her study showed low doses also had a similar effect.

“Low dose steroids are prescribed to about one per cent of the population but until now, no one has really studied the effect of low doses over a long period of time,” Dr Petersons said.

“Essentially what my research found is that a low dose of steroids – even after a week – increase the amount of glucose (sugar) your body makes when fasting,” she said.

“We looked at how sensitive the patient’s body was to insulin before and during steroid use and found that the steroids made them less sensitive to insulin.

“If you’re less sensitive to insulin it means your blood sugar levels are going to be higher because insulin works to lower blood sugar levels, and too much sugar in the blood leads to diabetes.”

Based on the results, Dr Petersons said doctors should rethink prescribing anti-inflammatory steroids in conditions requiring low doses over a prolonged period.

“Knowing how steroids affect insulin sensitivity in the body means we can find the right kind of treatment to target the underlying cause of the diabetes, but it also means we need to be more vigilant in screening patients so we don’t miss people who have steroid-induced diabetes.

“Finally, we should be looking at alternative ways to treat these conditions instead of using steroids, particularly in patients who may be at high risk of developing diabetes.

The study was published in Diabetes Care, a leading journal of the American Diabetes Association, in print in September 2013, and was recently named one of Flinders University’s Best Student Research Paper Awards for 2013.

Original article published by Marketing and Communications




 Early career researchers forge ahead


Dr Gang Chen, Research Fellow in Health Economics will receive support from the 2015 Vice-Chancellor’s Early Career Researcher Awards, just announced by Flinders University.

The awards recognise 11 leading junior academic researchers from across the University’s four faculties.

The winners are:

  • Dr Lisa Bennett, School of Humanities
  • Dr Russell Brewer, School of Law
  • Dr Kylie Cardell, School of Humanities
  • Dr Gang Chen, School of Medicine
  • Dr Xianjue Chen, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
  • Dr Owen Churches, School of Psychology
  • Dr Diane Colombelli-Negrel, School of Biological Sciences
  • Dr Jim McCallum, School of the Environment
  • Dr Michael Morrison, School of the Humanities
  • Dr Grace Skrzypiec, School of Education
  • Dr Yuting Yang, School of the Environment

Each winner will receive a cash prize of $2,500 to build their respective research programs, as well as a certificate to be presented by Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling at an awards ceremony on March 27.

The initiative, launched in 2009, aims to reward and promote individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to research at the University since finishing their PhDs.

- See more at: 



2012 NEWS

  2012_news (PDF 121KB)


2011 NEWS

  2011_News (PDF 83KB)





inspiring achievement