Public Lecture: Lab to Life - Moving Science into Practice

November 22, 2017 - 6:00pm to 7:45pm
Public Lecture: Lab to Life - Moving Science into Practice

The gap between research discovery and practice can be extensive and frustrating no matter where you sit on the stakeholder spectrum- as a scientist, health professional or community member who will be the ultimate beneficiary of advancements in health and medical research. It is estimated to take around 17 years for only 14% of scientific discoveries to be adopted into everyday clinical practice (Westfall, 2007).

The ‘Lab to Life’ Public Lecture will address gaps that exist at present in cancer treatment and describe how research members and collaborators of the Hunter Cancer Research Alliance (HCRA) are working to bridge some of these gaps. Are translational research models - whereby scientists, clinicians, health services managers, and public health experts work in partnerships making a difference? What can be done to speed up the ‘translation’ of new research discoveries from the lab and into everyday clinical practice for more immediate impact on cancer patient treatment and outcomes? How might patient-centred approaches to translational cancer research and clinical service provision assist in delivering improved patient outcomes?


Simon Keely

Associate Professor Keely graduated with a PhD. from University College, Dublin. He undertook postdoctoral research training at the Mucosal Inflammation Program at the University of Colorado, Denver before being promoted to junior faculty positions (Instructor and Senior Instructor of Medicine) in the School of Medicine and receiving a prestigious fellowship from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America before moving to University of Newcastle in 2011. He is chief investigator of the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Gastrointestinal Research Group and a current Cancer Institute NSW (CINSW) Career Development Fellow. His work has been published in top gastroenterology and basic laboratory science journals and he is a consultant for a number of pharmaceutical companies. 

A/Prof Keely’s research team includes both clinical and biomedical researchers and is part of the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Digestive Health and Neurogastroenterology and Priority Research Centre for Cancer Research, innovation and Translation. The team’s work is focused on studying the cellular processes of digestive disease and infection. The group is particularly interested in how gastrointestinal tissues adapt to conditions of oxygen deficiency (known as hypoxia). This is particularly relevant to chronic inflammatory diseases such as the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD); Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and may also play a role in the development of bowel cancers and complications following gastrointestinal surgery. 

The team’s current work includes National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), CINSW and industry–funded research and covers the role of the microbiota in inflammatory bowel disease and food allergy, novel models of colorectal cancer and metastasis and research aimed at improving post-operative outcomes following bowel surgery.

Talk Title: Bench to Bedside Translation

As a lab-based researcher, A/Prof Keely and team have spent considerable amounts of time understanding the cellular processes of disease and infection. For A/Prof Keely, adopting a translational model of working was necessary to ensure the findings from the lab-based work could address clinically-relevant questions. A/Prof Keely will be sharing his perspective on the ‘key ingredients’ for research translation, drawing on examples of his work studying inflammatory bowel diseases and the role such diseases may play in the development of bowel cancer and increased susceptibility to complications following gastrointestinal surgery. 

Barry Bultz

Barry D. Bultz, PhD, holds the Daniel Family Leadership Chair in Psychosocial Oncology and is Professor and Head, Division of Psychosocial Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. 

He is Director, Department of Psychosocial and Rehabilitation Oncology; Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary. Dr. Bultz is a co-founder and Past President of the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology. He served as an Invited Director of the Board of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society. From 2012 to 2014, Dr. Bultz served as President of the International Psycho-Oncology Society. 

He advocates for the recognition of the impact of cancer-related distress (the 6th Vital Sign) on patient experience and has published and presents frequently on the importance of screening and management of distress. His work with cancer patients has seen him receive many awards, including the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award, the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2016, and the Arthur Sutherland Award from the International Psycho-Oncology Society in 2016. In February 2017 he was elected Fellow of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society-the first for a non-American. 

Talk Title Improving Supportive Care for People Living with Cancer

As an internationally recognised leader in the psychosocial research in oncology populations, Prof Barry Bultz knows all too well how difficult it can be for cancer patient’s concerns to be identified in a health service fraught with time pressure and complex care pathways. Prof Bultz is an advocate for addressing patient concerns throughout cancer treatment in a way where psychosocial care is regarded as of equal importance to the treatment of the disease itself. Prof Bultz will reflect on his experiences and strategies undertaken to enhance the clinical care of cancer patients in a way that adds to a better quality of life for patients and their family, with a surprising beneficiary – the health system.  

Liz Fradgley

Dr Fradgley is interested in understanding and promoting the delivery of patient-centred care with recent publications exploring how patients can be involved in evaluating and redesigning health services to better meet patient needs. More recently, Liz has collaborated with the Cancer Councils of New South Wales and Victoria to implement telephone-based screening and referral protocols for distressed cancer patients and their significant others. This project aims to increase telephone callers' use of supportive care services and lower their distress levels. This work aligns closely with Liz's interest in patient-centred care by helping cancer patients to engage with psycho-social support services throughout the  cancer journey. With funding from the Hunter Cancer Research Alliance, Liz also recently completed a national audit of distress screening and management practices in 122 Australian cancer services.

Talk Title: The distressed cancer patient’s journey: an Australian audit of distress screening and management practices in cancer services. 
Talking points:  Liz will aim to answer four key questions:

  1. Given the benefits of screening, are patients being asked about their emotional wellbeing?
  2. Which patients are being asked and when?
  3. How do health professionals and services support distressed cancer patients?
  4. What are the barriers to improving distress screening in the Australian context?  


Audience members will be given the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters and discuss points raised during the presentations before enjoying a light supper with tea and coffee. 

Newcastle Conservatorium
Cnr Auckland and Laman Street
Newcastle, New South Wales 2300