Associate Professor Simon Keely

Associate Professor Simon Keely
Scholarship
2018 Scholarship
Scholarship
2018 Scholarship
Equipment Grant
2017 Equipment Grant
Project Grant
2017 Project Grant
Equipment Grant
2017 Equipment Grant
Scholarship
2017 Scholarship
Scholarship
2017 Scholarship
Project Grant
2017 Project Grant
Scholarship
2016 Scholarship
Project Grant
2015 Project Grant
Equipment Grant
2014 Equipment Grant
Project Grant
2014 Project Grant
Project Grant
2014 Project Grant
Project Grant
2013 Project Grant
Scholarship
2011 Scholarship

What are your research interests?

  1. Investigating how tissue oxygen contributes to whether a disease resolves or progresses to chronic inflammation. 
  2. How gastrointestinal inflammation contributes to disease in other organs. 
  3. How the metabolic changes that accompany inflammation influence the microbiome (bacteria in the gut) and its interaction with immune cells.
  4. How diet and pharmaceuticals may influence the microbiome and contribute to food allergy.
  5. How intestinal inflammation and metabolism can influence the development of colorectal cancer.

Why did you get into research?

Many people don't appreciate just how wide spread gastrointestinal diseases are in the community and how much they impact a person's quality of life. Most of these diseases are diagnosed early and are incurable, meaning they are life-long diseases. A stigma is often attached to bowel disease, so it's not talked about as much as other groups of disease. There is a great need for new research and new therapies for gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and food allergy.

Hnowing how these diseases arise, and the biology behind them, is the best way to develop an understanding of how we should treat and cure them. 

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

Our current work has contributed to a new type of drug for Inflammatory Bowel Disease heading towards clinical trials. This is exciting because it's a completely new class of therapy. 

Research often brings up more new questions than answers, but we are finding in our work a theme between gut diseases that was previously thought to be unrelated. As we get a better understanding of how these diseases occur, not only may we be able to treat them but we may also be able to lessen their occurrence in the first place. 

Future Focus

My team's research aims to understand how the interactions between the gastrointestinal immune system and our microbiome, the bacteria that live in our gut, may play a common role in a range of gastointestinal diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergy and gastrointestinal cancer.

Biography

Associate Professor Simon Keely’s research team is focused on studying the cellular processes of digestive disease and infection. The group is particularly interested in mucosal inflammation and how tissues adapt to conditions of oxygen deficiency (hypoxia) in inflamed tissue. This is particularly relevant to chronic inflammatory diseases such as the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD); Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis but may also play a role in the development of gastrointestinal cancers.

Associate Professor Keely is also interested in the changes that occur with microbial interactions during inflammation and how these interactions influence the progression and resolution of mucosal diseases. Our group studies the cellular mechanisms that allow adaption to inflammation, in vitro.

We give our findings physiological context by applying them to in-vivo models and then, through our clinical studies, examine human context in patient tissues. The ultimate goal of this research is to understand how these factors may be pharmacologically manipulated for therapeutic benefit. 

Associate Professor Keely graduated with a PhD. from University College Dublin. He undertook postdoctoral research training at the Mucosal Inflammation Program in University of Colorado Denver before being promoted to junior faculty positions (Instructor and Senior Instructor) in the School of Medicine and receiving a prestigious fellowship from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. Associate Professor Keely moved to University of Newcastle in 2011 and is chief investigator of the HMRI Gastrointestinal Research Group. His work been published in top gastroenterology and basic laboratory science journals, he is a consultant for a number of pharmaceutical companies and sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of Aetheria Therapeutics.

Specialised/Technical Skills

Our group is translational and we have expertise in cell and molecular models of disease, in vivo models of disease and clinical tissue explant models of disease. 

Affiliations

2018

Mary Sawyer PostGraduate Scholarship in Cancer Research
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Georgia Carroll, Dr Simon Keely, Dr Peter Pockney

Description:

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the commonest cancer that affects both men and women in Australia. Approximately one third of patients diagnosed with the disease die from it within five years of diagnosis. Most of these deaths occur from metastatic disease. Many of these cancers develop in patients who had no apparent metastatic disease when they were first treated with what is intended to be curative resection.

more
Emlyn and Jennie Thomas Postgraduate Medical Research Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Bridie Goggins, Dr Simon Keely, Prof Darryl Knight, Dr Jay Horvat

2017

Non- immunosuppressive strategies for the treatment of IBD
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Simon Keely, Dr Andrea Mathe, Dr Gang Liu

Description:

IBD is a group of chronic diseases in GIT of which Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the major phenotypes. Global rates of IBD have risen dramatically in the industrialised world over the last 50 years and Australia has one of the highest incidence rates.

more
Mary Sawyer PostGraduate Scholarship in Cancer Research
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Georgia Carroll, Dr Simon Keely, Dr Peter Pockney

Description:

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the commonest cancer that affects both men and women in Australia. Approximately one third of patients diagnosed with the disease die from it within five years of diagnosis. Most of these deaths occur from metastatic disease. Many of these cancers develop in patients who had no apparent metastatic disease when they were first treated with what is intended to be curative resection.

more
Emlyn and Jennie Thomas Postgraduate Medical Research Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Bridie Goggins, Dr Simon Keely, Prof Darryl Knight, Dr Jay Horvat

Too Much of a Good Thing: Application for a triple-gas incubator to allow cell culture under normal conditions
Equipment Grant
Description:

A very useful and convenient method used in many fields of medical research involves growing cells in the laboratory. Cells are ""cultured"" in plastic dishes in incubators that provide an environment warmed to body temperature, 37 degrees Celsius. Human cells also require carbon dioxide to grow and this is added to the ambient air in the incubator. This kind of cell culture has been used for over a century and has been accepted as the standard way of growing cells in the laboratory. This method is very important and useful in cancer research.

more
Analysis of luminal bacteria at the site of colorectal anastomoses and their association with anastomotic leaks
Project Grant
Researchers:

A/Prof Simon Keely, Dr Peter Pockney, A/Prof Stephen Smith, A/Prof Ian Grainge, Dr Andrea Mathe

Description:

Anastomotic leak (AL), which is when the join between two segments of bowel fails in the immediate post­operative period, is the most feared major complication of colorectal surgery. This surgery is performed as a primary treatment for colorectal cancer and in 70% of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. AL rates are between 3% and 10% of surgeries, and mortality rates up to 39%. Few improvements have been made in the rate of leak in the past 20 years, despite the best efforts of surgeons around the globe.

more
MRSP Equipment Grant
Equipment Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Ussing chamber apparatus to measure barrier ion flux/permeability across multiple tissues in vitro. This includes 4xUSS5SD and USS4SD USSING SYSTEM W/DRAIN, with the EVC4000-4 PRECISION V/I CLAMP 4 CHANNEL voltage/current clamp, 505063 Circulating Water Bath 13L 230V 50HZ, and LAB-TRAX-4 DATA ACQUISITION SYS 4 CHANNEL.

more

2016

Emlyn and Jennie Thomas Postgraduate Medical Research Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:
Description:

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterised by chronic, immune-mediated inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and encompasses a number of conditions including ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). Due to the seriously debilitating nature of IBD, novel therapeutics to improve IBD patient quality of life is a significant healthcare need.

more

2015

A novel model of colorectal cancer for studying personalised tumour biology, metastasis and the role of the microbiome
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains amongst the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in Australia and world-wide.

more

2014

Activating natural protective and healing responses in chronic inflammatory bowel disease
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Simon Keely, Dr Ellen Marks, Associate Professor Marin Veysey

Description:

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is the umbrella term for a group of chronic gastrointestinal diseases which include Crohn’s (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), affecting over 70,000 Australians, for which there is no cure.

more
Triple-gas incubator
Equipment Grant
Description:

Dr Gedye’s basic laboratory research within the HMRI Building will focus on ways of targeting these more aggressive kidney cancer cells, and hopefully lead to novel combinations of old and new drugs to work with the medications routinely used in the clinic.

more
Modulation of emotion by gut signals to the brain
Project Grant

2013

The role of the microbiome in the development of food allergy
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Simon Keely, Jay Horvat 

Description:

The role of the microbiome (gut bacteria) in the development of food allergy

more

2011

Mechanisms of predisposition to secondary bacterial pneumonia - Greaves Family Research Higher Degree Support Grant
Scholarship
Researchers:

 Alexandra Brown, Professor Philip Hansbro, Dr Simon Keely, Dr Jay Horvat