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The Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is committed to excellence in translational research and education. Research in our department is focused mainly on understanding the pathogenesis of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), using a multidisciplinary approach, aimed at identifying new diagnostic/prognostic markers and treatment strategies to the benefit of our patients. Research projects cover all aspects of rhinological research from pathophysiological aspects of CRS to the identification and validation of new treatment strategies in vitro and in vivo, bringing research from bench to bedside.

Our Department of ENT has an excellent track record of Honours and Higher degree supervision with a 100% completion rate. Professor PJ Wormald was recognized for “Excellence in Research Supervision” by The University of Adelaide in 2013. We are always interested in students that have exceptional motivation and are passionate about research and in return we provide them with full support in terms of research supervision direction.

Two new videos made by The University of Adelaide to celebrate the 120th Anniversary of the birth of Howard Florey, feature researchers from the ENT Surgery Group at the Basil Hetzel Institute:



Student Alumni (since 2016)

NameDegreeYearThesis titleSupervisorsScholarship
Lisa Mary CherianPhD, University of Adelaide2019Corticosteroids and the Sinonasal
Wormald PJ, Vreugde S, Psaltis AUniversity of Adelaide International Scholarship
Ashley TwiggerHonours, First class, The University of Adelaide2018Effect of dosage and length of treatment using combination of antimicrobial treatment (deferiprone and gallium-protoporphyrin) against common bacterial infectionsWormald PK, Richter K, Vreugde SThe Hospital Research Foundation Honours Scholarship
Jae MurphyPhD, University of Adelaide.
Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence.
2018The mucosal barrier in Chronic RhinosinusitisWormald PJ, Vreugde S, Psaltis AThe Hospital Research Foundation Scholarship
Hi Yin (Aden) LauPhD, University of Adelaide2018An immunological perspective of the mucosal inflammation in chronic rhinosinusitus - Lymphoid neo-organogenesis and humoral immunityVreugde S, Lester S, Rischmueller MThe Hospital Research Foundation Scholarship and University of Adelaide fee waiver
Alistair JukesPhD, University of Adelaide. Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence & University Doctoral Research Award. 2018Haemostasis in endoscopic skull base surgeryWormald PJ, Vreugde SRoyal Australasian College of Surgeons Scholarship
Katharina RichterPhD, University of Adelaide.
Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence.
2017Towards novel antibiofilm strategiesVreugde S, Wormald PJ and Prestidge CJoint The Hospital Research Foundation, University of Adelaide divisional scholarship
Dijana MiljkovicPhD, University of Adelaide. Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence.2017The role of immune cells in chronic rhinosinusitusWormald PJ, Vreugde S, Psaltis AUniversity of Adelaide divisional scholarship
Thanh Ha PhD, University of Adelaide2017Strategies for controlling bleeding and healing during and after sinus surgeryWormald PJ, Vreugde SAustralian Postgraduate Award
Chun ChanPhD, University of Adelaide2017The microbiome of otitis media with effusion and the influence of Alloicoccus otitidis on Haemophilus influenzae in polymicrobial biofilmWormald PJ, Psaltis A, Vreugde SAustralian Postgraduate Award
Arvind JothinHonours, University of Adelaide2016The effect of colloidal silver sinonasal rinses in recalcitrant chronic rhinosinusitisWormald PJ & Vreugde SThe Hospital Research Foundation Honours Research Scholarship

Student Alumni (2010-2015)

NameDegreeYearsThesis title
Deepti SinghalPhD2009-2011Post-surgical outcomes of endoscopic sinus surgery done for chronic rhinosinusitis associated with biofilms
Joshua Jervis-Bardy PhD2009-2011The aetiology and significance of sinonasal staphylococcus aureus following endoscopic sinus surgery
Sam BoasePhD2009-2011Bacterial biofilm formation in chronic rhinosinusitis: Testing novel treatments using a sheep model
Jasmine Micklen PhD2009-2011Australian Aboriginal Head & Neck Cancer Patients: Health-Related Quality of Life in South Australia and the Northern Territory
Rachel GogginHonours2012Do steroids influence Staphylococcus aureus biofilm growth?
Satish ParamasavinHonours2012Manuka honey augmented with Methyloglyoxal as a novel treatment option for chronic rhinosinusitis: safety and efficacy trial
Camille Jardeleza PhD2010-2012Role of Nitric Oxide in the pathophysiology of Staph Aureus biofilm formation in chronic rhinosinusitis
Zacki MalikHonours2013The role of deciliation and ciliary dysfunction in chronic rhinosinusitis
Ahmed Al-Hussain Honours2013Mechanisms of Staphylococcus aureus persistence within the paranasal sinus mucosa: a tale of immune evasion and encapsulation
Amanda Drilling PhD2011-2013Use of bacteriophage to treat Staphylococcus aureus sinusitis in a sheep model
Sukanya Rajiv PhD2011-2013The efficacy of Chitosan gel on hemostasis in neurosurgical sheep model
Daniel CanteroPhD2011-2013The host Immune Response to Staphylococcus aureus biofilm in Chronic Rhinosinusitis
Neil Tan PhD2011-2013The role of Staphylococcus Aureus in the pathophysiology of Chronic Rhinosinusitis
Edward ClelandPhD2011-2014The relevance of PNAG-producing S.aureus in predicting outcomes following endoscopic sinus surgery
Vikram Padhye PhD2012-2015Early and late complications of endoscopic haemostatic techniques following different carotid artery injury characteristics
Ahmed Bassiouni PhD2012-2015Understanding the role of eosinophilic inflammatory load, fibrosis and remodeling in patients with refractory chronic rhinosinusitis (rCRS) and failure of surgical and medical treatment
Dong DongMaster of Surgery2013-2014Investigating the anti-bacterial properties of liposome-encapsulated Nitric oxide nanoparticles in vitro and in vivo
Honours Degree Projects available in ENT Surgery

Preclinical development of a compound to block microbial secreted toxins

Our pilot data shows that specific bacterial toxins cause damage to the epithelial barrier and are significantly correlated with disease severity. In this project we will screen a library of compounds and test their ability to block the activity of these toxins. In a second step we will test the efficacy of these compounds to block epithelial damage induced by the toxins in an in vivo murine model.

The use of a surgical hydrogel to prevent adhesions after abdominal surgery

Abdominal adhesions are frequent after abdominal surgery with often devastating consequences. In this project we will use a surgical hydrogel complexed with anti-microbial and anti-adhesive compounds to prevent the formation of adhesions after abdominal surgery in an in vivo murine model.

Please contact Associate Professor Sarah Vreugde for more information.

Pathophysiological aspects of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS)

Despite extensive research in the bacteriological and immunological aspects of CRS, the pathogenetic basis of CRS remains poorly understood. Several of our research projects are aimed at understanding molecular, cellular, microbiological and immunological aspects of CRS. For this, we use state-of-the-art technologies and equipment and different physiologically relevant in vitro cell culture models.

New treatment strategies for chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS)

Treatment of CRS is aimed at controlling rather than curing the disease. However, despite optimal treatment measures, a significant subset of patients do not respond well and require multiple surgical interventions and repetitive antibiotic treatments, favouring the development of Staphylococcus strains resistant to all known antibiotics (MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). There is thus a need for the identification of further and improved therapeutic targets to treat this complex disease.

Pre-clinical and clinical studies testing the use of Chitosan gel

Professor PJ Wormald, in collaboration with a research team in New Zealand, was the first to develop a novel surgical gel (Chitosan-Dextran gel) that has shown positive effects on wound healing following Endoscopic Sinus Surgery. Different projects are investigating the use of the gel as a carrier for different pharmaceutical compounds in vitro, in vivo and in clinical studies in the immediate post-operative period.

Treatment of large vessel injuries as a complication of sinus surgery

We have established a large animal model to study different treatment possibilities to arrest bleeding from large vessel injuries and have ongoing projects on this topic.

Granting BodyProject TitleType of GrantTotal Grant AmountFunding Period
NHMRCIn vivo evaluation of the safety and efficacy of a novel chitosan gel in the reduction of adhesions following abdominal surgery in both animal and human modelsProject grant$514,9762013-2015
NHMRCA novel nitric oxide-based treatment for recalcitrant Staphylococcus aureus-associated chronic rhinosinusitisProject grant$522,9572013-2015
Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial FoundationThe clinical significance of intracellular Staphylococcus aureus in CRSProject grant
Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial FoundationUnravelling the role of type 2 innate lymphoid cells and their activating cytokines IL25, IL33 and TSLP in chronic rhinosinusitisScholarship2013-2015
Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial FoundationTreatment and prevention of injuries to large arterial vessels in the ENT surgical settingResearch Scientist Fellowship$225,0002013-2015
Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial FoundationSinonasal microbial and immune homeostasis and its breakdown in Chronic RhinosinusitisConjoint grant$375,0002014-2016
The Hospital Research FoundationBacteriophage: a novel treatment of chronic rhinosinusitisProject Grant$300,0002014-2015
Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial FoundationThe effect of corticosteroid therapy on the host immune response and microbiome profile in CRSConjoint grant$375,0002015-2017
Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial FoundationThe mucosal barrier in CRSAcademic Surgeon Scientist Research Fellowship (Murphy J)$123,9922016-2018
The University of AdelaideThe microbiome in chronic rhinosinusitisInvestment for success NHMRC Near miss grant$10,0002017
The Hospital Research FoundationPreclinical development of a novel formulation to prevent adhesions post-abdominal surgeryNear miss project grant$75,0002017
The Hospital Research FoundationA novel formulation to prevent epidural adhesions post-laminectomyDevelopment Grant$200,0002017-2018
The University of Adelaide/The Hospital Research FoundationIroning out superbugs: validation and translation of a novel treatment that kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria by targeting iron metabolismResearch Fellowship$145,0002018
The University of Adelaide/The Hospital Research FoundationA new medicated surgical hydrogel to improve wound healing after endoscopic sinus surgeryCAS Grant$120,0002018
Cure4CFA new treatment for cystic fibrosis chronic relapsing upper airway infectionsProject Grant$27,0002018
Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial FoundationMagnetic Nanotechnology for diagnostics and guided therapeutics in oral cancerAcademic Surgeon Scientist Research Scholarship (Krishnan G)$70,0002018-2019
Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial FoundationHost-Microbe interactions in chronic rhinosinusitisAcademic Surgeon Scientist Research Scholarship (Paramasivam S)$70,0002018-2019
The Hospital Research FoundationA novel medicated resorbable adhesion barrier device for use in abdominal surgeryDevelopment Grant$150,0002018-2020
The Hospital Research FoundationA new treatment for cystic fibrosis chronic relapsing upper airway infectionsTranslational Grant$250,0002018-2020
Cystic Fibrosis South AustraliaA new treatment for cystic fibrosis chronic relapsing upper airway infectionsProject Grant$60,0002018-2020
The Hospital Research FoundationChitosan dextran (Chitogel) with and without Deferiprone and Gallium Protoporphryn: wound healing and postoperative outcomes in Chronic RhinosinusitisPhD Scholarship (Vediappan R)$112,0002018-2020
The Hospital Research FoundationA Trojan Horse strategy for antimicrobial biologicalsMid Career Fellowship (Thomas N)$540,0002018-2021
Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial FoundationA novel treatment for S.aureus recalcitrant Chronic RhinosinusitisConjoint Grant$375,0002019-2021
NHMRC (#1153663)A novel medicated surgical hydrogel to prevent epidural adhesions post-laminectomyDevelopment Grant$522,6072019-2021
NHMRC (#1164562)Maximising the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory performance of next generation therapeutics for Chronic RhinosinusitisProject Grant$767,3892019-2021

Please also refer to page 63 of the 2018 BHI Research Report.

CollaboratorsDepartment or ProjectInstitutionCityCountry
Professor Guy Maddern and Dr Ehud HaubenSurgical Science Research Group, Department of SurgeryBasil Hetzel Institute TQEH and The University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
A/Professor Maureen Rischmueller and Sue LesterRheumatology Research Group and Department of MedicineBasil Hetzel Institute TQEH and University of Adelaide AdelaideAustralia
Professor P. Hwang and Dr M. CostaDepartment of ENTStanford University Medical schoolStanfordUSA
Dr R. DouglasDepartment of ENTGillies HospitalAucklandNew Zealand
Dr Steve Moratti, Prof Lyal Hanton, and Prof Brian RobinsonChemistry Department.
Development of a novel chitosan based gel to prevent adhesion formation in the nose and sinuses, in the abdomen and in spinal surgery. NHMRC project grant.
Otago UniversityOtagoNew Zealand
Professor Wytske FokkensDepartment of ENT. The use of a bacteriophage cocktail to treat bacterial biofilmsAcademic Medical CentreAmsterdamThe Netherlands
Professor R Schlosser (Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston), A/Prof S Wise (Emory University Atlanta), Prof S Govindara (Mt Sinai, New York), A/Prof B Woodworth (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa), Prof I Witterick. (University of Toronto, Canada) Departments of ENT.
Factors that impact perioperative co-morbiditiy in endoscopic skull base procedures
Charleston, Atlanta, New York, Tuscaloosa, TorontoUSA and Canada
Professor R. KernDepartment of ENT.

Characterisation of B-cells in CRS
Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
Professor G. DubinThe X-ray Crystallography Laboratory, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology and Malopolska Centre of BiotechnologyJagiellonian University in KrakowKrakowPoland
Research Groups led by Prof. Clive Prestidge and A/Prof. B. ThierryDepartment of Nanomedicine.
(1) NH&MRC project grant, A novel nitric oxide-based treatment for recalcitrant Staphylococcus aureus-associated chronic rhinosinusitis, (2) Development of novel nanoparticles for use in the treatment and prevention of bacterial biofilms
University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
Research Groups led by Prof. J. Mitchell and P. SpeckDepartment of Microbiology.
The use of a bacteriophage cocktail to treat bacterial biofilms
Flinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
Special Phage ServicesThe use of a bacteriophage cocktail to treat bacterial biofilmsSydneyAustralia
Special Phage Services
Dr S. Kidd
Department of microbiology.
Genetics and genomics of small colony variants in CRS.
University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia