Making Better USe of Blood

The Program

The Blood Synergy is a NHMRC-funded program of research coordinated by the Transfusion Research Unit at Monash University. The program provides new knowledge on conventional and novel blood products, and health systems and health economics data to tackle the fundamental questions: How are blood products used in Australia, and how can their use be improved and made more cost-effective?

Our Purpose

Addressing Australia’s National Transfusion Research Priorities

Research that is focused on addressing Australia’s national transfusion priorities to deliver safer and more appropriate transfusion support for patients, help guide better stewardship of national blood supplies, and reduce costs to the community.

Who We Are

We are an alliance of leading Australian and international investigators with expertise in transfusion medicine. Our team have established research and practice improvement collaborations with governments, blood services, community and professional organisations, and industry, to rapidly translate new evidence into practice.

Making Better Use of Blood

Blood is a precious natural resource. Adequate supplies of safe blood products are a critical element of our national health system, and fundamental to modern healthcare. Blood must also be used judiciously: it is donated by volunteers, and carries risks and great cost to the community – Australia spends more than $1.2 billion every year on blood products, including red blood cells, platelets, plasma and immunoglobulin.

Blood transfusions are required by a range of patient groups, including those suffering haemorrhage as a result of trauma, obstetric, surgical or gastrointestinal bleeding, through to the critically ill in intensive care, and those with blood diseases such as myelodysplasia, myeloma, lymphoma and leukaemia.

The Blood Synergy program is focused on how blood products are used now, and how they can be better used in the future to improve patient outcomes. We then assess the effectiveness of new approaches through robust clinical trials, to provide the evidence that informs blood policy and practice both within Australia, and internationally.

Building Australia’s Transfusion Research Capacity

We are building Australia’s transfusion research capacity, bringing together expertise and resources from across clinical and research fields. Our team are international leaders in transfusion medicine and its related disciplines, and we are passionate about improving patient outcomes.

We are equally passionate about training and supporting the next generation of leaders in clinical research. We’re proud to have a number of emerging research leaders in the Blood Synergy, including our exceptional PhD candidates, who are each making an important contribution to transfusion medicine.

Please contact us if you are interested in collaborating, or are a student interested in joining our team. We’d love to hear from you!

Dr Andrew Flint

Clinician PhD student Dr Andrew Flint is interested in transfusion practice in critical illness. Andrew’s research, supervised by Prof Michael Reade, A/Prof Zoe McQuilten and Prof Erica Wood, examines both the clinical and health economics aspects of platelet transfusions, particularly in the setting of critical illness. The ultimate focus of these studies is to improve platelet transfusion practices and outcomes.

Andrew’s studies are also driven by an enjoyment of research and learning. “Research is creative, it keeps me interested and motivated, and it expands my knowledge beyond my clinical work and understanding”

Prior to studying Medicine, Andrew obtained honours degrees in Engineering and Economics. In parallel to his PhD studies, Andrew is also a medical officer in the Royal Australian Navy supported under the Military Specialist Program to do specialty training in intensive care medicine, and prior to this completed general practice training.

Andrew is an associate investigator of the Blood Synergy program, as well as a co-Chair of the program’s Critical illness/Critical care working group.

Dr Allison Mo

Dr Mo is a clinical and laboratory haematologist at Austin Health and Monash Health, and an early career clinical researcher with interests in haematologic malignancies and transfusion medicine. She commenced her PhD with the Transfusion Research Unit at Monash University in 2018, working under the supervision of Prof Erica Wood, A/Prof Zoe McQuilten and A/Prof Jake Shortt.

Allison’s research focuses on optimisation of transfusion practices in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes, a group of diseases affecting the production of normal blood cells. Her studies form part of the international REDDS-2 trial, a pilot study examining the feasibility of weekly red blood cell transfusion for people with transfusion-dependent myelodysplastic syndromes.

“I am motivated by my patients, and hope that my work can improve their clinical outcomes and quality of life.”

Allison has been awarded scholarships from NHMRC, HSANZ, National Blood Authority and Monash University for her studies, and is an associate investigator of the Blood Synergy program.

Dr Brenton Sanderson

PhD candidate Dr Brenton Sanderson is a specialist anaesthetist with an interest in integration of IT systems and anaesthesia care to improve patient outcomes. His PhD, undertaken at Macquarie University under a team of multidisciplinary supervisors, Prof Enrico Coiera, Prof Erica Wood, Dr Lise Estcourt and Dr Jeremy Field, investigates decision support tools for massive transfusion.

“Managing patients requiring massive transfusion involves high stakes and time critical decisions which I hope to support by creating an evidence based and co-designed decision support system” explains Brenton.

His work is motivated by the potential of computer systems to help provide better care for patients. Brenton says, “My mission is to unlock this potential and show clinicians the many benefits of computers and humans working together”

“Research goes beyond what we learn from clinical practice everyday to tease out the cause and effect and share this knowledge with others”

Dr Sanderson is an associate investigator of the Blood Synergy program, and co-Chair of the Critical illness/Critical care working group.

Dr Khai Li Chai

Dr Chai is a consultant haematologist and PhD candidate with interests in blood diseases and supportive care medicine. Her PhD research focuses on the use of immunoglobulin therapy in the treatment of hypogammaglobulinaemia, a condition where the body does not produce enough antibodies, resulting in serious and recurrent infections.

Working under the supervision of Prof Erica Wood, and A/Prof Zoe McQuilten at Monash University, Khai Li’s studies examine whether immunoglobulin therapy or antibiotics are more effective in managing recurrent infections in people living with blood cancers such as leukaemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.

“While I enjoy treating patients and diagnosing health conditions by working as a clinician and pathologist, being able to learn and delve more deeply into the field of research and contribute more to our current understanding of blood cancers is very important. The main thing I want to achieve with my research is to contribute to a future of individualised and sustainable therapy while maintaining quality of life for people living with blood cancers.”