About ASIG

The Australian Scleroderma Interest Group (ASIG) is a collaboration of rheumatologists who operate multidisciplinary scleroderma centres around Australia. They aim to improve the outcomes of people with scleroderma through a screening program for the heart and lung complications of scleroderma. They undertake a comprehensive research program for clinically important aspects of the disease based on the Australian Scleroderma Cohort Study (ASCS).
Welcome Message from ASIG Chair

Welcome to the Australian Scleroderma Interest Group (ASIG) website. Since its inception in 2007 to facilitate state-of-the-art care and research in scleroderma, ASIG has made dozens of impactful contributions to inform management of this complex and at times devastating multi-organ autoimmune disease. Through leadership of international research projects, together with nationwide and global inter-disciplinary collaborations, ASIG is now recognised worldwide as a leader in the field of scleroderma.

ASIG is proud to foster and facilitate the training and career development of new and emerging investigators. ASIG achievements have been recognised with numerous awards and prizes including the Australian Rheumatology Association’s Collaborative Research Prize in 2018.

Now well into our second decade, we look forward to great things to come as we work with our patient support and advocacy partners Scleroderma Victoria and Scleroderma Australia to bring hope of a better future for those living with scleroderma.

ASIG's Aims
The primary objective of ASIG is to enhance clinical care by increasing the rate of screening scleroderma-related heart-lung complications to allow earlier identification of patients at high risk, and institution of timely treatment. Another key objective is to identify and quantify risk and prognostic factors for cardiopulmonary outcomes in scleroderma and Mixed Connective Tissue Disease through the systematic prospective collection of clinical and laboratory data. Over time, the aims have expanded to:
  • Contribution to research into predisposing factors for serious complications which requires a large cohort study such as the ASCS
  • National data linkage to quantify burden of disease and disease outcomes
  • Contribution to an understanding of the most effective treatments
  • Foster research in Scleroderma among early career rheumatologists and advanced trainees
  • Annual research workshop immediately prior to the Australian Rheumatology Association annual conference, open to interested annual conference registrants.

Mission, Vision and Values

Our Mission

The Australian Scleroderma Interest Group’s mission is to provide a research platform for collaborative research, nationally and internationally, for the benefit of people with scleroderma.

Our Vision

To be recognised globally as the Australian leader in scleroderma research.

Our Values

The following values drive the organisation’s culture and provide a framework for decisions.

  • Striving for scientific excellence
  • Collaboration
  • Accountability and integrity
  • Partnership with patients and advocacy for scleroderma care and research
  • Training and mentoring of emerging researchers in scleroderma

ASIG Executive Committee
ASIG has an Executive Committee and falls under the auspices of the Australian Rheumatology Association.
Prof Mandana Nikpour
ASIG Executive Committee

Dr Wendy Stevens
ASIG Secretary

Dr Gene-Siew Ngian
ASIG Treasurer

Prof Susanna Proudman
Chair of ASIG Scientific Committee

Key  Personnel
Maryam Tabesh
ASIG Project Officer
Dr Maryam Tabesh is a project officer working at the Department of Rheumatology at St Vincent’s hospital, Melbourne. Maryam has over 10 years of experience in conducting clinical research with focus on chronic disease. She has a PhD in Epidemiology and a Master of public health. In her role as a research officer, she is managing and co-ordinating the national Australian Scleroderma Interest Group (ASIG), national research project and database. She is co-ordinating biological specimen collection and recruitment of patients across sites. Maryam is managing data requests and assisting in management of funds and preparation of budgets.
Mr Dylan Hansen
ASIG Biostatistician
Dylan Hansen joined ASIG as a biostatistician in 2019 with 7 years’ experience in public health working for the Royal Australasian college of surgeons. Dylan has a Master’s degree in Biostatistics from Macquarie university and an undergraduate degree is a bachelor of Biomedical Science majoring in Pharmaceutical Science from RMIT university.
Ms Mahin Moghaddami
ASIG Biobank Manager
Mahin Moghaddami joined Australian Scleroderma Interest Group (ASIG), as a Biobank Manager, UniSA in 2016. She is a Research Scientist in Dept. of Rheumatology, Royal Adelaide Hospital. ​ Mahin has a Doctorate degree in Veterinary Medicine, Master’s degree in  Public Health, PhD in Medical Mycology from Tehran University and PhD in Immunology from Adelaide University.

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