Around the universities

Cate Swannell
Med J Aust
Published online: 1 June 2015

Bond University has appointed prominent Aboriginal doctor, Associate Professor Shannon Springer, as its Academic Lead for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, as part of its commitment to providing students with the skills to work effectively in the cross-cultural context for the benefit of future patients.

Flinders University has announced the appointment of Professor Robert Saint as its new Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) from 15 June 2015. Professor Saint has 118 publications to date, two patents and numerous honours and awards, including the Julian Wells Medal, the MJD White lecture and the President’s medal of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology. He currently holds National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) research funding and has held significant grants from both the Australian Research Council (ARC) and NHMRC over a period of 25 years, including for an ARC Special Research Centre from 2000–2008.

The University of Melbourne has welcomed a $2 million investment by the Victorian Government to help plan and develop a National Centre for Proton Beam Therapy as part of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. The project will be undertaken in conjunction with the university and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

University of Newcastle Two scholarship opportunities are available for PhD students to research Translational Brain Repair and Rehabilitation under the supervision of Dr Lin Kooi Ong, Associate Professor Rohan Walker and Professor Michael Nilsson at UON. The scholarship is offered for three years, and provides a tax-free living allowance of $25 849 p.a. in 2015 (indexed annually). Applications close on 31 July 2015.

University of New South Wales lecturer and alumna Aditi Vedi has been awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to research the functional biology of stem cells to improve survival rates for children with leukaemia. Dr Vedi was one of only 54 successful candidates from 28 countries, including eight Australians, selected from 3535 applicants. Dr Vedi is one of only 13 scholars funded for a PhD. Dr Vedi’s research will investigate the role of gene networks and therapy to maintain remission and prevent relapse in children with leukaemia.

University of Queensland Associate Professor Christine Wells has won a $50 000 prize for leadership in stem cell research. Dr Wells, from UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, is revolutionising the way stem cell researchers and bioinformaticians interact in this rapidly growing field. Dr Wells leads the Stemformatics initiative — an online encyclopaedia of detailed scientific information on how thousands of different genes shape people — putting vital data at the fingertips of stem cell researchers and their cross-disciplinary collaborators.

University of Western Australia Internationally respected researcher Dr Florian Daniel Zepf has been appointed the new Chair and Winthrop Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UWA. Professor Zepf, affiliated with UWA’s School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences and School of Paediatrics and Child Health, will also be Clinical Director/Head of the WA Department of Specialised Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

UWA’s Professor Ryan Lister has been awarded a $50 000 2015 Metcalf Prize, from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia, in recognition of his leadership in stem cell research. Professor Lister generated the first comprehensive maps of the human epigenome, finding that the chemical signposts that comprise the epigenome differ between embryonic stem cells and specialised adult cells.

University of Wollongong medical students embark on life-changing experiences in the bush thanks to a unique rural placement program. Associate Professor David Garne, who oversees clinical placements, said UOW has the only medical school in Australia that provides opportunities for all its students to undertake a 12-month placement in a rural or regional setting.

An Australian first “Recovery Camp” that simultaneously promotes healing for people with a mental illness while training the next generation of Australian health professionals took place from 11–15 May. The five-day therapeutic recreation camp, designed and run by a team from UOW and the UQ, paired people with a lived experience of serious and enduring mental illness, such as schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder, with nursing, psychology, dietetics and exercise physiology students from UOW.

  • Cate Swannell



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