Around the universities

Cate Swannell
Med J Aust || doi: 10.5694/mja15.0817C3
Published online: 17 August 2015

Professor Emma McBryde, one of Australia’s leading infectious disease experts has joined James Cook University’s (JCU’s) Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) to lead research into tuberculosis and hospital-acquired infections. Professor McBryde was the Head of Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Head of Modeling and Biostatistics at the Burnett Institute. She also held an NHMRC research fellowship at the University of Melbourne. She is also an infectious diseases physician, having received the University Medal for her medical degree at the University of Queensland in 1994 and her FRACP qualification in 2003. She is still treating patients and is keen to work with hospitals throughout Northern Queensland. Professor McBryde grew up in Queensland and has been keen to return to Northern Queensland. “I am excited to start working with people passionate about improving the lives of the people of Far North Queensland and the Asia-Pacific region. There are many challenges ahead but there is also great commitment and support from everyone at AITHM, JCU, and government at all levels,” she said. Professor McBryde said her goal was to build AITHM into a hugely collaborative, world class, quantitative and qualitative research centre.

Professor Stephen Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne, has announced with some sadness his departure from the University of Melbourne, citing a change in his family circumstances. “I’ve had a wonderful time in Australia and have enjoyed immensely working with the Faculty and the senior leadership of University and our partners, but I’ve made the decision to return home to England for family reasons,” Professor Smith said. Professor Mark Hargreaves, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Partnerships and External Relations) and Professor of Physiology, will take on the role of Dean from September 14, guiding the faculty through to the likely appointment of a successor to Professor Smith to commence early in 2016.

A University of Canberra-led project, in collaboration with The Australian National University (ANU), will receive $17 million to build new clinical training facilities and student accommodation in rural southeast NSW. The funding, originally awarded through the Australian Government’s Health and Hospitals Fund Regional Priority round, will support integrated and collaborative professional training opportunities for a range of health students. The project will establish medium-scale training facilities on existing hospital sites, as well as student accommodation in the regional towns of Bega, Cooma and Moruya. These facilities will provide clinical training opportunities for medical, nursing, midwifery and allied health students, which will support the rural and regional health workforce capacity in this area of NSW. The project also includes funding to construct and purchase accommodation for students and visiting clinical staff.

Bond University medicine alumnus, Dr Jack O’Sullivan, has received a prestigious Clarendon Scholarship from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, awarded annually to the best and brightest scholars worldwide. Dr O’Sullivan will be based at Oxford for 3 years, where he will work on his thesis on preventing overdiagnosis. As part of the Clarendon Scholarship, all tuition and college fees will be fully funded, and he will also receive a generous grant for living expenses. Having graduated from Bond University’s undergraduate medical program in 2013, Dr O’Sullivan completed an internship at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and is now working as a resident doctor at Monash Health in Melbourne.

Two Deakin University PhD candidates have won postdoctoral positions at Harvard University. Dr Dongxi Xiang will work at Harvard Medical School furthering his research into cancer stem cells. Daniel Fraher will be employed as a postdoctoral fellow in the Cardiovascular Research Center at Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital. There he will continue to work with zebrafish as a model organism, moving his focus to heart development, particularly the underlying genetic causes of mitral valve prolapse.

The new Council of the National Health and Medical Research Council has been named and university academics feature strongly in the list of 13 councillors. Professor Michael Kidd (Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University), Professor Bruce Robinson, AM (Dean of Medicine, University of Sydney), Professor Sandra Eades (Head of Indigenous Maternal and Child Health, Associate Head of Preventative Health Research at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, and Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney), Ms Karen Carey (Chair of the NHMRC’s Community and Consumer Advisory Group), Professor David Story, University of Melbourne Medical School), Professor Brendan Crabb, AC (University of Melbourne, Monash University, CEO of the Burnett Institute), Professor Ingrid Scheffer, AO (University of Melbourne and Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health), Professor Jonathan Carapetis (Winthrop Professor, University of Western Australia and Honorary Distinguished Research Fellow of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research), Professor Kathryn North, AM (Honorary Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Sydney), Professor Ian Olver, AM (Director for the Sansom Institute for Health Research at the University of South Australia), Professor Sharon Lewin (academic specialist, University of Melbourne), Adjunct Professor Graeme Samuel, AC (council member at The Australian National University and Adjunct Professor in Monash University’s Faculty of Business and Economics), and Professor Elizabeth A Sullivan (Director of the Perinatal and Reproductive Epidemiology and Research Unit at the University of New South Wales) make up the new council.

  • Cate Swannell



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