Fellowships take scientists across the globe

Three Monash University researchers will take their world-leading research capabilities across the globe, after being awarded prestigious Victoria Fellowships overnight.

Dr Phillip Ward (pictured) received a Victoria Fellowship for Life Sciences along with two other Monash researchers.

The fellowships, that acknowledge our top scientists, innovators and early-career researchers, were presented by Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research, Frank McGuire MP.

The early career researchers were each awarded $18,000 to expand their investigations with an overseas study mission.

Dr Jennifer Payne, from the School of Biomedical Sciences, is investigating whether new types of antibiotics can arm our immune system in the fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

She plans to visit Massachusetts General Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School to work with collaborators on a cutting-edge microfluidic technique for monitoring immune cell migration – crucial to her research. Mastering this technique will further Victoria’s development of vital new treatments.

Dr Phillip Ward, a research fellow at Monash Biomedical Imaging, is using biomedical imaging to measure how blood vessels respond to changes in brain function, whilst also measuring the amount of oxygen being metabolised.

He will study new techniques at the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre. His study mission will also help him acquire the knowledge and skills required to bring MR-based oxygen and blood-flow imaging into Victoria. 

Samantha Rowbotham, from the Department of Forensic Medicine, is looking at interpretations around determining whether a child’s injuries have resulted from an accident or abuse.

Her study mission aims to strengthen the medico-legal evidence base for cases of suspected child abuse by establishing a Paediatric Skeletal Trauma (PaST) database. The mission will involve collection of data at three world-leading medico-legal laboratories in South Africa, Switzerland and Canada.

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, congratulated the three researchers on their success.

“This wonderful recognition for these scientists early in their careers is a testament to the exceptional standard of their research,” Professor Gardner said.

“The potential of their work to significantly benefit the future of public health is clear. I thank the Victorian Government for this important recognition of our researchers as they pioneer further advances in health innovation."

The Victorian Government established the fellowships in 1997 to encourage innovation, global networking and the development of commercial ideas among early career researchers.

There are 12 Victoria Fellowships awarded each year, six in life sciences and six in physical sciences.