2012 Victoria Fellows
The Victoria Fellowships for 2012 were awarded to:
- Mr David Ascher
- Dr Emma Burrows
- Dr Peter De Cruz
- Dr William Gee
- Dr Mohsen Kalantari
- Dr Everson Kandare
- Dr Rachel Kilmister
- Dr Colin Scholes
- Dr Sharath Sriram
- Dr Dion Stub
- Mr Nicholas Tobias
- Dr Hai L Vu
Mr David Ascher
Inhibiting the function of certain cellular proteins can overcome problematic drug resistance that develops during high dose cancer chemotherapy. Whilst targeting the functional part of the protein can lead to side-effects, targeting the nonfunctional parts of the protein can lead to more specific therapies. Mr Ascher will therefore undertake a study mission to Cambridge University in England to learn how to develop drugs that target these nonfunctional parts of proteins. This fellowship will help to establish a new cancer drug development program targeting nonfunctional sites of cancer-related proteins, at St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne.
Dr Emma Burrows
Human brain disorders such as dementia, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders and drug addiction often lead to major cognitive problems. New touchscreen technologies that measure cognition are now available, and will help in the development of therapies for dementia and other brain disorders. Dr Burrows will travel to Cambridge University in England, to study alongside the pioneers of touchscreen technology in order to bring expertise in this area back to the Melbourne Brain Centre. Dr Burrows is a postdoctoral researcher specialising in rodent models of brain disease at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.
Dr Peter De Cruz
Intestinal failure is a devastating condition that occurs when the intestine is unable to digest and absorb food and water to supply the body with enough fluid and nutrition to survive. Dr Peter De Cruz, a gastroenterologist and clinician researcher at St Vincent’s Hospital, will use his Victoria Fellowship to visit and work in major intestinal failure and transplant centres to learn about best practice and develop guidelines on clinical nutrition and optimal management of intestinal failure and transplantation. Following his mission, he hopes to establish Australia’s first intestinal failure and transplant service in Victoria. Dr De Cruz, a National Health and Medical Research Council postgraduate scholar, is completing his PhD looking at preventing recurrent Crohn’s disease after surgery at the University of Melbourne.
Dr William Gee
Synthetic chemist Dr William Gee has been working on creating catalysts to generate cheaper and greener plastics. He will travel to Germany to work at the University of Göttingen to create a range of environmentally friendly iron-based catalysts alongside a world leader in catalyst development. The catalysts are inspired by the activity of enzymes, which are natural molecules essential to all living things. His work has strong potential for the development of future products that can be used by industry. Dr Gee is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Monash University.
Dr Mohsen Kalantari
Google and other companies that maintain online maps tend to use crowd-sourced data rather than commercially expensive data. The problem is that the quality and integrity of these maps, known as Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), is not fully known. Dr Kalantari will travel to the United States of America to learn more about how to evaluate the quality of VGIs, as well as develop ways of validating them. He is a lecturer and Associate Director at the Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructures and Land Administration, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne.
Dr Everson Kandare
The 2009 Royal Bushfire Commission made a major recommendation for building structures to become far more bushfire resistant in the future. Chemist Dr Everson Kandare has been working with the Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures to create advanced thermal building insulation materials with heat resistance. His Victoria Fellowship will take him to the United Kingdom, China and Canada to work in fire research laboratories to test fire retardant materials that have been developed in Victoria. Dr Kandare is a Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow at RMIT University.
Dr Rachel Kilmister
Tannins are an important component of the colour and mouth-feel of red wine but the wine industry’s ability to measure and manage tannin is constrained by a limited understanding of the chemistry. Dr Rachel Kilmister, a grape and wine research chemist, will travel to the United States of America to work alongside some of the world’s leading tannin chemists to bring back a deeper understanding about the winemaking processes that contribute to wine quality. The wine industry in Victoria contributes $1.6 billion to the State’s economy annually. Dr Kilmister has worked in industry and is now a researcher with the Victorian Department of Primary Industries.
Dr Colin Scholes
Efficient, compact and cost-effective carbon capture technologies are highly desired by industry to reduce their carbon emissions. Dr Scholes’ research into novel membrane gas solvent contactors is addressing many of the challenges that restrict the implementation of carbon capture and storage. He will travel to the International Test Centre for Carbon Dioxide Capture in Canada to access the latest advances in membrane contactor technology. Dr Scholes, a former Fulbright Fellow, is a Research Fellow at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Melbourne.
Dr Sharath Sriram
Victoria has invested heavily in the micro- and nano-fabrication sector in recent years. The highly innovative research of Dr Sharath Sriram has the potential to lead to new products contributing to the development of this new high-tech industry. He will travel to Ireland, France and the United Kingdom to use his Victoria Fellowship to build on his work developing new sensing devices with the scientific breakthroughs achieved through an Australian Research Council (ARC) Fellowship. While in the United Kingdom, he also hopes to establish a research and development partnership with a leading British spectroscopy instrument maker. Dr Sriram is a Senior Research Fellow and ARC Postdoctoral Fellow at RMIT University.
Dr Dion Stub
Dr Dion Stub will travel to the University of Washington – Harborview Centre for Prehospital Emergency Care in Seattle, United States of America (USA) where he will work alongside international leaders in researching cardiac emergency care. His Victoria Fellowship will be used to examine the similarities and differences between Victoria and the USA in treating critically unwell patients, as well as develop new treatment strategies. Dr Stub is undertaking a PhD through Monash University and the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Research Institute. He is also a Cardiac Interventional Research Fellow at The Alfred.
Mr Nicholas Tobias
The natural environment is a rich source of powerful new medicines based on complex chemical compounds produced by organisms such as plants, marine sponges and microbes. Mr Tobias will travel to the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom to further his understanding of an unusual microbial enzyme he has helped discover in a bid to see whether it can be used in a number of new technologies. The project has enormous potential to provide much needed agents for testing and eventually applying to medicines. Mr Tobias is currently completing his PhD at Monash University while working as a research microbiologist at the University of Melbourne.
Dr Hai L Vu
Traffic congestion is a growing problem in cities around the world. Dr Hai L. Vu will travel to the Netherlands to visit leading traffic management and planning groups to investigate and learn from experience in applying technologies such as Intelligent Transport Systems to reduce congestion and accidents and to meet growing demands on their transport network.
He is also a recipient of a Future Fellowship award from the Australian Research Council, conducting fundamental research in the smart use of real-time information provided by such a system. Dr Vu is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Information and Communication Technology, and Head of the Intelligent Transport Systems Lab at Swinburne University of Technology.