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30-Aug-10 4:00 PM  EST  

Impressive updates from our promising Education Fellows 

2011 Chevron Fellow, Environmental Scientist Bradley Clarke
"Experimental work with a disinfection UV reactor and the traditional UV online sensor and a prototype online fluorescence have been completed. This work has demonstrated the fluorescence detector is much more sensitive for monitoring water treatment processes than the traditionally used UV based sensors."
2011 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon Cameron Keating
"I am currently researching two surgical techniques for improving peripheral nerve repair:  laser-assisted nerve repair; and polyethylene glycol (PEG) chemical nerve repair.  I have completed a 4-month rat study in collaboration with the University of Texas, which demonstrated a dramatic 13-fold improvement in nerve regeneration after chemical treatment with PEG compared to gold standard microsurgery."
2011 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Neuroscientist David Wilson
"I have spent my time in Australia learning and researching minimally invasive surgical approaches to brain tumors located at the base of the skull and in the deep portions of the brain. Working with Dr. Charles Teo at the Centre for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery, we have evaluated patient outcomes following a variety of minimally invasive techniques. Our preliminary results suggest that minimally invasive approaches may effectively treat several tumors with less morbidity than traditional surgical approaches." 
2011 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Neuroscience researcher Bridgette Semple
"Experiments are underway and on schedule, aiming to understand the role of neutrophil elastase (NE) in pediatric traumatic brain injury. Genetically-modified mice lacking the NE gene are being breed, and analysis is ongoing to determine the effect of pharmacologically inhibiting NE with a specific drug, both acutely (24 h after injury) and long-term (3 months)."
2011 Westfield Fellow, Sustainable Development researcher Samantha Duncan
"I will complete a review of current, global small and medium enterprise (SME) investment models to find a practical funding model for SMEs in the Pacific Islands.  I will be supported in this study by one of my professors who co-founded Accion’s Frontier Investment Groups (a pioneer “impact investor”), and I will also take her class to learn more about investable, impactful opportunities in micro-insurance and other products such as micro-housing that are directly serving the base of the economic pyramid."

2011 Pratt Fellow, Physics researcher Peter Metaxas
"I was recently awarded a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council which will allow me to establish my own biosensor research program at the University of Western Australia upon my return from the USA."
2010 Morgan Stanley Pediatrics Fellow, Pediatrics researcher Elizabeth Newnham
"With the support of Morgan Stanley and the American Australian Association, the fellowship has enabled me to train in global mental health research and contribute to four manuscripts currently under review. Our results indicate a high level of resiliency among war-affected children and former child soldiers in Sierra Leone, despite their experience of complex trauma and markedly limited access to care.  This finding has significant implications for healthcare in post-conflict settings, as well as policy concerning refugee children in America and Australia."
2011 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Applied Mathematics researcher Robert Saye
"My research has its core in a new mathematical algorithm to model complex, multiple interface problems. The algorithm's accuracy has been verified with a range of numerical convergence tests, and it has successfully been coupled to the fluid mechanics describing a foam of soap bubbles. This includes implementing the algorithm on massively parallel machines (e.g. supercomputers). Problems in the dynamics of biological cells are currently being considered."
2011 Westfield Fellow, Sustainable Development researcher Samantha Duncan
"Prior to recommencing my studies in August 2011, I have spent the summer working in India for a social impact investment fund.  Insights gained include the excitement among the Indian investment community for the potential of social enterprise as a development tool, but also the need for this sector to more adequately integrate and interact with the domestic financial system.  At SAIS this coming semester I will take classes such as Private Equity in Developing Countries, Corporate Social Responsibility, and gain insight into the development impact of pure for-profit investment funds through a co-curricular internship."
2011 Merck Foundation Fellow, Tumor Biology researcher Shom Goel
"I am currently continuing my doctoral research at Harvard Medical School. Since submitting my original proposal, I have uncovered new and exciting insights into the effects of ve-ptp inhibition on microvessel structure, and am now planning a series of vascular functional assessments. In general terms, my research is on course."
2010 Neurological Fellow, Behavioral Neuroscience researcher Bronwyn Graham
"My research thus far at MGH and HMS has demonstrated that the hormones used in oral contraceptives impact the ability to inhibit fear in healthy women. I am currently examining the neural and molecular mechanisms underlying this effect using neuroimaging tools in women and rodents. This research will shed light on how exogenous manipulation of steroid hormones may impact the prevalence and treatment of anxiety in women, in whom anxiety disorders are greatly overrepresented."
2010 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Chemistry researcher Allan Gamble
"At Stanford we are developing new imaging and therapeutic agents which can be used to help detect and treat multi-drug resistant cancer. Our molecules are designed to bypass multidrug resistant mechanisms through a drug-transporter conjugate, with release of the imaging or therapeutic agent inside the target tumor. This project is providing me with the skills and knowledge necessary for a career in cancer-based research."
2010 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Malaria-liver cell researcher Justin Boddey
"Malaria parasites commandeer infected erythrocytes by delivering exported proteins into the cell. My research at Johns Hopkins will determine if parasites use the erythrocyte export pathway during the liver-stage of disease. This will involve studying the expression and localisation of key export machinery upon malaria infection of liver cells."
2010 Amgen Fellow, Immunology Researcher Amy Chung
"My postdoctoral research is focused on comprehensively studying an important immune response, ADCC, in samples from multiple HIV Vaccine trials with varying efficacies to develop improved vaccine strategies. We have observed both quantitative as well as qualitative differences in immune responses induced by these vaccines and now aim to further characterize them."
2010 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Skeletal Muscle Biology researcher Jane Seto
"I have recently co-authored a review on therapeutic strategies in muscular dystrophy, for which I was equal first author. This was published in Human Molecular Genetics – one of the leading journals in muscle research. The funding support of the American Australian Association towards my research was gratefully acknowledged."
2010 Alcoa Foundation Fellow, Sustainable Planning researcher Daniel Khong
"I have done interviews with private sector developers, transit agency real estate directors and city planning directors relevant to case study projects in Washington DC and Los Angeles. I have also interviewed relevant developers and officials from Sydney and Boston. My literature review is complete and four out of five chapters in my thesis are drafted. First complete draft due April 1st."
2010 Qantas Airways Fellowship, Asthma researcher Vanessa Kelly
" I have developed a technique to standardize high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) measurements of the airways to better allow comparisons between subjects. In addition, I have been able to establish a relationship between airway distensibility and the responsiveness of the airways to methacholine (a drug which mimics an asthma attack)."
2010 Merck Foundation Fellow, Neuropharmacology researcher Karen J Gregory
"Our research group at Vanderbilt includes molecular biologists, medicinal chemists, as well as experts in drug metabolism and behavioral neuropharmacology. Through interactions with my colleagues I have learned a great deal about drug discovery and pharmacology. I have also been working in collaboration with computational scientists here at Vanderbilt and recently presented my work at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego and the Molecular Pharmacology of G Protein Coupled Receptors meeting in Melbourne."
2010 Neurological Fellow, Behavioral Neuroscience researcher Bronwyn Graham
"Although anxiety disorders are highly prevalent in women, few studies have investigated how women inhibit fear. My research investigates the effect of estrogen on brain regions involved in fear inhibition, and provides insight into why there is a gender imbalance in the prevalence of anxiety disorders."
2010 Morgan Stanley Pediatrics Fellow, Pediatrics researcher Elizabeth Newnham
"I am investigating the risk and protective factors that influence long-term psychological adjustment for war-affected youth. To date, I have contributed to studies set in post-conflict and current war contexts, as well as participated in collaborative research projects investigating the stressors and resources available for refugee groups in the United States."
2010 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Regenerative Medicine researcher Renjing Liu
"I have been examining the role of epigenetic regulators in controlling muscle stem cell differentiation, proliferation and self-renewal. Results from these studies will give us a more in-depth insight into the mechanisms involved in muscle development, and lead to therapies that will treat muscle related disorders such as sarcopenia."
2010 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Chemistry researcher Allan Gamble
"Since my arrival at Stanford, I have had a number of discussions on critical areas in drug delivery which need to be explored. We are interested in developing new transporters which can carry a drug cargo across the cell membrane of tumor cells, bypassing some common multi-drug resistant mechanisms and releasing the active drug at its target. The facilities at Stanford are second-to-none for carrying out this cutting edge research." 
2010 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Genetics researcher Kenneth Pang
"My postdoctoral research focuses on a newly identified gene, known as SidT2. We have discovered that mice lacking SidT2 die soon after birth, and are currently exploring the precise molecular and cellular basis for how SidT2 functions to ensure early survival."
2009 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Microbiology researcher Marcin Grabowicz
"We started a collaborative project between Princeton University and Adelaide University to dissect how newly identified genes contribute in a pathway that forms a protective outer layer in enteric bacteria. We think disrupting this pathway might have strong potential for much needed new antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria."
2010 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Skeletal Muscle Biology researcher Jane Seto
"The Chamberlain laboratory is focused on research targeted at developing a cure for muscular dystrophies using gene and stem cell therapies. The lab is well-equipped for producing large volumes of viral vectors required for testing potential treatments in large animal models. These experiments are necessary to determine the safety and efficacy of these treatments prior to clinical trials. The Chamberlain laboratory collaborates closely with other skeletal muscle and stem cell labs at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, headed by Stan Froehner, Steve Hauschka, Stephen Tapscott, to name a few. "
2010 Amgen Fellow, Immunology Researcher Amy Chung
" I arrived in Boston late October and have rented a small studio in Cambridge. My postdoctoral placement at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT & Harvard was initiated on Nov 1st. I have begun purifying antibodies from HIV Vaccine plasma samples and am currently testing them for HIV antibody-mediated viral inhibition. I am also learning new cutting edge antibody-mediated measuring assays developed with my new lab."
  2009 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Clinical Psychology researcher Angela Nickerson
"I am pursuing research on psychological responses to mass trauma at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital. I have investigated religious conceptualizations of anger and culturally-accepted strategies for managing anger reactions. I have also examined the phenomenology of prolonged grief in survivors of the Cambodian genocide. My research in the US has resulted in one book chapter, and three journal articles in press and under review to date."
2008 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Genetics and Biochemistry researcher Cristy Gelling  
"I have been developing a Bakers' yeast model of the common inherited disease alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (ATD) in order to identify new therapeutic targets for its treatment.  Most recently, I have used this yeast model to develop a high-throughput genetic screening method.  I am currently screening in order to identify genes important in the progession of the liver symptoms that are typical of ATD.  I'll be presenting my preliminary results at the Alpha-1 Foundation Investigators' Meeting next week."
2009 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Genetics and cancer researcher Heather Cohn
"This past month, I presented our research in Helsinki, Finland at the 40th Annual meeting of the European Society for Dermatological Research (  In addition, I will be discussing our clinical results at the International Medicine Society in Philadelphia."
2009 Merck Company Foundation Fellow, MIT researcher Alex Bissember
"The research I am conducting at MIT's Department of Chemistry with Professor Greg Fu is focused on establishing novel and highly selective heteroatom-hydrogen bond insertion processes. The promising results we have obtained to date indicate this novel methodology should allow for the development of unprecedented routes to various important biologically active molecules and analogues thereof."
2009 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Princeton microbiologist Marcin Grabowicz
"Princeton’s reputation is daunting on arrival; but the reality is an extremely collegial environment. It’s obvious the lab is working at the cutting edge of knowledge, and it feels like we have the resources to achieve just about anything. I have an exciting and ambitious project that’s set to keep me busy for the year, or for ten years if all goes well!"
2009 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Harvard clinical researcher Angela Nickerson
Angela's research on the mental health of Cambodian refugees is progressing well.  She has been meeting with community representatives and monks to explore culturally-specific reactions to refugee trauma, and consulting with field experts on her planned research.
2008 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, Environmental scientist Jacqueline Thomas
Jacqueline is conducting research at the University of Cincinnati and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.  She is working to develop new methods to detect free-living amoeba in drinking water and build models to calculate if these amoeba present any risk to human health.  Jacqueline will present her findings at the 2010 American Water Works Association Water Quality and Technology Conference in Savannah, Georgia.
2006 Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow, NASA scientist Sarah Cooper
The Association supported Sarah Cooper's research in nanoengineered thermoelectrics for human implantable and environmental power sources through the Sir Keith Murdoch Fellowship.  Sarah has recently completed her PhD from the University of Sydney and acknowledges how critical this support was.  Sarah states, “without the support of the AAA and Mr. Murdoch's generous patronage, I doubt I would have been able to complete my research and certainly would not have been able to so fully engage both NASA and the University of Sydney.”  Sarah’s research proved the viability of a human powered pacemaker, and led to the development of the first ever freestanding Bismuth Nanowires, a very exciting discovery in thermoelectrics renewable energy research!   

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For additional information on this Education Fellows article, please contact:

Jhelum Bagchi
(212) 338-6860

Source: Jhelum Bagchi

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