Research Entry Scholarships

2022 recipients

Dr Emma Boys

Arnott Research Entry Scholarship in Cancer Research ($45,000)
‘Improving the Diagnosis and Treatment of Carcinoma of Unknown Primary Using Proteomics’

Dr Emma BoysDr Emma Boys is a medical oncology advanced trainee and PhD student based at the Children’s Medical Research Institute, Westmead, and the University of Sydney. She obtained her medical degree from the University of New South Wales in 2013 before completing her RACP Basic Training at Westmead Hospital in 2017. She then undertook advanced training in medical oncology at Westmead, Blacktown, and Nepean Hospitals.

Emma’s PhD focuses on the clinical translation of proteomics for cancer patients. Proteins are the main structural and signaling molecules in cancer cells and have great potential to uncover new insights into cancer biology, biomarkers of response and outcomes. She aims to develop novel diagnostic proteomics assays for patients with cancer of unknown primary as well as other common malignancies. She will also conduct health economics analyses to evaluate the feasibility of using these assays in clinical practice. This will provide a template for integration of proteomics into real-world oncology practice as a novel diagnostic and prognostic tool with the aim of improving treatment outcomes in a wide range of malignancies.

Dr Daniel Christiadi

The Jacquot Research Entry Scholarships ($21,500)
‘Application of deep learning and machine learning in improving kidney care’

daniel-christiadiDr Daniel Christiadi completed his medical degree from Airlangga University, Indonesia. Migrated to Australia in 2011, Daniel started the Basic Physician Training in Northwest Regional Hospital, Burnie. He then completed specialist training in Nephrology at The Canberra, Royal Darwin and Imperial College (UK) Hospitals.

Following Acute Kidney Injury Fellow at Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, in February 2021, Daniel started PhD at John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, applying artificial intelligence to improve the diagnosis and prediction of patients with kidney disease. The study aims to develop tools to predict end-stage kidney disease which, subsequently, allow kidney replacement therapy planning. In addition, the purpose of the study is to standardise kidney whole slide images analysis using convolutional neural networks.

Dr Dahlia Davidoff

RACP Fellows Research Entry Scholarship ($45,000)
‘Hereditary endocrine cancer: Cost-effectiveness of screening, Targets for Therapy and Models of Disease for Drug Discovery’

dahlia-davidoffDr Dahlia Davidoff is an adult endocrinologist and PhD candidate. She obtained her medical degree with honours from the University of Western Australia followed by RACP Basic Training at Alfred Health in Melbourne. She was admitted to Fellowship of the RACP in 2019 after completing RACP Advanced Training in endocrinology at Eastern Health, Royal Hobart Hospital and University Hospital Geelong.

Dahlia is undertaking her PhD at the Kolling Institute of Medical Research Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. Her research is focused on neuroendocrine cancer genetics and health economics. Dr Davidoff is passionate about improving the lives of people living with hereditary neuroendocrine cancer syndromes.

Dr Daphne Day

Basser Research Entry Scholarship ($45,000)
‘ASCOLT circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) translational studies: prediction of minimal residual disease’

daphne-dayDr Daphne Day is a Medical Oncologist, researcher and PhD student at Monash Health/ Monash University. She works clinically in early drug development, breast cancer, and head and neck cancer. She has extensive experience in developing and leading clinical trials and is the Monash Health Principal Investigator for >20 phase I-III trials.

She has undertaken a Fellowship at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Drug Development Program in Toronto, Canada where she gained expertise in all aspects of early drug development, with an emphasis in immunotherapeutics and molecularly targeted agents. During her fellowship, she received the Princess Margaret Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology Fellowship Award and on two occasions, the Novartis Oncology Young Canadian Investigator Award.

Her PhD focuses on evaluating potential tumour- and blood-based biomarkers of disease burden and recurrence in colorectal cancer. She was awarded the RACP Foundation Basser Research Entry Scholarship (2019 and 2022), and an Australia Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group Innovation Grant for this work.

She has published in multiple peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences. She is a Scientific Committee Member of the APAC Oncology Drug Development Consortium and the ANZ Head and Neck Cancer Society Foundation, and an Editorial Board Member of JCO Global Oncology.

Dr Vanessa Heron

The Jacquot Research Entry Scholarships ($45,000)
‘Unbiased proteomic analysis of urinary exosomes from women with pre-eclampsia’

vanessa-heronVanessa Heron is a nephrologist with an interest in obstetric medicine. She is currently undertaking a PhD examining urinary exosomes in pre-eclamptic women with the Department of Medicine at Austin Health, Melbourne. She obtained her FRACP in 2020 after completing her nephrology advanced training at Toowoomba Hospital, Monash Health and Austin Health. She then underwent further training in obstetric medicine through the Mercy Hospital for Women.

Vanessa has an interest in obstetric nephrology as well as transplantation, glomerulonephritis and chronic kidney disease.

Dr Mayura Iddagoda

RACP Fellows Research Entry Scholarship ($45,000)
‘Elderly Trauma Outcome Prediction (ETOP) study’

m-iddagodaMayura Iddagoda is a dual trained Physician (Geriatric and Internal medicine), currently working in Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia as a Perioperative specialist. His clinical expertise is in the fields of Internal medicine, Geriatrics and Perioperative medicine. He is a RACP college examiner and project reviewer for general medicine trainees.

He is the author of a number of international peer reviewed publications and is continuing further research in the filed of perioperative medicine. He completed a master degree in perioperative medicine and is a doctoral student in perioperative medicine and geriatrics at the University of Western Australia.

Dr Louise Kostos

Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation Research Entry Scholarship ($12,600)
‘Optimising Efficacy of Radionuclide Therapy in Advanced Prostate Cancer’

louise-kostosDr. Louise Kostos is a Medical Oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. She obtained her medical degree with honours from Monash University in 2013 and completed her advanced training in Medical Oncology in Melbourne in 2020. She has an interest in phase 1 trial design and genitourinary cancers.

Louise is currently undertaking a PhD under the supervision of Prof Michael Hofman, A/Prof Arun Azad and Dr Luc Furic. Her PhD focuses on optimising outcomes for men with metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer treated with PSMA-based radionuclide therapy. She will be conducting two phase 1 novel combination clinical trials aimed at overcoming mechanisms of resistance to PSMA-based radionuclide therapy, with the hope of improving treatment response durability and survival outcomes. There will also be a translational component to her PhD, with the analysis of blood and tissue samples from the trial patients to try to determine predictors of response or resistance.

Dr Masa Lasica

RACP Fellows Research Entry Scholarship ($45,000)
‘AIM2 Study: Genomically Guided Novel Combination Treatment for Mantle Cell Lymphoma’

masa-lasicaDr Masa Lasica is haematologist and clinical researcher at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne where she leads the indolent lymphoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) program.

Masa graduated from the Australian National University School of Medicine in 2008 and completed her haematology specialist training in Melbourne. She holds the dual fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Pathologists and the Royal Australian College of Physicians. She undertook a fellowship at the Transfusion Research Unit, Monash University and Australian Red Cross Blood Service as well as a Trials Fellowship at Eastern Health.

Masa’s clinical research focuses on the use of novel agents to improve outcomes in patients with indolent lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

Dr Tom Lea-Henry

The Jacquot Research Entry Scholarships ($45,000)
‘Investigating the genetic basis of chronic kidney disease in Tiwi Islanders’

Dr Tom Lea-HenryDr Tom Lea-Henry obtained his medical degree from the University of Queensland in 2010 and undertook basic physician training at the Townsville and Canberra Hospitals. He was admitted to fellowship of the RACP in 2017 after completing advanced training in nephrology at the Canberra and John Hunter Hospitals. Tom is undertaking his PhD at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University. His PhD programme investigates the genetic and molecular basis of kidney disease among Tiwi Islanders and other Indigenous Australians. This will form the basis for using precision medicine techniques to search for novel therapeutic interventions.

Tom has a range of research interests including kidney disease in Indigenous Australian populations, both systemic and renal autoimmune disease, pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenomics, and the use of precision medicine approaches in the provision of cutting-edge clinical care.

Dr Michael Kuan-Ching Lee

Aotearoa New Zealand Fellows Research Entry Scholarship (NZD$19,000)
‘Targeting RNA Processing in Pancreatic Cancer’

michael-kuang-leeDr Lee obtained his medical oncology specialist qualifications through the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 2017. He then spent two years further specialising in clinical translational genomic research in advanced cancers, with a special focus in metastatic pancreatic cancer, at BC Cancer and Michael Smith's Science Centre in Vancouver, Canada. In 2020 he returned to Melbourne to pursue a PhD with the aim of developing a new novel therapy for pancreatic cancers, leveraging both bioinformatic methodologies and basic laboratory functional testing approaches. He is honoured to have received support from NZ Aoteoroa Research Entry Scholarship and Pancare Foundation grant for his ongoing PhD research.

Dr Lee’s motto is holistic oncology care with an honest conversation, supported by the latest research from the bench side to the bedside and tailoring it to his patients’ goals and wishes.

Dr Elisabeth Ng

Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation Research Entry Scholarship ($5,000)
‘Primary aldosteronism: new strategies for diagnosis and management’

elisabeth-ngDr Elisabeth Ng (MBBS, Hon) is a PhD candidate at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research and Monash Health, working with Dr Jun Yang and Professor Peter Fuller to improve the diagnosis and management of primary aldosteronism, a common but neglected form of hypertension. Elisabeth has extensive experience in the clinical management of general endocrine disorders with a focussed interest in endocrine hypertension. She has authored 10 journal articles and 3 book chapters, and presented at 11 national and international conferences.

Elisabeth’s prospective research endeavours aim to improve the accessibility, efficiency and accuracy of the diagnostic methods for primary aldosteronism; and to evaluate the in vitro activity of novel mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists as potential new treatments for primary aldosteronism. An additional and novel aim is to evaluate the prevalence of a positive screening test for primary aldosteronism in the Australian Indigenous population.

Dr Daniel O’Hara

The Jacquot Research Entry Scholarships ($45,000)
‘Improving the Standard of Care in Diabetic Kidney Disease’

daniel-oharaDr Daniel O'Hara is a nephrologist undertaking a PhD with the University of Sydney and the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre to explore strategies to improve the standard of care in diabetic kidney disease. He has a keen interest in global health and implementation research to help close the evidence-practice gap in kidney health, including the pursuit of patient-important outcomes and patient-centred care.

Dr Andrew Palmer

RACP Fellows Research Entry Scholarship ($45,000)
‘The role of the gut-liver axis in the pathogenesis of alcohol related liver disease’

andrew-palmerI am a gastroenterologist and hepatologist undertaking a PhD looking at the role of the gut microbiome in alcohol related liver disease. I completed my medical degree alongside a Bachelor of Medical Science degree at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, in 2010. After completing my core medical training, I moved to Australia in 2014, before commencing basic physician training followed by advanced training in gastroenterology and hepatology in Brisbane at the Mater and Princess Alexandra Hospitals respectively. I was awarded Fellowship in January 2022.

Since my time at medical school, I have had a keen interest in research. I completed a post graduate certificate in medical research skills in 2012 and have been actively involved in a number of projects throughout my time at medical school and during my time as a junior doctor, with a number of first author publications. Furthermore, I have presented this work at both national and international conferences.

Going forward I will be commencing my PhD in April at the University of Queensland focusing on the role of the gut microbiome and the gut-liver axis in the pathogenesis of alcohol-related liver disease. Following completion of PhD I will undertake a clinical fellowship in transplant hepatology.

Dr Ashleigh Shipton

Aotearoa New Zealand Fellows Research Entry Scholarship (NZD$19,000)
‘Using Mega-Cohort Data to Develop a Public Health Equity Framework and Methods Laboratory to Reduce Child Inequity’

Ko Aoraki toku maunga, ko Waimakariri toku awa, I whanau mai au ki Awherika ki te Tonga, e noho ana au ki Otautahi ahau, ko Ashleigh Shipton taku ingoa.

ash-shiptonThe COVID-19 pandemic has been the most defining health emergency of this generation. The health impacts on the estimated 280 million infants born worldwide since the onset of the pandemic, are yet to be fully understood. Using a multiphase mixed methods approach we aim to understand the indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on infant health in Victoria, including on health inequities, and to understand pathways towards recovery from this pandemic. We will use data from the longitudinal birth cohort study 'Gen-V' as well as qualitative interviews of key stakeholders in infant health, such as mother who gave birth during the pandemic, health professionals and policymakers. Through this research, we hope to provide quality evidence to better understand how a global pandemic impacts the health of infants, especially on health inequities, and how this can be mitigated in the future.

Dr Pushpa Suriyaarachchi

RACP AFRM Research Entry Scholarship ($45,000)
‘“STAY FIT in HOSPITAL” – Preventing Hospital Associated Deconditioning through early individualised targeted exercise protocol as a sarcopenia intervention, a pilot randomised controlled trial of efficacy and feasibility’

pushpa-suryarachchiDr Pushpa Suriyaarachchi is a Physician in Rehabilitation Medicine and a Clinical Lecturer affiliated to the Musculoskeletal Ageing Research Program at the Nepean Medical School, University of Sydney.

Pushpa has obtained her medical degree from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and completed her fellowship in Rehabilitation Medicine in Australia in 2007. Pushpa has extensive clinical experience working as a physician in Rehabilitation Medicine at Nepean Hospital and Hawkesbury District Health Service in Sydney. She has research interests in Sarcopenia, Falls, Osteoporosis and Hospital Associated Deconditioning. She has widely published her work in peer reviewed journals and presented her work at national and international conferences.

This proposed research study will form part of her PhD where she will be intending to explore early individualised targeted treatment protocols to optimise the management of Hospital Associated Deconditioning.

Dr Jennifer Yo

The Jacquot Research Entry Scholarships ($20,000)
‘The role of tacrolimus in the development of preeclampsia’

jennifer-yoJennifer Yo is a Consultant Nephrologist and research fellow in the Department of Nephrology and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash Health. She completed her undergraduate medical degree at Monash University with Honours in 2011 and undertook renal specialist training at the Alfred Hospital and Royal Melbourne Hospital, attaining her Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 2018.

She went on to complete prestigious international fellowships in Obstetric Medicine and Glomerular Disease in Pregnancy at the University of Toronto. She is currently undertaking her PhD through Monash University investigating the role of endothelial dysfunction and transplant immunosuppression in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. She has a strong interest in clinical epidemiology and is completing a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology through Harvard University.

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