Research Establishment Fellowships

2024 Recipients 


2024 Fellows Research Establishment Fellowship ($75,000)
Associate Professor Nitesh Nerlekar
'The Association Between Breast Arterial Calcification and Cardiovascular Disease'

Associate Professor Nitesh Nerlekar is an academic cardiologist and cardiac imaging specialist. He has a particular interest in prevention of cardiovascular disease in men and women.
Nitesh graduated from Monash University and completed his advanced training in cardiology at Monash Heart and the Alfred Hospital. He subsequently completed fellowships in advanced echocardiography, cardiac CT and cardiac MRI.
Nitesh is a consultant cardiologist at the Victorian Heart Hospital. He has a strong interest in cardiovascular research, holding academic positions at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and Monash University. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and completed a Masters of Public Health. His PhD evaluated the unique association with cardiac fat, inflammation and coronary artery disease risk using cardiac CT. His research has been awarded more than $2,000,000 in research funding and he is a current NHMRC Emerging Leader Fellow, superviseing 5 PhD students and 5 honours students.
His main area of scientific interest is in the use of novel cardiac CT markers for risk assessment and has a specific interest is in women’s heart health research and has recently received national funding to investigate the role of breast arterial calcification on screening mammography to predict cardiovascular risk.


2024 Roger Bartop Research Establishment Fellowship ($60,000)
Dr Melyssa Roy
'Time for health: Investigating the real-world impact of time-restricted eating and exercise on health and well-being'

Melyssa is currently a senior lecturer in the Department of Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, and an advanced trainee of AFPHM, RACP.
In her research role, she examines the effectiveness of novel exercise and nutrition interventions, and she has published work in a range of areas of interest to public health including exploring the impact of bedtime on childhood obesity, and the prioritisation of intensive care resources. She also has an active role in medical education and enjoys introducing medical students to public health as a career option. Outside of medicine, Melyssa’s interests are fitness, cooking and she has recently started to learn to surf.


2024 Cottrell Research Establishment Fellowship ($75,000)
Dr Angela Titmuss
'Pilot of peer-support and peer-led diabetes education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people living with type 2 diabetes in the NT'

Angela Titmuss is a paediatric endocrinologist and paediatrician at Royal Darwin Hospital and Senior Research Fellow at Menzies School of Health Research, working within the youth type 2 diabetes team of the diabetes across the Lifecourse: Northern Australian Partnership. Her PhD explored the prevalence and characteristics of youth-onset type 2 diabetes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in northern Australia. It also explored the impact of maternal hyperglycaemia in pregnancy on the growth, cardiometabolic profile and developmental risk of children, part of the Pregnancy and Neonatal Diabetes Outcomes in Remote Australia (PANDORA) study.
She is an Investigator on several studies exploring prevention strategies for obesity and type 2 diabetes in childhood, as well as the development of new models of care for management of youth-onset type 2 diabetes, and strategies to enhance youth engagement and wellbeing. She is the only paediatric endocrinologist in the Northern Territory and also provides outreach and clinical support across the region. She sits on multiple regional and national representative bodies regarding youth-onset type 2 diabetes and has been heavily involved in clinical guideline development and workforce education.

paul-yates2024 Croxon Research Establishment Fellowship for Alzheimer's Disease Research ($70,000)
Associate Professor Paul Yates
'Understanding longitudinal associations of frailty and sarcopenia in dementia - what can clinical trials and observational studies tell us?'

Associate Professor Paul Yates is a geriatrician with Austin Health, and Acting Director of Research, Continuing Care/Geriatric Medicine and Acting Director, Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service (CDAMS). His clinical and research interests include healthy ageing, frailty, dementia and neuroimaging, as well as care of older people at the interface between hospital and community (including residential aged care).

jennifer-li 2024 Jacquot Research Establishment Fellowship ($90,000)
Dr Jennifer Li
'Precision medicine advancing renal transplantation'

Dr Jen Li is a staff specialist nephrologist and transplant physician at Westmead Hospital and senior clinical lecturer with the Westmead Clinical School.
She completed her PhD in 2023 and continues on as a post-doctoral researcher in the Centre for Transplant and Renal Research at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research. Jen is a member of both the Transplant Genomics Group and Kidney Injury Group and her research is focused on using precision medicine to advance kidney transplant outcomes.


2024 Jacquot Research Establishment Fellowship ($90,000)
Dr Emily See
'Improving kidney outcomes for critically ill patients with vasodilatory shock through personalised vasopressor therapy'

Dr Emily See is a critical care nephrologist and clinician-scientist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. She holds a MSc in Medical Statistics from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Clinical Medicine from the University of Melbourne. Her interests centre around acute kidney injury, continuous renal replacement therapy, and the management of vasodilatory shock. She is recognised as an emerging international leader in critical care nephrology research and has an established track record of research program leadership.
This grant will allow Dr See to undertake pivotal work on the role of angiotensin II in the management of critically ill patients with vasodilatory shock. Through this research program, she will establish a set of core outcomes and outcome measures for acute kidney injury; evaluate prognostic and predictive biomarkers of renin-angiotensin system dysfunction and response to angiotensin II therapy; and investigate the feasibility, safety and efficacy of angiotensin II as the first-line vasopressor.
The findings of this work have the potential to fundamentally change the way vasodilatory shock is managed on a global scale, while focusing on impacting the outcomes prioritised by patients, caregivers, and clinicians.


2024 Jacquot Research Establishment Fellowship ($90,000)
Associate Professor Amanda Ying Wang
'Therapeutic Prevention for Acute Kidney Injury'

Associate Professor Amanda Ying Wang is a staff specialist nephrologist at Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Clinical Associate Professor at Macquarie University and Senior Research Fellow at George Institute for Global Health. She completed her clinical nephrology training in 2012 at Concord and Royal Prince Alfred Hospitals. After completion of a PhD in dialysis epidemiology at the University of Sydney, she was awarded the John Chalmers’ Servier post-doctoral fellowship in 2016 followed by National Heart Foundation Post-doctoral fellowship in 2018, Jacquot Research Establishment Fellowship and National Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant in 2021 to support her research on Acute Kidney Injury and dialysis therapy.
Amanda led the IMPROVE-AKI, DISCOVER, and PERFORM-AKI studies, and participated in a number of national and international RCTs such as the STARRT-AKI, ACHIEVE and TESTING studies. She has contributed to about 70 publications in peer-reviewed journals including publications in high impact journals such as the NEJM, JAMA Network Open and Nature Reviews Nephrology. She is an academic editor for PLOS One and Medicine Advances. Amanda is also a visiting professor at Beijing Friendship Hospital affiliated to Capital Medical University, China. She was awarded a high-level foreign expert by China Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs in 2019.


2024 Jacquot Research Establishment Fellowship ($90,000)
Dr Prasanti Kotagiri
'Autoreactive B cells in IgAN'

Dr Prasanti Kotagiri is a Nephrologist and early career researcher with a strong interest in B cell immunology. On completion of her renal specialist training, she undertook a PhD at Cambridge University in Professor Ken Smith’s laboratory. Her work involved studying the immune cell transcriptome and B cell receptor repertoire in auto-immunity, infection and vaccination. She is also a Fulbright Fellow where she worked in Professor Scott Boyd's laboratory analysing single cell BCR repertoire data to better understand vaccine responses. Since relocating to Melbourne, she has been appointed as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Immunology, Monash University. She is the recipient of a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Viertel Fellowship.


2024 Sir Roy McCaughey Research Establishment Fellowship ($75,000)
Dr Nila Dharan
'Microbial translocation and the risk of clonal haematopoiesis in chronic HIV infection'

Nila Dharan is an Infectious Diseases physician and clinical and translational researcher. She completed her medical training in Internal Medicine and specialist training in Infectious Diseases in the United States and completed a research fellowship with the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has clinical and public health research experience in the areas of HIV, influenza, and tuberculosis.
In 2021, she completed a PhD in the area of HIV comorbidities and aging, aimed at understanding the spectrum of comorbidities among persons living with HIV in Australia, and understanding aging-related molecular processes in people with HIV. Her current research is focused on correlations between biological aging and clinical outcomes. Her work aims to identify potential interventions to mitigate the development of aging-related comorbidities related to the chronic inflammation associated with HIV infection and HIV antiretroviral therapy.

calum-roberts2024 Robert Maple-Brown Research Establishment Fellowship ($60,000) 
Dr Calum Roberts
'Feasibility of a novel incubator to facilitate skin-to-skin care in preterm infants'

Calum Roberts is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Paediatrics, Monash University, and is a Consultant Neonatologist at Monash Children’s Hospital. He is the current recipient of an NHMRC Early Leadership Grant, and the lead for Lung and Resuscitation research at Monash Newborn.
Calum completed his MBChB at the University of Edinburgh, and his clinical neonatal training in Scotland, the north of England, and Melbourne. He was awarded his PhD by the University of Melbourne for research into the use of nasal High Flow treatment in preterm infants, based at the Royal Women’s Hospital. His work has substantially influenced current international guidelines on the use of respiratory support for preterm infants.
Calum moved to Monash University in 2017, where he leads clinical trials focused on improving outcomes for premature infants and their families. He currently leads the SURFSUP Trial of supraglottic airway surfactant treatment, and is Australian lead for the neoGASTRIC Trial, assessing two different approaches to feeding premature infants.

nikki-burdett2024 Servier Staff 'Barry Young' Research Establishment Fellowship ($50,000)
Dr Nikki Burdett
'Identifying and targeting therapeutic vulnerabilities in high grade serous ovarian cancer'

Nikki Burdett is a clinician-researcher with a primary interest in improving the lives of individuals with gynaecological cancers. She is a medical oncologist at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne, and a post-doctoral researcher at Peter Mac in the Christie laboratory. Her research aims to identify mechanisms of resistance and thereby therapeutic vulnerabilities in high grade serous ovarian cancer using multiomic and computational techniques.


2024 Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation Research Establishment Fellowship ($50,000)
Dr Annabelle Warren
'A randomised multicentre trial of Tolvaptan vs. Urea for second-line therapy of hyponatremia after fluid restriction in hospital inpatients (TVU Trial)'

Dr Annabelle Warren is an endocrinologist and researcher working at Austin Health and Alfred Health in Melbourne. Dr Warren is in the final year of her PhD with the University of Melbourne, which was supported by an NHMRC postgraduate scholarship.
Dr Warren's research area is electrolyte disorders, specifically hyponatraemia (low sodium). Her PhD has involved conducting a randomised trial. This fellowship will support her next project, a randomised trial of tolvaptan versus urea. Dr Warren is also the lead author of a writing group developing an Australian hyponatraemia guideline.


2024 RACP Australian Diabetes Society Research Establishment Fellowship ($50,000)
Dr Anna Wood
'Partnering with community to set priorities for prevention, detection and management of young onset type 2 diabetes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people'

Dr Anna Wood is Head of Department of Endocrinology at Royal Darwin Hospital and a Senior Research Fellow with Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. She works within the Diabetes Across the Lifecourse Partnership at Menzies, and leads the PANDORA study. Dr Wood also leads the weight management service in the NT with expertise in cardiometabolic health. Dr Wood is a Director of the Australian Diabetes Society and serves on the steering committees for the National Association of Diabetes Centres and the Obesity Collective.

laura-ross 2024 RACP Australian Rheumatology Association & D.E.V Starr Research Establishment Fellowship ($50,000)
Dr Laura Ross
'The ExSSciTe Study - Exercise in Systemic Sclerosis: a randomised controlled Trial'

Dr Laura Ross is an academic rheumatologist at the University of Melbourne, St Vincent’s Hospital and Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. Her research interest is in systemic sclerosis (commonly known as scleroderma), a devastating multi-system autoimmune disease. She has specific expertise in the assessment of cardiopulmonary manifestations of autoimmune diseases and the development of outcome measures for use in clinical trials. Dr Ross' research interests include the investigation of cases of physical disability in systemic sclerosis and interventions to improve the quality of life of individuals living with the disease.


2024 RACP Diabetes Australia Research Establishment Fellowship ($50,000)
Dr Danielle Longmore
'WellMet: Co-design of an observational cohort study of youth with, and at risk for type 2 diabetes'

Dr Danielle Longmore B.Med (Hons) MPHTM FRACP PhD is a consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist based at the Royal Children's Hospital and a post-doctoral Clinician Scientist Fellow at Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne. Danielle focuses her clinical work and research on the management and prevention of youth-onset type 2 diabetes and obesity. She works to understand the complex drivers of these conditions and their impact on young people. She is a member of the national ANZPED working group for youth type 2 diabetes and leads the research subgroup.
She completed her Ph.D at the Menzies School of Health Research, Northern Territory, in 2021 evaluating "Neonatal and infant outcomes of hyperglycaemia in pregnancy in remote Australia". The findings of this thesis have influenced national policy and practice. Her current project involves the co-design of an observational study of young people with, and at risk for youth-onset type 2 diabetes, a condition that is becoming increasingly prevalent.


2024 RACP Endocrine Society of Australia Research Establishment Fellowship in Endocrinology ($50,000)
Dr Brendan Nolan
'A randomised controlled trial of low-dose testosterone therapy on depression, gender dysphoria, suicidality, and quality of life in non-binary individuals'

Dr Brendan Nolan is an endocrinologist and clinician researcher with primary clinical and research interest in transgender health. His PhD examined the safety and efficacy of gender affirming hormone therapy for transgender individuals and was supported by a RACP Fellows Research Entry Scholarship and NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship.
Brendan was awarded the Bryan Hudson Clinical Endocrinology Award at the 2022 Endocrine Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting for a randomised clinical trial investigating the impact of early access to testosterone therapy in trans individuals seeking masculinisation.
Brendan continues clinical research as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Trans Health Research Group at the University of Melbourne. He will investigate the impact of early access to low-dose testosterone on mental health outcomes in non-binary individuals.


2024 RACP/Foundation for High Blood Pressure Research Establishment Fellowship ($130,000 over 2 years)
Dr Melissa Lee
'Burden of atherosclerosis and hypertension in adults with repaired aortic arch obstruction'

Dr Melissa Lee is an early career cardiologist and clinician-researcher at The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) with a strong interest in adult congenital heart disease. She holds several academic appointments including Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Medicine (RMH), University of Melbourne; Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne; and Research Officer at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI). She completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2018 during basic training and completed cardiology advanced training (FRACP) in early 2023.
Dr Lee’s research is centred on the long-term outcomes of patients with congenital heart disease. Her NHMRC and Heart Foundation supported PhD examined the long-term outcomes after surgical repair of coarctation with a particular emphasis on hypertension. She currently holds a Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Investigator grant to further her research in this area. She was awarded the 2020 Victorian Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research (Clinical Research).


2024 RACP GSK Research Establishment Fellowship ($50,000)
Dr Sarah Sutherland
'Improving the outcomes for patients with colorectal peritoneal metastasis.'

Dr Sarah Sutherland is a Medical Oncologist at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse (COBLH) specialising in the treatment of gastro-intestinal malignancies and a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Sydney. Sarah completed her medical education through the University of Sydney and specialist training through Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Concord Repatriation General Hospital. After completing her FRACP in 2017 Sarah undertook a PHD at the ANZAC Research Institute under the supervision of Associate Professor Georgina Clark creating a novel dendritic cell vaccine for the treatment of prostate cancer completing this in 2022.
Since starting work at COBLH in 2019, Sarah has developed a keen interest in colorectal cancer participating in phase 1 clinical trials and research into how we can better detect recurrence peritoneal recurrence and harness the immune system to treat colorectal cancer.


2024 RACP Research Establishment Fellowship ($50,000)
Dr Celina Jin
'Single-cell Atlas of Vaccination responses in Predominantly Antibody Deficiencies'

Dr Celina Jin is an immunologist with an interest in vaccinology and expertise in establishing enteric pathogen controlled human infection models. She is the Head of Immunopathology at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and a Senior Clinical Research Officer at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research in Professor James McCarthy’s lab.
Celina completed her PhD in vaccinology at the University of Oxford in 2018 with Professor Andrew Pollard and the Oxford Vaccine Group. She led a landmark trial demonstrating that a novel typhoid vaccine was efficacious in preventing typhoid fever using a controlled human infection model (Lancet, 2017). She completed joint Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology training in 2023.
Celina is Principal Investigator of the VISAD study, a multi-centre study evaluating typhoid vaccine responses in patients with predominantly antibody deficiencies. The study aims to use cutting-edge single cell multi-omic technologies to identify novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of disease.


2024 RACP Research Establishment Fellowship ($50,000)
Dr Bradley Gardiner
'Individualizing immunosuppression to prevent infection in transplant recipients'

Dr Brad Gardiner is an Infectious Diseases Physician and clinical researcher at Alfred Health/Monash University in Melbourne. He is interested in the prevention, early diagnosis and optimal treatment of infections in immunosuppressed patients particularly solid organ transplant recipients. He recently completed his PhD which was focused on the individualization of cytomegalovirus prevention and management strategies in transplant recipients.


2024 RACP Research Establishment Fellowship ($50,000)
Dr Kathryn Martinello
'Assessing childhood health, educational, and social outcomes for survivors of Neonatal Encephalopathy using real-world evidence from South Australia'

Dr Kathryn Martinello is a Neonatologist at Flinders Medical Centre and an early career researcher with a strong interest in neonatal brain injury and neurocritical care. Kathryn recently completed her PhD, 'Neonatal Encephalopathy: Extending our Understanding Beyond Cooling in the NICU' with research undertaken within the Neonatal Neuroprotection Group, University College London. Since returning to Australia, Kathryn is continuing her research focused on improving outcomes for neonates with brain injury, particularly those with Neonatal Encephalopathy.


2024 RACP Research Establishment Fellowship ($50,000)
Associate Professor Kavitha Muthiah
'Characterising microvascular remodeling using multi-dimensional platforms to predict adverse events in heart failure patients with mechanical heart pumps.'
Associate Professor Kavitha Muthiah is a Staff Specialist in Advanced Heart Failure, Mechanical Circulatory Support and Heart Transplant at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney. She is Conjoint Associate Professor at UNSW and Clinical Faculty at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.
Following completion of her PhD, she undertook further competitive fellowships at Kings College Hospital, London, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, and spent time in transplant centers in Cambridge, UK and Chicago USA. She returned to Australia in 2016 and undertook her final fellowship at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.
She co-leads the St Vincent's Cardiac Tissue Bank established in 2021. Her research interests include translational studies in patients supported with left ventricular assist devices. She has over 60 publications in peer reviewed journals. She has won several competitive scholarships and grants including awards from the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplant and the National Heart Foundation. She presently serves as the secretary for the Transplant Society of Australia and New Zealand and Chair of the Heart Failure Council for the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.


2024 RACP Research Establishment Fellowship ($50,000)
Dr Jamie Bellinge
'Molecular imaging of thromboembolic diseases'
Dr Jamie Bellinge is an Advanced Trainee in Nuclear Medicine from Perth, Western Australia and a Clinical Lecturer at the University of Western Australia. Jamie completed his Basic Physician Training at Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia in 2023.
Jamie's research interests include the investigation of novel molecular imaging techniques for vascular diseases. He completed his PhD at The University of Western Australia in 2023, investigating the use of 18F-Sodium Fluoride Positron Emission Tomography for predicting arterial calcification progression. He continues to investigate novel radiopharmaceuticals for the diagnosis, prediction and prognostication of other vascular diseases, and has published his research in many leading vascular and imaging journals.
In 2024, Jamie will be travelling to Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School to research the utility of a novel thrombin specific radiopharmaceutical for the detection of thrombus origin in patients with ischemic stroke of unknown etiology. If successful, it is hoped this technique will help guide the management of patients suffering from ischemic stroke.

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