Avant sponsors young medical researchers

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Dr Matthew Robers DIT scholarship recipient img news cover content
Sep 4, 2012

Avant has provided $200,000 to fund six medical research scholarships comprising two full time scholarships worth $50,000 each and four part time scholarships worth $25,000 each.

 

The two inaugural recipients of the full time Avant Doctor in Training Research Scholarships are Dr Arjun Iyer and Dr Peter Khong. The part time recipients are Dr Susan Feng, Dr Matthew Roberts, Dr Gulam Khandaker and Dr Warren Rozen.

Scholarship recipient biographies

Dr Arjun Iyer MBBS


Dr Iyer is currently a PhD candidate at the University of NSW, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.

Title of Research paper: “Evaluation of DCD (Donation after Cardiac Death) hearts as viable donors for heart transplantation”

Research outline: Evaluation of donors after cardiac-circulatory death (DCD) hearts as viable donors for heart transplantation utilising ex-vivo perfusion preservation method. At present, brain death in a heart donor provides the only source of organs but does not meet the demand for transplant procedures. Currently, DCD hearts are not utilised for human transplant due to the fear of irrecoverable myocardial damage after cardiac death.
Dr Iyer will investigate a particular preservation technique to offer the best possible myocardial protection. His research on animal donors and recipients will take place using DCD hearts post preconditioning and preserved with continuous perfusion in a beating state for four to six hours within a commercially available, clinically validated portable device. The heart shall then be transplanted into the recipient animal, weaned off bypass and the function assessed. If all goes well, the research could lead to human trials and an increase in the number of available donor hearts.

Career highlights

  • 2011 Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) Young Investigator Award (YIA)
  • 2007 Australian Medical Association (South Australia) Medal (University of Adelaide)
  • 2006 Department Prize for Obstetrics & Gynaecology
  • 2005 Archibald Watson Prize for Surgery

 

Dr Susan Ying Shan Feng MBBS PhD


Dr Feng is currently Paediatric Registrar at Casey Hospital, part of Southern Health in Melbourne.

Title of scholarship research paper: “Is Macrophage Control the key to preventing endotoxemia-related brain damage in the perinatal period?”

Research outline: Dr Feng will continue her earlier research exploring both haemodynamical and molecular mechanisms on infection-induced perinatal brain injury. The proposed study will provide vital information for a future NHMRC project grant application to not only investigate the mechanisms of action in the perinatal lamb but also trail Semapimod in the clinical setting.

Career highlights

  • A decade research experience on perinatal cerebrovascular studies.
  • Published several times in Perinatal Physiology including two key papers in endotoxemia-induced brain injury.
  • 2007 Trainee Merit Award, the 5th World Sleep (International) Congress.
  • 2005 Monash International Postgraduate Scholarship.

 

Dr Peter Khong MBBS (Honours Class 1)

 
Dr Khong is currently a Neurosurgical trainee with the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia. He plans to undertake training to become a neurosurgeon and also continue active involvement in research.

Title of scholarship research paper: “Molecular heterogeneity in high grade glioma.”

Research outline: High grade gliomas constitute the vast majority of primary brain tumours and have a very poor prognosis. As different areas of high grade glioma are molecularly distinct, Dr Khong will test two hypothesis:
-That basing a treatment on molecular analysis of a single area of tumour may result in suboptimal treatment.
-That the molecular profile of a high grade glioma will change before and after treatment. A number of molecular alternations will be tested for.

Career highlights

Dr Khong is currently a Neurosurgical trainee with the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia. He plans to undertake training to become a neurosurgeon and also continue active involvement in research. Title of scholarship research paper: “Molecular heterogeneity in high grade glioma.” Research outline: High grade gliomas constitute the vast majority of primary brain tumours and have a very poor prognosis. As different areas of high grade glioma are molecularly distinct, Dr Khong will test two hypothesis: -That basing a treatment on molecular analysis of a single area of tumour may result in suboptimal treatment. -That the molecular profile of a high grade glioma will change before and after treatment. A number of molecular alternations will be tested for.

  • 2005 MBBS (Honours Class 1), University of New South Wales
  • 2009 Presentation on Cervical disc anthroplasty in the treatment of spondylotic myelopathy and radiculopathy to the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia.
  • Dr Khong has also been involved in co-writing eight research papers published between 2008 and 2011.
  • 2008-2009 Neurosurgical Registrar, Prince of Wales Hospital.
  • 2010-2011 Neurosurgical Registrar, St George Hospital.
  • 2012 Neurosurgical Registrar, Liverpool Hospital.

 

Dr Gulam Khandaker



Dr Khandaker is a Paediatric Specialist trainee at the Children’s Hospital Westmead. He is also a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney and holds a Masters of Public Health from the University of Wollongong.

Title of scholarship research paper: “Long term outcomes of neonatal herpes simplex infections in Australian children.”

Research outline: HSV infection in the first weeks of life carries a 25% mortality and for those newborns that do survive there is a high incidence of morbidity despite the availability of effective therapies. Given that the neonatal HSV infection is relatively uncommon, long term outcomes for these children are poorly defined.
Dr Khandaker’s study will evaluate the degree of clinical and psycho-social impairment among children infected with HSV in the first months of life in Australia. The study will compare health service use and clinical, social and educational outcomes between these children and an aged matched cohort of children without HSV infection in the newborn period. The findings from this research will offer world first knowledge about the long term consequences of this uncommon but devastating disease.

Career highlights

  • 18 peer reviewed publications
  • Involvement with eight clinical trials (including NHMRC funded trials) as either an investigator or trial physician
  • 10 conference presentations
  • Reviewer for six international journal

 

Dr Matthew John Roberts MBBS


Dr Roberts is currently enrolled in the Master of Philosophy (Research) program at the School of Medicine at the University of Queensland but plans to convert to the Doctor of Philosophy program. He plans to become an academic urologist.

Title of scholarship research paper: “Putative biomarkers for Early Detection of Prostate Cancer - a systems biology approach.”

Research outline: The goal of Dr Robert’s research is to explore the utility of biofluid markers for non-invasive detection of the presence and severity of prostate cancer. He proposes that by using these molecular markers in combination with serum PSA detection rates for prostate cancer could be improved.
Another aspect of the research is metabolite profiling of biofluids using techniques that could produce full spectrum metabolic signature that could more reliably group cancers with similar phenotypes.

Career highlights

Dr Roberts is currently enrolled in the Master of Philosophy (Research) program at the School of Medicine at the University of Queensland but plans to convert to the Doctor of Philosophy program. He plans to become an academic urologist. Title of scholarship research paper: “Putative biomarkers for Early Detection of Prostate Cancer - a systems biology approach.” Research outline: The goal of Dr Robert’s research is to explore the utility of biofluid markers for non-invasive detection of the presence and severity of prostate cancer. He proposes that by using these molecular markers in combination with serum PSA detection rates for prostate cancer could be improved. Another aspect of the research is metabolite profiling of biofluids using techniques that could produce full spectrum metabolic signature that could more reliably group cancers with similar phenotypes.  

  • 2011 winner of the Professor William Egerton Surgical Research Award - a first for a student.
  • Inaugural winner of the Developing a Career in Academic Surgery Prize for best pre-vocational oral presentation.
  • Pfizer Australia Prize 2011, School of Medicine, UQ Deans Commendation for high achievement, School of Medicine, UQ, 2008.
  • High commendation Award 2009. Royal Australian College of Surgeons Dissection Prize.
  • Dean’s commendation for High Achievement.
  • Co-author of five peer-reviewed papers and multiple presentations a local and international meetings.

 

Dr Warren Matthew Rozen MBBS BMedSc PGDip SurgAnat PhD


Dr Rozen is currently a Senior Fellow in the Department of Anatomy at the University of Melbourne and an Advanced Surgical Trainee with the Royal College of Surgeons.

Title of scholarship research paper: “Technological Advances in Preoperative Imaging in Reconstructive Surgery: Improving Patient Outcomes” 

Research outline: Preoperative evaluation of vascular anatomy in reconstructive surgery can make a vast difference to operative outcomes. Dr Rozen’s previous research showed that microvascular imaging with computed tomographic angiography (CTA) was able reduce operating times, a range of complications and cost. Draw backs including availability, radiation and the need for specialist services to run and report on such scans. Dr Rozen’s new research aims to acquire statistically robust evidence of a preliminary observation that infrared thermography can accurately and reproducibly map microvascular anatomy. Outcomes assessed will include a quantitative analysis of the accuracy of the imaging modality as well as a cost-savings analysis, and a subjective assessment of the ease of imaging interpretation and implementation into operative planning.

Career highlights

  • 2012 Australian Society of Plastic Surgery Victorian Sate Registrar Research Presentation Award Winner
  • 2011 Australian Society of Plastic Surgery Victorian Sate Registrar Research Presentation Award Winner
  • 2011 Keynote speaker, panellist and faculty member 6th Congress of the World Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery.
  • 2011 Keynote speaker, panellist and faculty member 16th Congress of the International Confederation for Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery.
  • Associate Editor of the Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery
  • A member of the editorial board of nine international journals including Annals of Plastic Surgery, Microsurgery Journal and Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery.
  • Author of 20 textbooks on reconstructive surgery.
  • Publication of more than 400 peer-reviewed publications.
  • Made more than 100 presentations nationally and internationally.
  • 2009 Editor’s Prize for ‘Top Ten Downloaded Articles in the Journal of Clinical Anatomy in 2008, American Association of Clinical Anatomists
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