2018 Hudson Institute Travel and Equity Awards

By Hudson Institute communications

Congratulations to the 2018 Hudson Institute Travel Awards recipients, who will attend international conferences and visiting laboratories to build invaluable knowledge in their area of research. The Awards (supported by donations from the Grisha Sklovsky Memorial Fund and Philip Wind Travel Fund) support six Hudson Institute Postdoctoral Fellows and PhD students to gain experience relevant to their research.

Postdoctoral Travel Awards

Dr Cristina Giogha

Centre for Innate Immunity and  Infectious Diseases
Research Group: Innate Immune Responses to Infection
Supervisor: Professor Elizabeth Hartland

Cristina will present her research to international experts at the 2018 EMBO/EMBL Symposium on Innate Immunity in Host-Pathogen Interactions in Heidelberg, Germany. In addition, she will visit laboratories in Ireland to strengthen and build collaborations.

“This opportunity will provide a valuable global overview to my research into bacterial proteins that manipulate host cell signalling pathways as well as providing, insights and new ideas to progress my research,” said Dr Giogha.

Dr Gina Kusuma from the Amnion Cell Biology Research Group at Hudson Institute

Dr Gina Kusuma

The Ritchie Centre
Research Group: Amnion Cell Biology 
Dr Rebecca Lim

Gina will present her research at the TERMIS World Congress (Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society) in Kyoto, Japan. The Congress theme, ‘Integration of Industry, Government and Academia for Regenerative Medicine’, aligns closely with Gina’s research to develop the next generation of (cell-free) regenerative medicine.

“My goal is to expand my understanding of the complexity of extracellular vesicles (EV), their function in health and diseases and how to harness their therapeutic potential. It’s a fantastic opportunity to network with research leaders at the forefront of EV from around the world that will promote the development of new ideas and establish global collaborations,” said Dr Kusuma.

Dr Shayanti Mukherjee from the Endometrial Stem Cell Biology Research Group at Hudson Institute

Dr Shayanti Mukherjee

The Ritchie Centre
Research Group: Endometrial Stem Cell Biology
Supervisor: Professor Caroline Gargett

Shayanti will attend the Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall conference in USA and visit laboratories to develop research collaborations with MIT, Boston. Her focus is on developing pelvic meshes with more desirable mechanical properties for treating pelvic organ prolapse.

“At this conference, I will present and discuss our multi-disciplinary pre-clinical data with experts in tissue engineering and material science. In addition, MIT is the ideal organisation to collaborate with as we move towards clinical translation of our bioengineered pelvic meshes,” said Dr Mukherjee.

PhD Travel Awards

Nadia Bellofiore

The Ritchie Centre
Research Group: Endometrial Remodelling
Supervisor: Dr Jemma Evans

Nadia will present at the 30th Annual Education Program in Reproduction and Development Symposium in Prato, Italy, celebrating the achievements of alumni who have completed the program and their current career pathways.

In addition, she has been invited to speak at Napier University, Edinburgh on her breakthrough discovery of the first menstruating rodent species, the spiny mouse. The visits will provide Nadia to share her novel work with leading experts in the field of women’s reproductive health and increase the potential for translational research in menstruation.

Dr Michelle Chonwerawong is a member of the Microbiota and Systems Biology Research group in the Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases.

Michelle Chonwerawong

Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases
Research Groups: Gastrointestinal Infection and Inflammation
Supervisors: Associate Professor Richard Ferrero, Dr Jonathan Ferrand

Michelle will present her research at two international conferences in Europe: EMBO-EMBL Innate Immunity in Host-Pathogen Interactions conference in Heidelberg, Germany, and the International Workshop on Pathogenesis and Host Responses in Helicobacter Infections in Helsingor, Denmark.

“Presenting at two international conferences will provide invaluable experience in analysing and communicating my data. It will enrich my scientific experience and knowledge of techniques and allow me to get feedback from world leaders in the fields of innate immunity and infectious diseases,” said Michelle.

Aidan Kashyap

The Ritchie Centre
Research Group: Fetal and Neonatal Health Research Group
Supervisors: Professor Stuart Hooper, Associate Professor Ryan Hodges, Dr Kelley Crossley, Dr Philip DeKoninck

Aidan will visit Professor Jan Deprest’s laboratory in Leuven, Belgium for one month. Professor Deprest is an internationally renowned expert in fetal therapies that improve lung development in babies with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, the focus of Aidan’s research. Immersion in this translational research group will provide Aidan new insights into the antenatal and neonatal clinical care of babies with CDH.

“Working in the antenatal and neonatal care of CDH infants at the University Hospital in Leuven will enhance the clinical perspective necessary to guide my research. It will also allow me to bring home new techniques to Hudson Institute that enhance our translation of research findings with local partners such as Monash Health,” said Aidan.

Hudson Equity Travel Awards

The Hudson Equity Travel Award assists a staff member who has a career disruption to progress their research and career development.

Dr Genevieve Pepin

Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases
Research Group:
Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity
Supervisor: Dr Michael Gantier

The award will enable Genevieve to present her data at the International Cytokines and Interferon Society meeting 2018 (ICIS), held in Boston.

“This is a great opportunity to foster new collaborations and learn about the new discoveries in the field of innate immunity in the context of auto-inflammatory disorders and cancer,” said Dr Pepin.

In addition, Dr Pepin will also use this travel to give talks in Canada where she has been invited to discuss her research.

Dr Ellen Menkhorst

Centre for Reproductive Health
Research Group: Embryo Implantation
Supervisor: Professor Vincent Harley

Ellen is attending the Society for Reproductive Biology 50th Jubilee and the Australian and New Zealand Placental Research Association meetings in Adelaide.

Dr Menkhorst’s research aims to uncover the root cause of diseases of pregnancy such as recurrent miscarriage and preeclampsia.

“The award will allow me to meet face to face with collaborators to discuss and progress research findings,” said Dr Menkhorst.

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