Rising star researcher receives esteemed Victoria Fellowship Award

By Hudson Institute communications

Early career Hudson Institute researcher, Dr Gina Kusuma has been awarded a prestigious Victoria Fellowship 2019. Coordinated by veski, this award is funded by the State Government of Victoria and recognises quality research from promising young scientists.

Dr Gina Kusuma receives esteemed Victoria Fellowship Award
Dr Gina Kusuma

The Victoria Fellowship will allow Dr Gina Kusuma to undertake a study mission overseas. She will use this opportunity to further her research into developing improved therapeutic treatments for peripheral artery disease.

Recognising the importance of science and innovation in Victoria’s economic future, the Victorian Government annually funds international study missions of six bright young scientists in life sciences. The fellowships not only acknowledge the achievements of high achieving early career scientists but support their future research endeavours. Facilitating the development of innovative ideas, specialist-training from world-renowned experts and career development.

The Victoria Fellowships, in association with veski were founded to recognise Victoria’s pioneering scientists and foster medical innovation in Victoria.

Dr Gina Kusuma—Using bioimaging technologies to develop safe, non-surgical therapeutic treatments for peripheral artery disease

Dr Gina Kusuma will be visiting Professor Kishore Bhakoo, renowned expert in biomedical imaging at the A*STAR’s Bioimaging Consortium in Singapore.  She will learn how to setup a preclinical murine model of peripheral artery disease (PAD) and receive training on associated multi-modal imaging technologies. PAD is the narrowing of arteries in the limbs, a debilitating condition most prevalent in the elderly, obese and diabetic.  PAD is estimated to affect approximately 200 million people worldwide, and the prevalence of PAD is expected to double by 2040.

Currently severe PAD results in critical limb ischemia, treated through vascular surgery and a quarter of these cases will require leg amputation within a year. Dr Kusuma aims to develop a stem-cell based therapy that can be easily and safely deployed without the need for complex surgical procedures. To this end she will establish the PAD murine model at Hudson Institute of Medical Research and in association with Monash Biomedical imaging and use obtained knowledge of multi-modal preclinical imaging technologies to visualise mouse responses to stem-cell therapies.

“Upon completion of this international travel opportunity, we will be the first team in Victoria to establish this murine PAD model and to apply the clinically relevant imaging technologies to evaluate angiogenic therapeutic modalities that can be translated to clinical practice.”

“I am incredibly grateful to the Victorian State Government for giving me this opportunity. Victoria is very well-placed to capitalise on its strong research base in regenerative medicine sector, which is an emerging and rapidly growing field,” Dr Kusuma said.

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