Vital work by the next generation of health researchers has received a kickstart under a unique University of Newcastle scholarship program.
Introduced in 2007, the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Research Higher Degree Candidates encourages undergraduate students to undertake a research higher degree at the University of Newcastle.
Recipients of the Award receive an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship from the Australian Government plus an additional $10,000 per year from the University.
This year's three recipients were selected from the highest ranked group of scholarship applicants based on their academic merit and achievements in their undergraduate studies. Ms Rebecca Forbes is examining the viral infections thought to be responsible for causing asthma exacerbations in pregnant women, leading to poor pregnancy outcomes including increased risks of pre-eclampsia, pre-term delivery, and low birth rates for babies.
Ms Skye McIver is investigating the factors contributing to testicular germ cell cancer and possible treatments. Germ cells are the cells which develop into sperm and eggs. Understanding the signalling mechanisms contributing to germ cell cancer and a germ cell niche within the testis could lead to possible treatments for male infertility.
Ms Elise Mansfield is examining the processes which coordinate our intentions and actions and enable us to deal with our constantly changing environment. Her research aims to assist in understanding these processes in clinical conditions such as ADHD and schizophrenia.
Dean of Graduate Studies, Professor Scott Holmes said all three award recipients would provide invaluable contributions to the University's research expertise.
"The University has a proud tradition of fostering research into areas of vital importance for all Australians. The work of these three students is an example of the significant research opportunities offered by the University of Newcastle."
Photo opportunity: Vice-Chancellor Professor Nicholas Saunders will present the students with their awards at 3.30pm on Monday 31 March 2008 at Syracusa (formerly the University Staff Club), Newcastle campus (Callaghan).