17 November 2022

Sixty-two outstanding health and medical graduates will share in more than $7 million of funding to support their research training through this year’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme.  

Dr Yanna Ko from Western Sydney University will use her Postgraduate Scholarship to evaluate faecal microbiota transplantation as a method of restoring healthy gut bacteria when treating irritable bowel syndrome.

“This scholarship will help support much needed research into an extremely common condition where better treatment options are still being developed,” Dr Ko said.

The Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme aims to support exceptional health and medical graduates early in their careers and develop capacity for original independent research within Australia. 

Dr Michael Moso from The University of Melbourne said the scholarship would provide him with the opportunity to fully dedicate his time to research.

“It has given me the ability to further advance my career as a clinician-scientist,” he said.  

Dr Moso will use his Postgraduate Scholarship to develop a therapeutic approach using nanoparticles and gene therapy to cure human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso AO said the scheme supported graduates in medicine, dentistry, allied health and other fields early in their careers to undertake health and medical research.

“Successful applicants are funded to attain a research-based postgraduate degree that will set them on the path to an independent research career,” she said.

Projects funded (in order of Application ID):

Chief Investigator Application Title Administering Institution
Doctor Natacha Omer Natural killer cell immunotherapy in paediatric sarcomas University of Queensland 

Doctor Xi May Zhen 

Overweight and obesity in young adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes: mortality, pregnancy outcomes, and novel glycaemic interventions 

University of Sydney

Doctor Josephine Warren 

Evaluation and diagnosis of cardiac allograft vasculopathy post heart transplant using novel Cardiac CT techniques. 

Monash University 

Harrison Hansford

The ZEUs (ZopiclonE for acute low back pain) trial: A multi-site, double blind, randomised controlled trial of zopiclone for acute low back pain 

University of New South Wales

Doctor Sarah Heynemann 

Ethics of cancer trials 

University of Sydney 

Doctor Lawrence Kasherman 

Improving outcomes and experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse patients affected by cancer participating in survivorship programs 

University of Sydney 

Doctor Phillip Nguyen 

Clonal determinants of immune evasion to allogeneic stem cell transplant in acute myeloid leukaemia 

University of Melbourne

Doctor Steven Nicolaides 

Immune related adverse events of the gastrointestinal system and investigation of novel diagnostics and therapeutics 

Monash University

Doctor Elisabeth Ng 

Primary Aldosteronism: new strategies for diagnosis and management 

Monash University

Doctor Hannah Gordon 

Characterising the perinatal, neonatal and school-age childhood outcomes associated with diabetes in pregnancy 

University of Melbourne

Doctor Suyi Ooi 

Advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) biomarkers for prediction of clinical outcomes after a first seizure 

University of Melbourne 

Doctor Avraham Travers 

CD8+ T cell tolerance within the tumour draining lymph node as a novel immunotherapy target in colorectal cancer 

University of Melbourne

Doctor Gia Tang 

The impact of gender affirming hormone therapy on scalp hair pattern and distribution 

University of Melbourne 

Doctor Minh Huan Dang 

Defining new therapeutic targets for ANCA-associated vasculitis 

Monash University

Doctor Shuyu Wang 

Advancing precision therapies for epilepsy 

University of Melbourne

Stefanie Dimov 

The impact of post-school transitions on the mental health of young people with developmental disabilities 

University of Melbourne

Doctor Briony Shaw 

Novel approaches to transfusion to improve supportive care for patients with blood cancers 

Monash University 

Doctor Rahul Muthalaly 

Cardiovascular risk reduction in stroke survivors 

Monash University 

Doctor Rajan Rehan 

Novel insights into ischemia and no obstructive coronary artery disease 

University of Sydney

Karan Rao 

Investigating methods to optimise and streamline transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) 

University of Sydney 

Lottie Morison 

Improving outcomes for children with complex communication needs 

Murdoch Children's Research Institute 

Doctor Omali Pitiyarachchi 

Moving towards personalising treatment for patients with pancreatic cancer using a patient-derived tumour explant model 

University of New South Wales

Doctor Youlin Koh 

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors And Depression in Atrial Fibrillation: The SAD-AF randomised controlled trial 

Melbourne Health

Doctor Yanna Ko 

The role of the gut microbiome in irritable bowel syndrome and its therapeutic potential 

Western Sydney University 

Rachael Farquhar 

Investigating the effectiveness of systems-oriented implementation research and partnerships in malaria-endemic settings 

Burnet Institute 

Doctor Antonia Kolovos 

Saving sight: Novel stratification instruments for glaucoma 

Flinders University

Nina Leggett 

Digital health to assist recovery after critical illness 

University of Melbourne 

Juliana Kanawati 

Three-dimensional (3D) printing to refine cardiac assessment and procedures 

University of Sydney 

Doctor Justin Chua 

Defining the landscape of ANCA-associated vasculitides in Australia and providing a foundation for improved care 

Monash University

Doctor Michael Moso 

Nanoparticle and gene therapy approaches to HIV cure 

University of Melbourne 

Doctor Antonia Clarke 

Community, country and cognition: a multi-jurisdictional assessment of dementia affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 

University of Melbourne 

Doctor Yvonne Kong 

Platelet biomarkers of thrombotic risk in type 2 diabetes 

University of Sydney 

Yunduo Zhao 

Coronary artery mimicking blood clot test: a point-of-care prothrombotic prediction device for patient-specific diagnosis 

University of Sydney 

Doctor Natasha Gorrie 

Understanding the phenotypic expression of early disease and genetics of cardiac amyloidosis 

University of New South Wales 

Doctor Douglas Tjandra  

Predicting progression of intestinal metaplasia to gastric cancer 

Monash University

Ellie Medcalf 

Generating the trial evidence end-users prefer: adding value to the analysis of a randomised controlled trial of patient-led surveillance for subsequent melanoma (MEL-SELF) 

University of Sydney  

Rabia Khalid 


Understanding the interplay between eating disorders and weight management therapy 

University of Sydney 

Doctor Jeremy Hill 


Towards ending tuberculosis and leprosy in the Pacific – implementing the PEARL study in South Tarawa, Kiribati 

University of Sydney 

Doctor Karen Liddle 


Precision diagnosis for children with hearing loss: optimising utilisation of imaging and genetic testing 

University of Queensland 

Doctor Abera Saeed 

Novel retinal imaging biomarkers for the assessment and prevention of diabetes complications 

Centre for Eye Research Australia Limited

Doctor Shejil Kumar 

The effects of osteoanabolic pharmacotherapy and osteogenic exercise on bone and muscle outcomes in postmenopausal osteoporosis: exploring the bone/muscle interface 

University of Sydney 

Danielle Hutchinson 

Community Sentiment Tool 

University of New South Wales

Doctor Russell Gear 

Comparing the efficacy and acceptability of genomic testing and skin biopsy in diagnosing monogenic skin disease 

Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Doctor Justin Phan 

Assessing the cardiac arrhythmia profile of cancer therapeutics 

University of New South Wales

Doctor Smitha Kumble 

Critical evaluation of the diagnostic utility of whole genome and transcriptome sequencing and the training of physicians in the deployment of frontier diagnostic technologies in healthcare 

Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Doctor Emma Tay 

Prescription drug monitoring program in New South Wales: a mixed methods study of implementation processes, stakeholder experiences, and program impact 

University of Sydney 

Nga Yan Tse 

Functional connectivity-guided transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) treatment for young people with major depression 

University of Melbourne

Doctor Aashray Gupta 

Evidence supporting strategies for coronary artery revascularisation 

University of Adelaide

Doctor Aleece MacPhail 

Predicting and preventing sepsis in patients with haematological malignancy 

Monash University 

Doctor Joshua Wong 

Heart failure prevention in cancer survivors by recognition and treatment of subclinical disease 

Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute 

Doctor Alex Stoyanov 

Detection of autoantibodies using novel bioluminescent systems 

University of Sydney 

John Chetwood 

Optimising biologics in inflammatory bowel disease University of Sydney 

Georgia Carstensen 

Novel policy approaches to reduce the supply and availability of tobacco products 

The University of Queensland

Catherine Banks 

Targeted and stem cell therapeutics for cystic fibrosis sinus disease 

University of New South Wales

Doctor Chun Mei Thng 

Investigating novel prevention and treatment strategies for gonococcal control 

Griffith University 

Doctor Adam Peterson 

Human amnion epithelial cell derived novel therapeutics in inflammatory bowel disease 

Monash University 

Sarah Donoghue 

Towards treatment of intellectual disability caused by errors in the chromatin machinery 

Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Yasmin Mohamed 

Vaccine champions and vaccine communication program 

Murdoch Children's Research Institute 

Doctor Patricia Khoo 

Novel bacteria as a therapy for inflammatory bowel disease 

Monash University

Doctor Megan Frohlich 

Application of novel personalised medicine tools to understand treatment mechanisms in Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia 

University of New South Wales

Doctor Melissa Shields 

Better vision for patients with ocular toxoplasmosis 

Flinders University 

Michael Dymock 

Designing Bayesian clinical trials to enhance clinician- and consumer-directed decision-making 

University of Western Australia