Monash Awards to Adelaide graduates
Wednesday, 13 December 2006
Two University of Adelaide graduates have been awarded Australia's most prestigious postgraduate scholarships to undertake further study at the world's best universities.
The General Sir John Monash Award provides the winners with financial support up to the value of $150,000 over three years. They are awarded for academic excellence, leadership and community service.
Of the eight Monash Award recipients for 2007 announced recently by Governor-General Michael Jeffery at Government House, Canberra, two - Gemma Sharp and Owen Siggs - are graduates of the University of Adelaide.
Gemma, 22, will use her Monash Award to study for a PhD at the University of Cambridge in the UK. Gemma has a passion for breast cancer research - her project aims to identify genes as prognostic markers for detecting, monitoring and treating breast cancer.
Gemma has a Bachelor of Science (Molecular Biology), a Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours) - which earned her a University Medal - and a Diploma in Languages (Japanese) from the University of Adelaide.
"I am so thrilled and honoured to have won such a prestigious award," Gemma says.
"I started investigating breast cancer as an Honours student at the University of Adelaide in 2005, and this year I had the opportunity to combine my Japanese language skills and breast cancer research skills as a Research Assistant at Meiji University in Japan. (Meiji University is a sister university of the University of Adelaide.)
"In the future, I would like to establish an international research team focusing on designing novel breast cancer treatments which links all three of the countries I will have worked in: Australia, Japan and the UK.
"Breast cancer is the primary cause of cancer-related death in Australian women and I hope my research will help ameliorate this problem," she says.
Owen Siggs, 23, has a Bachelor of Science (Molecular Biology) and Diploma of Languages (German) from the University of Adelaide and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the Australian National University.
Owen's ambition is to lead Australian research into the prevention and treatment of genetic disease. To that end, he will use his Monash Award to pursue a joint PhD/DPhil at The Scripps Research Institute in the United States and the University of Oxford in the UK.
"The greatest attraction of this award was the freedom to use it at the best institutions in our chosen fields. It's now our responsibility to use this experience to benefit our nation," Owen says.
"Our DNA is like a 30,000-page instruction manual for our body. Much of what distinguishes us as individuals is determined by subtle differences in this 'manual', including our susceptibility to diseases such as cancer, autoimmunity, obesity and infection. As we increase our understanding of these differences, and the 'pages' of DNA they affect, we can improve our management of disease," he says.
The award winners were selected from up to 150 applicants nationally. In addition to the scholarship funding, the General Sir John Monash Foundation also helps award winners to develop global networks for their future leadership roles.