Fulbright Scholar to focus on age-related decline

Thursday, 6 March 2014

A University of Adelaide postgraduate student will receive a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to study in the United States of America.

Dr Harris Eyre is among 31 recipients from Australia to be awarded a 2014 Australian-American Fulbright Commission scholarship.

Dr Eyre, who will receive a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship (WG Walker), is undertaking a PhD in preventive psychiatry at the University of Adelaide. His PhD is conducted under the supervision of Professor Bernhard Baune of the Discipline of Psychiatry. Dr Eyre, who also works as a medical doctor at The Townsville Hospital, received a medical degree with Honours from James Cook University.

From July 2014, he will study with Professor Helen Lavretsky at the University of California, Los Angeles Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

"My educational curriculum will include involvement in a number of clinical trials in late-life psychiatry, which will investigate the role of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions, including physical activity, in preventing or alleviating cognitive symptoms in ageing," Dr Eyre says.

"The burden of depression and age-related cognitive decline, for example, Alzheimer's dementia, has a high and rising impact on the world's population.

"Given this point - and our limited understanding of the interface between psychiatry and immunology - understanding how the immune system is involved in these disease processes is a much needed area of exploration.

"I hope to learn academic and clinical skills, as well as to gain an understanding of academic and healthcare structures within the US. I also hope to develop ongoing collaborations with American researchers, to enrich my academic work upon my return to Australia."

Fulbright recipients receive support to travel to the US in a postgraduate, postdoctoral, senior or professorial capacity. Scholars complete research across a range of fields, including science, technology, the arts, education and public policy.

The Australian Alumni (WG Walker) Scholarship Fund was established in 1993 through contributions from Australian Fulbright Alumni to annually support a scholarship for the highest ranked Australian Fulbright Postgraduate.

Executive Director for the Australian-American Fulbright Commission, Dr Tangerine Holt, said the calibre of the 2014 scholars was exceptional.

"These remarkable individuals were chosen because of their talent as well as their passion to translate their research in Australia and globally. From agricultural science to astrophysics, I am proud that these extraordinary Australians will make a difference to change the world."

The Fulbright Program in Australia is funded by the Australian and American governments and a generous group of sponsors.

The international Fulbright Program was established in 1946 as an initiative of US Senator J. William Fulbright, who believed that cultural and educational exchange could play an important role in building a lasting world peace. It currently operates between the US and 155 other nations, and more than 325,000 people have become part of a prestigious worldwide alumni.


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