University of Adelaide scholars head to the US

Researchers spread their wings

Six University of Adelaide students have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships to continue their research in the US.

Overall, eight scholarships have been awarded to University of Adelaide researchers investigating areas as diverse as planetary astrophysics, global ophthalmology, public administration, chemistry, and public health.

Awardees include:

Monique Chilver, a PhD candidate and program manager for the national influenza surveillance system – the Australian Sentinel Practices Research Network (ASPREN). She will head to the University of Washington to work on the Australian arm of the Seattle Flu study. Monique began working as the ASPREN program manager in 2009 during the H1N1 influenza pandemic. Her work has seen the surveillance system evolve from a simple, paper and web-based data collection system to include virological testing, automated data extraction, and point-of-care testing. Monique is passionate about improving the health of people in underserved populations. Her latest project, working with the University of Washington on the Australian arm of the Seattle Flu study – flu@home study – involved the assessment and enhancement of an in-home test for influenza, coupled with an app that collects patient symptom and risk-factor data. Through support from the Fulbright Commission and The Kinghorn Foundation, Monique will work with Professor Matthew Thompson and Associate Professor Barry Lutz at the University of Washington. Her work will focus on further enhancement of the flu@home app in a bid to create a cheap and accurate test for influenza that could be utilised by individuals without access to healthcare, or as a surveillance tool in countries that cannot afford traditional methods of surveillance. In addition, she will forge collaboration and research opportunities at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Through understanding how U.S. disease surveillance systems work, Monique plans to further enhance Australia’s influenza surveillance systems.

Nicholas Schumann, who will be heading to Utah Valley University to investigate the development of new therapeutics for treating tuberculosis.Tuberculosis is the world’s most lethal infectious disease, resulting in more fatalities each year than HIV and malaria combined. As with most bacterial infections, widespread antibiotic resistance exists for tuberculosis-related infections, resulting in an urgent need for new antibiotics. A recently identified enzyme found in the causative agent of tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, holds great promise as a new drug target for the treatment of this disease. Through the Fulbright Future Scholarship, Nicholas will investigate drug candidates which target this enzyme, and promising candidates will be translated into clinical trials. Nicholas has a passion for informing the public on scientific issues facing society and will use his scholarship to engage with others through tailored community outreach programs. 

Recipients attended the 2020 Fulbright gala presentation dinner at Parliament House in Canberra on 27 February.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship foreign exchange scholarship program of the US, aimed at increasing binational collaboration, cultural understanding, and the exchange of ideas.

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