Dame Bridget Ogilvie Awards and Scholarships
The Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) hosted its third Lunch with Dame Bridget Ogilvie on Monday 25 February.
This annual event celebrates the work of a diverse range of women health and medical researchers at the University of Wollongong (UOW) and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD).
It also highlights the Dame Bridget Ogilvie Awards and Scholarships. This funding initiative was established by IHMRI in 2017 to help address the barriers to career progression faced by women working in health and medical research.
“With these Awards and Scholarships, IHMRI wants to help our women researchers, both academics and clinicians, build their reputations for excellence. We want to promote professional confidence, ongoing success, and movement to leadership roles,” explains IHMRI CEO and Executive Director, Distinguished Professor David J Adams.
Dr Katrina Green won the Dame Bridget Ogilvie Citation Award, which recognises research excellence in outstanding publications by an early-career researcher.
Dr Green is Head of the Neuropharmacology and Molecular Psychiatry Laboratory at UOW. Her research aims to improve the pharmacological treatment of psychiatric illness, with a focus on cognitive impairment.
Dr Green leads investigations into the use of cannabis-derived molecules to improve cognition; exploring the link between the gut microbiome and cognitive function; and the use of saliva from the Glia monster, the world’s only venomous lizard, to prevent side-effects of antipsychotic drugs.
Research/Clinical Excellence Award
Dr Esther Davies won the Dame Bridget Ogilvie Research/Clinical Excellence Award, which recognises the excellence of a woman researcher who has demonstrated high impact in their respective field.
Dr Davis is a Clinical Psychology Registrar and research officer within the Illawarra Institute for Mental Health at UOW. Her research has had a significant impact on palliative care.
Dr Davis has developed a novel self-help intervention for the carers of patients in palliative care. The results have been used in the planning of ISLHD palliative care bereavement services and to support a government commissioned report.
Currently, Dr Davis is involved in research to improve the care of patients suffering distress from breathlessness, a significant issue in palliative patients.
Career Development Scholarships
Career Advancement Scholarships provide funding to support researchers at any stage of their career to assist financially with an opportunity to enhance their career profile.
The first of the Career Advancements Scholarships was awarded to Dr Natalie Matosin from UOW’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience.
Dr Matosin is an NHMRC CJ Martin Research Fellow. She is striving to understand how genetic and epi-genetic factors increase the risk of stress-induced psychiatric disorders, with a particular interest in the link between the trauma of being a refugee and inter-generational risk of psychiatric disorders.
The scholarship will enable her to travel to the United States to attend the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ANCP) meeting in Florida to present at the symposium as chair and speaker.
The second Career Advancement Scholarship recipient is Dr Monique Francois from UOW’s School of Medicine.
Dr Francois is an expert in physical activity for patients with diabetes, specifically high-intensity interval training to lower blood glucose.
Dr Francois currently works collaboratively with the Illawarra Diabetes Service to implement physical activity within the clinical practice guidelines for gestation diabetes. She is also leading a trial to investigate the role of water immersion therapy in combination with exercise in patients with Type 2 diabetes to improve vascular function.
Dr Francois will use this scholarship to help maintain research productivity by contributing to publication costs whilst on maternity leave in the second half of 2019.
Lunch with Dame Bridget Ogilvie
Emceed by post-doctoral researcher, Dr Diane Ly, the event attracted over 90 guests, including international representatives from the University of Surrey in the UK, as well as community supporters, Chris and Ruth Lovatt from the Great Illawarra Walk and Nyree Saxby from the Saving Chloe Saxby campaign.
Malaria expert, Professor Leann Tilley from the University of Melbourne, delivered the keynote address, Convergence and Diversity — The Future of Science, and moderated a panel discussion and audience Q&A on the topic.
She is a recipient of the prestigious ARC Georgina Sweet Australian Laureate Fellowship in 2015, and the Eureka prize for Infectious Diseases Research in 2016.
“Convergence is what happens when teams of passionate gender and culturally diverse people provide different ideas, perspectives and backgrounds – building a collective intelligence,” said Professor Tilley.
The event and funding are named in honour of IHMRI’s Patron, the renowned scientist, Dame Bridget Ogilvie AC DB, ScD FRS FAA. A staunch advocate for gender equality, Dame Bridget Ogilvie is an inspirational figure for our researchers, particularly women.
“Women are as fundamentally capable as men of succeeding in any kind of scientific research. Failure is due to social factors, not intrinsic ability,” asserts Dame Bridget Ogilvie.
In a recent article entitled Career Advice for Women in Science, she advises women working in research to: “Diversify your skills, communicate what you do, find a mentor, and support other women”.
Louise Negline, Communications Coordinator
t: 4221 4702
m: 0417 044 867
Top photo: Dr Katrina Green, Dr Esther Davis, Dr Monique Francois and Dr Natalie Matosin. Photo by Trudy Simpkin.