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Student news

All the news from our talented group of students including student awards, presentations at symposiums and HDR achievements.


Making News at JakNEWS!
Making News at JakNEWS!

Making News at JakNEWS!

From 24 to 27 March, Jakarta Neurology Expo, Workshop and Symposium (JakNEWS) held their fourth annual meeting at the spectacular Hotel Borobudur in Jakarta. I was privileged to be invited to speak by our collaborators at the University of Indonesia, along with my colleague Jenjira Mountford.

JakNEWS is aimed at sharing and building knowledge of neurological conditions, treatments and progress in research. The symposium consisted of international speake at homrs from Greece, the Netherlands and Japan as well as local Indonesian neurologists and researchers. A poster session and oral presentation competition were held during the symposium where Jenjira and I presented data from our 2016 honours projects. Oral presentations were ten minute presentations, five minutes of questions and submission of a corresponding full-text article, which were all assessed by an examination panel. I was extremely honoured and excited to be awarded the first place prize for my oral presentation titled ‘The power of genetics in understanding HIV-SN’.

Some of our team at the University of Indonesia.
Some of our team at the University of Indonesia.

In addition to attending the symposium, we visited our colleagues at the University of Indonesia and the HIV Clinic at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital. As expected, everyone was welcoming and very generous with their time providing tours and answering any questions we had.

Not only was it a wonderful experience presenting my research and strengthening our collaborations, it was a great chance to immerse ourselves in the Indonesian culture and experience the many sides of Jakarta. We visited iconic sites including the grand Istiqlal Mosque and the National Monument (Monas), we visited grand shopping malls and beautiful restaurants that overlook the Jakarta skyline, and, in complete contrast, rode in traditional rickshaws (bajaj) to small street side restaurants, the favourites of the locals.

All in all it was a very beneficial and memorable trip. It was a great privilege to represent the Price-Lee group and Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute.

Contributed by Jessica Gaff – Price-Lee Group


HDR student achievement/completion

(Now Dr) Julia Köhn had her thesis passed: title ‘Characterisation of liver progenitor cells and their microenvironment during chronic liver disease and hepatocarcinogenesis’. Primary supervisor Nina Tirnitz-Parker, Co-supervisor John Olynyk.

Honours student news

Andrea Stephenson, Honours student at SBMS presented at WAND FORUM 2017 Teaching and Learning. Her project is entitled ‘The Influence of basic Latin and Greek etymology knowledge on anatomy learning, understanding and outcomes in first year Biomedical Sciences students’. The study highlights the fact that over 90 per cent of biomedical terminology is derived from the Latin and Greek (L&G) languages. Evidence suggests knowledge of these languages significantly influences anatomical learning; nevertheless L&G are decreasingly studied within educational systems worldwide. Andrea results suggest that L&G etymology knowledge may enhance anatomical learning and understanding, but not unit performance. These results provide preliminary insights between L&G knowledge and anatomy learning with the potential for stronger associations in larger cohorts.

Andrea developed this project under the supervision of Dr Amanda Jefferson and Dr Mauro Vaccarezza of SBMS.

Student Awards

Himel Nahreen Khaleque – Awards 2015-2017

Final year PhD student (Microbial Ecology Group) – School of Biomedical Sciences

Supervisor – Professor Elizabeth Watkin

2015 – Received a ‘Choose Maths Grant’ from the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) for travel to the University of Sydney to attend the Bioinfosummer 2015 workshop. The event included both specialist lectures and hands on introductory and advanced computer workshops for bioinformatics training.

2016 – Mobility Scholarship Round 2, 2016 from the Graduate Research School, Curtin University for 8 weeks travel to enhance research experience with a leading overseas university, research institution or industry partner. I am using the scholarship for 8 weeks travel to the Centre of Bioinformatics and Genome Biology (Fundacion Ciencia y Vida), Santiago, Chile. Here, I am working with Professor David Holmes and his group, who have a long standing collaboration with my supervisor, Professor Elizabeth Watkin. While in Chile, I plan to analyse the genomes and evolutionary story of novel bacteria that have potential for use in mineral bioleaching in arid regions, such as Western Australia and Chile. This will help towards the main goal of my PhD, to elucidate the mechanisms of salt tolerance in acidophiles.

2017 – TIGeR grant for international conference support from the Institute for Geoscience Research (TIGeR), Curtin University. I will be using this grant to travel to Freiberg, Germany to attend the International Biohydrometallurgy Symposium 2017. This is the seminal conference in my area of research and will provide a platform for exchange of knowledge with other leading research groups in my field of study.

Himel’s additional comments:

These awards and opportunities would not have been possible without the support and guidance of my supervisor and mentor, Professor Elizabeth Watkin, who always encourages me to dream big against all odds.