Campus & Community

Eight from Harvard headed Down Under

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Researchers awarded fellowships from Harvard Club of Australia

The Harvard Club of Australia Foundation has announced fellowship awards to eight accomplished Harvard researchers intending collaborative scientific research in Australia during 2012, and to two Australian researchers headed to Harvard. The foundation’s grants assist with travel and living expenses, and take the form of donations to their host Australian institutions.

Fellows from Harvard:

Paul Allen, professor of anesthesia, Harvard Medical School (HMS), aims to identify new approaches to the treatment of steroid-resistant asthma and airway hyperreactivity. He will bring new technology for transgenic mouse models to the University of Newcastle and develop classroom demonstrations on developments of transgenics to study models of human disease. During his 10 weeks in Australia, Allen will continue collaborations with Cristobal dos Remedios at the University of Sydney and Paul Foster at the University of Newcastle.

Laura K. Barger, instructor in medicine at HMS, associate physiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a founding member of the Harvard Work Hours, Health and Safety Group, will extend her research on the association between work hours, sleep deficiency, and motor vehicle crashes through collaborations with researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Austin Hospital, and interstate universities. During two months in Australia, she will teach Monash students and lead a workshop on drowsy driving to develop a research strategy in this area, working with Shantha Rajaratnam and several others.

Ron Kikinis is Robert Greenes Distinguished Director of Biomedical Informatics and professor of radiology at HMS. After presenting workshops in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane and meeting with neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists there, Kikinis will work with Karol Miller at the Intelligent Systems for Medicine Laboratory and deliver a master class organized by the University of Western Australia’s Institute of Advanced Studies, as well as lead research seminars for staff and postgraduate students at the Faculty of Engineering, Computing & Mathematics, and Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and to deliver a hands-on workshop on 3D Slicer for neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. He will spend nearly one month in Australia.

Christopher P. Landrigan, director, Sleep & Patient Safety Program, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and associate professor of medicine and pediatrics, HMS, will spend two months in Australia. He will conduct a pilot patient safety surveillance study with Peter Cameron at Monash University in Melbourne, then visit Sydney Children’s Hospital to discuss patient safety with health services researchers, clinicians, and safety scientists. He will also visit Sydney University’s Centre for Integrated Research & Understanding of Sleep to speak with research groups about his previous work on resident clinicians’ sleep deprivation and medical errors; followed by work with the government’s Clinical Excellence Commission to collaborate on translating research initiatives into policy and practice.

Soroosh Radfar, research fellow, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and HMS, conducts immune system research between is aimed at a little-studied white blood cell component — the regulatory thymus cell known as CD8 Treg — to define its potential contribution in regulating infectious disease. During Radfar’s nearly five months in Perth, he will exploit the recent identification of the inhibitory Ly49F receptor on CD8 Treg, coupled with another doctor’s research on the Ly49H receptor located on the killer cells that play a major role in the rejection of tumors and virus infections.

Vicki Rosen, professor of developmental biology, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, will present lectures in two areas of research: the role of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) in bone and joint development, and the use of BMPs in bone and joint repair and regeneration in the adult skeleton. Also she will host seminars with postgraduate students and fellows from the schools of Surgery and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Western Australia (with Jiake Xu), and in Sydney at various faculties of the University of Sydney (with Hala Zreiqat) and related institutions. She is to be a key speaker at Sydney University’s Tissue Engineering Symposium (SuTEN-August 2012).

Rima E. Rudd, senior lecturer, Department of Society, Human Development & Health, Harvard School of Public Health, has been invited to the University of Adelaide on a visiting professorship to raise awareness in the area of health literacy, to facilitate discussions among researchers, to develop research proposals, and to provide opportunities for exploring efficacious change in practice and in policy. She will also visit and develop proposals in health literacy with others including the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, and the New South Wales Government’s Clinical Excellence Commission. Rudd expects to spend at least three months in Australia.

Joao Seco, assistant professor of radiation oncology, HMS, will collaborate, initially for two months, with Andrew Fielding at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, on the development of Monte Carlo and optimization techniques for use in radiation therapy for lung cancer using arc beam delivery and multi-criteria optimization.

Australian fellows visiting Harvard:

Associate Professor Diane Fatkin, laboratory head, Sister Bernice Research Program in Inherited Heart Disease, Molecular Cardiology Division, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (VCCRI) in Sydney, will pay a six-month visit to the laboratory of Professors Christine and Jon Seidman at the HMS Department of Genetic Studies, where Fatkin aims to utilize next-generation sequencing technologies to identify genetic variants in a cohort of families with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and then to generate a cohort of genotyped family members for genotype-phenotype correlations and clinical trials in familial DCM. On her return to Australia, Fatkin will train Sydney lab staff and students in these new technologies. Studies will have direct benefits to the families that are being studied at VCCRI.

Professor Paul S. Foster, Laureate Professor and director, Priority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Disease, School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, New South Wales, will work for four months at the laboratory of Professor Richard L. Stevens at HMS to identify the roles of certain mast cell proteins (mMCP-6) and ribonucleic acids (RNAs) in the control of antiviral immune responses and allergic inflammation of the airways. He will also test the hypotheses that the roles of MCs and their proteins in promoting protective or damaging host responses in the lung are governed by the nature of the inflammatory stimulus and the subsequent immunological milieu, and that mMCP-6-dependent responses in mice are controlled, in part, by specific RNAs.