Image: RACP 2018 John Snow Scholarship winner Ned Latham
Congratulations to Burnet Institute research assistant Ned Latham and alumnus Isobel Walker who’ve both been awarded prestigious scholarships for their outstanding work.
Ned won the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) 2018 John Snow Scholarship for his work on Burnet’s Rapid-EC Pilot Study, investigating the feasibility of providing rapid point-of-care testing for hepatitis C in community clinics.
The John Snow Scholarship is awarded for the highest ranked student research presentation on public health at the RACP’s annual congress.
Isobel’s honours year research conducted at Burnet in 2017 attracted a raft of prizes including an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship for a PhD at Melbourne University, and The Richard Larkins Prize for the top honours student in Melbourne University’s faculty of medicine.
Isobel’s thesis addressed how fetal macrophages that reside in the placenta respond to malaria antigens and may be contributors to the pathology of malaria during pregnancy.
“During her project, and together with our collaborator Dr Louise Randall at Melbourne University, Isobel established a difficult protocol to extract these cells from placentas in order for us to be able to study them in detail,” Isobel’s supervisor Dr Ricardo Ataide, said.
“Isobel proved to be extremely hard-working, very eager to experiment, driven and genuinely interested in learning and answering the questions that were thrown at her every day.
“These awards are an auspicious beginning to what I’m sure will be a brilliant career.”
Ned’s presentation to the 2018 RACP Congress included an evaluation of the acceptability of point-of-care hepatitis C testing for people who inject drugs, and a reflection on the value of qualitative research in public health.
As part of his honours research project Ned interviewed 19 Rapid-EC study participants who had recently undergone point-of-care hepatitis C testing at needle syringe programs.
Burnet Deputy Director, Programs, Professor Margaret Hellard; Deputy Program Director, Disease Elimination, Dr Joseph Doyle; and EC Partnership Coordinator, Dr Alisa Pedrana, supervised Ned.
Ned is continuing to work part-time at Burnet while completing the final year of his medical degree at Monash University.
The John Snow Scholarship was introduced in 2009, named in honour of an English physician who is widely considered to be one of the founding fathers of epidemiology and public health.