Join us for this week's roundup of inspiring Scholar news...
John Monash Scholars collaborate to establish Future Minds workshop
Earlier this month, Dr Mark Schembri, 2009 John Monash Scholar; Dr Nikki Bart, 2010 John Monash Scholar; Dr Joseph Suttie, 2007 John Monash Scholar and Dr Matt Lennon, 2020 Tim Fischer John Monash Scholarhosted a Future Minds workshop in Wagga Wagga, NSW.
The aim of this event was to bring capacity and excellence in rural healthcare by collaborating with the best scholars and leaders to mentor future great minds among students and medical trainees. The program involved a lead up day of specific formal training for mid-level mentors to hone their skills. The emerging leaders involved were from Wagga and around NSW.
The heart of the training involved individual coaching, training and leadership development culminating in a panel chaired by Dr Nikki Bart as the Head of the Amyloidosis Heart Failure unit at St Vincents Hospital and Dr Joseph Suttie as the recently appointed Head of the Notre Dame Rural Medical School. Research students supervised by Dr Mark Schembri and Dr Matt Lennon were heavily involved in developing the research culture and supervision of students throughout the Riverina. 'Future Minds' is a unique event in Rural Australia. The John Monash Scholars' intent is to make an enduring contribution to the Sir John Monash legacy by building the next generation of Australian leaders.
Scientists' new discovery brings ground-breaking development for leukaemia treatments
Researchers from The Australian National University and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre have discovered how a type of blood cancer, known as acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), can “switch off” a protein known as MHC class II, causing the leukaemia to become invisible to the immune system. The researchers believe that existing drugs targeting this molecular switch could be used to turn a protein known as MHC class II (MHC-II) back on again. The team said that by restoring MHC-II to the surface of the AML cells, the cancer is once again visible to the immune system and can be detected and eliminated.
This research investigated the role MHC-II plays in the failure of these transplants and was led by Dr Kah Lok Chan, who is based in Professor Mark Dawson, 2006 John Monash Scholars’ laboratory ‘The Dawson Lab’ at the Peter Mac. “This discovery reveals a potential new approach to treat patients who have relapsed after having a bone marrow transplant,” Professor Dawson said.
Professor Dawson is a clinician-scientist and an Associate Director of Research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He graduated with a medical degree from the University of Melbourne in 1999, and subsequently trained as a haematologist in Melbourne, Australia. He was awarded a General Sir John Monash Fellowship and Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Fellowship, which he used to complete his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2010. Following his PhD, he was awarded the inaugural Wellcome Trust Beit Prize Fellowship to pursue his research studying chromatin regulation in leukaemia stem cells. He returned to Melbourne in 2014 where his current research interest is studying chromatin biology in normal development and cancer. His research has helped identify several first-in-class epigenetic therapies resulting in various clinical trials across the world.
Scholar shifts policy debates
Changing policy debates efficiency and balancing stakeholder demands to include ethics and values can open up new avenues for innovation and short-term and long-term progress.
Dr Vafa Ghazavi, 2017 Commonwealth Bank John Monash Scholar, says that all policy questions involve values in some form and a thorough approach to ethics delivers more insight and more foresight in policymaking. He also said that hard policy challenges – such as the use of artificial intelligence in government and a just transition away from fossil fuels – need a joint problem-solving mindset across sectors and the citizenry, underpinned by a shared sense of the common good. Read more here.
Paint it Blak with Emma Garlett
As a part of her role as a columnist at The West Australian, Emma Garlett, 2022 Wesfarmers John Monash Scholar, will be taking over ‘Paint it Blak’, which is a partnership between Google and Seven West Media. Every week Emma will share an Indigenous perspective on current issues and breaking news stories in Indigenous affairs.
In this first episode, Emma applies an Indigenous lens to current issues and seeks to educate and bring viewers on a journey of reconciliation. Watch here.
John Monash community comes together at Oxford
Last week a group of our John Monash scholars united in Oxford to get to know one another, further enhancing our scholar community in the UK. The Foundation places great value on the importance of the community of John Monash Scholars, for both its capacity to ‘amplify impact’ and the multi-dimensional role it plays in providing individual scholars with a supportive, collaborative community of people who share the same values.
L – R: Dr Isabel Hanson, 2022 BHP John Monash Scholar; Rebecca Keeley, 2022 Tim Fischer John Monash Scholar; Dr Laura Dryburgh, 2022 Chairman's Circle John Monash Scholar; Darcy Dunn-Lawless, 2022 Australian Universities' John Monash Scholar; Alli Devlin, 2020 Commonwealth Bank John Monash Scholar; Nicholas Duddy, 2020 Tim Fairfax AC John Monash Scholar; Dr Harrison Steel, 2016 Roden Cutler NSW John Monash Scholar and Jack Muir, 2015 Origin Foundation John Monash Scholar.
In the media
Sarah Schwartz, 2019 Roden Cutler NSW John Monash Scholar, was featured in the ABC’s 730 report discussing the crisis of deaths in custody in Victoria. The 730 report segment was on Sarah’s client, who was the twin brother of an Aboriginal man, Clinton Austin, who recently died whilst in custody in Victoria. Sarah is representing Clinton’s family in the Coronial Investigation into his death and speaks on the segment about the crisis of Aboriginal deaths in custody in Victoria, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, and issues with prison healthcare.
Rebecca Keeley, 2022 Tim Fischer John Monash Scholar, was mentioned in The Daily Telegraph on Almost 100 of South Australian residential colleges most famous alumni. (paywall)
Dr Owen Siggs, 2007 John Monash Scholar, was announced as the 2022 recipient of the Quinlivan Research Grant in Insight News.