|Dr Alex Hodge|
The Early Career Practitioner Fellowship will give young physicians protected time, enabling physician scientists to continue their clinical duties while remaining active in research.
The first recipients of the fellowship are Monash Health consultants gastroenterologist Dr Alex Hodge and geriatrician Dr Chris Moran.
|Dr Chris Moran|
Alex completed his PhD in last month at the School of Clinical Sciences under the supervision of Director of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Professor William Sievert. Alex’s research addressed the two foremost concerns in clinical hepatology today: finding a treatment for patients with cirrhosis and treating the emerging epidemic of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
“Thanks to this fellowship, I can continue my research in stem cell-based therapy for potential liver regeneration while continuing my clinical work,” said Alex.
“Another research area I plan to explore is the association of coffee consumption and liver disease.”
Meanwhile under the supervision of Associate Professor Velandai Srikanth and Professor Thanh Phan from the Stroke and Ageing Research Group, fellowship recipient Dr Chris Moran recently submitted his PhD thesis, having investigated the links between type 2 diabetes and dementia.
In a study published in the leading journal Diabetes Care in 2014, Chris reported that the relationship between type 2 diabetes and cognition was predominantly due to brain shrinkage and not stroke, as previously thought.
“The pattern of this shrinkage was similar to that seen in Alzheimer’s disease and led to a follow up study, to be published later this year in Neurology,” said Chris.
“This new fellowship scheme will enable clinical insights to be the basis for developing new research questions, and early career practitioners will have dedicated time to devote to answering such questions, ultimately translating to better patient outcomes,” said Professor Sievert.
“While Alex will be busy clinically seeing patients with advanced liver disease, he can continue to be actively involved in the lab, finding out how the cells work in animal models of liver disease and how best to transform this knowledge into a clinically useful therapy.”
“The Early Career Practitioner Fellowship is an excellent initiative that allows talented early career researchers to build on their PhD work,” said Associate Professor Srikanth.
“Combining productive and rewarding post-doctoral research with a strong clinical career are essential components of future clinical-academic leaders.”