Monday, 5 December 2016

Medical students’ research recognised at SCS

Tristan McCaughey
Two Bachelor of Medical Science (Hons) students have been recognised for their outstanding research at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS).

Final year medical student Tristan McCaughey has received the Stephen Holdsworth Award for Medical Student Research 2016 while Jennifer Zhou is the winner of this year’s Shaun Summers Award for Medical Student Research.

The Holdsworth Award is for the best publication arising from BMedSc(Hons) research while the Summers Prize goes to the top academic mark in the student cohort.

Supervised by Associate Professor Alex Hewitt and Dr Christine Chen, Tristan’s thesis explored ethical considerations of two emerging genetic biotechnologies.

“My thesis investigated public attitudes towards human gene editing and sought to develop a new consent model for research participants donating cells for induced pluripotent stem cell research,” said Tristan.

Tristan’s project surveyed over 12,000 people from 185 countries, asking whether respondents agreed with the theoretical applications of human gene editing.

“We also managed to set a new standard of informed consent for induced pluripotent stem cell research by developing and validating a new interactive consent model available to researchers worldwide,” said Tristan.

Jennifer Zhou
“My BMedSc(Hons) research has led to a number of peer-reviewed publications and I have been fortunate enough to present the work at conferences both locally and overseas.”

Also in her final year of the MBBS, Jennifer Zhou’s project characterised the role of two immune cells (CD8+ T cells and Dendritic cells) in the development of atherosclerosis, the growth of fatty lesions called ‘plaques’ in the arterial wall.

Rupture of these plaques is the primary pathology underlying heart attacks and strokes
both leading causes of death and disability world-wide.

“Previously, atherosclerotic plaques were thought to be caused by fatty deposition in the arterial wall, but increasing evidence suggests that the immune system is also involved in their development,” said Jennifer. 

“The results of my study demonstrated that CD8+ T cells and Dendritic cells do indeed contribute to the formation of larger and more rupture-prone atherosclerotic lesions.”

Jennifer’s project sheds light on two potentially attractive therapeutic targets for modulating the immune response in development of atherosclerosis. 

Jennifer said choosing to do the BMedSc(Hons) was one of the best decisions she’s made in her time at university.

“I went from seeing medicine as a set of concrete facts, to realising that every fact I had learnt at university stemmed from asking questions, from research—the important backbone of clinical medicine.”

With no prior experience in medical research and although initially apprehensive, Tristan said his BMedSc(Hons) year enabled him to develop invaluable skills and gain a completely different perspective on evidence-based medicine.

“I thank SCS for honouring me with this award—it is a great privilege to have my work acknowledged, particularly with the high quality research produced by my BMedSc(Hons) cohort” said Tristan.

Jennifer also thanks her supervisors, Professor Ban Hock Toh and Alex Bobik and BMedSc(Hons) Coordinator at SCS, Dr Tony White.

Tristan and Jennifer will receive their awards at the MUMUS Graduate Brunch at Prize Ceremony on 12 December.

No comments:

Post a Comment