International opportunity for young medical researchers

Jan 19 2010

Two young researchers from the University of Newcastle have been invited to work with the world’s leading schizophrenia and cancer experts in the United States.

PhD student Natalie Beveridge* and Dr Nikola Bowden** will this year spend three and six months respectively at the prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) at Bethesda, near Washington D.C.  The NIH comprises more than 27 institutes and centres with 6,000 researchers and has the largest medical research budget in the world.

Dr Bowden will learn how to sequence the entire human genome and research childhood cancer, at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

“Sequencing the entire genome allows us to see changes in a gene or copies of it, which means we can see all of the leukaemia information in the patient at the one time.  We do not have the equipment to do this in the Hunter.

“My visit will establish a first-time collaboration with the NCI’s paediatric oncology group.  This relationship and my genome-sequencing skills will allow the Hunter team to be part of much larger research programs and enhance our ability to attract funding for the sequencing equipment inNewcastle.”

Dr Bowden will leave in April and spend six months in the US.

Ms Beveridge is investigating what causes genes to behave differently in schizophrenia patients, and will work with a team at the National Institute of Mental Health.

“This exchange is an excellent opportunity to further my research career,” Ms Beveridge said.  “I will learn new skills and pave the way for future collaborations with this world-renowned team of schizophrenia researchers.”

Ms Beveridge leaves for the United States on Wednesday 20 January (this week).

* Ms Beveridge is a PhD candidate in the University’s Faculty of Health, a member of the Schizophrenia Research Institute and the University’s Priority Research Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research, and researches in collaboration with the Hunter Medical Research Institute’s (HMRI) Brain and Mental Health Program.

** Dr Bowden is a National Health and Medical Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the University’s Faculty of Health, a member of the University’s Priority Research Centre for Bioinformatics, Biomarker Discovery and Information-Based Medicine, and researches in collaboration with HMRI’s Information Based Medicine Program.  HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.