2017 Hugh Rogers Fellows

In 2017, Hugh Rogers Fellowships were awarded to Thea Rossen in the field of arts and culture, Dr. Jennifer Payne in the field of healthcare and medical research, and John-Paul Plazzer in the field of healthcare and medical research.

Thea Rossen

Music for our Changing Climate

In collaboration with Boston artist Maria Finkelmeier, Thea Rossen will develop a brand new work for percussion that engages with the issues surrounding climate change. The work will engage with collections of relevant scientific data and feature an immersive lighting component and sound installation. With the support of the Kadence Arts organisation, Maria and Thea will create an inspiring performance piece capable of reaching large international audiences with a positive and informative message about climate change.

Dr Jennifer Payne, Monash University

The fight against superbugs: developing antibiotics that arm our immune system

No new antibiotics have reached pharmacy shelves in 20 years. Unless new treatments become available, the death toll from antibiotic-resistant bacteria is predicted to overtake cancer by 2050. The deadly pathogens we face are not only resistant to current treatments, but can also evade the body's own defence strategy – our immune system. The new antibiotics Jennifer is developing directly attack resistant bacteria, while simultaneously activating the immune system and inciting the body’s inherent defence capability. Dr Payne will visit Harvard Medical School as well as the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital.

John-Paul Plazzer, The Royal Melbourne Hospital

Enhancing the InSiGHT Databases by building capabilities with ClinGen

Medical advances will be strongly influenced by genetics and genomics, and while the technical capacity to sequence the human genome is now close to routine, the interpretation of genetic variation remains a ‘road block’. InSiGHT is considered a leading exemplar of addressing the issue of imbalance between DNA sequencing capacity and its interpretation. The InSiGHTdatabases of most genes responsible for gastrointestinal (GI) cancer predisposition is curated and managed in Melbourne at The Royal Melbourne Hospital. John-Paul Plazzer, who is the professional curator of the InSiGHT databases, will engage directly with the US professionals working on this issue. This will achieve the important goal of harmonising internationally the challenging task of interpreting variants of uncertain significance in genes responsible for familial GI cancers with the most informed and authoritative interpretation based on the combined expertise of genomic centres in Boston and the international InSiGHT databases.