Hugh Rogers Fellowships: 13 fellows; 5 years

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Hugh Rogers Fellowships: 13 fellows; 5 years

Outcomes of Hugh Rogers Fellowships since 2010

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Hugh Rogers AM was instrumental in founding the Melbourne Boston Sister Cities Association in 1985 and remained a driving force throughout his life. Hugh recognised early on the importance of promoting educational exchange between Melbourne and Boston, particularly in the strengths of medical research and the arts. The Hugh Rogers Fellowships honour and continue his outstanding contribution to the life of both cities.

For the past five years, the Hugh Rogers Fellowships have delivered a boost of knowledge for Melbourne’s health, education and artistic communities. Drawing on the networks and knowledge gained through the three decade long sister cities relationship between Melbourne and Boston, the Fellowships have contributed new ideas, new approaches and new collaborations to the city. 

In this time, the MBSCA has provided support for 13 Melbourne innovators to develop their networks and knowledge in Boston. In healthcare and medical research fields, the fellowships have supported the development of a global player in the area of coeliac disease; in the education sector the program has trained several teachers focused on teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics to girls, and in the arts field the fellowships have brought a new focus on musical entrepreneurship to Melbourne.

Six weeks in Boston, six years of collaborations

Bob Anderson [2010] -

As the inaugural Hugh Rogers Fellow, Dr Bob Anderson spent six weeks in Boston to further his work in developing treatments into coeliac disease. He has subsequently made significant inroads in the development of a treatment for the disease, grown a company with connections in both cities, and contributed to research in both Boston and Melbourne. Bob now lives and works in Boston and is the Chief Scientific Officer for ImmusanT. In 2014, ImmusanT was selected as one of Informa’s Top 10 Autoimmune/Anti-Inflammatory Projects to Watch. Clinical development of Nexvax2® in patients with coeliac disease is underway in the USA and Australia.

Giving Melbourne musicians an international voice

Xenia Hanusiak [2011]

Singer Ms Xenia Hanusiak spent her fellowship as artist-in-residence at NorthEastern University, undertaking performance and teaching and conducting research on Sylvia Plath and the dramatic monologue. Xenia is now representing Melbourne on an international stage as a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University.

Thinking differently

Mr Paul Beekman and Ms Nerida Mellerick [2012]
In 2012, the Hugh Rogers Fellowships focused on education with two Melbourne teachers spending time in Boston schools. Mr Paul Beekman from Melbourne High School brought back a deeper understanding of heritage to assist students to become active local and global citizens. Ms Nerida Mellerick from Clifton Hill Primary School gained an insight into new curriculum approaches that differentiates learning for gifted and talented students.

A clearer vision

Dr Lauren Ayton [2013]

The Hugh Rogers Fellowship allowed Lauren to form strong collaborations in Boston and to greatly advance her research. With the support of the MBSCA and the City of Melbourne, she travelled to Boston twice in 2014, spending a total of seven weeks working with Dr Joseph Rizzo at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. In this time, they developed, refined and launched an International Task Force to gain consensus in the methods for testing and reporting of patient outcomes in vision restoration trials, which has been enthusiastically received by the research field, medical practitioners and patients alike. Subsequently, Dr Rizzo has visited Melbourne and joint projects have been initiated.

From Heide to Isabella Stewart Gardner to the Shrine

Christine Healey [2013]

Christine Healey’s fellowship allowed her to gain an understanding of how educators at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum develop, implement and evaluate their education programming. The Hugh Rogers Fellowship enabled her to shadow the Director of School and Teacher Programs at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which focuses on delivering unique teaching and learning experiences through engagement with the visual arts. Since returning to Melbourne she has moved into a new role as Education and Volunteer Coordinator at the Shrine of Remembrance.

Invited to return

Gemma Turvey [2013]

Gemma’s project was to undertake an intensive mentorship with improvisation specialist, pedagogue and multi Grammy Award winning cellist, Professor Eugene Friesen at the Berklee College of Music, Boston in order to develop her skills as an improvising pianist, composer and Director of chamber ensemble The New Palm Court Orchestra (NPCO). The fellowship was a huge success. As a result she significantly improved her skills and fluency as an improvising pianist, and gained new composition techniques which she has already begun applying to new compositions for the NPCO. She also made several significant professional and industry connections, including meeting the Director of the Mayor’s Office for Arts, Tourism and Special Events, which has resulted in the NPCO being invited to perform at the 2015 Boston Arts Festival. Most recently a quartet for the NPCO performed at the 30th Anniversary celebrations of the MBSCA.

Collaborating to help premature babies

Dr Rebecca Lim [2013]

Dr Rebecca Lim’s fellowship allowed her to foster a new collaboration with a Boston-based team of clinician-scientists and generate preliminary data towards a jointly held grant that would help with the financial support of this collaboration. During her time in Boston, she learnt hands-on techniques and protocols for isolating endogenous lung stem cells. These techniques are currently bring used by Dr Lim to understand how amnion-derived stem cells can help repair the lungs of premature babies and overcome initial development problems associated with injurious but necessary ventilatory support. Dr Lim was also invited to give a faculty seminar to senior medical staff and academic faculty from the Dana Farber Institute, Brigham Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Tufts University. It afforded an unprecedented opportunity to present the quality and breadth of medical research undertaken by Melbourne-based researchers.

Girls and physics

Mr Sandor Kazi [2014]

Sandor Kazi gained an insight into teaching physics to girls by witnessing firsthand the education pedagogy and methods used by Professor Eric Mazur in the “Applied Physics 50, Physics as a Foundation for Science & Engineering” course. He attended classes to witness a range of in-class activities, saw novel uses of technology in the classroom, attended group meetings, and had discussions with researchers in science education. He has begun implementing in-class and out-of-class activities in the physics classroom, implementing the novel technology in an effective way, and sharing findings with other educators.

Encouraging young women in STEM

Ms Emily Rochette [2014]

Emily’s project sought to investigate young women’s engagement with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects by studying the integration of technologies into Science. A major part of this research was completed at secondary schools in the Boston area including the Woodward School for Girls, the Dexter Southfield School and the Dana Hall School. Simmons College, Boston College and the Rotary Club of Boston provided opportunistic venues for data collection and further promoting relationships between Melbourne and Boston.

Low cost, electricity free oxygen concentrator for babies

Dr Bryn Sobott [2014]

Dr Bryn Sobott is a Grand Challenges Research Fellow on the Saving Lives at Birth Grant awarded in 2013 to complete a prototype of the FRE02 system. As the Principal Investigator he is responsible for seeing the project from prototyping, through to field trials and eventually scaling up to achieve widespread social impact. Bryn is passionate about addressing the needs of people living in poverty and recognises that specific scientific breakthroughs have repeatedly transformed seemingly insurmountable development challenges into tractable problems. His time in Boston helped develop a low cost, electricity free oxygen concentrator appropriate to low resource settings. He spent time at the D-Lab program at MIT with a proven track record in advancing low-cost technological solutions to address dire needs of people living in poverty. Collaboration with D-Lab will expedite the design and rigorous testing of core components of the device - a required milestone before clinical trials.

Two cities, shared genes

Dr Natalie Thorne [2014]

Boston is a world-leading centre for large scale genome testing. Travelling to Boston, Natalie learned how to refine her approaches to ensure higher standards in genome testing by improving accuracy in diagnosing genetic diseases for people in Melbourne. Her comparison of the Boston process for genome testing revealed new ways to use information from the large numbers of collective tests gathered in Boston. This was an unexpected outcome that is now shaping research avenues in Melbourne for clinical bioinformatics. Natalie has been able to share this knowledge with the Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance and now they are able to better anticipate and manage the adoption of future advances in genome testing. Recognising the value of the Melbourne-Boston interaction in this field, a large research grant application in the US has recently been submitted by the Boston group that lists Melbourne as collaborators. The grant aims to develop the next generation of genome tests, including testing and using new technology not available in Melbourne yet. If successful, this grant will cement the relationship between Melbourne and Boston for ongoing collaborations and exchange of knowledge on genome testing.

Developing Melbourne’s entrepreneurial musicians

Ms Susan de Weger [2014]

The Hugh Rogers Fellowship allowed Susan to investigate the Entrepreneurial Musicianship Department at the New England Conservatory in Boston. She also benefitted from private Horn tuition with Richard Sebring, faculty member, Associate Principal Horn of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Principal Horn of the Boston Pops. With the knowledge and connections she brought back from Boston, Susan established to support her work as an advocate and practitioner for arts entrepreneurship education to improve career outcomes for music graduates. Through this consultancy, she has been engaged by the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music to develop a strategic delivery plan for entrepreneurship education within the faculty.

Find out more about the Hugh Rogers Fellowships.