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Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) Nephrologist, Dr Samuel Chan has won the prestigious Gustav Nossal award which goes to the highest ranked applicant for an NHMRC* Postgraduate Scholarship in medical research.
Dr Chan’s clinical research interests in clinical epidemiology and population health focus on reducing infections in kidney transplant patients by researching the gut microbiome and how infections may happen in the gut.
Dr Chan said he is humbled to be ranked as the highest applicant for this award across Australia but that the award was really a tribute to research culture in Nephrology at PAH.
“Nothing in PhD research is smooth sailing, there will always be ups and downs; but the mentorship and encouragement of Professors David Johnson and Carmel Hawley have driven me to deliver my best,” Dr Chan said.
“My area of research is infectious diseases in kidney transplant recipients. Infections are quite common in transplant patients because of the immunosuppressant drugs they take which increases the risk.
“My project is looking at the deeper level of why people get infections, ways to mitigate the risks, alongside the hypothesis that prebiotics are key to reducing infections in the gut,” he said.
Director of Metro South and Ipswich Nephrology and Transplant Service, Prof David Johnson has been mentoring Dr Chan since he was an advanced trainee in 2016.
“This prestigious award for Dr Chan is a combination of the strength of the project, the strength of Samuel as the applicant, and the strength of the mentorship research team at PAH backing the application.
“PAH is a one-stop-shop for all sorts of expertise, clinical trials, epidemiological studies and qualitative research and we prioritise our juniors and early career researchers to involve them in policy groups, presentations, and list them as first authors on papers,” he said.
Assistant Director Haemodialysis, Prof Carmel Hawley said methodology is the foundation for sound research and this is how PAH supports its junior researchers.
“We mentor our researchers to proficiency in methodology and statistics which is one of the reasons why Samuel’s award is a celebration of our culture of research.
“We also have a strong culture of collaboration in national and international networks with PhD students slotting into those efforts from the beginning of their careers with us,” she said.
Prof Hawley said the open-door policy in PAH Nephrology means that early career researchers have the support of more than one supervisor at any time and our NHMRC program grant provides a strengthened network across University of Queensland, University of Sydney and University of Adelaide.
*National Health and Medical Research are building a healthy Australia by creating pathways to a healthier future through research funding, health guidelines and ethical standards.