Supporting education through Rotary

Supporting education through Rotary
Keith Ryall

Carlton Rotary Club has been very successful in having talented young post-graduates receive a Rotary International Global Grant Scholarship to enable them to complete master’s degree courses overseas.

In 2017, the club sponsored Dr Claire Lin, a dentist by profession, to complete a master’s in public health at Harvard University (2017 to 2018; pre-COVID-19). In 2018, Dr Alistair Quinn, a medical doctor was successful and is completing a two-year master’s program, also at Harvard University in Computational Biology and Quantitative Genomics (2018 to 2021; but severely impacted by the pandemic and has had to complete the course virtually after returning to Australia in March 2020). Alistair hopes his studies and research may lead to revolutionary treatments for cancer sufferers.

Last year, Dr Elina Ziukelis, another Medical Doctor received a scholarship which is enabling her to complete an MPhil in basic and translational neuroscience at Cambridge University – research essentially related to hopefully minimising the impact of dementia. She has been in residence at Clare Hall.

Elina’s research project is supervised by Professor John O’Brien and Dr Elijah Mak in the Department of Psychiatry. They are investigating an emerging brain imaging marker called fractal dimension. The project will contribute to both the PREVENT study and NiAD study, two cohort studies aiming to identify markers of pre-symptomatic Alzheimer’s Disease.

Elina commented that while the prolonged lockdown dramatically changed the expected trajectory of the year, it also brought a calmness to Cambridge to be savoured following a demanding rotation on Melbourne’s COVID-19 wards. Dr Ziukelis worked as a junior doctor in St Vincent’s Public Hospital in ICU treating patients suffering from the coronavirus up until a month before she was due to leave for the UK. She had been granted special leave by the Australian Government to fly out of Australia given the profound importance of her studies.

She went on to say, “Clare Hall became a serene haven from which I could read, deliberate and write without distraction, with a plethora of expertise and visionary perspective flexibly available at the other end of a Zoom call, amid a very inspiring historical landscape.” •

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