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Mater researcher awarded Newton International Fellowship

Mater researcher awarded Newton International Fellowship

Dr Joanna Rakoczy, Mater student researcher and The University of Queensland PhD graduate has been awarded a prestigious two year Newton International Fellowship to undertake post-doctoral studies at The University of Cambridge.

The Fellowships are awarded annually to approximately 40 of the very best early stage post-doctoral researchers from all over the world, and the success rate for applications is an estimated eight per cent.

Organised by the British Academy and the Royal Society, the highly contested scheme has the long-term aim of building a global pool of research leaders and encouraging international collaboration with the UK.

Dr Rakoczy will begin her Fellowship at The University of Cambridge in March 2016 with Dr Erica Watson in the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience. The focus of her research at Cambridge will be folate metabolism.

“If pregnant women are deficient in folate this can result in a variety of developmental malformations, such as neural tube defects,” Dr Rakoczy said.

“Using a laboratory mouse model with a mutation in a key gene (Mtrr) involved in folate metabolism, the research will focus on determining the role of folate metabolism in placental development and the maternal environment.”

Dr Rakoczy will build on more than three years of research into the role of sulphate in fetal development from a placental biology aspect, completed under the supervision of Principal Advisor A/Prof Paul Dawson, Head of Education at Mater Research and Dr David Simmons, The University of Queensland.

“Joanna was an outstanding PhD student in all aspects, and delivered the qualities of what a Mater Research student should represent” said A/Prof Paul Dawson. A/Prof Dawson is currently extending this research at the Mater Mothers’ Hospital.

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