Three bright minds awarded prestigious international scholarships

A medical researcher uncovering a new trigger for Parkinson’s disease, an engineering student with a passion for space engineering and a dentistry student who is hoping to improve access to dental care are among three researchers and students from The University of Western Australia who have received 2021 Fulbright scholarships.

They will travel to the United States to collaborate with world-class researchers and make important advancements in fields directly affecting humanity.

The Fulbright program is a foreign exchange scholarship program aimed at increasing research collaboration, cultural understanding and the exchange of ideas. It involves more than 160 countries sending recipients to the United States to work on projects to expand global knowledge.

UWA Bachelor of Philosophy student, James Dingley, who is passionate about space engineering said receiving a Fulbright Scholarship would allow him to study a Master of Space Systems Engineering in the United States.

“Space engineering is integral to Australia’s future space capabilities, and I hope to learn more about designing, building and adapting complex systems within the most extreme environments in the universe,” Mr Dingley said.

“I hope to learn more about designing, building and adapting complex systems within the most extreme environments in the universe.”

James Dingley

“An area I’m especially excited about is constellation design, where we use fleets of low-cost satellites to perform functions such as bushfire tracking, crop monitoring, and internet access for remote communities.”

UWA PhD student, Anastazja Gorecki, who is based at the Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science, will attend Johns Hopkins University to continue her studies on how the gut can be a trigger for Parkinson’s disease.

“I am very excited to join Assistant Professor Subhash Kulkarni and learn a variety of new laboratory techniques. I plan to use this knowledge on my return to Perth to study the gut barrier and enteric nervous system to understand Parkinson’s disease,” Ms Gorecki said.

Anastazja Gorecki

UWA PhD student, Anastazja Gorecki will attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

“I am constantly fascinated by the complexity of the body, and inspired by the thought that an individual person can implement simple lifestyle changes which alter the gut environment to shape their current and future health.”

UWA Doctor of Dental Medicine graduate Jamie Maraj, who is passionate about improving access to dental care, will attend Johns Hopkins University to study a Master of Public Health.

“During my time as a dental student, I treated low-income patients and saw first-hand the potential dentistry has to eliminate chronic pain, improve self-esteem and empower people to fully participate in their communities,” Dr Maraj said.

“The opportunity is going to provide a unique insight into the American privatised healthcare model, allow me to cultivate an international network and take my career in an exciting new direction, and hopefully make a difference along the way.”

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma congratulated the recipients.

“We are very proud of our new Fulbright scholars and wish them well in the important work before them.”

UWA Vice-Chancellor Amit Chakma

“Being selected as a scholar for the prestigious Fulbright program is a great honour,” Professor Chakma said.

“Fulbright scholars have made remarkable contributions to the world – engaging in genuinely collaborative research and enhancing cultural understanding. We are very proud of our new Fulbright scholars and wish them well in the important work before them.”

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