Metcalf Scholars: where are they now?

Metcalf Scholars: where are they now?

Illuminate newsletter index page, December 2019
December 2019

Professor Don Metcalf with students in the lab
Don made discoveries that have helped save the lives
of millions of people. He was also passionate about
supporting the next generation of scientists

December 2019 marks the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Metcalf Scholarship Fund.

The fund was created as a tribute to beloved Institute researcher Professor Don Metcalf in 2014, who was passionate about supporting the next generation of scientists following in his footsteps.

Metcalf Scholarships support outstanding undergraduate students to get their first taste of research.

To date there have been 27 recipients of the scholarship, many of whom have since graduated from the University of Melbourne, often continuing to study at the Institute. Others have branched out to studies in physiotherapy, statistics and inorganic chemistry.

We caught up with three past recipients to find out how the Metcalf Scholarship has impacted their early careers.

Kristen Scicluna, 2016 Metcalf Scholar

When Kristen received a Metcalf Scholarship, she didn’t expect it to have such a great impact on her professional life.

“It gave me so much confidence, and it undoubtedly helped going into Honours,” Kristen said.

Kristen said the scholarship – which includes an ongoing salary – allowed her to complete her degree without added financial stress.

“Without the lab experience I would’ve had a steep learning curve in my first few weeks of Honours! I also had a foot in the door when looking for an Honours supervisor,” she said.

Kristen is now completing her PhD at the Institute, with structural biologist Associate Professor Peter Czabotar.

Victor Shiyu Lin, 2016 Metcalf Scholar

Since leaving the Institute, Victor has commenced a Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Melbourne.

He is now part of a research team at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre led by Dr Mary Ann Anderson, who has a joint appointment at the Institute and Peter Mac. They are looking at new therapies for treating chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and other blood cancers.

Victor said the Metcalf Scholarship provided him with the opportunity to see biomedical research in action.

“It helped me appreciate the depth and breadth of the impact that translational research can potentially create,” Victor said.

“The scholarship has served as a springboard for many subsequent research opportunities, and will no doubt help to open many more doors as I work towards my goal of becoming a clinician-scientist in haematology and oncology.”

Adam Lipszyc, 2015 Metcalf Scholar

Adam first joined the Institute in early 2014, before receiving a Metcalf Scholarship in 2015. His brief overlap with Professor Metcalf left a lasting impression.

“I saw how Don had such a profound impact on so many people. I’ve met people who are now at their senior ends of careers, and they all have a story about Don,” Adam said.

“His personality is something I’ve tried to exemplify in his honour: the wry humour, the all-round friendliness, and the mentoring.”

Adam is currently doing research as part of his MD Research Project at the Institute and will graduate from the University of Melbourne this year.

“I think that having research experience as a Metcalf Scholar will be well-regarded when I apply for clinical jobs in the future,” he said.

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