Issue 2 • 2022
© 2022 The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
RACP Foundation award recipients in focus
The RACP Foundation offers support to Fellows and trainees pursuing careers in medical research. We meet the inaugural recipients of two new awards and acknowledge their outstanding contributions to the improvement of healthcare and quality of life in various fields of medicine.
The Alex Cohen Travel Grant in Internal Medicine - 2022
The Alex Cohen Travel Grant in Internal Medicine was instituted to support physicians to enhance skills or undertake further studies in the field of Internal Medicine. Funds from this grant may be used to cover travel or establishment costs, gain new expertise, train at an appropriate institution, or take up a clinical or research attachment. The grant of $10,000 is supported by a bequest from Professor Alex Cohen, AO, a past president of the College. He is remembered for his outstanding contribution to the field of diabetes research in Australia, particularly in Western Australia.
Dr Madeline Strach
Project: Characterisation of appendiceal cancer by transcriptomic analysis and correlation with clinical outcomes: a step towards rational therapeutics.
Dr Madeleine Strach (MBBS BMedSc MPH FRACP) completed her medical training at the University of Melbourne and received her fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, after completing Advanced Training in medical oncology at The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. She completed a two-year fellowship in phase 1 clinical trials at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Sydney. She has a special interest in sarcomas and is part of the Lifehouse sarcoma multidisciplinary team.
Madeleine is a current PhD candidate with the University of Sydney and Garvan Institute of Medical Research, focusing on translational research into appendix cancers. She is a recipient of the prestigious European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Translational Research Fellowship to continue her research in appendix cancers at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Colorectal and Peritoneal Oncology Centre (CPOC) in Manchester, UK.
She is committed to clinical and translational research to progress novel treatment options in rare cancers. Outside of medicine, she enjoys hiking, skiing and playing her violin.
The Roger Bartrop Research Establishment Fellowship 2022
The Roger Bartrop Research Establishment Fellowship was set up by the Bartrop family in memory of Dr Roger Bartrop FRACP to promote basic and applied research in nutrition, obesity and diabetes. In his work as a consultation-liaison psychiatrist, Dr Bartrop conducted fundamental research that discovered the effects of bereavement on the immune system, and documented the vital role of spirituality in physical and mental health. This biennial fellowship provides funds of up to $60,000 for one year to cover stipend support, laboratory set-up costs and the appointment of a short-term research assistant.
Dr Chau Thien Tay Project: The effect of combined oral contraceptive pills on the development of type 2 diabetes and dyslipidaemia in women with and without polycystic ovary syndrome. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects up to 13 per cent of women and has detrimental health complications. Combined oral contraceptive pills (COCPs) are the first-line pharmacological treatment for women with PCOS as they improve PCOS symptoms of irregular periods, acne and excessive hair growth. Previous research has linked COCPs with increased diabetes risk and worsened lipid profile, which raised concerns regarding their usage in women with PCOS who are already prone to these metabolic disorders. However, research examining COCPs on the development of diabetes and high cholesterol level in women is inconsistent.
Dr Chau Thien (Jillian) Tay is an endocrinologist and clinical academic. After obtaining her medical degree at the University of Tasmania, she completed her RACP Basic and Advanced Physician Training in Endocrinology, rotating through Flinders Medical Centre, Lyell McEwin Hospital, and Monash Health. Jillian attained her PhD from Monash University in 2021 and continued to pursue her research interest in polycystic ovary syndrome. She has received several prestigious awards, including the Outstanding Abstract Award from the Endocrine Society Annual Meeting in 2020 and the AHRA Women’s Health Research and Translation Network Early and Mid-Career Researcher Funded Award in 2021. She also holds several leadership roles, including Chair of the international Androgen Excess and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Society (AEPCOS) Early Career Special Interest Group, Chair of the National Centre of Research Excellence in Women’s Health in Reproductive Life (CRE WHiRL), Early to Mid-Career Researcher Collective, Co-editor of the AEPCOS newsletter and a member of the CRE WHiRL’s Training and Mentoring Committee.
Jillian currently leads several epidemiological research projects using data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. She hopes to unravel the natural history of polycystic ovary syndrome using longitudinal population-based cohort studies.
Dr Madeleine Strach