A researcher looking into a microscope

Three Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) researchers have been awarded Strategic Grants for Outstanding Women (SGOW) by the University of Melbourne.

Projects from Dr Nicole Van Bergen, Dr Jessica Vanslambrouck and Associate Professor Belinda McClaren will be supported over two years, covering mitochondrial disease research, stem cell-based therapies for kidney disease and improving tertiary-level genomics education.

The SGOW supports high-performing early and mid-career women in academia including researchers, clinicians and educators who have already made significant impacts across research, teaching or clinical settings.

In addition to supporting research projects, the scheme helps boost the academic capability and productivity of each successful candidate, encouraging them to undertake key activities to build leadership and visibility.

Dr Bergen, a Senior Research Officer with MCRI’s Brain and Mitochondrial group, has a focus on rare disease and precision therapies. Her SGOW award will help her further investigate drug screening for a rare mitochondrial disease, NAXD deficiency, which causes severe deterioration to the brain.

Outstanding Women grant recipient Dr Nicole Van Bergen

Image: Dr Nicole Van Bergen

Dr Vanslambrouck, a Team Leader in MCRI’s Kidney Regeneration group, will bioengineer kidney tissue from stem cells, with hopes to create new therapies for chronic kidney disease treatments and reduce the burden on children and adolescents.

Outstanding Women grant recipient Dr Jessica Vanslambrouck

Image: Dr Jessica Vanslambrouck

Associate Professor McClaren, a Team Leader with MCRI’s Genomics in Society group, will research how to roll-out genomic healthcare that engages and empowers patients. She will redesign the curriculum and assessments for the University of Melbourne’s Master of Genomics and Health internship.

Outstanding Women grant recipient Associate Professor Belinda McClaren

Image: Associate Professor Belinda McClaren

MCRI supports the University of Melbourne’s SGOW scheme alongside Melbourne Health, Western Health and St Vincent’s Health Australia.