Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships (Issue 3, 2012)

India Scholarship

India scholarshipsJyotsna Nagpal and Vignesh Rathinasamy have been awarded Victorian India Doctoral Scholarships (VIDS) from the Australia India Institute – two of only ten awarded in the state. The scholarships begin this year and will assist the two students to complete their doctoral studies at La Trobe University.

Professor Brian McGaw, Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering says, ‘competition for the ten VIDS was intense and I am delighted that La Trobe University was successful in attracting two of these prestigious awards.’

‘Both scholarships are to support our research in the Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering. The Faculty would like to thank the Victorian Government for their generous funding of this scheme that underlines the importance of our partnerships with universities and industries in India,’ says Professor McGaw.

Ms Jyostna Nagpal plans to study novel protein drug-targets from the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis, a disease that caused 9.4 million deaths globally in 2009.

‘I was on cloud-nine when I read the email that I received such a prestigious award. This scholarship will be helpful for me to pursue my doctoral studies,’ says Ms Nagpal.

Ms Nagpal, an Indian national, completed her Master degree at La Trobe last year and will continue her exciting research on proteins at the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS) in the Dougan/Truscott Laboratory under the supervision of Dr David Dougan.

‘The research I performed during my Master degree has been instrumental in identifying new ways to target tuberculosis and it has ignited my interest in research as a career,’ says Ms Nagpal.

‘Ms Nagpal is a highly motivated student and her receipt of this scholarship is well-deserved,’ says Dr Dougan.

Mr Vignesh Rathinasamy, during his PhD, hopes to combat a parasite causing annual global agricultural losses estimated at over A$3 billion worldwide and A$60-90 million in Australia.

After completing his Master of Science in Biotechnology in India, Mr Rathinasamy will attend La Trobe this year to complete his PhD through the aid of the scholarship.

‘I feel greatly honoured for receiving this award – it will be a gateway to enlighten my research knowledge at the globally reputed AgriBio, Centre for AgriBioscience at La Trobe University,’ says Mr Rathinasamy.

Mr Rathinasamy’s chief supervisor, Professor Terry Spithill, Head of the Department of Agricultural Sciences and La Trobe co-Director of AgriBio, was excited that Mr Rathinasamy’s PhD will kick start a new piece of research.

‘Mr Rathinasamy will be studying drug resistance in the neglected liver fluke parasite, which is a serious constraint on agricultural production in Australia and around the globe,’ says Professor Spithill.

‘The award is an exciting new initiative by the Victorian Government, which is supporting Vignesh – a highly motivated and recommended student – to come to Australia to study something of importance to Victorian, Australian and Indian farmers,’ Professor Spithill said.