Victoria India Doctoral scholarship 2013

Hina Kalra, La Trobe University Biochemistry PhD candidate, has received a prestigious scholarship worth $90,000 from the Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships program.

Hina Kalra wins Victoria India Doctoral scholarshipThe Victorian Government funded scholarship is managed by the Australia India Institute, and will allow Ms Kalra to continue her PhD studies at the La Trobe Institute of Molecular Sciences (LIMS), where she completed her research year in 2012 as part of the Master of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics.

‘This scholarship will help me to pursue my doctoral studies and to become part of the highly innovative biochemistry research environment at La Trobe,’ says Ms Kalra.

‘I am extremely grateful to the Victoria India Doctoral program for giving me the chance to fulfill my research and career aspirations. The scholarship provides me with the opportunity to work in the new LIMS building with world-renowned scientists and a range of state-of-the-art technologies that would otherwise have been out of reach.’

She will pursue her research under the direction of Biomedical Research Fellow Dr Suresh Mathivanan, who leads a research laboratory at LIMS focusing on colorectal cancer cells.

‘Hina is a hard-working student and thoroughly deserves this scholarship. I am extremely grateful to the Victoria India Doctoral Scholarship program for allowing Hina to pursue her PhD studies in my lab,’ says Dr Mathivanan.

Ms Kalra is originally from New Delhi, and completed her undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at Kurukshetra University, India. Her PhD, titled ‘Role of wnt signalling pathway in modulating the extracellular matrix components in colorectal cancer’, will examine biochemical interactions that occur in the microenvironment of colorectal tumors.

‘Colorectal cancer incidence rates are highest in Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe,’ says Ms Kalra. ‘In aiming to understand the intricate interactions between cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment, I hope that my research will ultimately assist in diagnosis and in the management of colorectal cancers.’

Ms Kalra has previously worked with Dr Mathivanan in the summer holidays during her Masters degree. The research that she conducted during this time led to her co-authoring two peer reviewed publications.

Ms Kalra says she is delighted to be able to continue her research at La Trobe’s Melbourne campus.

‘Having lived in Melbourne for the last two years, I fully appreciate working in the world’s most livable city,’ says Ms Kalra. ‘I love Melbourne because of its lifestyle and multicultural diversity, and I have always felt very welcome here.’


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