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Menzies Foundation Newsletter February 2017

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Menzies Foundation News
  Hello Visitor,  

A message from the CEO

Sarah Hardy CEO

The year has started apace and as students start their first few weeks at University, we turn our thoughts to the next crop of talented scholars who will carry the Menzies name. For our part, the Menzies Foundation Board has started turning its focus towards planning for the 40th year of the Foundation.

We were delighted to welcome our Menzies Indigenous Mentoring Fellow, Michelle Kerrin, who has just started her role with the young high school students of the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School. Michelle is a University of Melbourne student from Darwin and has a strong passion to give back, having benefited from a scholarship herself. Sound familiar?

You can read more about Michelle’s wonderful story below, along with a small selection of stories about a variety of Menzies Scholars, who work in roles as diverse as consultant paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital’s gender service, to composer, to investment advisor to the Oppenheimer family.

Thank you again for your interest in our work.

Sarah Hardy
CEO, Menzies Foundation

Michelle Kerrin awarded Menzies Indigenous Mentoring Fellowship

The first Sir Robert Menzies Indigenous Mentoring Fellow, Michelle Kerrin, knows it’s a big deal to have an Aboriginal cultural background because for much of her life it was the missing piece of the puzzle.

Michelle Kerrin and MITS Students

The proud Arrernte and Luritja woman, has an important message for her charges at the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS): we can be the teachers about our culture, we can be game changers.

Michelle, who lived all of her life in Darwin before coming to Melbourne for university in 2015, will take on two important mentoring roles in 2017, both of which have been designed to help make the transition to study and higher education smoother for indigenous students. Not only is Michelle the Menzies Fellow at MITS but she is also part of the Indigenous Ambassadors and Mentors Program at Murrup Barak at the University of Melbourne.

Her own experiences should prove invaluable for those who follow her. Read more of Michelle’s story.  

Menzies Scholars achieve amazing things 

A career ripe with possibilities – Dr Ken Pang, 2007 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow

Playing dual roles as a Consultant Paediatrician with the Royal Children’s Hospital Gender Service (one of the largest in the world) and Clinician Scientist Fellow at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Dr Ken Pang works with transgender children and adolescents.

It would be hard to find a field of medicine more controversial but also ripe with possibilities.

Read more about the 2007 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow’s wide ranging roles.

Harvard propels Matthew into a unique role – 2012 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Matthew Brown

Matthew Brown

So how exactly did a former pilot in the RAAF find himself managing the multi-billion dollar Oppenheimer Family endowment?

Matthew Brown is a partner on the investment team which helps manage the investment portfolio of the Oppenheimer Family (former owners of De Beers and Anglo American and family of South African business man and philanthropist, Nicholas Oppenheimer).

Read more about Matthew’s life in London and his plans for all of our superannuation!

Learning more about gambling and addiction – Dr Sally Gainsbury, 2007 Menzies Research Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences

Dr Sally Gainsbury, psychologist and Deputy Director of the Gambling Treatment Clinic and Research Group at the University of Sydney, continues to publish a range of papers and is sought out for her expertise on gambling and addiction. Her most recent papers include: Harm Minimisation in Gambling, a paper on Cultural competence in the treatment of addictions and another on the role of neuroscience in gambling policy and treatment.

Nick’s dual career the way of the future – Dr Nick Vines, 2001 Harvard Menzies Scholar

Nick VinesNick Vines is the only Harvard Menzies scholar with a PhD in Music Composition. He has been teaching for just over five years at Sydney Grammar School, where he is now the Senior Master Academic Extension (Music).

Outside of his teaching role, he also has a creative career. The Opera, ‘Loose, Wet and Perforated’, which he recorded last year in Boston, will come out commercially this year. A friend in Australia is also recording Nick’s piano music of 12 movements for children at HSC level. He is lucky his temperament means he has the energy to wear many hats and pursue different aspects of his careers.

Read more of Nick’s thoughts on our changing world, in which a dual career is becoming more common.

Pictured: Nicholas Vines at the Fanfare Competition Recording Session. Photo thanks to Artology’ s Fanfare Competition.

In the media

Two of our NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellows continue to attract the spotlight for their research findings.

  • Professor Adrian Liston, based at the VIB-KU Leuven Centre for Brain and Disease Research in Belgium, has been working with a team of scientists to help unravel a genetic immunodeficiency that makes some children more vulnerable to normally mild illnesses. The discovery should help doctors intervene earlier and prevent possible deaths. Adrian also appeared recently on the ScienceMinds podcast – you can listen here:
  • Working with researchers in France, Dr Nick Huntington’s lab at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have found a way to prolong the life of natural killer cells, which have the capacity to help the body fight its own cancer.

And the University of Michigan’s Professor of Economics, Justin Wolfers (Harvard Menzies Scholar 1997) continues to enlighten people on the economic impacts of the Trump Presidency. Here is some recent coverage on Trumponomics and how the ‘nerds’ are reading the play.

Registered Charity Tick 

Registered Charity TickThe Menzies Foundation has taken on the Australian Charities and Not for profit Commission’s Registered Charity Tick, which you will see featuring on our website.

The tick is the ACNC’s way of allowing charitable organisations all over Australia to indicate they are appropriately registered and reporting with the government’s Charity regulator. The tick is to give donors a sense of confidence about the governance of philanthropic organisations.

The Menzies Foundation has adopted the new Registered Charity Tick branding. For more about how donations can help the Foundation run its programs, visit our web site.

Sri Lanka takes PM’s XI 2017

SL Captain Upul Tharanga and the trophyThe Sri Lankan cricket team has taken out the 2017 Prime Minister’s XI T20 game at Manuka Oval in Canberra.

A lover of cricket, Sir Robert Menzies created the Prime Minister’s XI concept in 1951, selecting his own team to play against visiting international squads. To mark the history of the game, the Menzies Foundation presents the trophy and man of the match medallion and maintains a strong connection with the game.

Menzies Foundation Chair, Professor Simon Maddocks, presented the man of the match award to Vikum Sanjaya for his 3/26 off four overs, while Minister for Health and Minister for Sport, Greg Hunt, presented the trophy to stand-in Sri Lankan captain, Upul Tharanga (pictured).

Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Runil Wickremesinghe, attended the game and the Cricket Australia dinner, with a reception at Parliament House the night before, all forming part of the celebrations to commemorate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Menzies Institutes’ wrap

  • Menzies Health Institute Queensland researchers have made a breakthrough which will help those suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, with evidence that the disease is associated with a dysfunctional immune system.
  • ‘Oxygen needed, oxygen delivered: the research and technology helping premature babies’ is the theme for the Menzies Institute of Medical Research public talk in Hobart on 22 March. Research based in Tasmania combining the fields of neonatology and biomedical engineering is breaking new ground, with a trial under way that uses smart technology to help control the amount of oxygen delivered to premature babies, setting them on their way to breathing independently. The researchers will speak about their latest work and the potential impact.
  • Menzies School of Health Research malaria experts Professors Nick Anstey and Ric Price have been awarded funding to continue their research to prevent and treat malaria in the Asia-Pacific region. This funding comes on the back of completing the genome sequences of malaria parasites with their collaborators at QIMR Berghofer.

Throwback to Sir Robert

February 12 marked 58 years since Sir Robert Menzies opened the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne and we found this audio of his speech. The music bowl was a gift to the citizens of Melbourne from the Sidney Myer Charitable Trust. His comments on Sidney Myer are quite topical today:

Sir Robert Menzies

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