Adrienne Grech

Graduate/Postgraduate Scholarship Recipient 2018

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After graduating from Mac.Rob in 2009 I completed a Bachelor of Behavioural Neuroscience (Honours), at Monash University. My Honours year saw me graduate with a High Distinction thesis and I was short-listed for the Robert Whelan Honours Prize Finalist – at the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT) Conference.

Currently, I am a final year PhD student researching cognitive impairments in schizophrenia. An important aspect of undertaking a PhD is attending conferences to share personal research efforts and connect and communicate with others in the field.

Being granted the Mac.Rob Foundation Graduate/Postgraduate Scholarship allowed me to travel to Florence, Italy to attend the Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS) Conference. This was a fantastic conference that brought together psychiatrists and researchers from across the globe. Research should be as collaborative and translational as possible. This is especially true for an illness such as schizophrenia, which has multiple contributing factors and presentations.

At SIRS I presented a poster of my current research, investigating the sex-dimorphic interaction between the BDNF-TrkB signalling pathway and parvalbumin-expressing inhibitory interneurons on learning and memory in mice. I received strong interest and positive feedback on my work. I formed a connection with a Manchester, England based laboratory since we did similar work. As a result of these discussions one of their students has applied for funding to travel to Australia to work with my laboratory group here.

Additionally, attending SIRS strengthened the research connections I had made previously with other Melbourne researchers. SIRS was an outstanding opportunity for my professional development and was made possible with the Mac.Rob Foundation Graduate/Postgraduate Scholarship.

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