Funding the future of medical research

Posted: 07th November 2018

The unstoppable SVI Support Group has this year raised more than $85,000 for SVI’s most promising PhD and Honours students.

Since 2005, the funds raised by the SVI Support Group have provided vital financial support to 36 Honours and 46 PhD Top-up Scholars.

Former Top-up Scholarship recipient, Dr David Ascher, went to Cambridge University after his PhD at SVI and is now a lab head at Melbourne’s Bio21 Institute. He credits the support and encouragement he received from the SVI Support Group as an important part of his success.

“The financial support enabled me to buy my first laptop computer, on which I learnt the power of coding in research. The skills that I gained using that computer form the basis of my current work,” says David.

An algorithm David designed has recently been used in the clinic to select the best drugs for patients with tuberculosis, which is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and an increasing threat due to emerging drug resistance.

Current Scholarship recipient Ashley Ovens, says that philanthropic support has enabled him to get to where he is today.

“I grew up in rural Victoria and my high school, Cobden Technical School, which at the time was the only technical school in Victoria, didn’t have a big focus on academia. However, I was keen to go to uni and was lucky to obtain a Dafydd Lewis Trust Scholarship which allowed me to move from home to complete an Exercise and Sports Science Degree at Deakin University.”

At the end of his studies, Ashley became interested in medical research, which led him to join SVI’s Metabolic Signalling Laboratory in 2017 as an Honours, and then PhD, student.

He says, “I can’t say enough about what it means to both me, and my mother, to have support from the SVI Top-up Scholarship. It takes off some pressure financially and allows me to afford accommodation closer to SVI, making lab work on the weekend a little easier. I am truly lucky. Thank you for your support.”