UQ scholars win Fulbrights for nursing and cancer research

A nursing expert and honorary cancer fighter of The University of Queensland have won prestigious Fulbright scholarships.

Associate Professors Catherine Turner and David Whiteman won two of three Fulbright Senior Scholar Awards in Australia each worth $15,000 for their three-month scholarships.

Fulbright scholarships are prestigious awards which were set up in 1946 in the United States to promote global educational exchanges.

Winners are provided with travel and living costs to further their research with experts in the US.

Associate Professor Turner, Coordinator of Research and Higher Degrees in the School of Nursing, leaves in November to work with Harvard Medical experts in Boston to learn about conducting long term health studies.

Her American colleagues' are experts in such studies having started the Nurses Health Study in 1976 -- which has collected valuable information from more than 238,000 nurses and is acclaimed as one of the most important studies on the health of women.

Associate Professor Turner, 42, from Albany Creek said her own study aimed to collect information about workforce factors that affected nursing recruitment and retention as well as their physical and mental health.

Dr Whiteman is a Senior Research Fellow with the Cancer and Population Studies Group at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

He is also a UQ graduate and Adjunct Associate Professor with UQ's School of Population Health.

The 40-year-old from Toowong studies the causes and controls of human cancers, particularly cancer of the oesophagus and melanomas, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

He leaves in July for Seattle to work with global cancer experts at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre to better understand the causes of cancer of the oesophagus.

He said he would test a theory that reflux and obesity triggered obesity-related proteins that increased the likelihood of developing cancer of the oesophagus.

"As we get heavier and fatter our bodies pump out more hormones that might be putting us at more risk of cancer of the oesophagus and other cancers as well," Dr Whiteman said.

Another UQ alumnus, engineering and commerce graduate Avin Mathew, won the Postgraduate Award in Technology and Communications -- one of 12 Fulbright postgraduate scholarships.

Mr Mathew, a PhD student at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), is off to the College of Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio.

He said his aim during his one year Fulbright scholarship, worth about $36,000, was to improve how computer systems managed water utility assets.

Fulbright Scholars will be congratulated at The Fulbright National Awards in Brisbane on May 18 at QUT.

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Applications for 2007 Fulbright Awards open on June 1, 2006.

Visit www.fulbright.com.au for more details.

MEDIA: Heather Rietdyk at Fulbright on (+61 424 257 637) or Miguel Holland at UQ Communications (+61 733 652 619)


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