Associate Professor Stuart Tangye from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research has been awarded a prestigious scholarship by the Australian American Fulbright Commission, an educational and cultural exchange program underwritten by the Australian and U.S. Governments.
Awardees will assemble in Perth later this week for an induction into the Fulbright Program, as well as a dinner where their scholarships will officially be announced.
Dr Tangye is an immunologist who specialises in understanding the processes that regulate the function of immune cells, and how defects - such as single genetic mutations - cause the clinical features of immunological diseases.
He is one of five senior Australian academics, from across a broad range of disciplines, to become a 2015 'Senior Scholar' under the Fulbright scheme. The scholarship will support sabbatical study in New York.
Dr Tangye already collaborates closely with his prospective American host, Professor Jean-Laurent Casanova, who heads the St. Giles Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases at Rockefeller University.
The scholarship will give Dr Tangye first-hand experience of processes he has, until now, only viewed from afar.
"The Casanova lab has been a pioneer in the field of whole exome sequencing -particularly the genetic diagnosis of individuals with rare and severe diseases known as 'primary immunodeficiencies', the focus of my lab," said Dr Tangye.
"So I'll be learning a lot of their techniques and approaches, as well as studying the genetics of human disease in affected cohorts of individuals."
He will learn how to use the latest genome sequencing technology and bioinformatics techniques to identify specific changes associated with immunodeficient diseases. He will then learn how to apply those genetic changes in mouse models and determine the effects.
"This work is essential to further the research of my own Immunology and Immunodeficiency lab at Garvan, and it is also complementary to the overall vision of the Garvan Institute vis-à-vis functional genomics and translational pipelines," Dr Tangye said.
The Fulbright Program is the largest and one of the most highly-regarded educational scholarship programs in the world. It operates between the United States and over 155 countries worldwide. Established in Australia in 1949 through a bi-national treaty between the Australian and U.S. Governments, the program has supported almost 4,800 scholarships.
The mission of the Australian-American Fulbright Commission is to promote mutual understanding through educational and cultural exchange between Australia and the United States. It does this primarily through the administration of Fulbright scholarships.