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Burnet PhD students among Victoria's best

Burnet Institute

19 June, 2013

Kieran Cashin and Muriel Aldunate were both recognised in the 2013 ASMR Victorian Student Symposium.

Two of Burnet’s bright young scientists have been recognised for their outstanding presentations at the recent Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) Victorian Student Symposium.

Kieran Cashin was awarded ‘Best Second Year PhD Student Oral Presentation’ for his project, CoRSeqV3-C: A novel HIV-1 subtype C specific V3 sequence based coreceptor usage and Muriel Aldunate won ‘Best First Year PhD Poster’ for her work, Lactic acid, a natural microbicide in the female genital tract.

A PhD student in the Gorry Laboratory, Kieran developed a computer program that searches for characteristics in the HIV genetic code to predict how different viruses infect the immune system and the success of certain anti-HIV drugs.

“Currently we are working to clinically validate our program so that it may be used by clinicians worldwide to determine the best course of therapy for patients with HIV,” Kieran said.

“It is a great honour to win a prize at the Victorian Student Research Symposium because the presentations are judged and awarded by fellow students and early career researchers, whose work I admire enormously.”

Kieran was unable to collect his award as he was presenting the CoRSeqV3-C program at the Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology Research (ACH2) workshop in NSW where he was awarded the $500 Roche Diagnostics Australia Pty Ltd. Education Grant.

Muriel Aldunate, who has just commenced the second year of her PhD in the Tachedjian Laboratory, presented work investigating the virucidal activity of lactic acid, which is naturally produced in the lower female genital tract.

Muriel said it was a great opportunity to showcase her work and represent the Tachedjian Lab.

“Without the other lab member’s efforts, this work wouldn’t be possible. It’s also very rewarding to be recognised as being able to communicate this work effectively in different formats to other researchers from very different fields,” she said.

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