Burnet's Rachel Sacks-Davis (second from right) with the University of Montreal's Dr Julie Bruneau, Geng Zang and Elisabeth Deschenes.
Burnet Institute PhD student, Rachel Sacks-Davis has begun a collaborative project with the University of Montreal thanks to a Harold Mitchell Foundation Travel Fellowship.
Ms Sacks-Davis was able to travel to Canada to the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center to further her understanding and research into the transmission of hepatitis C.
The Center has a unique database linking prospectively collected behavioural information about individuals’ injecting drug use, to information about the geographical contexts in which they live in Montreal.
The project involves analysis of this dataset in order to better understand the context of the marked rise in illicit prescription opioid injecting that has already been documented in Montreal.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for me to work with the dataset, linking geographical information, for example crime statistics and socio-economic characteristics with injecting drug use behavioural surveys,” Ms Sacks-Davis said.
“We don’t have an equivalent here in Melbourne, and or anywhere to the best of my knowledge. In the future it might be possible to build a similar resource here.”
She said it was a wonderful opportunity, made possible by the Harold Mitchell Foundation.
“In research, collaborations are crucial and it can be challenging to become part of the global research community as a young Australian researcher because of the distances to Europe and North America in particular,” Ms Sacks-Davis explained.
“This makes philanthropic grants from organisations like the Harold Mitchell Foundation that allow young researchers to travel overseas particularly valuable.”