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Flagship launches careers of young investigators

The MWC Tuberculosis Flagship research programme has proved to be a great springboard for younger investigators to progress their careers.

As in previous years a number of younger MWC investigators had great success in 2017 in gaining major awards and achieving career milestones. Particularly notable this year was the success of investigators who have been involved in the MWC”s TB Flagship – Drs Ghader Bashiri, Jodie Johnston and Htin Lin Aung (below, left to right). 

young investigators

The MWC’s Flagship programmes garner additional resources from the MWC to accelerate and build scale in highly outcome-focused national research programmes involving multiple research groups from different institutions and disciplines. Jodie and Ghader were both supported by the MWC’s TB Flagship as part of its portfolio of key researchers. In both cases their MWC-supported work has proven crucial in the advancement of their careers to the next level.  In 2017 Jodie was successful in gaining a permanent appointment as a Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury, a major milestone in the career progression of a researcher. Ghader commenced a Sir Charles Hercus Research Fellowship, awarded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand in late 2016, which provides four years of funding to enable him to pursue an independent research programme. Ghader said: “As an early-career investigator, the TB Flagship has provided enormous support in developing my career through creating a dynamic community to learn from, collaborate with and, ultimately, do great science.”

In November 2017 another postdoctoral fellow working on research aligned with the MWC TB Flagship, Dr Htin Lin Aung was awarded a 2018 Sir Charles Hercus Research Fellowship. Htin trained as an MWC-supported PhD student, supervised by Prof Greg Cook at the University of Otago and has also received MWC support as a postdoctoral fellow. “The TB Flagship community is delighted to see not only the great results that these investigators have produced but also the impact on their own careers” says Flagship co-leader Greg. “Flagships were designed to bring people together from different disciplines and institutions to address a common problem. It’s obvious in the success of these investigators that they’ve extended themselves through the Flagship, in collaboration with some of the best people in NZ and that has paid dividends for their careers’. Jodie comments “The multidisciplinary nature of the TB Flagship and the MWC means I have become better educated on other areas in science and understand how these areas might feed into my own work in ways that will add value to it.”

Other younger investigators who had notable successes and career milestones this year include: Dr Aniruddha Chatterjee who was awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship; Dr Brie Sorrenson who was awarded an Auckland Medical Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship; Dr Joanna McKenzie, Dr Chris Guise and Dr Chris Walker who were all appointed as Lecturers at their respective institutions; and Dr Chris Walker who commenced a Sir Charles Hercus Research Fellowship at the University of Auckland. MWC is very proud to see so many younger investigators moving on to important career milestones.