Young Emerging Scientists 2023 HIV Fellowships complete program

Gilead Sciences Australia announced today, to mark World AIDS Day the first cohort’s completion of the Young Emerging Scientists (YES) 2023 HIV Fellowship program, a new initiative aimed at developing the next generation of Australian HIV scientists.

The YES HIV 2023 Fellowship was established by Gilead in collaboration with mentors from Australia’s preeminent HIV research centres including the Burnet Institute (Melbourne), the Kirby Institute (Sydney), the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Melbourne) and the Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW (Sydney) to inspire the next generation of scientists to continue the pursuit to eliminating HIV as a public health threat.

After a two-month search and almost 50 applications from students across Australia, the mentors selected four outstanding recipients with exceptional academic excellence, a demonstrated passion for the HIV sciences and a genuine commitment to contributing to HIV research and its potential impact on society.

The awarded recipients of the YES HIV 2023 Fellowships are Mia Cahill who is undertaking a Bachelor of Medical Science, University of Notre Dame, Lalu Faris Naufal Makhroja currently undertaking a Masters of Public Health, University of Melbourne, Hailey Cheng who is undertaking a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Monash University and Mehran Mejbah who is undertaking a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Monash University.

The Fellows experienced firsthand the diverse and innovative work currently underway in HIV sciences in Australia, spending immersion days at each of the four sites, giving them an opportunity to interact with some of the most distinguished national and international HIV researchers based at these sites.

Fellows were also supported by Gilead to attend the International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference in Brisbane in July, providing an unparalleled opportunity for the students to network with Australian and global leaders in the HIV community, exchange ideas and gain further exposure to the latest international advancements and breakthroughs in HIV science and research.

Dr Paul Slade, Senior Country Medical Director, Gilead Australia and New Zealand, said it was essential that HIV research continues to be supported as Australia makes dramatic progress in combating the virus.

“While Australia’s response to the HIV epidemic has been world-leading over the last four decades, and the local HIV community has made incredible strides with respect to prevention, treatment, care and advocacy, it is critical we do not lose momentum especially now as ending HIV transmission is within reach.

“This is particularly important as we are starting to see a generational change in this space, and we need to ensure all that incredible knowledge, science and experience is passed on to the next vanguard of cutting-edge clinicians and scientists,” Dr Slade said.

“This World AIDS Day marks the 35th year of the first-ever international day for global health, and we know the success of the HIV response in Australia is through the partnership and collaborations that exist between people living with HIV, advocates, healthcare professionals, researchers, industry and governments.

“We are very proud to support the next generation of talent in HIV sciences and with the exceptional calibre of students involved in this first year, we are filled with great confidence in the future of ongoing HIV research and clinical practice in Australia,” Dr Slade said.

Brent Allan, Global Community Engagement Consultant, who was engaged by Gilead to project manage the YES HIV Fellowship program commented saying it had been a gratifying process to identify the new fellows.

“It has been immensely gratifying for us to be able to facilitate this opportunity and watch the students absorb, critically question and interact with scholars, clinicians, patient advocates and people living with HIV.

“It’s our hope this experience has now further encouraged and inspired the Fellows to see what is possible, pursue the HIV sciences and take the baton in ending the HIV epidemic for all. We are excited to witness the growth and impact of these exceptional students as they continue their studies.” Allan said.

OIP Staff

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