Good friends proud to share scholarship award

Image: Kate Phillips and Kelsey Walsh

Two students from the Australian National University (ANU) have been awarded a Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) Scholarship for 2022.

Through a competitive application process, the scholarships are granted to medical students across Australasia who are completing pathology research under the supervision of an RCPA fellow.

Ms Kelsey Walsh and Ms Kate Phillips, fourth year Doctor of Medicine and Surgery  students were delighted to learn that they would be sharing the award.

The students are utilising the scholarship to prepare their research projects for presentation and publication, as well as to continue learning about pathology.

Ms Walsh advised, “Professor Jane Dahlstrom is my supervisor and under her guidance my research skills in histology have developed. I’ve really enjoyed learning the different microscopy and staining techniques and recognising that pathology can guide clinical decisions that impact real patients. I recently sat the Basic Pathological Science Exam run by the RCPA and am excited to continue to learn through this scholarship.”

Ms Walsh’s research project will use mouse tissue to phenotype a new mouse model for Type 2 diabetes in collaboration with clinician and ANU researcher, Professor Christopher Nolan.

Ms Phillips noted, “My interest in pathology has been fostered by the excellent pathology teaching at ANU and my specific interest in haematology has been encouraged and extended by my supervisors Associate Professor Dipti Talaulikar and Professor Si Ming Man, as well as by several other people in the haematology department at the Canberra Hospital.”

Her project, in collaboration with the Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group (ALLG), looks at immune effects of a class of drugs called Bruton’s tyrosin kinase inhibitors (BTKi) used in the treatment of some lymphoid malignancies. The research aims to further understand the inflammatory landscape in lymphoma.

The project has been accepted for presentation at the International Society for Laboratory Haematology Conference in Italy, and the Blood Conference 2022.

With one more semester before graduation, both women are contemplating where their career path may lead. There is no doubt that pathology is definitely on their radar.

“I feel very grateful to the RCPA for the scholarship. Sharing it with Kate makes it more special. Kate has been a supportive friend throughout medical school and her sense of humour always brightens my day,” Ms Walsh said.

Ms Phillips added, “Kelsey and I have been friends since first year of medical school, and I couldn’t be prouder of her and of us that we get to share this award. She is a pathology Queen and the world of pathology will be an even brighter place with her in it.”