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23 Aug 2018

Ashleigh Qama awarded Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia scholarship

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia awards scholarships to medical students to undertake research projects in pathology. In 2018, a scholarship was awarded to Ashleigh Qama. Ashleigh is an epidemiologist at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis, a second-year medical student at Deakin University, and a Master of Public Health student at the University of Melbourne.

Ashleigh will be working with the Locarnini Group at The Doherty to assess immune outcomes following vaccination using a chronic hepatitis B mouse model, and the efficacy of current vaccines against the C4 genotype of HBV. The C4 genotype is the only circulating HBV in Indigenous people in northern Australia and has not yet been seen to affect non-Indigenous people. The C4 genotype has also been associated with suboptimal vaccine efficacy, potentially due to a serotype mismatch. Ashleigh’s project aims to provide proof-of-concept data to feed into future clinical studies, to better inform epidemiological studies of HBV vaccination and non-response within Indigenous communities.

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