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Although only in the early stages of her research career, Dr Nicole Stupka is already making a name for herself at the highest level.
In December, 2006 and soon after joining the strong partnership between BioDeakin and Barwon Biomedical Research, Dr Stupka was awarded a prestigious four year Peter Doherty Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council.
The Fellowship allows Dr Stupka to study the effect of increased oxidative stress associated with type 2 diabetes and aging on the cell-signalling pathways regulating muscle loss, growth, and repair.
To support this research Dr Stupka - in collaboration with Professor Geoff Nicholson and Associate Prof David Cameron-Smith - has also been awarded a one-year grant from the Deakin University Central Research Grant Scheme.
"It was a great thrill and a great honour to receive the Peter Doherty Fellowship," Dr Stupka said.
"I think one of the reasons I was able to gain it was the great support I have received while working at Deakin and the Geelong Hospital."
"The academic faculty have been very willing to help me in terms of scientific and technical support. I am very appreciative of the way they were prepared to read and discuss my fellowship application and make suggestions about how to improve it."
"The mentorship and guidance I have received from the people I work with at Deakin and the Geelong Hospital were probably significant factors in being given this Fellowship"
Dr Stupka came to BioDeakin after being recommended to the Institute's director, Professor Andrew Parratt by Associate Professor David Cameron-Smith.
"I was coming to the end of my PhD and I was looking around for other opportunities to continue my research work," Dr Stupka said.
"David suggested I get in contact with Professor Parratt at BioDeakin."
Professor Parratt said Dr Stupka fits all the criteria he applies when recruiting researchers.
"She has all the critical factors," he said.
"She is enthusiastic, she has an excellent track record, a clarity about her future and quite clearly, she is an innovator."
"It's the same reason Deakin has recruited other staff like our new Associate Professors, Qipeng Guo, Jagat Kanwar and Wei Duan."
"Like Nicole, Qipeng, Jagat and Wei are all hungry to grow their own research, or develop the work of their research teams."
"Those are the sort of people we want to encourage at BioDeakin."
Professor Parratt said Dr Stupka would work closely with Professor Nicholson from Barwon Biomedical Research, and with Professor Cameron-Smith in the area of muscle growth and development.
"Our relationship with BBR means Nicole has access to some wonderful scientific leadership and experience," Professor Parratt said.
As for Nicole, she is enjoying the freedom to explore that her new position gives her.
"One of the things I have really enjoyed about working at BioDeakin is that you are encouraged to be scientifically creative, and are given the necessary support to see your ideas through."