Victoria academics receive 2018 Fulbright grants
Victoria academics Dr Bronwyn Kivell and Dr Richard Arnold have received New Zealand Scholar Award Grants from Fulbright New Zealand and will travel to the United States later this year to undertake significant research projects.
Dr Kivell, from the School of Biological Sciences, will study opioid medications. Along with Professor Kirill Martemyamov at The Scripps Research Institute and Professor Lawrence Toll at Florida Atlantic University, she will work to develop a new opioid that does not cause addiction, show tolerance, or induce respiratory depression.
“In New Zealand, one in five adults suffer from chronic pain, and 40% of these sufferers report insufficient pain control. In the USA, over 30,000 people die from opioid overdoses every year,” says Dr Kivell. “Patients build up a tolerance to gold-standard opioids like morphine, which can lead to misuse of both prescription and illegal opioids in an effort to manage pain.”
Dr Arnold, from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, will undertake research at the Institute for Integrating Statistics in Decision Science at George Washington University. While there, Dr Arnold will work with leading experts in reliability theory to develop realistic models of repair times for complex and aging systems like aircraft or computers.
“Reliability theory is about managing the risks of failure in complex systems like aircraft,” says Dr Arnold. “Failure of these systems can have a direct effect on human life and health. This project will take into account the age of complex systems to develop models of repair times and give more realistic estimates for expected repair times, something that current models don’t do well enough.”
Dr Arnold will also work on a second project testing the probability that a given group of software testers will discover all errors in certain software.
Fulbright NZ offers a range of grants to researchers from New Zealand or the USA who want to study, research, or teach in each other’s countries. The goal is to form collaborations to solve some of the world’s most challenging issues.
As well as the direct benefits to their research projects, both Dr Arnold and Dr Kivell say the Fulbright grants will give them many other advantages.
“This work could lead to long-term collaborations which could enhance research in the future,” says Dr Kivell. “The Fulbright Grant gives researchers the chance to develop their careers through networking and shared goals.”
Dr Arnold agrees. “The grant will expand my network of contacts and give me a chance to showcase my work to a new audience. I am excited to receive a research fellowship where the focus is not just on research but international contact, communication, and understanding.”
Dr Kivell will also have the opportunity to access cutting-edge equipment that is currently not available in New Zealand. She will learn new techniques and complete a new range of tests enabling her to provide advice to Victoria on equipment that will help expand the boundaries of research here.
The full list of Fulbright Scholars can be viewed here.