Australia-Harvard Fellowship Awards for 2019

March 15, 2019

HCA Foundation is proud to recognise six outstanding researchers to become the 2019 Australia-Harvard Fellows. Recipients will be contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge and research in Australia, and to the enhancement of links between Harvard University and Australian academic institutions.

The six 2019 Fellows are:

• Prof. Thomas BORTFELD, Director of the Radiation Biophysics Division, Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital;

• A/Prof. Rachael COAKLEY, Director, Clinical Innovation and Outreach in Pain Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School;

• A/Prof. Vikram KHURANA, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School; Chief of Division of Movement Disorders, Brigham and Women’s Hospital;

• Prof. Bruce E. LANDON, Professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School; Professor of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center;

• A/Prof. Jonathan R. POLIMENI, Assistant Professor of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School;

• Prof. Philip HOGG, Chair in Translational Cancer Research, NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney.

Professor Thomas BORTFELD

Prof. Thomas Bortfeld, PhD, a physicist by training, is a Professor at the Harvard Medical School and serves as the Director of the Radiation Biophysics Division at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Bortfeld has been a primary developer of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and optimized “inverse” treatment planning. He will be visiting The University of Western Australia, The University of Sydney, and The University of Wollongong to educate the staff and students of these institutions on how fundamental physics principles can be deployed to improve cancer treatment, with a view towards initiating research projects in this area.

Prof. Bortfeld will also participate in various conferences and host seminars in his area of expertise.


Rachael Coakley is a pediatric pain psychologist. She is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the Harvard Medical School and Associate Director of Psychological Services at the Boston Children’s Hospital. She is founder and director of “The Comfort Ability,” an international program that teaches evidence-based pain management skills to adolescents with chronic pain and their parents.

She will be visiting The Robinson Research Institute and the Women’s and Children’s Health Network in South Australia to educate researcher and clinicians on best evidence- based practices in pain management, and to establish links for a collaborative research program.


Vikram. Khurana is Chief of Division of Movement Disorders at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Harvard Medical School. His work focuses on using models derived from work in genomics and stem-cells to understand differences amongst neurodegenerative disease sufferers (particularly those with Parkinson’s Disease), with a view to segmenting those with apparently similar symptoms into distinct groups with shared disease processes.

He will be visiting the Garvan Institute of Medical Research to collaborate on incorporating his research findings into new better clinical trial protocols for Parkinson’s Disease.

Professor Bruce E. LANDON

Bruce E. Landon is Professor of Health Care Policy and Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a practicing physician at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre.

Prof. Landon’s research focus is on understanding how the structure of the health care system, and of organisations that provide health care, impacts health outcomes.

He will be visiting The Menzies Centre for Health Policy at the Sydney University’s School of Public Health to work on strategies to improve the social return on the public health care spending by encouraging higher value services.

Jonathan R. POLIMENI

Dr. Polimeni is an Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School and is a recognized expert in the use of functional MRI (fMRI) technology.

He will be visiting the University of Queensland to further an ongoing, NIH BRAIN Initiative funded collaboration with Prof Markus Barth and the team at the Centre for Advanced Imaging (CAI) at the University of Queensland.

A key aspect of the collaboration will be to use CAI’s unique fMRI equipment configuration to conduct matching-parallel studies on mouse and human brains, thereby obtaining key insights into mapping out fine-scale structures of the functional architecture of the human brain.

Prof. Philip Hogg

Professor Hogg is the Head of the ACRF Centenary Cancer Research Centre and the Sydney Catalyst Chair in Translational Cancer Research at The University of Sydney Centenary Institute. His research focuses on how certain chemical modification of key proteins can influence their interaction with the immune system. This work has led to a potential new cancer diagnostic and a therapeutic drug, both of which are in clinical testing.

Prof. Hogg will be visiting 2017 Australia-Harvard Fellow, Prof Bruce Furie to progress their collaboration towards better understanding the immune system’s complement system, and how it can be controlled.

These awards take to 74 the total number of Australia-Harvard Fellowships granted since the program’s inception in 2004. Harvard Club of Australia Foundation congratulates these 2019 recipients and offers heartfelt thanks to our volunteers involved in selecting, monitoring and administering the program.

Galina Kaseko

Program Director Australia-Harvard Fellowship 13 March 2019