Alex Scollard Memorial PHD Scholarship


Save our Sons Duchenne Foundation have awarded the inaugural Alex Scollard Memorial PhD Scholarship to Dr Rajiv Wijesinghe.

Dr Wijesinghe will undertake a PhD Scholarship in the Neuromuscular field with specific benefit for the Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy community in Australia.

The late Alex Scollard was a true inspiration and great role-model for the Duchenne and Becker community in Australia and worked tirelessly towards the most worthy cause of enhancing the quality of life for all with Duchenne and Becker and finding a cure.

Save Our Sons will fund the Alex Scollard Memorial PhD Scholarship in honour of Alex. The Honourable Chris Bowen MP, the Commonwealth Shadow Minister for Health, in conjunction with Alex’s parents Andrew and Jackie and his sister Gabby, presented Dr Wijesinghe with the Scholarship today at the Save Our Sons office in Hurlstone Park. Please see the associated video and photos of this event.

The PhD Scholarship involves a yearly stipend over a period of three years, the expected duration of a PhD in the field, being $30,000 per annum for each of three years (a total of $90,000 all inclusive). The Scholarship commences in early 2021.

The following factors were considered in relation to the selection of the Scholarship Recipient and are considered core obligations, and Dr Wijesinghe will provide regular updates on his work to the Duchenne and Becker community in Australia through Save Our Sons:

  • An aspiration to practice as an adult neurologist with a genuine interest in the neuromuscular field, particularly in Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy;
  • Ongoing commitment to finding effective treatments to save the lives of individuals suffering from genetic muscle disease and contribute to the scientific efforts to find a cure for Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy;
  • Embark on a PhD project that will aim to rigorously test gene therapy delivery systems that may rescue and repair damaged muscle and aim to provide a strong scientific evidence base for the development of a potential therapeutic that may eventually be applied in human research;
  • Help to bridge the gap between clinical neuromuscular practice and translational scientific research, and help through work at a neuromuscular clinic and continue to contribute to clinical work during and after the PhD;
  • Contribute to an area that does need further attention, being the transition period from paediatric to adult care, which can be tumultuous. Help to establish some clinical guidelines that may be used during this period to smooth out the process.

We would like to thank the honorable Chris Bowen MP for his support and his strident advocacy on behalf of the Duchenne and Becker community in Australia.