Westmead Hospital junior doctor secures one of the world’s most prestigious international scholarships

Rhodes Scholar Rosemary Kirk

Westmead Hospital junior doctor, Rosemary Kirk, has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in Renal and Cardiac Genetic Medicine and is headed straight for the bright lights of Oxford University to continue her studies.

The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and one of the most prestigious international scholarship programs, enabling outstanding young people to study at Oxford University, and now Rosemary will be flying the Western Sydney Local Health District’s flag.

Rosemary at her Coffs Harbour placement with fellow Junior Medical Officers.

Rosemary’s medical career at Westmead Hospital has provided a solid foundation for what’s to come and has made “wonderful friends” and found all her senior colleagues “friendly, approachable and easy to learn from”.

At Oxford University, Rosemary will be working in a laboratory using genetic analysis methods to understand mechanisms of disease and identify possible therapeutic targets.

“They’re entering an exciting new phase of work this year, with studies that use cellular models to develop genetic therapies,” said Rosemary.

“These therapies, which work using gene silencing, replacement, or editing, have the potential to cure genetic diseases for which we have previously only offered diagnosis and symptomatic or end-organ treatment.”

Rosemary is excited to be part of this research and to expand her medical science skills along the way.

“I’m looking forward to experiencing the multi-disciplinary environment of Oxford University and to see how this changes my perspectives and worldview, particularly as they relate to the ethics and equity of genetic medicine,” she said.

Beyond this, Rosemary said applying for the Rhodes Scholarship would have been a worthwhile undertaking even without receiving the scholarship.

Going through the process of writing my personal statement gave me pause to really think about what I would like my life and my career to look like if anything were possible,”

Rosemary Kirk

“It helped me identify what things I like doing inside and outside of clinical medicine, and how these could be incorporated into a future career.”

Rhodes Scholars are chosen on the basis of exceptional intellect, character, leadership and commitment to service.

Each year, about 100 scholars are selected from around 60 countries, including up to nine from Australia – one for each state, plus three Australia-at-Large awards.

For more information on The Rhodes Scholarship head here.