Super-bug researcher takes out NT’s first Fulbright Scholarship 


A leading Northern Territory researcher has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship for his critical research into the super-bug, golden staph.

A Research Fellow with Charles Darwin University’s Menzies School of Health Research, Dr Stephen Tong is the sole winner of the inaugural Fulbright Northern Territory Scholarship.

The scholarship is valued at up to $45,000, and Dr Tong is now one of a select group nationwide to be recognised as a Fulbright Scholar.

Dr Steven Tong, a PhD recipient from Charles Darwin University for his research into the epidemiology of golden staph in northern Australia, will spend seven months at the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina as part of his scholarship.

At Duke University, he will work on two projects associated with the golden staph infection.

The first project will examine the relationship between the bacterium and infection of the lining of the heart muscle. The second will build on Dr Tong’s existing work on a certain strain of the bacterium to assess its virulence and assist with management of infections.

Dr Tong said the projects would have benefits both for the medical profession generally and for the Top End in particular.

“Menzies is establishing an internationally and nationally recognised role in golden staph research,” he said.

‘This project will further enhance this reputation and establish an ongoing collaborative link with one of the world’s leading centres for staphylococcal research.”

Dr Tong is one of 26 Australians to be recognised as a Fulbright Scholar in 2011.

The Fulbright Northern Territory Scholarship is supported by Charles Darwin University, the Northern Territory Government and corporate sponsor Blackboard.

The prestigious Fulbright Program is the largest educational scholarship of its kind and is aimed at promoting mutual understanding through educational exchange. It currently operates between the United States and 155 other nations.