Medical researcher stays true to local upbringing

Bendigo woman Kathryn O'Brien, or Kathryn Field as she is known to the medical world, received a prestigious $50,000 research prize at the weekend.

The prize was awarded to two mid-career researchers by the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

The money will go to Mrs O'Brien continuing and improving her research.

Mrs O'Brien said she was proud of her rural upbringing in Bendigo.

"I think it is important to make sure people from rural areas know that you should never see that as a disadvantage," she said.

"The world is your oyster if you are prepared to work hard."

She studied at Melbourne University after completing high school at Girton Grammar.

She said the past few years had been "her busiest yet".

While in Boston she completed her masters in public health at Harvard University.

Mrs O'Brien said she worked for the Royal Melbourne Hospital one day a week and the rest of the time resided in Bendigo.

She said her research had related to two types of cancer - bowel and brain tumors.

She said she ran clinical trials on each of these cancers to produce helpful information for the broader medical environment.

Her brain tumor clinical trial was the largest in Australia.

"I want to make sure the outcome is tangible and that all patients will see positive outcomes from the trial," she said.

The prize money will go toward other potential research opportunities.

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