Student Prizes

The Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience administers three Majors and has made available a prize to the top student in each. In each case, the prize is awarded to the student with the highest aggregate mark across the four subjects that comprise the Major.

Sir Sydney Sunderland

Sunderland Prize for Neuroscience Major

Winning the prize

The Sunderland Prize for Neuroscience is awarded to the student completing a Neuroscience Major in any year who has the highest aggregate score in the two core subjects, NEUR30003 Principles of Neuroscience and NEUR30002 Neurophysiology, combined with the aggregate scores in the best two electives that contribute to the major.

Who was Sir Sydney Sunderland?

Born in Brisbane in 1910, he attended Brisbane High School from which he graduated as Dux before commencing a science degree at the University of Queensland. After one year he came to Melbourne to enter the medical course and, on December 9 1935, was admitted to the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Melbourne. Such was his distinction as an undergraduate he was appointed Senior Lecturer in Anatomy immediately.  Two years later he went to Oxford as a Demonstrator in Anatomy. He was appointed to the Chair of Anatomy and Histology at the University of Melbourne in March, 1940 at the age of 29.

The early years of the war were very difficult ones but his heavy teaching duties did not deter him from investigational work. From 1941-45 he was Visiting Consultant on Injuries of the Peripheral Nervous System at the General Hospital, Heidelberg. Throughout the years he maintained this interest and his many papers and articles and his major book Nerves and Nerve Injuries reflect his pre-eminence in this subject.

His appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in 1953 led him to the wider fields of medical administration and University government. During his years of service as Dean he saw his Faculty through eighteen years of growth and development, years of greater change and progress than ever before.

He was a popular chairman of Anatomy and had an enormous influence on the development of the Department and it was largely through his efforts that we occupy such a fine building today. He was strongly supportive of his staff and worked hard on behalf of the Department to see that it was well resourced.  He was an excellent teacher who had an ability to inspire his students through his lucid and informed presentations. His commitment to excellence was conveyed by example. Sir Syd, as he was affectionately known in the Department, died on 27 August 1993 at the age of 82. Further details of his life and considerable achievements can be found here.

Past Sunderland Awardees

2015 |  Paige Dissanayake
2014 |  Timothy Phan

Dr John Ochiltree Lavarack

Lavarack Prize for Cell and Developmental Biology Major

Winning the prize

The Lavarack Prize is awarded to the student completing a Cell and Developmental Biology Major in any year who has the highest score in the core subject CEDB30002 Concepts in Cell & Developmental Biology, combined with the aggregate scores in the best three elective subjects that contribute to the major.

Who was Dr Jo Lavarack?

John Ochiltree Lavarack was born in 1914 and graduated MBBS from the University of Melbourne in 1938. In 1939 he became a Resident Medical Officer at the Alfred Hospital and in 1940 he joined the armed forces, reaching the rank of Major as a Specialist Pathologist.

In 1947, accepted an appointment in the Department of Pathology at the University of Melbourne and then with the Department of Anatomy in 1949. He worked with Sir Sydney Sunderland on peripheral nerve injury. He is remembered for his teaching in embryology, where his fine blackboard drawings were famous for aiding his clear explanations of a complex subject.  In 1953 he was awarded a CJ Martin Fellowship from the NH&MRC and worked at King's College in London. He completed his PhD in 1953 and was appointed Reader in 1956. He died in 1998.

Past Lavarack Awardees

2015 |  The joint prize winners were Xin Wang and Ebony Selers.
2014 |  Rachel Brown

Professor Fred Wood Jones

Wood–Jones Prize for Human Structure and Function Major

Winning the prize

The Wood Jones Prize is awarded to the student completing a Human Structure and Function Major in any year who has the highest aggregate score in the core subjects ANAT30007 Human Locomotor Systems and ANAT30008 Viscera and Visceral Systems, combined with the aggregate scores in the best two elective subjects that contribute to the major.

Who was Professor FW Wood Jones?

Professor Frederick Wood-Jones was a Professor in the Department from 1930 to 1937. He was a Polymath and adventurer. After graduating in Medicine in 1904 in London he became medical officer in the Cocos Islands and published on the formation of coral atolls. Then he became anthropologist to the Egyptian Government assisting the famous anatomist, Elliot-Smith.

He was successively Professor of Anatomy in London (1912), Adelaide (1919), in Anthropology in Hawaii (1927), Anatomy again in Melbourne (1930), in Manchester (1937-45) and at the Royal College of Surgeons until 1951. Sydney Sunderland, who succeeded him in Melbourne, was one of his students.

During his period in Melbourne he wrote 80 papers and several books and took a year's leave to become temporary director of Anatomy at the Beijing Union Medical College.

He was an accomplished artist, poet, author of children's books, philosopher, scientist and educator. He once wrote "I would lay down as an inflexible rule that no teacher should find place on the staff of any University unless actively involved in undertaking some intellectual adventure and that, moreover, he is able and willing to take volunteers along with him upon the expedition". He died in 1954.

Past Wood-Jones Awardees

2015 |  Vicky Chen
2014 |  James Majer

Dr TF Ryan

TF Ryan Prize in Anatomy

Winning the Prize

The T.F. Ryan Prize in Anatomy is awarded to the undergraduate student in the Faculty of Science, who is awarded the highest mark in ANAT20006, Principles of Human Structure in a calendar year.


Who was TF Ryan?

Dr Thomas Francis Ryan was a surgeon who practised in Nhill in the Wimmera region of Victoria from 1901-1926.  He performed surgery, including ophthalmic and dental surgery, in the Nhill and Mira private hospitals.  He was the first private practice surgeon to obtain and use radiology routinely in the assessment of patients prior to surgery, with the only other unit being at The Royal Melbourne Hospital.  After he left Nhill in 1926 he was accepted as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1927, which was a rare accolade for a doctor outside the major cities. In 1945 he made several bequests to the University of Melbourne for student prizes in anatomy and radiology. He never married and died on 7th Dec 1955, aged 91.

Past TF Ryan Awardees

2015 |  Tessa Rafaniello
2014 |  Emily Selig

Vacation Scholarship

Undergraduate Science and Biomedical Science students have the opportunity to undertake 4-6 weeks work full time on a project within the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience. Up to four vacation scholarships are offered each year and they are worth $1000 each. The work performed is not for credit but a report of the work is required at the end of the scholarship period. The scholarship covers research projects conducted within laboratories of the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience.

Selection for the scholarship is based on academic merit.

The scholarships can be held for 4-6 weeks by arrangement with your supervisor. In the Vacation Scholarship, the student will work in their supervisor’s laboratory on the design, execution and analysis of a series of experiments. It is important that a student first obtain the agreement of a supervisor before completing this form.

The scholarship is tax free and will be paid as lump sum midway through your tenure. The applications will be considered during the last week of Semester 1 and Semester 2 and successful candidates will be advised as soon as possible thereafter. The work would normally be done over the mid year or summer vacation. Further details of research groups within the Department can be found under the Research tab on the Department web site.

Vacation Scholarship Application form