Desire to unravel mysteries of the mind wins neuroscience student Victorian Rhodes Scholarship

November 13 / 124

Kristijan Jovanoski. Photo by Angela Wylie, The Age
Kristijan Jovanoski. Photo by Angela Wylie, The Age

University of Melbourne student Kristijan Jovanoski has been awarded this year’s Victorian Rhodes Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford in the 2014 northern academic year.

Mr Jovanoski is studying for a Masters of Philosophy degree in Quantum Physics at the University, and gained a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Honours) in 2012. He hopes to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Neuroscience at Oxford.

Mr Jovanoski, who counts Macedonian, Classical Latin, Ancient Greek and French among his languages, has nurtured a fascination for biology and understanding the intricacies of the human body since he was a child.

He said visiting Macedonia and meeting elderly members of his extended family who were suffering dementia stirred his passion for exploring ‘minds’.

“The brain may ultimately distinguish our species, but it also feels as though we know more about the distant stars than about what lies within our own minds,” he said. 

In his current research project, Mr Jovanoski is attempting to determine whether the quantum optics underlying nitrogen-treated diamonds can detect the tiny magnetic fields generated by individual brain cells.

“If this is possible, then it would be a world-first and could open the door to using this technology in humans in the long-term,” he said. 

“As a neuroscientist, I hope to pioneer similar innovations but I would first need to develop a deeper appreciation of the fundamental problems in my field.

“The Rhodes scholarship is a wonderful next step in that direction, and I feel both humbled and privileged to have received it.

Congratulating Mr Jovanoski on the scholarship, Honorary Secretary of the Victorian Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee Professor James Angus, from the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, said all of the applicants had a strong commitment to engaging young people with the urgent problems facing the world and to making a difference in and beyond Australia.

“The Selection Committee was thoroughly impressed with all of the applicants for this year’s Victorian Rhodes Scholarship, and we commend them for their achievements so far. I’m also encouraged by their belief in their own abilities and those of their peers to address endemic and entrenched problems, whether political, diplomatic or medical,” Professor Angus said.

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