Immunology researcher honoured with Crown Princess Mary Scholarship

Photo (from left to right): Mary Ellen Mille, Australian Ambassador, Tennille Vitagliano, Western Sydney University student, HRH Crown Princess Mary, Max Kausman, Monash University in Melbourne student, Henrik C. Wegener, Rector of University of Copenhagen.

Tennille Vitagliano, a Master of Research student from Campbelltown, has become the first Western Sydney University student to receive the prestigious Crown Princess Mary Scholarship from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Valued at over $2,000 (10,000 DKK), the scholarship was established as a wedding gift for the Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in 2004.

22-year-old Tennille recently accepted her award at a special ceremony, attended by Princess Mary. Funds from the scholarship have helped cover Tennille’s travel and living expenses while studying abroad.

Tennille was nominated for the scholarship, on the basis of immunology research that she worked on whilst studying on exchange at Copenhagen University.

Through her research, Tennille hopes to build a case for the existence of injury-induced enhancers, by identifying prompts that activate the pro-inflammatory gene pathways – the body’s mechanism for fighting disease and infection.

Tennille said the time that she has spent at Denmark’s oldest university has enriched her thesis and strengthened her interest in scientific innovation surrounding immunology.

“This scholarship has allowed me to bring to light the valuable research currently being conducted at Western Sydney University,” she said.

“It’s a wonderful privilege to be in a position of starting these conversations with not only fellow researchers, but also those in the public domain.”

Tennille was initially interested in travelling to Denmark, after investigating her own Danish heritage.

“I was helping my grandfather with our family tree. Everything he knew about our family’s heritage was based on stories that had been carried by mouth for generations,” said Tennille.

“Following some research, we soon found out that he had a very strong Danish heritage that dated back to the mid-1600s in a western city known as Haderslev.”

During her time in Denmark, Tennille has enjoyed exploring historical sites, and immersing herself in Danish culture.

After her exchange ends in June, she will return to Western Sydney University to complete her thesis year of the Master of Research.


21 May 2018

Ali Sardyga, Marketing Officer