Congratulations to our Researcher of the Year!
Last month, Cure Cancer Australia were delighted to name A/Prof Jyotsna Batra as our Researcher of the Year 2018.
Currently receiving her third Cure Cancer Australia grant, prostate cancer researcher A/Prof Jyotsna Batra is based at the Translational Research Institute at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation of Queensland University of Technology.
Through her previous Cure Cancer Australia grants in 2014 and 2015, Jyotsna has identified genetic variations in a person’s DNA that can regulate the protein production that predisposes men to prostate cancer. The genes harbouring these genetic variations are promising therapeutic targets for new treatments for the disease.
Jyotsna believes that changes in gene sequences, when used alongside the traditional Prostate-Specific Antigen blood test (which can be unreliable on its own), can serve as effective screening tools to identify men predisposed to developing prostate cancer. They can also help distinguish the slowly progressive from the aggressive form of the disease.
“By analysing the DNA of around 100,000 individuals, half of which belongs to prostate cancer patients, we’ve identified 150 genetic variations associated with prostate cancer risk”, she says. “They can collectively explain about 30% of the inherited component of the disease”. This collaborative study was recently published in Nature Genetics.
To date, Jyotsna has published a total of 128 articles. In 2012, she was awarded the Carla Patterson Early Career Researcher Award for the top IHBI publication, and in 2015 and again in 2017, she received the Princess Alexandra Foundation Award for Research Excellence.
Jyotsna’s increasing national and international profile in the genetics of complex disorders is demonstrated by her receipt of the prestigious 2014 Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman award by the NRI Welfare Society of India. The award recognises 20 non-resident Indians worldwide for excellence in their field and enhancing the impact of Indian accomplishments. She has also been a finalist for the QLD Women in Technology (WiT) Rising Star and ASMR Postdoctoral and Senior Researcher awards, and an international semi-finalist for the Trainee Research Award at the International Congress of Human Genetics.
Jyotsna’s research excellence was acknowledged by QUT by the awarding of VC Excellence and Performance Awards consecutively in 2015 and 2016 and a fellowship to attend the QUT Accelerated Leadership Pathways program 2017.
The Cure Cancer Australia Researcher of the Year Award recognises the outstanding achievements of our early-career researchers and highlights the importance of seed funding within the research space.
This year’s winner and two runners up were selected by the Cure Cancer Australia Research Committee. Jyotsna was chosen as our winner because of her outstanding achievement record during the past three years.
Jyotsna, as well as runners up A/Prof Gillian Gould and Dr Fernando Guimaraes, were awarded travel grants to be used for an approved purpose. Jyotsna is yet to decide on her destination, but it is likely she will be using her grant to present her findings at a major international meeting, and to spend time with her international collaborators. It is difficult for Australian researchers to meet face to face with international collaborators as we are geographically so far away.
Congratulations to Jyotsna, Gillian, Fernando and all our Researcher of the Year nominees. We are so grateful to you for the work you do.
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All three of A/Prof Jyotsna Batra’s grants gave been solely supported by the Can Too Foundation.