Congratulations to Our Star Alumni
Cure Cancer Australia would like to congratulate some of our star alumni on their recent achievements.
Congratulations to Cure Cancer Australia alumni Zaklina Kovacevic (grant 2016-17, solely funded by the Can Too Foundation), Jason Wong (grant 2015 and Researcher of the Year 2016, solely funded by the Can Too Foundation) and Flora Tzelepis (grant 2011) who have each been awarded coveted NHMRC Career Development Fellowships, providing them with four years of financial backing to allow them to carry out their vital work.
Zaklina's project is for breast cancer. Breast cancer (BrCa) is the leading cause of cancer death in women, and current treatments suffer from development of resistance, leading to metastatic progression. Zaklina will use her fellowship to assess a novel treatment strategy, targeting a gene that is able to inhibit multiple key drivers of BrCa by using a novel potent and selective anti-cancer agent. This approach has the potential to overcome resistance to current therapies and alleviate the onset of metastasis, which would improve prognosis for BrCa patients.
Flora has a public health focus. Globally, the burden of chronic disease is enormous. Smoking, alcohol use, inadequate fruit and vegetable intake and physical inactivity are modifiable risk factors of chronic conditions. This fellowship aims to prevent chronic diseases in priority populations who have poorer health outcomes. Flora will focus on disadvantaged groups, those living in regional and remote areas and people born overseas, implementing and evaluating scalable health behaviour interventions to improve health outcomes.
Jason works with huge data sets. Mutations in DNA are known to underlie the development of cancers, but our understanding of how these mutations arise is still poor. This fellowship will investigate the molecular mechanisms that determine how mutations arise, and how they can lead to the development of cancer. Knowledge generated will provide new opportunities for cancer prevention and treatment.
Additionally, current grant recipient Lisa Mielke has just received fantastic job offer, and will be transferring from WEHI to the Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Inst at Austin. It is a giant feather in her cap at such a young age, and we are so incredibly proud of her.
‘This is a very exciting opportunity for me. I have really only started to focus my research on cancer in the last 4 years since receiving my grants from Cure Cancer Australia and now I will start a lab head position at a cancer institute. It is amazing!’ says Lisa.
Congratulations once again to Zaklina, Flora, Jason and Lisa. The achievements of our exceptionally talented alumni just go to show how important early-career funding is. Without these grants, many researchers would face having to leave research altogether, or moving overseas to secure funding. Cure Cancer Australia is the catalyst for future funding in cancer research, and many of our alumni are now amongst Australia and the world’s leading cancer research specialists.
Thank you for supporting cancer research. It is only research that will cure cancer.