T1/T2 Scholarship Funded Research

450scholarships

T1/T2 'Bottom-up Research Awarded in 2016

 

T1/T2 'Bottom-up Research Awarded in 2015


  • Preclinical study of a hedgehog pathway inhibitor in triple negative breast cancer and identification of predictive biomarkers of response to therapy, Mun Ngah Hui, Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
  • Correcting aberrant microRNA expression as a therapeutic approach in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM), Marissa Williams, Asbestos Diseases Research Institute.

 

T1/T2 'Bottom-up Research Awarded in 2014

 

  • Determining the significance of MCC silencing for treatment outcomes in colorectal cancer,  Fahad Benthani, Kinghorn Cancer Centre.
  • Novel therapeutic strategies targeting aberrant cell cycle regulation in pancreatic cancer, Angela Chou, Kinghorn Cancer Centre.
  • Targeting the ASCT2 nutrient uptake pathway for development of novel therapeutics in triple-negative breast cancer,  Michelle van Geldermalsen, Centenary Institute.
  • Pharmacodynamic effects of the heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) inhibitor, AUY922, in high-risk, localised prostate cancer, Alison Zhang, Kinghorn Cancer Centre.

 

T1/2 'Bottom-up Research Awarded in 2013

 

  • Biomarker and Targeted Novel Drug Development in Pancreatic Cancer. Find out more.
  • Chemo-radiotherapy responsiveness in rectal cancer. Find out more.
  • Cell co-operation in tumour formation and progression of squamous cell carcinomas. Find out more.

 

The 2012 inaugural round of Sydney Catalyst funding for 1 full PhD award and 5 'Top-up' Research Scholar awards led to support for the following member-led research initiatives in the T1/T2 research area

 

  • Effects of a novel hotspot mutation of Brm in non-melanoma skin cancer development. Find out more.
  • Characterization of the Src-regulated kinome in human cancers. Find out more.

 

 

VENESSA CHIN MBBS FRACP received the Sydney Catalyst full PhD (later converted to a 2 year top-up research scholar award due to successful PhD application elsewhere).

Her project is: Biomarker and Targeted Novel Drug Development in Pancreatic Cancer.

 

Venessa Chin

Education and work background: Venessa graduated with her MBBS from the University of Adelaide in 2003.  After completing her internship and residency in South Australia, she started her basic physicians training at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where after she also completed her medical oncology training. She has co-authored several publications:

Histomolecular phenotypes and outcome in adenocarcinoma of the ampulla of vater.

Pancreatic cancer genomes reveal aberrations in axon guidance pathway genes.

The prognostic and predictive value of serum CA19.9 in pancreatic cancer.

Role of FDG-PET in surgical management of patients with colorectal liver metastases.

The PhD will be conducted at and supervised by: Professor Andrew Biankin and Dr Marina Pajic at The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Garvan Institute.

More details: The American Society of Clinical Oncology has outlined the importance of biomarker development in cancer research.  I am exploring the clinical utility of two biomarkers in pancreas cancer.   This project is building on the success of the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative (APGI) to catalogue the genetic landscape of pancreatic cancer and applying the results to patient care. I have used next generation sequencing data to inform my pre-clinical trial design to test a novel therapeutic. If ROCK-1 is proven to be a targetable phenotype in pancreatic cancer, phase 1 trials could quickly commence. Circulating DNA is being studied using two separate human clinical trials to assess the place of this response biomarker in pancreatic cancer. If proven to be useful it has the potential to shorten the time it takes to ascertain if a therapy is effective and therefore has the potential to change not only the paradigm of patient care but also effect clinical trial design and execution.

This is important translational research because:  This project uses clinical trials to assess the place of two biomarkers in pancreatic cancer. Both projects are highly applicable to the era of personalised medicine in patient care and aligned with the Sydney Catalyst T1/T2 objective of integrating basic sciences in clinical research.

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penelope De CavaleriePENELOPE DE LACAVALERIE MBBS, FRACS (General Surgery) received a 2 year top-up research scholar award for her project titled: Chemo-radiotherapy responsiveness in rectal cancer.

 

Education and work background: Penelope graduated in 2001 from the Universidad Central de Venezuela and did her surgical training at the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). She holds an accredited position at Bankstown Hospital as the Colorectal Research Fellow under the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSSANZ). She is the recipient of the Foundation for Surgery Research one year scholarship from RACS and the three-year Australian Rotary Health BowelScan PhD scholarship.

The PhD will be conducted at and supervised by: Associate Professor Maija Kohonen‐Corish at The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Garvan Institute.

More details: The Mutated in Colorectal Cancer gene (MCC) is a novel biomarker; it has the potential to become a predictor to chemo‐radiation in up to 30% of rectal cancer patients. We hypothesize that MCC silencing is a predictive marker of favourable response to radiotherapy. My supervisor A/Prof Maija Kohonen made several novel discoveries regarding this gene including early methylation in premalignant polyps, in particular frequent in serrated polyps. She has also developed a biomarker test for its detection.

We will work on the validity of the MCC biomarker as a novel agent to identify patients that are more sensitive to neo‐adjuvant therapies in a clinical cohort of patients. Our research will include a combination of animal and cell studies on the MCC silencing and its potential to predict response to neo‐adjuvant therapy. Our cohort of fresh rectal cancer biopsies will hopefully validate this response. This will allow us to translate into clinical work by analysing neo‐adjuvant treatment responses in matched pre‐radiotherapy fresh biopsies and post‐radiotherapy rectal cancer surgical specimens.

This is important translational research because: At the core of our project is the integration of scientific findings into clinical practice and back (Sydney Catalyst T1/T2 Research). As part of our project, we are in the process of registering a title for a systematic review with the

Cochrane Colorectal Cancer Review Group, based in Denmark. With this review we aim to determine the diagnostic accuracy of genetic biomarkers to predict response to preoperative chemoradiation in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer. This project will be possible thanks to the present collaboration we have between twoSydney Catalystmember groups, The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Garvan Institute and the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre based at Sydney University.

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Naomi Delic 200pxwNAOMI DELIC B.Sc (Hon I) received a 2 year top-up research scholar award for her project titled: Cell co-operation in tumour formation and progression of squamous cell carcinomas. 

 

Education and work background: Naomi graduated from the University of NSW in 2006 with honours class I. Since 2007, she have been working with A/Prof Guy Lyons and Prof Gary Halliday in the Dermatology Lab at the University of Sydney, studying the effects of a gene called Snail in skin cancer progression. She has co-authored the following publications:

Radiosensitization of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma cells by human papillomavirus 16 oncoprotein E6∗I.

Snail transcription factors in keratinocytes: Enough to make your skin crawl.

Snail up-regulates pro-inflammatory mediators and inhibits differentiation in oral keratinocytes

 

The PhD will be conducted at and supervised by: Associate Professor Guy Lyons at Sydney Cancer Centre/The Chris O'Brien Lifehouse at RPA.

More details: This project aims to develop a new understanding of cancer progression by investigating the genetic diversity and ecology of skin cancers. Specifically, it will use novel mouse models and patient specimens to identify mutant genes that can cause cancer by cooperating with different mutant genes in neoplastic cells around them. This project will significantly contribute to our understanding of tumour ecology, in that it will determine which mutant genes drive cancers arriving via monoclonal evolution and which drive cancers via clonal cooperation. This distinction will be important in designing targeted therapies based on pathways activated by the mutant genes, because the efficacy of a single or multiple agent therapy and the evolution of resistant clones within the tumours will be quite different in the two cases.

This is important translational research because:  This project aligns with Sydney Catalyst T1/T2 objective of integrating basic sciences in clinical research, in particular for improved cancer care for individual patients. It aims to identify the cellular ecology of a tumour and the complementary mutations required for formation and progression to occur. If successful and combined with computer modelling, more specific therapeutic strategies could be designed for individual patients.

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ANDREW FARRELL received a 2 year top-up research scholar award (non-clinician) for his project titled: Effects of a novel hotspot mutation of Brm in non-melanoma skin cancer development.

 

 Andrw video grab 400px

The Sydney Catalyst group where his research is being conducted is Sydney Cancer Centre/The Chris O'Brien Lifehouse at RPA.


Click on the image to see Andrew describe his work and his ideas about translational cancer research

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LUXI ZHANG received a 2 year top-up research scholar award (non-clinician) for her project titled: 'Characterization of the Src-regulated kinome in human cancers'.

 

The Sydney Catalyst group where her research is being conducted is The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Garvan Institute. Video not available.

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