Top image

2017 Post Grad & Early Career Researcher Symposium

28th April 2107
Concord Hospital
Sydney Catalyst

On Friday 28th April 2017 Sydney Catalyst held its 6th annual Post-Graduate and Early-Career Researcher Symposium at the Concord Medical  Education Centre. Approx. 50 registrants joined the working group, led by Dr Phillip Fromm and including Dr Mun Hui, Reichelle Yeo and Merran Findlay, for a full day program that included 2 keynote presentations, 13 oral abstract presentations, a panel discussion and plenty of time to meet with other Sydney Catalyst members.




Professor Barbara Fazekas de St Groth, a medically and mathematically trained immunologist spoke on the topic "Translating immunology into cancer care" and generously shared some of what she has learned in her career, including the importance of thinking outside of the box. The program then switched gears into the first session of oral abstract presentations and throughout the day the participants were taken on a journey across the translational cancer research spectrum and back again, hearing an incredibly diverse range of talks, from Angelica Merlot's Exploiting the Unfolded Protein Response against Cancer Progression to Brooke Nickel's Does calling it cancer matter? The impact of papillary thyroid cancer terminology on anxiety and treatment preferences and finally Marissa Williams' Tumour suppressor microRNAs regulate PD-L1 expression in malignant pleural mesothelioma. The full program including abstracts and bios for all speakers is available on our website.  

At the end of the day a number of Best Presentation prizes were awarded, including;

  • Best T1T2 presentations - Blake Hsu, Bone marrow graft-versus-host-disease in reduced intensity conditioned major histocompatibility complex matched murine allogeneic hemopoietic cell transplantation and Ashleigh Morgan, Targeting the Src/JAK/STAT3 signalling pathway: A novel and promising therapeutic strategy for pancreatic cancer
  • Best T2T3 presentation - Liesbeth Geerligs, Hospital-based interventions: a systematic review of barriers and facilitators to support successful implementation
  • Best example of translation - Jennifer Hsu, Next-Generation Dendritic Cell Vaccines: Providing a Therapeutic Option for Frail Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Patients
  • People's Choice - Marissa Williams, Tumour suppressor microRNAs regulate PD-L1 expression in malignant pleural mesothelioma

We'd like to send a big congratulations to all of the oral abstract presenters; thank you for helping make the day such a success.

An engaging panel discussion was facilitated after lunch on the topic of involving cancer consumers in research. The panel involved John Stubbs (community representative and Sydney Catalyst Scientific Advisory Committee member), John Fullagar (lead for the North Shore Prostate cancer Support Group), Rhiannon White (Project Officer in the Research Grants team at the Cancer Council NSW) and Jo Shaw (Research Program Manager and Research Fellow, PoCoG). Some of the key messages from the discussion included the importance of recognising the valuable and broad experience that community representatives can bring to research, not just as individuals with a personal experience with cancer, but as people with significant professional and life experience across an almost infinite range, and the value of doing so, including ensuring that research is relevant and relatable to those it seeks to help.  
Finally, the Symposium's second keynote speaker, Dr Thomas Cox, closed the day with a presentation about what he has learned so far in his career, including his journey to the Garvan Institute, where he has established a new lab as head of the Matrix and Metastasis Group. It is clear that Thomas has come a long way since his first foray into scientific research, measuring the length of weed roots as a high school student, and while his advice to listen to and persist with your instincts may not result in a Nature paper for everyone, we all agreed it was good advice none-the-less. Sydney Catalyst and the working group would like to extend a big thank you to both Thomas and Barbara for their presentations, as well as the time they committed to the entire day.