Monash Dean of Medicine awarded 2015 Lemberg medal

Monash University's Professor Christina Mitchell, from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, has won the 2015 Lemberg Medal.

Professor Mitchell, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences and Academic Vice-President at Monash University, was announced as the winner today by the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB.)

The Lemberg medal is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated excellence in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and who has made significant contributions to the scientific community. The medal is presented in memory of Emeritus Professor M.R.Lemberg, who was the ASBMB's first President and Honorary Member. Professor Mitchell is a distinguished member of the ASBMB.

"I am very honoured to receive this award named after Professor Lemberg, who contributed so much to biochemistry," Professor Mitchell said.
Professor Mitchell's work for the last twenty years has focussed on characterising the function of unknown genes that regulate cell proliferation and growth and, when mutated or deleted, lead to human disease. Recently, her laboratory discovered that one of the 4-phosphatase family members, INPP4B, functions as a tumour suppressor in breast cancer, where its loss occurs most frequently in aggressive basal-like subtype breast cancer and may therefore represent a breast cancer prognostic marker.

Her team's most recent discovery, published in Cancer Cell, discovered an entirely new breast cancer gene, called proline-rich inositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatase, or PIPP. PIPP is responsible for triggering the disease and increasing the growth of the primary tumour as well as having a role in regulating metastasis, the main killer in most cases. This discovery paves the way for the development of therapies that target the early stages of breast cancer.

Professor Mitchell has received many accolades over the years for her work. Previous awards include the Monash Vice-Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Postgraduate Supervision and the Dean's Prize for Excellence in Research in the Medical Faculty at Monash University. In 2008, Professor. Mitchell was made a Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor, one of only five appointees in the last 20 years and the only female, and she was also a recipient of a Monash University 50th Anniversary Research Award in the same year. In 2013 Prof Mitchell was awarded an Honorary Degree in Medical Science from The University of Melbourne. In 2015, she was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women, which acknowledges and pays tribute to women from across Victoria who have succeeded through vision, leadership, commitment and hard work.

For more information about the 2015 Lemberg medal recipient, click here.