Victoria’s most outstanding mid-career cancer researchers announced

Winners of the 2020 MPCCC Award for Outstanding Cancer Research: A/Prof Renea Taylor and Dr Pouya Faridi

Three Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) researchers have been recognised in the Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium’s (MPCCC) inaugural State-wide search for Outstanding Cancer Research.  Congratulations to Associate Professor Renea Taylor and Dr Pouya Faridi on winning the award, and to Dr Rebekah Engel on receiving an honourable mention.

This highly prestigious award set out to identify and reward cancer research excellence in Victoria and encourage future research leadership.

For the first time in MPCCC’s history of awards recognising and supporting cancer researchers, the MPCCC opened this opportunity to all Victorian mid-career researchers.

Candidates were nominated by their colleagues, based on a recent impactful publication, and its contribution to advancing our understanding of cancer. Research leadership was also an important factor considered by the National review panel.

“Victoria demonstrates great strengths in mid-career researchers providing great optimism for the quality of future research and research leadership in this state” said Professor Melissa Southey, Chair of the MPCCC Executive.

The winners of the MPCCC Award for Outstanding Cancer Research will present their research at a seminar on Friday 13 November 1-2pm. Register now to attend this webinar.

Award for Outstanding Cancer Research – 2020 prize winners

The MPCCC would like to congratulate the two award winners who have each received $5000.

Associate Professor Renea Taylor, Deputy Head, Biomedicine Discovery Institute Cancer Program, Monash University

Associate Professor Taylor discovered that unlike most other cancers which rely on glucose to fuel growth, human prostate cancer is reliant on fats to grow. Her research also showed that prostate cancer growth can be reduced by up to 50%, by blocking the uptake of these fats into prostate tumours, either by genetic approaches in mice or using an antibody that blocks the action of a protein, termed CD36, that transports fatty acids into tumours.

Read the publication in Science Translational Medicine.

Dr Pouya Faridi, Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University

Dr Faridi’s (Purcell Lab) research has made two new ground-breaking observations in melanoma; firstly that spliced peptide antigens are shared between different tumours from individuals expressing the same HLA allomorphs and secondly that they are as frequently immunogenic as more conventional cancer associated antigens or mutation bearing neoantigens. These observations have had immediate clinical application via a vaccine clinical trial at the University of Pennsylvania.

Read the publication in Cancer Immunology Research.

Award for Outstanding Cancer Research – Honourable Mentions

The MPCCC also acknowledged highly ranked candidates with an honourable mention.

Dr Rebekah Engel, Cabrini Monash Department of Surgery and Epithelial Regeneration Laboratory, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University

Dr Engel (Abud Lab, Monash Organoid Program) investigated the role of a newly defined population of stem cells, “revival” stem cells, in colorectal cancer and more specifically, how this influences chemoresistance.

Read the publication in Journal of Clinical Medicine.

Congratulations also to Dr Sarah Best, WEHI and Dr Jessica Holien, RMIT, who were also recognised with an honourable mention.

This story was originally published on MPCCC’s website. Read the original article.

Register to attend the Winners’ Seminar on November 13 at 1pm.