Dr Angelica Merlot, an NHMRC, CINSW and Scientia Research Fellow in our Tumour Biology and Targeting Program, has been named 2019 NSW Young Woman of the Year.

The NSW Women of the Year Awards is a NSW government program that recognises and celebrates the outstanding contribution made by women across NSW to industry, communities, and society.

At a ceremony in Sydney on the eve of International Women’s Day, Thursday 7 March, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Women Tanya Davies ​presented Dr Merlot and six other outstanding women with awards across seven categories.

The Harvey Norman Young Woman of the Year award celebrates women aged 18 to 30 who have excelled in their career or made a significant contribution to their community.

Dr Merlot, who in 2018 was named Australia’s youngest ever recipient of a National Health and Medical Research Council Grant, received the award for her research into treatments for pancreatic and brain cancer.

“This award will continue to raise the profile of the world’s deadliest cancers and acknowledges the work researchers do behind the scenes.”

Dr Merlot (second from left) with Premier Gladys Berejiklian (centre) at the awards ceremony
Dr Merlot (second from left) with Premier Gladys Berejiklian (centre) at the awards ceremony

“I am still in shock and it is so wonderful to be acknowledged for work in this field. This award will continue to raise the profile of the world’s deadliest cancers and acknowledges the work researchers do behind the scenes,” Dr Merlot said.

“I hope to be able to encourage more women to study science and medicine and pursue careers in research.”

Dr Merlot is a passionate cancer researcher who has dedicated her entire career to this field. She completed her B.Med.Sci. (Hons I) Degree in 2009 at the University of Sydney, followed by a PhD (Pathology, Medicine, University of Sydney, 2010-13) that focused on the development of novel targets and anti-cancer drugs that overcome drug resistance and selectively target tumour cells.

This research contributed to a multi-centre clinical trial, treating patients with advanced tumours in Australia.

Last year Dr Merlot received a prestigious UNSW Scientia Fellowship, and joined Children’s Cancer Institute in May 2018.

Her current research aims to better understand how cancer cells adapt to their environment, to find out why cancer drugs become less effective, and to develop nanoparticles to improve drug delivery to tumours.

Dr Merlot in the lab
Dr Merlot in the lab

“I joined the Tumour Biology and Targeting Program at Children’s Cancer Institute to work with Professor Maria Kavallaris, for her expertise in tumour biology and nanomedicine, and because I knew she would be a fantastic mentor,” she said.

“She is truly an exceptional scientist, not only due to the excellent standard of her research, but also the collaborative and supportive environment that she creates.”

cropped_Angelica_M_holding_ award


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