This week our higher degree students presented their research at the 5th annual UNSW Paediatric Research Week.

UNSW Paediatric Research Week was held on 13-17 November at the new Bright Alliance building in Randwick. It is hosted each year by the UNSW School of Women’s and Children’s Health with the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network and Children’s Cancer Institute.

UNSW Paediatric Research Week program

The week was marked with a full program of student talks, an information session on clinical and research ethics, and an evening lecture by Children’s Cancer Institute Board member The Hon Jillian Skinner.

Our PhD students did their supervisors and mentors proud. Their preparation and planning was evident in the quality of presentations and their knowledge of their chosen field.

“These are the next generation and they really stepped up”

Careers and Strategy Manager Dr Amanda Philp supported the students as they took on some of the responsibilities for organising the event.

“This was a great opportunity to develop the kind of skills that will help them as they develop into our future research leaders. These are the next generation and they really stepped up.

“The students did a fantastic job” she said.

Award winners

To top it off, our students took out the Higher Degree Research (HDR) People’s Choice Award (Aaminah Khan), Best Presentation Award (Kim Hanssen) and Independent Learning Project (ILP) student People’s Choice Award (Jessie Goldberg).

Kim is a first-year PhD student in our Experimental Therapeutics Program researching the modulation of Multidrug Resistance Protein 1 (MRP1) as a cancer therapeutic strategy.

Head of UNSW School of Women’s & Children’s Health, Prof Adam Jaffe presents Kim Hanssen with her award for best presentation.
Head of UNSW School of Women’s & Children’s Health, Prof Adam Jaffe presents Kim Hanssen with her award for best presentation.

Kim’s project is part of our broader work on MRP1. The Institute’s translational research was recently boosted by a grant to develop several chemical inhibitors of the MRP1 protein into drugs that could stop cancer cells, like those of childhood cancer neuroblastoma, ejecting chemotherapy drugs.

Aaminah Khan is a PhD student from our Targeted Therapy team. Her work is exploring how to target the synthesis and transport of polyamines, essential nutrients for cancer cell proliferation. The results will help in the search for future treatments for brain tumours driven by the MYC oncogene, which is associated with many adult and child cancers.

PhD student Aaminah Kahn speaking
PhD student Aaminah Kahn speaking

Aaminah and Jessie’s work is part of a multi-pronged approach to beat brain cancer. Brain cancer survival rates have not improved in decades. Recently the government announced the $100M Australian Brain Cancer Mission which is seeking to change this. Our research and the Zero Childhood Cancer personalised medicine program is seeking to make significant inroads in boosting childhood brain cancer survival, as was done for childhood leukaemia in decades past.

PhD students add great value to the work we do towards one day curing childhood cancer. And we are strongly committed to fostering their development with top facilities, mentoring and training, student retreats and conference opportunities. Find out how to study with us.

Top image: PhD student Helen Forgham in our labs. Helen is researching nanoparticles for brain cancer.

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