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Cancer Research Institute News


August 2019

UniSA nano scientists stop superbugs in their tracks

A team of researchers led by the University of South Australia has discovered a way to find and beat superbugs, providing a critical breakthrough against many deadly infectious diseases.

Professor Clive Prestidge, from UniSA's School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences and the Cancer Research Institute, says the technology shows promise in successfully treating golden staph infections which kill around 700,000 people globally each year, including 260 Australians.

10th International Nanomedicine Conference:

The annual International Nanomedicine Conference is regarded as the most significant nanomedicine meeting in the Southern Hemisphere. This event attracts approx. 250 registrants with representation from academia, medical research institutes and biotech companies. More than half of the delegates are from interstate and international organisations.
Congratulations to:

  • Ms Chelsea Thorn ACS Sensors 3MT Poster Presentation Prize
  • Ms Santhni Subramaniam ACS Applied Nano Materials 3MT Poster Presentation Prize

July 2019

Finalists in the SA Science Excellence Awards

Congratulations to the Finalists in the SA Science Excellence Awards including PhD Research Excellence: Dr Tahnee Dening from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences and the Cancer Research Institute
Winners will be announced at the Gala Dinner of the 9th of August.

Study indicates causal link between obesity and multiple diseases

Research led by Professor Elina Hyppönen, Director of Australian Centre for Precision Health, Cancer Research Institute, has been published in Lancet Digital Health. The study draws data from the UK Biobank – a research database holding health and genetic information from half a million volunteers – to analyse associations between body mass index (BMI) and a range of disease outcomes. See the publication here.

High on iron? It stops anaemia but has a downside

A global study led by Dr Beben Benyamin from the Australian Centre for Precision Health, Cancer Research Institute with Dr Dipender Gill and Dr Ioanna Tzoulaki from Imperial College London looked at the role that iron plays in 900 diseases. Research has uncovered the impact of both low and high iron levels – and the news is mixed. The full story can be read here.

June 2019

GSK Fast Track Challenge

Professor Tom Gonda from the Cancer Research Institute and Professor Richard D’Andrea from CCB have been announced as the winners of the GSK Fast Track Challenge. The UniSA researchers, together with GSK scientists, test GSK compound libraries against a target protein that plays a role in a number of different cancers. It has been shown to be critical in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and the researchers believe the discovery of a molecule, that could block the function of this protein, could ultimately lead to new therapies.

Philanthropic funding support

Advancement Services together with UniSA CRI have been successful in attracting private funding to support melanoma research. The family who have a personal interest in melanoma research were recently hosted at UniSA CRI and researchers presented a number of research projects to the family members who agreed to fund 3 projects.

PhD Awards

  • PhD candidate Chelsea Thorn from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences and Cancer Research Institute is the 2019:
    • Maurice de Rohan International Scholarship recipient. The grant of $17,500 which is for the purpose of undertaking research, data collection or work with institutional or industry partners in the United Kingdom or United States of America. Chelsea intends to internship at the University of Nottingham and the UK Biofilm Centre
    • recipient of the Gould Experimental Science Grant Encouragement Award
    • and the BUPA Health Research Grant recipient
  • PhD candidate Jack Janetzki from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences and Cancer Research Institute is the 2019 recipient of the highly prestigious and competitive Gould Experimental Science Grant
  • PhD candidate Hayley Schultz from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences and Cancer Research Institute is the BPW Adelaide Heather Southcott Memorial Grant recipient.
  • PhD candidate Ellie Davies, School of Nursing and Midwifery, was awarded a 2019 BUPA Health Research Grant to further her research

Tour de Cure

A team of 13 UniSA researchers and staff including from the Cancer Research Institute, Centre for Cancer Biology and Advancement Services completed the recent Tour de Cure SA Discovery Tour. A total of 80 riders rode some stunning terrain around Kangaroo Island and Fleurieu Peninsula and raised over $300,000 for cancer research, with the funds supporting UniSA and the Flinders Foundation.

May 2019

Endeavour Leadership Awards

Leah Wright and Chelsea Thorn from the Nanostructure and Drug Delivery Group (Prof Clive Prestidge), Centre for Cancer Diagnostics and Therapeutics, Cancer Research Institute, the have been successful in securing Endeavour Leadership Awards for 6 months and 12 months of overseas research, respectively. Leah will travel to Uppsala University in Sweden to work with Professor Christel Bergström utilising their state-of-the-art synthetic gastrointestinal permeability models to analyse protein and nanoparticle transport. Chelsea will travel to the Hemholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland in Germany to work with Professor Claus-Michael Lehr to learn highly sophisticated, bacteria-infected organoid models that will access the pre-clinical efficacy and tolerability of her bacterial-targeting formulations. Both PhD students are eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to experience research in different countries, all of which will uniquely benefit their PhD and future careers as scientists.

April 2019

UniSA proudly delivering world class research with real impact

The 2018 Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) results assessed UniSA across 39 detailed fields of research and rated all at or above world standard.

Research Australia Highly Commended Award

Professor Bill Runciman, Australian Centre for Precision Health,  Cancer Research Institute, was recently invited to attend the Research Australia award night, where he received Highly Commended in the Health Services Research Award. The Award is for an individual who has provided leadership and made an outstanding contribution to health services research; has driven research that had led to a significant improvement in healthcare; and/or has championed the development of health services research field. View the video here.

Vice Chancellor and President’s Scholarships Success

Congratulations PhD candidate, Ramin Hassankhani Gharagozlou from the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, (supervised by Professor Shudong Wang), who was successful in obtaining prestigious Vice Chancellor and President’s Scholarships recently. The $10,000 awards support recipients whose research project exemplifies the objectives of the Transformed PhD (tPhD) and who can demonstrate how they would use the scholarship to further these objectives.
The Vice Chancellor and President’s Scholarships will provide funding towards gaining engagement or experience with industry, overseas or domestic trips for the purpose of collecting data or input from an end user on the research project, travel to conferences to present a refereed conference paper, or other activities identified in the candidate’s application and approved by the selection panel.
Well done Ramin on your success!


Channel Seven Children’s Research Foundation funding

Cancer Research Institute researchers have been awarded funding through the Channel Seven Children’s Research Foundation for 2019:

  • Associate Professor Kristin Carson-Chahhoud: Mixed Reality and Holographic technologies (iHealth) to deliver cognitive and behavioural therapy for treatment of anxiety among teenagers with asthma
  • Dr Yu-Wen Su, Injury site-derived proteoglycan glypican-3 suppresses growth plate cartilage bony repair and bone fracture healing
  • Dr Mingfeng Yu, Developing a new therapeutic for childhood acute myeloid leukaemia (ECR)

March 2019

New Director of the Cancer Research Institute, Professor Alan Boddy

Prof Alan Boddy

Following the departure of Professor Ian Olver AM, we welcome Professor Alan Boddy who has recently commenced his new role as Director of the Cancer Research Institute.  Alan will also retain his duties as Head of School, Pharmacy and Medical Sciences

February 2019

Farewell to the Cancer Research Institute's Inaugural Director, Professor Ian Olver AM

22 February 2019

Prof Ian Olver

We bid a sad farewell to Ian Olver who made the decision to leave the CRI to pursue other ventures. Ian's contribution to the University as intially the Director of the Sansom Institute for Health Research, followed as the Inaugural Director of CRI has been invaluable.

Ian Davey Research Thesis Prize 2019 - outstanding nominee

Congratulations goes to Dr Tahnee Dening from Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, and a member in the Centre for Cancer Diagnostics and Therapeutics, Cancer Research Institute,  whose thesis, entitled “Nanostructured clay materials for solidifying lipid-based drug delivery systems” was one of only four nominated for the 2019 Ian Davey Research Thesis Prize. Whilst not the overall winner, Tahnee’s thesis was recognised for its outstanding research and scholarly contribution. The Ian Davey Research Thesis Prize is awarded to the most outstanding research thesis leading to a Doctor of Philosophy in the preceding calendar year.

NHMRC Success: Funding announcement made

Researchers from the Cancer Research Institute have been awarded NHMRC Project Grant funding totalling $3million:

  • Prof Elina Hypponen: Identifying      pathways to dementia: a large-scale genetic study
  • Prof Alex Brown: Intervening      on social and health services practice to address social determinants of      Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing: The Northern Pathways Project

The national outcomes are now available from the NHMRC website here.

Appointment to the 2019 ARC College of Experts

Professor Eva Bezak has been offered an appointment to the 2019 ARC College of Experts (College).  The College is made up of experts of international standing, drawn from all corners of the Australian research community, including from higher education institutions, industry and public sector research organisations. College of Experts members are engaged by the ARC for appointments of one to three years, during which time they play a key role in identifying research excellence, moderating external assessments, and make funding recommendations under the ARC’s National Competitive Grants Program.

Outcomes of the 2018 Research Theme Investment Scheme (RTIS)

Seed Funding is designed to support the formation or development of research that spans across traditional disciplinary boundaries, and that builds collaborative partnerships. This year 7 of the funded projects were from the Cancer Research Institute (in total 95 application across the University were made). The full listing of the successful Development Scheme and Seed Funding projects are available on the RIS website here.  

ARC Funding Success

Dr Sang Hong Lee in the Cancer Research Institute was awarded an ARC Discovery Project for the project titled Whole-genome multivariate reaction norm model for complex traits.

Let's map our DNA and save billions each year in health costs

10 January 2019
Dr Vijay Suppiah, a senior lecturer in pharmacy at UniSA and a member in the Australian Centre for Precision Health,  Cancer Research Institute, says PGx testing – mapping a person’s genetic makeup – is the most effective way to ensure patients are prescribed drugs which suit their specific DNA profile.

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