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09 Jul 2018

2018 Picchi Awards for Excellence in Cancer Research announced

  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
  • Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre
  • University of Melbourne

The next generation of cancer research has been given a boost with three VCCC PhD students receiving this year’s Picchi Awards for Excellence in Cancer Research at an award ceremony on 9 July.

The award recipients received $10,000 each to help them learn, build networks and begin to contribute on the world stage, by attending an international scientific meeting.

The awards, sponsored by the Picchi Brothers Foundation, recognise and support future leaders in cancer research within the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre alliance. Three outstanding PhD students are chosen from the categories of basic science, clinical science and population health.

The recipients’ research must address a pivotal area of cancer control with awardees being chosen based on the quality and potential impact of their research. The prizes are intended to provide recipients with the opportunity to travel internationally for conferences and/or collaborative work, and support their development towards research independence. During the presentation each of the recipients spoke about their aspirations and intended travel plans.

“It is the hope of the Foundation that the awards will inspire and encourage the next generation of leaders in cancer research,” said Mr Joseph Lukaitis, Chair of the Picchi Brothers Foundation.

"The award recipients are high performing students whose work has demonstrated their ability to produce high impact results and their potential as future leaders and thinkers in their fields,” commented Professor Mark Rosenthal.

The 2018 award recipients are:

  • Basic Science: Ms Simone Park, University of Melbourne - Doherty Institute
    The role of tissue-resident memory T cells in melanoma immune surveillance
  • Clinical Science: Dr Jonathan Hiller, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
    Exploring perioperative adjunctive therapies that can be utilised during cancer surgery to improve cancer outcomes
  • Population Health: Dr Shuai Li, University of Melbourne
    DNA methylation and breast cancer risk factors: insights from twin and family studies

A further feature of this year's ceremony was the contribution of former Picchi Award winners Dr Aung Ko Win, Dr Lorey Smith and Dr Anna Boltong who reflected on the value of the Picchi and its potential career impact.

Male and female Picchi 2018 Award recipients standing together

Left to right: Professor Mark Rosenthal, Ms Simone Park, Dr Shuai Li and Mr Joseph Lukaitis.

Learn more about the Picchi Awards for Excellence in Cancer Research by viewing a short video.