Six scientists from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute have been elected Fellows of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.
Professors Frank Gannon, Geoff Hill, Rajiv Khanna, Mark Smyth, Nick Martin and Adele Green were inducted into the Academy at a ceremony in Canberra.
QIMR Berghofer Director and CEO, Professor Gannon, said election to the Fellowship was an honour for scientists and recognition of the enormous respect for the Institute’s work.
“Those considered for election have to demonstrate distinguished achievement in health or medicine,” Professor Gannon said.
“They must also meet criteria including recognition by their national and international peers for excellence in medical health and science.”
Professor Gannon’s research into the regulation of gene expression by the oestrogen receptor has provided leads for new treatments for breast, endometrial and other cancers.
Professor Gannon has served on a range of high-level scientific advisory boards at institutes throughout the world.
Haemotologist Professor Geoff Hill heads QIMR Berghofer’s Bone Marrow Transplantation Laboratory working towards new treatments to improve patient outcomes.
Professor Hill led clinical trials which are changing treatment for patients with blood cancers such as leukaemia by reducing the incidence of acute graft versus host disease, a potentially fatal complication of transplants.
A tumour immunologist, Professor Rajiv Khanna has developed a technique to fight virus-associated cancers.
It has been successful in Phase I trials against the brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
The treatment involves modifying a patient’s T-cells in the laboratory, effectively “training” them to attack the virus, and then returning them to the patient’s body.
Tumour immunologist Professor Mark Smyth has determined that a protein found on the surface of immune cells inhibits their ability to attack cancer cells.
His latest project will develop and screen a series of antibodies to select the best candidate for a clinical trial for a treatment which could potentially be used to treat advanced metastatic disease.
Professor Nick Martin is a leading behavioural geneticist and is well-known for large-scale longitudinal studies carried out using the Q-Twin and Australian Twin Registers.
World-renowned QIMR Berghofer skin cancer expert Professor Adele Green, AC, adds the Fellowship to an already impressive list of accolades.
Professor Green leads the Cancer and Population Studies Group at the Institute and has been at the frontline of skin cancer and melanoma research for more than 20 years.
The Academy was established in June 2014, with the election of 15 initial Fellows and Council members.
The six scientists from QIMR Berghofer were among a further 116 Fellows representing a range of disciplines in health and medical research inducted in this year’s election.