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QIMR Berghofer scientist recognised for immunology research

The head of QIMR Berghofer’s Cancer Immunoregulation and Immunotherapy Research Group, Associate Professor Michele Teng, has been awarded a Jacques Miller Medal by the Australian Academy of Science (AAS).

The award recognises the contributions of mid-career researchers in experimental biomedicine.

It is named after Professor Jacques Miller AC FAA FRS, whose contributions include discovering the thymus and identifying, in mammals, the two major subsets of lymphocytes and their functions.

Associate Professor Teng’s research focuses on how tumour-induced immunosuppression impedes the effective treatment of established cancers. Her team is currently investigating the immune mechanisms underpinning the effectiveness of immunotherapy given before cancer surgery.

Associate Professor Teng said she was honoured to be recognised by the Academy.

“I am humbled to receive this award, which I would like to dedicate to all my current and previous staff and students in my laboratory,” she said.

“The hard work and sacrifices they have made over many years were undertaken with our shared vision to further improve outcomes for cancer patients.

“Over the last 10 years, immunotherapy has transformed cancer treatment, but we still have a lot to learn about the human immune system and its role in cancer.

“We are also still learning about how we can combine available immunotherapies with other treatment modalities to best treat different cancers.

“My team and I are pleased to be contributing to this field and we hope that in time, our research will make a real difference in improving patient survival rates.”

Associate Professor Teng’s award is one of 24 prestigious gongs announced by the AAS today.

Another Jacques Miller Medal has also been awarded to Professor Mark Dawson of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.  

“I would like to congratulate my co-recipient, Professor Mark Dawson, on his award,” Associate Professor Teng said.

“Professor Dawson is a pioneer in the field of the epigenetic drivers of cancer, and I’m honoured to be recognised alongside him.”

The President of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor John Shine, said the research of this year’s awardees was at the forefront of science, not only in Australia, but around the world.

“While many of these researchers are having direct impacts on our technology and everyday lives, others are pushing the boundaries of basic research – both of which are vital to the advancement of science,” Professor Shine said.

“The Academy is proud to honour such a diverse range of researchers this year, reflecting the people driving Australian science.”