Melbourne researcher wins $1 million and joins research elite
Wednesday October 27, 2010
A Melbourne researcher has beaten 40 outstanding Australian researchers to win $1 million in funding to continue his biomedical research in Australia.
Dr Mark Shackleton, a medical oncologist and the head of the Melanoma Research Laboratory at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, received the prestigious 2011 Pfizer Australia Research Fellowship at the AusBiotech 2010 Conference Awards in Melbourne recently.
The award recognises Dr Shackleton's research proposal 'Identifying determinants of human melanoma progression' and was announced by Professor John Funder, chair of the independent selection committee.
Dr Shackleton's project aims to help researchers improve their understanding of the mechanisms through which melanomas progress in patients, with a view to identifying new and more effective therapies against the disease.
"The relevance of this work for both the medical community and the wider community is significant. By studying clonal evolution and by developing more clinically relevant models of disease progression, we expect to be able to identify new biomarkers of disease and identify new and improved therapies for the treatment of melanoma," said Dr Shackleton.
Since the Pfizer Australia Research Fellowship program was established in 2003, Pfizer Australia has allocated more than $16 million in funding to 16 Australian scientists including Dr Shackleton.
Pfizer Australia Research Fellowships aim to encourage emerging leaders in biomedical research to establish a career in Australia, fostering the continued development of Australia as a source of world-class scientific innovation and ideas.
Pfizer Australia's Director of Asia R&D Business Development, Dr Daniel Grant, said the Fellowships support the development of the Australian scientific community and innovative research projects.
"Continued investment in this valuable resource is essential to the future progress of Australian research," Dr Grant said.
"Melanoma is a major health problem around the world and not just in Australia, and Dr Shackleton's work is providing insights into the progression of the disease and will hopefully provide new approaches to its prevention.
"The Pfizer Australia Research Fellowship invests in Australian science by providing grants to outstanding young biomedical scientists such as Dr Shackleton so they may commit to a research career locally.
"The Fellowship will enable Dr Shackleton to continue his research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, by providing a five-year grant of AU $1million, which covers salary, travel and other establishment costs.
"Dr Shackleton is the second Pfizer Australia Research Fellow to work at the Peter MacCallum after Dr. Ricky Johnstone who won an award in 2005."
"I'm also pleased to report that every Pfizer Australia Research Fellows with one notable exception are working in Australia. The exception is Dr Rodney Rietze, who was awarded his Fellowship while working at University of Queensland.
"Dr Rietze has joined Pfizer's Neural Stem Cell Research Laboratory in Cambridge in the UK," said Dr Grant.
Winners are selected by an independent panel of eminent Australian medical researchers led by Professor Funder. The selection panel also includes 2003 Fellow, Dr Sally Dunwoodie, an Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales, and Laboratory Head at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.