2023 Fellowship successful applicants

Future proofing childhood cancer research by attracting and retaining scientists in the field.

With an investment of over $7.9 million, The Kids’ Cancer Project is ensuring that some of the best and brightest young researchers in Australia can further their careers and most importantly, their impact on childhood cancer research.

Our first round saw over 160 applications from some of the most prestigious research institutions in the country. The successful applicants for the ten fellowships and four PhD scholarship top-ups, which were named after the charity’s founder, Col Reynolds OAM, are introduced below.

CEO of The Kids’ Cancer Project, Owen Finegan, says that focusing funding on Australia’s next generation of scientists from the early stages of their careers is crucial to expanding our knowledge across all childhood cancers and reaching a day when 100% of kids with cancer survive and thrive after treatment. He says:

“The aim of The Kids’ Cancer Project is to ensure extraordinary Australian scientists with great ideas are supported. For instance, our charity’s early funding of innovative programs like Zero Childhood Cancer helped support the discovery of groundbreaking achievements such as personalised medicine.

“The Col Reynolds Fellowships recognise that innovation is the only way a future cure will be found. We are proud to help power the pipeline of pioneering scientists who will be able to build on what has already been achieved. All of the individuals who are the inaugural recipients are exceptional and deserve to be congratulated on what they have already achieved.”

For the first round of the Col Reynolds Fellowships, The Kids' Cancer Project has committed $4.581 million  - helping to help support a pipeline of 14 researchers including PhD students, early and mid-career researchers, and young clinicians. The remaining $3.3 million will be invested in mid 2024.

Meet the 2023 Fellowship successful applicants

Dr Aaminah Khan

Dr Aaminah Khan is an early-career researcher at the Children's Cancer Institute in the brain tumour group and a conjoint associate lecturer at the University of New South Wales. She earned her doctorate in January 2021, becoming the first to receive a research PhD in Australia with a focus on diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). Her research revolves around developing novel therapeutic strategies for paediatric brain tumours, leveraging metabolic and epigenetic inhibitors. With a strong background in drug testing using patient-derived brain cancer cell lines and orthotopic animal models, she is devoted to translational research, bridging the gap between the lab and clinical trials.

Dr David Mizrahi

Dr David Mizrahi is a Research Fellow at The Daffodil Centre, The University of Sydney, a joint venture with the Cancer Council NSW. David, who received his PhD from the University of NSW, is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. His research focuses on exercise during and after treatment for both childhood and adult cancers. In 2022, David an Australian-American Fulbright Fellow spent a year in the USA at St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. David has collaborations across Australia, North America, and Europe, and is Chair of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia’s Exercise and Cancer Committee, as well as being the Co-Chair of the Little Big Steps Exercise Medicine Advisory Committee.

Dr Karin Plummer

Dr Karin Plummer holds a joint appointment at Griffith University and the Children’s Hospital Queensland Department of Anaesthesia and Pain. Karin focuses on reducing pain and distress during medical treatments for children with cancer and improving psychological health outcomes related to pain. Her significant research contributions to clinical care have been recognised in Australian clinical practice guidelines and international conferences, and she led the co-design of a national online learning package for oncology health professionals to improve pain management during medical procedures for children with cancer. Karin’s dedication has seen her be nominated as Chair-elect of the Australian Pain Society’s paediatric pain special interest group.

Dr Kenny Ip

Dr Kenny (Chi Kin) Ip is a molecular neuroscientist and senior research officer at the Children’s Cancer Institute who has extensive expertise in neurophysiology and functional genetics. During his PhD, he was trained by the world-renowned embryologist Professor Patrick Tam (FRS) at CMRI to decipher the complex genetic programs that are critical for brain development. Dr Ip then led research programs at the Garvan Institute to characterise complex brain circuits that actively control metabolic perturbation. Within seven years, he has generated over 20 publications, and many of them were published in high-tier journals like Cell Metabolism, Neuron, eLife, and Development.

Dr Katherine Pillman

Dr Katherine Pillman is a passionate computational biologist. Beginning her career as a molecular biologist, she has always been fascinated by how genes can control how cells work, grow and behave. The major focus of Dr Pillman’s current research at the Centre for Cancer Biology is neuroblastoma, a devastating cancer that affects very young children. Her group uses ‘bioinformatics’ which involves using mathematical modelling and high-performance computing to dissect, visualise and make sense of big data from cutting-edge sequencing technology. She seeks to uncover how genes control the properties of neuroblastoma tumours, including differences in cancer subtypes and responses to treatments.

Dr Teresa Sadras

Dr Teresa Sadras is a molecular biologist with more than ten years of experience in the signalling networks that are deregulated in blood cancers. She received her PhD in 2014 from the University of Adelaide, followed by two post-doctoral pieces of training at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and the Beckman Research Institute in Los Angeles. While in the USA, Dr Sadras was awarded a Lymphoma Research Foundation Fellowship for her research in B-cell leukaemias. Dr Sadras is currently a senior research officer at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and holds a Gilead Research Scholar Award in Haematological malignancies.

Dr Noa Lamm-Shalem

Dr Noa Lamm-Shalem is Head of the Nuclear Dynamics Group at the Children’s Medical Research Institute and a lecturer at the University of Sydney. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. There, she pursued both a Master’s and PhD in the Genetics Department. During her PhD she studied dyskeratosis congenita, a rare genetic disorder characterised by severe bone marrow failure and increased cancer risk, and identified new disease relating mutations and revealed a novel disease-causing mechanism. Her research investigates the impact of DNA replication stress on genome integrity and its implications for cancer development.

Dr Rachael Lawson

Clinical Fellowships
Dr Rachael Lawson is a researcher at the forefront of the field of precision medicine and a passionate clinician working with Children's Health Queensland. With a passion for unravelling the complexities of optimising and individualising drug dosing, their innovative work has left a profound impact on the field. Armed with a PhD from the University of Queensland, they are increasingly contributing to scientific literature within the field of precision medicine and stem cell transplantation. They have delved into optimising drug dosing of both busulfan for stem cell transplantation and supportive care medicines.

Dr Marion Mateos

Clinical Fellowships
Dr Marion Mateos is an early career clinician-researcher and paediatric oncologist, with appointments at Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick and the University of New South Wales. Dr Mateos’ clinical practice specifically focuses on the treatment of childhood brain tumours and leukaemia. Her research is aimed at improving outcomes in childhood cancer, clinical trial development for high-risk childhood cancer, biomarker development and application of liquid biopsy in collaboration with colleagues at Children’s Cancer Institute, as well as research aimed at reducing treatment-related toxicities.

Dr Joseph Yuan-Mou Yang

Clinical Fellowships
Dr Joseph Yang is the lead clinical scientist of a translational neuroimaging program embedded in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. Dr Yang’s research focuses on developing and implementing advanced neuroimaging techniques to help diagnostics and surgical treatment capacities for children with brain tumours and other surgically amendable neurological conditions. He has a background in neurosurgery and completed a PhD investigating the use of advanced brain nerve fibre tract imaging (tractography) in paediatric epilepsy surgery. He also holds honorary positions at the co-located Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and Melbourne University.

Philipp Graber

PhD Scholarships
Philipp Graber is currently pursuing a PhD at the Children's Cancer Institute focusing on the study of paediatric high-grade gliomas, an aggressive type of childhood brain cancer, using 3D bioprinting technologies. He earned a Master of Drug Sciences degree from the University of Basel, Switzerland, specialising in viral cancer therapy. Before embarking on a PhD, he expanded his knowledge in bioinformatics at the University of Bern and the Swiss Bioinformatics Institute. An International Postgraduate Award from the University of New South Wales enabled his relocation to Australia, to dedicate himself to childhood cancer research at the Children’s Cancer Institute.

Jacqueline Hunter

PhD Scholarships
Jacqueline Hunter is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne's Psychosocial Health and Wellbeing Research (emPoWeR) Unit and a research officer at the University of New South Wales Behavioural Sciences Unit. Her focus lies in psychosocial research specifically related to genetic cancer predisposition and the use of whole genome sequencing technologies in childhood cancer. With a Bachelor’s in Biomedicine and a Master’s in Genomics and Health from the University of Melbourne, Jacqueline is dedicated to advancing cancer care, considering ethical implications and patient experiences.

Megumi Hui Ai (Meg) Lim

PhD Scholarships
Meg Lim is an aspiring cancer health economist, with a clinical background in radiation therapy. Whilst undertaking a Master of Business Administration degree and simultaneously working as a radiation therapist, Meg discovered her passion for health economics. This then led her to pursue a Master of Public Health degree to begin her journey towards an invaluable niche as a health economist, specifically relating to cancer. Meg’s current PhD research, now being funded in part by a Col Reynolds Fellowship from The Kids’ Cancer Project, explores the financial impacts of childhood cancer on families.

Dr Hannah Walker

PhD Scholarships
Dr Hannah Walker completed her training as a paediatric oncologist at The Royal Children’s Hospital in 2023. Dr Walker's current research focuses on improving our understanding of pulmonary complications that occur post-hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). Currently completing a Clinical Apheresis Fellowship at The Royal Children's Hospital, she is undertaking her PhD through the University of Melbourne, The Royal Children’s Hospital, and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Dr Walker is a member of the Young Investigator Group within The International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP).

From 2023 to 2030 The Kids' Cancer Project will fund 25 fellowships and PhD scholarship top-ups

Below are the first round of Col Reynolds Fellowships to be funded in 2023:

3x Early career scientists 

$170,000 each p.a. for three years

4x Mid career researchers

$206,000 each p.a. for three years

2x Clinical fellowships - medical

$92,000 each p.a. for three years

1x Clinical fellowships - allied health & nurses

$68,000 each p.a. for three years

4x PhD scholarships*

$10,000 each p.a. for four years

* Applications for PhD scholarship top-ups do not require an EOI. Applications for PhD students will open on 20 April 2023.

The vision of this investment is to ensure every child with cancer survives to live a long and healthy life free from any side-effects.

Investment in the Col Reynolds Fellowships aims to future proof childhood cancer research by investing in the next generation of researchers and retaining the brilliantly talented scientists already making great strides in the field of childhood cancer research.

We're only able to commit $7.9 million to the Col Reynolds Fellowships thanks to the generous support of people like you.

Your support is essential to making the Col Reynolds Fellowships possible

The generosity of people like you is helping to support the lifesaving work and careers of talented researchers. By making a donation today, you could help provide further funding for future scholarships, meaning more researchers have the vital support and resources they need to carry out lifesaving kids' cancer research. Thank you.

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