In Focus: La Trobe University

In Focus: La Trobe University Learn more about the institutes we support through our In Focus series.

La Trobe has been one of Australia's pioneering higher education institutions since 1967 when it was the third university to open in Victoria with 552 students enrolled.

It has now grown to accommodate more than 36,000 students across its seven campuses in Melbourne and regional Victoria. La Trobe conducts world-leading research across wide-ranging disciplines including molecular science, biotechnology and nanotechnology, housed within the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science.
Recent technologies have revolutionised understanding of the molecular basis of disease and, with this understanding, La Trobe researchers are developing more tailored diagnostics and treatments.
Scientists at La Trobe are in a strong position to contribute significantly to this move to personalised medicine. Researchers are developing better diagnostic tools for diseases such as cancer, dementia, cardiovascular disease and diabetes – to gain more insight into developing more targeted and effective treatments.
La Trobe researchers are also conducting research into developing therapies and treatments to reduce side effects and optimise therapeutic benefits and quality of life. This research looks for ways to develop personalised nutrition and lifestyle strategies to both prevent disease and ensure the best treatment of chronic disease.
Research outcomes are ultimately delivering health benefits to communities on a national and global scale. 

Meet the scientist we've funded at La Trobe University

Dr Christine Hawkins
Associate Professor Hawkins completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne, graduating with Honours in Genetics in 1991. Her PhD, at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, and subsequent postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology, focussed on defining molecular pathways that regulate cellular survival and death.

Associate Professor Hawkins returned to Australia in 1999, working initially at the Royal Children’s Hospital and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, then moving to La Trobe University in 2006. Her group investigates the molecular mechanisms that control cell death, with the goal of exploiting this knowledge to improve the efficacy and safety of anti-cancer therapies. Research in the Hawkins laboratory focusses on cancers that afflict children and young adults, such as osteosarcoma, a cancer that arises in patients’ bones and can spread to their lungs.
Read more: Exploring better and safer treatments for osteosarcoma.
Associate Professor Hawkins and her group have identified candidate new therapies that will hopefully improve cure rates for osteosarcoma patients. Her team is also exploring strategies to spare cured patients the risk of developing “therapy-related” cancers, which can be triggered by intensive chemotherapy or radiotherapy. 
Donate to research and help find more effective treatments for kids with cancer.