In Focus: Telethon Kids Institute

In Focus: Telethon Kids Institute Learn more about the institutes we support through our In Focus series.

Based in Perth, Western Australia, the Telethon Kids Institute team of almost 600 dedicated researchers and support staff are passionate about discovering causes, cures and treatments for the illnesses and diseases that target children and young people.  

With top scientific minds and facilities, a reputation for being at the forefront of global child health research and a track record to prove it, Telethon Kids is world-class.
Telethon Kids create and facilitate connections with researchers, clinicians and practitioners, service providers, our partners and the community, to maximise the potential in what they do to deliver tangible benefits to kids and families.
The goal of the Telethon Kids is to build on success and create a research institute that makes a real difference in our community, which will benefit children and families everywhere. 

Meet the scientists we've funded at Telethon Kids Institute

Dr Nick Gottardo
Dr Nick Gottardo is Co-Head of the Institute's Brain Tumour Research Team and a Consultant Paediatric Oncologist/Neuro-Oncologist and Head of Department of Paediatric Oncology and Haematology at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children. Dr Gottardo is also an Adjunct Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Western Australia and a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP).
Dr Gottardo is driven by his belief that it's unacceptable for children to die from brain tumours. His research interests include developing laboratory models of brain tumours, testing new therapies using these models and identifying areas of weaknesses in the tumours that might be suitable drug targets.
Dr Gottardo's medical career began at Leeds University with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery/Chirurgery. He worked for two and a half years as a doctor in the UK, before heading to Australia in 1996, where he took up a position at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children and began a PhD at Telethon Kids. After completing his PhD, Dr Gottardo headed to St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, USA, one of the world's premier childhood cancer institutes. He spent three years at St Jude as a post-doctoral brain tumour fellow and gained extensive experience in the laboratory in brain tumour model generation, preclinical testing and brain cancer cell biology, as well as expertise in the management of children with brain tumours in the clinic. In 2008 he received the International Symposium Paediatric Neuro-Oncology (ISPNO) Young Investigator award for scientific excellence. Dr Gottardo returned to Perth Australia in 2008 as a Consultant Paediatric Oncologist/Neuro-Oncologist and established the Brain Tumour Research Programme at the Telethon Kids Institute. 
Read more: Using targeted chemotherapies to reduce intensity of radiotherapy in medulloblastoma.

Dr Raelene Endersby
Raelene was awarded her PhD in 2003 from the Harry Perkins Institute for Medical Research (under the supervision of Peter Klinken), and undertook postdoctoral training with Suzanne Baker in the Neurobiology and Brain Tumor Program at St Jude Children's Research Hospital, USA. She was awarded a Fellowship in 2011 to return to Australia and join the Telethon Kids Institute, where she co-leads the Brain Tumour Research team with Nick Gottardo. This translation-focused group consists of clinicians, neurosurgeons and laboratory scientists collaborating to understand the effects of brain tumour-associated mutations on normal brain development and tumorigenesis. Her team has also developed a therapeutics evaluation pipeline to identify and optimise new brain cancer treatments using multiple in vivo model systems ahead of clinical implementation.
Raelene is a member of the Telethon Kids Institute Leadership Team, which is highest level executive committee in the Institute responsible for overall management and strategic direction. Raelene is a passionate advocate for science and actively mentors high school students, undergrads, Honours, Masters and PhD students in her lab, as well as clinical oncology fellows. She provides international influence in the field as a member of the Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology/Oncology Group CNS Tumours subcommittee, former state representative for the Australian and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology, and was a founding member of the Australian Academy of Science Early-Mid Career Researchers Forum.  


Read more: Improving chemotherapy regimens for medulloblastoma.
Dr Rishi Kotecha
Rishi undertook his undergraduate medical training at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom before moving in 2003 to Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, where he undertook his postgraduate clinical training. Dr Kotecha is a Member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (MRCPCH) and a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP). Rishi completed specialist training in child and adolescent haematology and oncology and was appointed a Consultant in Paediatric Haematology/Oncology in 2012. Dr Kotecha is an integral member of the Children’s Oncology Group and the international BFM study group, which are responsible for the design and implementation of clinical trials for children with leukaemia worldwide. He also provides representation at a national level within the Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology/Oncology Group Leukaemia and Lymphoma subcommittee.
Rishi’s PhD entitled “Rare Childhood Tumours: Clinical Challenges and Genetic Alterations” was awarded by the University of Western Australia and comprised of preclinical laboratory work conducted at the Telethon Kids Institute and clinical research performed at Princess Margaret Hospital. Dr. Kotecha is currently Co-Head of the Institute’s Leukaemia and Cancer Genetics Research Team. He has a passion for translational research, with the focus of his preclinical research program directed towards improving the outcomes of children with high risk leukaemia.  


Read more: Combinational therapeutics in high-risk infant acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
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