Training the Next Generation of Researchers

The Children’s Cancer Foundation is proud to support the next generation of research scientists, by co-funding the PhD Scholars Program with the Hudson Institute of Medical Research.

The program will equip three scholars over the next five years with the skills they need to tackle paediatric cancer through precision medicine.

The scholars will work closely with the Hudson-Monash Paediatric Precision Medicine Program (HMPPM program) team with the aim of directly improving medical outcomes for children with cancer.

“Cancer precision medicine is a growing area with tremendous potential to transform outcomes for cancer patients,” said Associate Professor Ron Firestein, Head of Hudson Institute’s Centre for Cancer Research and Chief Investigator on the HMPPM program.

“This multi-disciplinary area requires scientists who are able to communicate effectively with clinicians, yet who are well trained in the cutting edge molecular technologies necessary to advance this area.”

He said the PhD Scholars Program aims to “bridge this gap.”

The Foundation is delighted to welcome Claire Shi – a pharmacist from China – as the first PhD scholar.

“As a pharmacist, Claire has seen firsthand the ineffectiveness of current cancer treatments, which sparked her passion to conduct research in cancer precision medicine,” said A/Prof. Firestein.

A/Prof. Firestein said Claire met all their criteria – bright, motivated, curious, innovative thinker with strong problem solving skills.

Claire’s research will focus on finding new therapeutic targets for chemoresistant brain cancers that will guide development of new and different treatment combinations for childhood cancers.

“I am also hoping to prevent the adverse side effects that many children experience as a result of chemotherapy. This will help us to plan subsequent clinical trials and potentially update clinical guidelines for patients,” Claire said.

Leaders in cancer research at Hudson Institute, including A/Prof. Firestein, Dr Daniel Gough and Dr Jason Cain, will train the PhD students.

As a self-confessed coffee addict, Claire also hopes to “learn some skills from baristas” during her time in Melbourne.