Honours Scholarships

onours Scholarships are offered to students with an outstanding track record in academic achievement and research potential to pursue full-time Honours studies in cancer-related research in WA. Research projects can be in the fields of laboratory, clinical, epidemiological, psycho-social and/or behavioural science.

Final Report template (70kb) - all recipients are required to submit the final report within 6 months after the completion of the scholarship.

2017 Honours Scholarship Recipients

Establishing a definitive role for a key cancer regulator in neuroblastoma

Recipient: Mr Jack Cooper - University of Western Australia

Neuroblastoma is the most common infant cancer and is the leading cause of cancer death in children under five. Most tumours are currently treated using toxic drugs, with often debilitating, long-term side effects. The development of targeted treatment requires a better understanding of the functions of the complex regulatory molecules which, when disrupted, ultimately lead to cancer. One such regulatory molecule is NONO (Non-POU domain-containing octamer-binding protein). NONO is thought to play a role in enhancing genes responsible for the development of cancer. This research aims to further our understanding of how NONO functions to drive cancer growth. This research will characterise changes to cancer cell DNA, investigate the connections between genes affected by NONO, and observe the survival of cancer cells when NONO is removed. Ultimately the team hopes to
develop a treatment for neuroblastoma which targets the unique function of NONO.

Funding: CCWA $7,500

 

Targeting metabolism in mesothelioma - choosing an arrow

Recipient: Mr Joshua Murphy - University of Western Australia

Mesothelioma is a fatal lung cancer caused by asbestos, a substance which was once prevalent in Western Australia's buildings. The team have found two proteins which are necessary for mesothelioma metabolism. It is hypothesised that a drug which can stop the action of these proteins will be an effective therapy for mesothelioma. The aim is to investigate chemical compounds which may serve as drugs or prototypes of drugs against these proteins. Firstly a method called crystallography will be used to view how chemical compounds attach to the proteins at the atomic level, providing essential data for the design and optimisation of the drug. Using this data and data from previous investigations, computer simulations of potential drugs will test multiple compounds quickly. Finally, some successful compounds shall be tested to see whether they bind to the proteins within a cellular environment.

Funding: CCWA $7,500
Supported in the name of: Gilmac Pty Ltd

 

Identifying the role of novel mutations in the development of infant acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Recipient: Miss Katherine Potaka (nee Navarro) - University of Western Australia

Infant acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (iALL) is a fast growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. The survival rate is only 40% in infants less than 3 months old at the time of diagnosis. Up to 80% of iALL patients have a genetic mutation that fuses one gene (known as MLL) to a different chromosome. The additional mutations that act alongside these "MLL rearrangements" to trigger leukaemia are unknown. The aim is to study a defect located within the gene, KRAS, which may contribute to iALL. The function of this KRAS mutation has not been characterised previously. The team will investigate if this mutation promotes leukaemia formation and/or influences response to conventional and novel therapies. This will advance our understanding of iALL and potentially lead to improved treatments in the future.

Funding: CCWA $7,500

 

Investigating the cross-talk between genetic mutations and epigenetic silencing in genes that prevent cancer

Recipient: Ms Fiona Nugent - Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research

Cancer can be driven by both genetic mutations that affect the DNA code directly, and errors that cause the wrong genes to be silenced. Gene silencing is caused by small "marks" on the DNA which tell the cell to pack it up tightly, preventing the genes in that area from being accessed and used. This control of DNA packing is known as "epigenetics", and if it goes wrong, it can lead to the silencing of tumour suppressor genes - vital sentinels that protect our cells from becoming cancerous. Most genes have two copies stored in each cell of our bodies. This means that even if there is a genetic mutation in one copy of a tumour suppressor gene, the effect can be mitigated by the remaining working copy. However, when genetic mutations occur in one tumour suppressor copy, the other copy is often silenced later on. The tumour suppressor can then no longer protect the cell, which can cause healthy cells to become cancerous, or cause cancers to become more aggressive. This connection between genetic mutations and epigenetic silencing suggests that there is a "cross-talk" that tells cells to pack away and turn off the second gene copy when the first becomes mutated. The aim of this project is to test whether this cross-talk exists and if so, how it works.

Funding: CCWA $7,500
Fully supported In the name of
the Estate of Les Matheson

 

 

2016 Cancer Council WA Honours Scholarship Recipients

Markers in single tumour cells within the blood for determining the spread of uveal melanoma

Recipient: Mr Aaron Beasley -  Edith Cowan University 
Supervisors: Dr Elin Gray and Prof Mel Ziman
Funded:  CCWA $7,500
Fully supported In the name of:  the Estate of Mark Fisher

Investigating changes in the function of key immune cells, known as macrophages, during aging to determine if they become enablers of tumour growth in the elderly

Recipient: Ms Lelinh Duong - Curtin University 
Supervisor: Dr Connie Jackaman
Funded:  CCWA $7,500
Supported In the name of: Gilmac Pty Ltd

Chemotherapy and the immune response in malignant mesothelioma

Recipient: Ms Katherine Landwehr - The University of Western Australia
Supervisors:
Dr Jenette Creaney and Prof Fiona Pixley
Funded:   CCWA $7500
Fully supported In the name of: Nannup Craft and Quilting Group

Using pleural effusion to track anti-cancer immune responses in patients with mesothelioma and lung cancer 

Recipient:  Ms Emma Port, The University of Western Australia 
Supervisor/s: Dr Alistair Cook and Prof Anna Nowak
Funding:  CCWA $7,500

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2015 Cancer Council WA Honours Scholarship Recipients

Determining the importance of immune cells and molecules in Luminal B breast cancer

Recipient: Ms Briony Clark, Institution Curtin University
Supervisors:
Dr Delia Nelson
Funded:  CCWA $7,500
Supported In the name of: Jill Tilly

Understanding cancer cell signalling

Recipient: Mr Alex Discombe, Institution Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research
Supervisors: Evan Ingley
Funded:  CCWA $7,500
Supported In the name of: the Estate of Barbara Edwards

Determining the effectiveness of a new cancer

Recipient: Ms Brooke Strowger, Institution Telethon Kids Institute and Murdoch University drug, JQ1, in combination with conventional drug treatment for childhood brain cancer therapy.
Supervisors:
Raelene Endersby
Funded: 
CCWA $7500
Fully supported In the name of:
the Estate of Arthur Frederick Barton

Enhancing the immune response to melanoma

Recipient: Ms Chelsea Wilson - Institution Telethon Kids Institute
Supervisors:
Jason Waithman
Funded: 
CCWA $7,500
Fully supported In the name of:
Australia Post

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2014 Cancer Council WA Honours Scholarship Recipients

The role of DACH1 and the mir-200 family in medulloblastoma pathogenesis

Recipient: Ms Courtney George, Telethon Kids Institute
Supervisors:
Dr Peter Dallas and A/Prof Mel Ziman
Funded: CCWA $2000
Fully supported In the name of: Johnson Family

Recycling of melanoma cell adhesion in melanoma metastasis

Title: Ms Tenielle George, School of Biomedical Science - Curtin University
Supervisor:
Dr Danielle Dye
Funded:  CCWA $7,500
Supported in the names of
: Ee Family Research Grant and Johnson Family

Assessing the therapeutic and immunological consequences of anti-vascular agents in lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma

Recipient: Ms Sarah Henn - School of Biomedical Schience, Curtin University
Supervisor: Dr Delia Nelson
Funded:  CCWA $5,500 
Fully supported in the name of: Annadora Horne and Thelma Norris Trust Fund

Examining the efficacy of a PI3K inhibitor (BKM-120) on pineoblastoma and medulloblastoma cell lines using in vitro and in vivo models

Recipient Mr Brett Patterson - Telethon Kids Institute
Supervisors: Dr Jacqueline McGlade, Dr Raelene Endersby and A/Prof Fiona Pixley
Funded:  CCWA $7,500
Supported In the names of: In memory of Barry Bresland and Robert & Bernadette Jolly


Sensitive blood-based monitoring of breast cancer

Recipient: Ms Olivia Ruhen - University of Western Australia
Supervisor: W/Prof Wendy Erber
Funded:  CCWA
Fully supported in the name of: Wendy O'Shaughnessy

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2013 Cancer Council WA Honours Scholarship Recipients

Dysregulated cell signalling in megakaryocytes contributes to thromboses in myeloproliferative neoplasms

Recipient: Ms Ayesha Arshad, School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The University of Western Australia
Supervisors: W/Prof Wendy Erber and  A/Prof Kathy Heel
Funded: CCWA $7,500
Supported in the name of: Estate of Lila Joyce Jennings

Molecular characterisation of squamoproliferative lesions arising in the setting of BRAF inhibition

Recipient: Ms Britt Clynick, School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The University of Western Australia
Aim: To understand why BRAF associated lessions occur as a side effect of BRAF inhibiting drugs, with the intention of developing strategies to reduce their occurrence
Supervisors: W/Prof Wendy Erber, A/Prof Kathy Heel and Dr Nathan Harvey
Funded: CCWA $7,500
Supported in the name of: Australia Post

The effects of adoptive cell therapy on anti-tumour immunity

Recipient:  Ms Sarah Lacey, School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Murdoch University
Supervisors: Dr Jason Waithman and A/Prof Robert Mead
Supported in the name of: Australia Post

Mutation profiling of megakaryocytes in myeloproliferative neoplasms

Recipient: Mr Jacques Malherbe, School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The University of Western Australia
Aim: To better understand the production of abnormal blood clotting cells in certain bone marrow diseases to help identify at risk patients and improve preventative treatments
Supervisors: W/Prof Wendy Erber, A/Prof Kathy Heel and Dr Tania Tabone
Funded: CCWA $7,500
Supported in the name of: The Ee Family Research Grant

 2012 Cancer Council WA Honours Scholarship Recipients

miR- expression and function in malignant mesothelioma cells

Recipient: Ms Kathryn Jajko, School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences, The University of Western Australia
Supervisor: Dr Bahareh Badrian
Supported in the name of: Leah Jane Cohen Fund

Dose calculation for combined radiotherapy/brachytherapy for prstate cancer treatment

Recipient: Mr Jonathon Thompson, School of Physics - The University of Western Australia
Aim: The aim of this project is to help optimise treatment for patients with prostate cancer and to ensure better outcomes.
Supervisor: A/Prof Martin Ebert
Supported in the name of: Leah Jane Cohen Fund

Non mechanical analysis of metastatic meanoma cancer

Recipient: Mr Adam Hand -  School of Medical Sciences, Edith Cowan University
Supervisor: Prof Mel Ziman
Supported in the name of: Australia Post

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