Student Vacation Scholarships

Student Vacation Cancer Research Scholarships are offered to tertiary students who are near the end of their undergraduate training.  They are provided with a modest stipend to spend the summer weeks working on a cancer research project in their chosen discipline with the hope of motivating them to become the cancer researchers of the future.

Final report template for James Crofts Hope Foundation Vacation Scholarships - all recipients of this scholarship are to submit the final report within four weeks of the completion of the scholarship

Final report template (68kb) for the Cancer Council WA and Abbie Basson Sarcoma Foundation.- all recipients of these scholarships are required to submit the final report within four weeks of the completion of the scholarship.

Current Successful Recipients

2016-2017

Chief investigator: Mr Derrick Chan - University of Western Australia
Supervisor: Dr Belinda Guo
Title
: Understanding megakaryocyte genetic abnormalities in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) and association with bone marrow scarring

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) are bone marrow disorders that result in overproduction of blood cells leading to bleeding complications, increased risk of bone marrow scarring (fibrosis) and acute myeloid leukaemia. Fibrosis is incurable in more than 80% of patients, and significantly reduces the quality of life and life expectancy (2-6 years). There is currently no way to predict if or when a patient will develop fibrosis, yet early detection is critical for proper management and treatment. The aim of the research is to determine if MK (megakaryocytes) in MPN patients have copy number variation which are duplications and deletions of DNA segments. Standard diagnostic tests called G-banding and flow cytometry will be used. G-banding is a technique used to visualise and produce visible DNA while flow cytometry is a technique used to analyse and detect particular characteristics of cells as they pass through a laser. These will be compared with low pass whole genome sequencing which is a DNA analysis technique used to detect genomic variations where large regions of DNA can be duplicated or deleted. As Fibrosis is such a significant burden, this project provides the possibility of testing to identify disease progression early, enabling effective intervention and innovative treatment options.

Funded:  CCWA $3000
Supported In the name of
: Edward & Patricia Usher Cancer Research Assistance Fund

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Chief investigator: Mr Jack Cooper - University of Western Australia
Supervisor:
Dr Archa Fox
Title: 
Establishing a definitive role for a key cancer regulator in neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma is a cancer arising primarily from the adrenal glands, and is the leading cause of cancer death in children under five. Most cancers must currently be treated with toxic drugs which are often debilitating for children and have long-term side effects. The search for more targeted interventions requires a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that drive neuroblastoma.

One such regulatory molecule is NONO (Non-POU domain-containing octamer-binding protein). NONO is known to regulate growth genes, and is thought to play a role in enhancing the genes responsible for the development of cancer. This research aims to characterise exactly how NONO affects important cancer genes. The team's long-term goal is to develop a treatment for neuroblastoma which targets the specific agents which mediate progression of the cancer.
Funded:  CCWA $3000
Supported in the name of: the James Corofts hop Foundation Vaction Scholarship

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Chief investigator: Ms Melissa Hawksley - Edith Cowan University
Supervisor:
Dr Anna Nowak
Title:
Investigating the impact of the lack of skeletal muscle mass on people with malignant pleural mesothelioma

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an incurable cancer and people diagnosed with the disease survive, on average, only 9-12 months. The lack of skeletal muscle mass, also known as sarcopenia, has become an important topic in cancer research with some studies reporting sarcopenic cancer patients have poorer overall survival. Cancer patients with sarcopenia also appear to be at a higher risk of toxicity when receiving chemotherapy. The aims of this research are to show if MPM patients with sarcopenia have poorer overall survival, and if they are more likely to experience treatment toxicity, when compared to patients with adequate skeletal muscle mass. This research will be the first of its kind in MPM and will generate the necessary data to support future research into ways to address sarcopenia.

Funded: CCWA $3000
Supported In the name of:
Leah Jane Cohen

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Chief investigator:
Miss Reanne Ho
Supervisor:
Dr Matthew Linden
Title:
The role of platelets in metastasis of solid tumours

Prostate and breast cancer remain two of the most prevalent cancers in Australia, both cancers are highly aggressive and likely to undergo metastasis. When this occurs, the cancer is at an advanced stage and becomes much harder to treat. In this project the focus is on the how interactions of cancers cells with platelets in the bloodstream affect the development of breast and prostate cancer cells from primary tumours into metastatic tumours. This project will contribute to the growing knowledge of anti-metastatic research as it will provide new targets for potential therapy in preventing the development of primary tumours to metastatic ones.

Funded:  CCWA $3000
Fully supported In the name of:
Momentum for Australia Ltd

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Chief investigator: Miss Audrey Kim
Supervisor:
A/Prof Pilar Blancafort
Title:
Discovery of novel genes driving breast cancer cells resistance to anti-hormonal therapy

Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in Australian women and the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. Particular breast cancers that have hormone receptors are usually treated with anti-hormonal therapy. IntClust2, a novel subtype of these cancers, has been found to resist treatment and has a high risk of recurring and spreading to other parts of the body. Preliminary data has shown the gene C11orf67 to be greatly expressed in IntClust2 subtypes and that this gene possibly controls cell survival and energy reprogramming via another protein involved in energy production, RABGAP1L. This research aims to map the interaction between C11orf67 and RABGAP1L to enable researchers to understand the resistant mechanism behind this subtype of breast cancer. This will guide the design of novel drugs to block this interaction or use existing anti-energy production drugs to block downstream cell communication and energy production.

Funded:  CCWA $3000
Fully supported In the name of
: Momentum for Australia Ltd

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Chief investigator: Ms Ivan Lau
Supervisor:
Prof Zhonghua Sun
Title:
Diagnostic applications of 3D printing in the assistance of pre-surgical planning of brain tumours in children

In Australia, brain cancer is the second most common type of cancer among children. It also has the lowest survival rate. Among the different types of brain tumour, glioma is the most common in children. One of the main treatments is surgery. This project aims to explore how 3D printed models will aid in pre-surgical planning of brain tumour in children. To do this data sets from either of two types of imaging procedures, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), will be collected from individuals diagnosed with glioma. This data will then be processed for 3D printing. It is anticipated that an accurate 3D representation of the brain tumour will help the surgeon to visualise the tumour better and result in more effective surgical planning with better treatment outcomes.

Funded: CCWA $3000
Supported In the name of:
the James Crofts Hope Foundation Vacation Scholarship

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Chief investigator: Mr Joshua Murphy
Supervisor: Prof Alice Vrielink/Dr Joost Leisterhuis
Title: 
Targeting metabolism in mesothelioma: aiming for the Achilles' heel

Mesothelioma is a fatal, invasive cancer of the lungs, caused by asbestos. Western Australia has one of the highest rates of this cancer in the world, because of the mining and transport industries and high use of asbestos here. The research team has recently identified two proteins that regulate mesothelioma metabolism and thereby drive this cancer's growth. This project aims to determine the structure of these two proteins and their interactions with known inhibitors (molecules which stop the proteins from working). This can then provide the first crucial data that is necessary for the development of a new class of effective anti-cancer drugs that specifically target metabolism.

Funded:  CCWA $3000
Supported In the name of
: Carnarvon Lions Club Cancer Research Foundation

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Chief investigator: Ms Elizabeth Perica
Supervisor:
Professor Zhonghua Sun
Title: Realistic three-dimensional (3D) printed models for pre-operative planning and assessment in hepatocellular carcinoma

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a primary liver cancer that develops in the main liver cells. Surgery is considered one of the best options in the treatment of HCC. Recently, three-dimensional (3D) printing has shown great interest in medicine, and 3D printed models may be rendered as part of the pre-surgical planning. Research has shown the usefulness and clinical value of 3D printed models in cardiovascular disease and other areas; however research on the 3D printing process in HCC is limited. This research endeavours to address this by developing realistic 3Dprinted models of HCC with the aim of replicating complex anatomy of liver structures and the tumours in relation to the surrounding structures. Ultimately this should lead to more comprehensive surgical plans and better patient outcomes.

Funding:  CCWA $3,000

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Chief investigator: Ms Fiona Nugent
Supervisor: A/Prof Pilar Blancafort
Title:
Can genome editing restore the expression of the PTEN tumour suppressor gene and reduce cell proliferation in triple-negative breast cancer?

Accounting for 15-25% of all breast cancers, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a challenging disease. Its treatment-resistant nature necessitates the use of aggressive combination therapies, illustrating the need to model and explore alternative treatment strategies. The PTEN tumour suppressor gene is one of a number of genes responsible for producing proteins that act to prevent cells from growing and dividing too rapidly, causing cancers. Genetic mutations in PTEN result in an abnormal PTEN protein which has lost its tumour-preventing ability, and represents a key step in the development of many cancers, including TNBC. The aim of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of a new genetic engineering technique known as CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), which is used to modify the cancer genome and restore function to the PTEN tumour suppressor gene in TNBC cells.

Funding: CCWA $3,000

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Recipient: Mr Ryan Teh
Supervisor: Dr Katie Meehan/Dr Annette Lim
Title: Finding new blood markers for monitoring oral cancers

Oral cancer occurs in both smokers and non-smokers. Outcomes of the disease are poor with only a 50% cure rate. Current treatments also have severe side-effects, causing suffering to patients. This research investigates cancer "exosomes", parts of cancer that are shed into body fluids, shown to be elevated in aggressive and spreading cancers. These molecules could potentially serve as biomarkers, to monitor treatment outcomes through non-invasive routine blood tests. The insight gained through this research may help in developing an alternative to invasive biopsies and in the development of novel treatment options.

Funded: 
CCWA $3000
Fully supported In the name of:
Knitters for a Cure Relay For Life team

 

Past Successful Recipients

2015-2016


Recipient:
Ms Lelinh Duong - Curtin University 
Supervisors: Dr Connie Jackaman and Dr Delia Nelson
Title:Investigating the impact of aging on the role of the immune sytem during tumour growth
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported In the name of: the Dorothy and Bill Irwin Charitable Trust


Recipient:
Ms Angela Farmer - Curtin University 
Supervisors: Dr Danielle Dye, Beverley Kinnear and Prof Deirdre Coombe
Title: Melanoma cell adhesion molecule contributes to melanoma invasion
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported In the name of: Gilmac Pty Ltd

Recipient: Ms Saumya Rajgopal - Perkins Institute of Medical Research 
Supervisor: Dr Juliana Hamzah
Title:  Developing targeting drug delivery for cancer therapy
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported In the name of: Momentum For Australia Ltd

Recipient: Ms Benedicta Santoso - Edith Cowan University 
Supervisor: Dr Elin Gray
Title: Role of the receptor activator of NFkß on resistance of melanoma cells to treatement with verumafenib and dabrafenib
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Supported In the name of: the Estate of Mark Fisher

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Recipient: Ms Clare Tancabel -  University of Western Australia 
Supervisor: A/Prof Robert McLaughlin
Title: New tools for better neurosurgery: techniques to quantify tumour flourescence to guide surgical resection
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported In the name of: the James Crofts Hope Foundation Vacation Scholarship

Recipient: Ms Joanna Tedeschi -  University of Western Australia 
Supervisors: Dr Katie Meehan and Dr Annette Lim
Title:  New blood based markersfor monitoring oral cancers
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Supported In the name of: the Dorothy and Bill Irwin Charitable Trust

Recipient: Ms Helen Tucker - Curtin University 
Supervisor: Professor Zhonghua Sun
Title: Improvement of pre-operative assessent of renal cell carinoma with use of a 3D CT visualisation tool
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Supported In the name of: the Estate of Ronald East

Recipient: Ms Jinglin Yao - Curtin University 
Supervisors: Dr Georgia Halkett and Dr Sharon Maresse
Title:  What education do radiation therapists provide to patients undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer?
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported In the name of: Momentum For Australia Ltd

 

Recipient: Mr Gary Zhang - Telethon Kids Institute 
Supervisors: Dr Shelley Gorman, Dr Lucinda Black and Dr Prue Cormie.
Title: 
The effects of sun exposure on the health ans wellness, in particular body fat and fitness levles, of breast and prostate cancer patients who have undergone and exercise intervention
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported In the name of: Cynthia Noonan and Family

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2014-2015

Recipient: Ms Nicola Bailey - The University of Western Australia
Supervisor: Dr Neli Slavova-Azmanova and Dr Martin Philips
Title:  Use of endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) guided investigations in Western Australia
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported: In the name of Cynthia Noonan and Family

Recipient: Mr Aaron Beasley - Edith Cowan University
Supervisor: Dr Elin Gray
Title:  Single cell analysis for the signs of metastatic occular melanoma
Funded: CCWA $3,000
Fully supported: In the name of Australia Post

Recipient: Mr Ryan Begley - University of Western Australia
Supervisor: Prof Martin Ebert and Mr Jay Jay Jegathesan
Title: Reducing the brain damage caused by treating braintumours with radiation
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported In the name of: the James Crofts Hope Foundation Vacation Scholarship

Recipient: Ms Angie Brynjulfsen - Curtin University
Supervisor: Dr Zhonghua Sun and Mr Melat Habtemariam
Title: Lung Cancer screening using low dose computed tomography (CT)
Funded: $3,000
Fully supported: In the name of the Yvonne Baker Foundation Lung cancer screening using low dose computed tomography (CT)

Recipient:  Mr Alex Discombe - Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research
Supervisor: A/Prof Evan Ingley and Dr Janice Lam
Title: Studying drug resistance in sarcoma
Funded:  $3,000
Supported:In the names of: the Nannup Craft and Quilting Group, Estate of Iris Mary Schurmann and Estate of Iris Lottie Secker

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Recipient:
Ms Nguyet (Marisa) Duong - University of Western Australia
Supervisor: Prof Alice Vrielink and Mrs Marie Hughes
Title: Investigation of the interactions between the protein Spt5 and the tumour suppressor gene BRCA1 at the molecular level
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Supported In the names of: the Ee Family and Nannup Craft and Quilting Group

Recipient:  Ms Stephanie Enkel - University of Western Australia
Supervisor: Prof Jane Heyworth and Prof Lin Fritschi
Title: Are pets a risk factor for breast cancer amongst Western Australian Women?
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Supported In the names of: Greg and Taryn Major and Nannup Craft and Quilting Group
 

Recipient: Ms Lauren Foster - University of Western Australia
Supervisor: Prof Anna Nowak and A/Prof Foteini Hassiotou
Title: The effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment on stem cells genes in brain tumours
Funded: CCWA $3,000
Fully supported: In the name of:  the James Crofts Hope Foundation Vacation Scholarship

Recipient: Mr Liam Johnson - Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research
Supervisor: Prof Vance Matthews and Mr Richard Solomon
Title:  Does the enzyme ADAM28 affect the aggressiveness of human prostate cancer?
Funded: CCWA $3,000
Fully supported In the name of: the Swan Athletics Senior Citizens

Recipient: Mr Tim Rankin - Edith Cowan University
Supervisor: Dr Elin Gray
Title: Determining the role of ABCB5 protein in melanoma drug resistance
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported In the name of: the Ee Family


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2013-2014

Recipient:  Mr Jeremy Duczynski - University of Western Australia
Supervisor: Dr Rebecca Fuller
Title:  Better cancer detection using gold nanoparticles as optical contrast agents
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported in the name of: Mandurah Murray Mayday Club (Inc)

Recipient:  Ms Sarah Howarth - Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research
Supervisor: Prof Vance Matthews
Title:  Investigating the novel functinal role of the metsllopreteinase ADAM19 in human prostate cancer
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported in the name of: Australia Post

Recipient: Mohammad Rizwan bin Hussain Ahamed - University of Western Australia
Supervisors: Dr Jingxin Mo and W/Prof Lee Yong Lim
Title: Synthesis of fluorescent multifunctional calix[4]arene nano-baskets to sutdy their cellular uptake in ovarian cancer cell lines
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported in the name of: Australia Post

Recipient: Mr Yu Jie Kan - Curtin University
Supervisors: Prof Ricardo Mancera and A/Prof Pilar Blancafort
Title:  Design of peptide-ciplatin conjugates as novel molecular cancer therapeutics to target breast and ovarian tumours
Funded:  CCWA $3,000

Fully supported in the name of: Gilmac Pty Ltd

Recipient: Mr Brett Patterson - Telethon Kids Institute
Supervisor: Dr Jacqueline McGlade and Raelene Endersby
Title: Determining the efficacy of a PI3K inhibitor, BKM-120, in combination with a conventional chemotherapy for treatment of childhood brain cancer
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported in the name of: James Crofts Hope Foundation Vacation Scholarship

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Recipient: Ms Hayley Peel - Curtin University
Supervisor: Dr Zhonghua Sun
Title:  CT virtual colonoscopy screening for colorectal polyps: a phantom study for optimal low-dose scanning protocols in the early detection of colorectal cancer.
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported in the name of: Noonan Family


Recipient
: Ms Olivia Ruhen - University of Western Australia
Supervisors: Dr Katie Meehan and Dr Tania Tabone
Title: The genetics of gliobastoma: towards translation into routine diagnostic laboratory practice
Funded: CCWA $3,000
Fully supported in the name of: James Crofts Hope Foundation Vacation Scholarship


Recipient: Ms Natalie Seed - Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research 
Supervisor:  A/Prof Alison Reid
Title: Does passive smoking cause cancers of the kidney and bladder?  A systematic literature review and meta-analysis
Funded: CCWA $3,000
Fully supported in the name of: Ee Family Research Grant


Recipient:  Ms Rebecca Weselman - University of Western Australia
Supervisor: W/Prof Wendy Erber
Title: Translational genomics for stratification of mantle cell lymphoma
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Fully supported in the name of: Australia Post

Recipient: Ms Serena Wong Siew Yee - University of Western Australia
Supervisors: A/Prof Robert Tuckey and Ms Elaine Tieu
Title: Synthesis and testing of the anti-cancer properties of the novel vitamin D derivative1 a, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3
Funded:  $3,000
Fully supported in the name of: Annadora Horne and Thelma Norris Trust Fund

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2012-2013

Recipient:  Ms Jennifer Currenti - The University of Western Australia
Supervisor: W/Prof Ming-Hao Zheng
Title: Molecular mechanism of breast cancer metastases to bone
Funded: CCWA $3,000
Supported in the name of: Nannup Craft & Quilting Group

Recipient:  Mr Arosha Dissanayake - The University of Western Australia
Supervisors: Prof Anna Nowak & Mrs Julie Marsh
Title: Prognostic factors for survival in high grade glioma - analysis of the Australia Genomics and Cinical Outcomes for Glioma (AGOG) questionnaire
Funded: CCWA $3,000
Fully supported in the name of: James Crofts Hope Foundation Vacation Scholorship

Recipient: 
Ms Sara-Jane Laurenson - Curtin University of Technology
Supervisor: Dr Zhonghua Sun
Title: Paediatric Multislice CT scanning: are the scanning protocols optimised for paediatric patients?
Funded:  CCWA $3,000
Supported in the name of: Yvonne Baker Foundation

Recipient: Ms Anna MacTiernan - The University of Western Australia
Supervisors: W/Prof Lin Fritschi, Ms Natalia Lizama & Prof Jane Heyworth
Title: West Australian adults' perceptions of cancer risk factors
Funded: CCWA $3,000
Supported in the name of: Peter Hugget

Recipient: Ms Claire McLaughlin -  WAIMR
Supervisor: Prof Vance Matthews
Title: Establishing a novel role for the metalloproteinase ADAM28 in human prostate cancer
Funded:
  CCWA $3,000
Supported in the name of: Swan Athletic Senior Citizens

Recipient: Mr Kelvin Oo - University of Western Australia
Supervisors: W/Prof Christobel Saunders, DrClaire Johnson & Dr Neli Slavova-Azmanova
Title: Analysis of the implementation of multi0disciplinary team decisions in  breast cancer
Funded: CCWA $3,000
Supported in the name of: Yvonne Baker Foundation

Recipient: Ms Win Myo Thaw - The University of Western Australia
Supervisor: Prof Jiake Xu
Title: The role of WFDC1/ps20 in intercellular communication within the basic multi-cellular units in bone
Funded: CCWA $3,000
Supported in the name of: Peter Huggett

Recipient: Mr Douglas Velho - University of Western Australia
Supervisor: A/Prof Scott Stewart
Title: The preparation of thalidomide analogues for the treatment of liver cancer
Funded: CCWA $3,000
Supported in the name of: Swan Athletic Senior Citizens

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2011-2012

 

Recipient: Ms Kaitlyn Holyman - Curtin University of Technology
Supervisor: Dr Zhonghua Sun
Title:  Why do general practitioners refer patients for computed tomography of the head?
Fully supported in the name of : the Lon Anderson Sanderson Memorial

 

Recipient:  Mr James Preus s- University of Western Australia
Supervisor: W/Prof Christobel Saunders
Title: BCCT.core versus the Harris Scale in the assessment of aesthetic outcome post breast reconstructive surgery
Fully supported in the name of: Momentum Forum


Recipient:  Mr Kenneth Lim  - University of Western Australia
Supervisor: Prof Jiake Xu
Title:  The role of CREG2 in the differentiation and proliferation of osteoclast and osetoblast
Fully supported in the name of: Ernst & Young

 

Recipient: Mr John Lee - Curtin University of Technology
Supervisor: Dr Zhonghua Sun
Title: Doctors' knowledge about ionising radiation exposure doeses during compterised tomography (CT) examinations

 

Recipient: Ms Caitlin Tynan - Curtin University of Technology
Supervisor: Dr Georgia Halkett & Prof Anna Nowak
Title:  Determining the needs of Grade III-IV high grade glioma patients and carers
Fully supported in the name of: James Crofts Hope Foundation Scholarship

 

DaffodilVacation Scholarship application process web page