The University of Sydney
Dear CRN Member

Welcome to the Cancer Research Network e-Newsletter, in its new brand-compliant clothes!

Each month we aim to provide you with up-to-date information on News, Events, Postgraduate News, Funding Opportunities, Career Assistance, as well as introduce you to fellow members of the Network through our member profile section. This is your newsletter, so don't hesitate to use it to inform colleagues about your team, your research interests and significant events.

Expect to hear regularly from our special interest and working groups, and about CRN matters as a whole. But please volunteer your own items to - or we'll come looking for you.

More welcomes are in order. Firstly, I know you will be delighted to join me in wishing Merilyn Heuschkel and her baby girl, Zela, born July 25, every happiness. And we warmly welcome Nadine Caisley as Executive Officer to the CRN. Nadine comes to us highly recommended from the Business School and she is keen to get to know the Network better. Invite her to see what you do!

Finally it is a great pleasure to report here the University's success in the recent Cancer Institute NSW Translational Research Centres round.

These grants have been backed by investment of $1.1m/yr by the University, through its Cancer Research Fund. That backing was very largely dependent on the groundwork that we have all done to demonstrate the stake that the University as a whole has in cancer research, and our intention to develop it strategically. The CRN is seen as a model, and a proof of principle, for other networked research activity, such as may be seeded by the recently announced SyReNS grants.

Best wishes,

Graham Mann  |  Chair  |  Cancer Research Network

Sydney Success in New NSW Translational Cancer Research Centre Program

The University will head two new Translational Cancer Research Centres - bodies which will bring together researchers, educators, doctors and other health workers to ensure cancer patients receive the best treatments available.

The University will also head up a new unit based at the North Shore Hospital with a focus on personalising treatments for cancer patients, and play a key role in a new centre for the application of childhood cancer research.

NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research Jillian Skinner said the program "is about getting doctors and specialists, who treat cancer patients every day, working closely with our cutting-edge researchers and expediting the latest possible evidence into patient care.

"Researchers in turn will be able to hear first hand from doctors and nurses the issues that need to be addressed to improve outcomes at the treatment table," Mrs Skinner said.

Professor Jill Trewhella, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Sydney welcomed the announcement. "This is a terrific outcome for us and recognition of the great strength in cancer research across the University of Sydney," she said.

"By leading two of the new Translational Cancer Research Centres, one at Westmead and another at Camperdown, we will deliver the breadth and depth of translational clinical research needed to improve care and outcomes for cancer sufferers in NSW and beyond."

Each centre will involve collaborations with a number of partners, including the Westmead Millennium Institute, the Melanoma Institute Australia, the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse at Royal Prince Alfred and the Kinghorn Cancer Centre at the Garvan Institute.

Additionally, University of Sydney researchers at the Kolling Institute at Royal North Shore Hospital will lead a new Translational Cancer Research Unit, while others will partner with the Children's Medical Research Institute at Westmead and contribute to the Children's Translational Cancer Research Centre.

The University of Sydney-led research hubs and related projects will receive approximately $15.5 million in NSW government funding, with the University contributing additional funds. Two new Chairs of Translational Cancer Research will also be established at the University of Sydney to provide overall leadership and strategy for cancer research.

"To ensure our researchers capitalise on this visionary change in the NSW cancer research landscape, led by the Cancer Institute NSW, the University will make a substantial strategic contribution to these centres from our Cancer Research Fund," said Professor Trewhella.

"In all we will be investing over $1 million in 2012 in the four centres, with funding continuing for the life of the centres, supporting the recruitment of key researchers to our translational cancer research efforts."

Chief Executive Officer of the Cancer Institute NSW Professor David Currow said the program marks an exciting time to be working in cancer research in NSW.

"Think of what can be achieved by getting our best and brightest medical and research minds working together," Professor Currow said.

"We know that it can take some time for scientific breakthroughs to be taken up into routine practice across the health system. This program will speed this process up, helping us to save even more lives."

Key new research hubs

Sydney Catalyst: The Translational Cancer Research Centre of Central Sydney and Regional NSW
Director: Professor John Simes

Sydney-West Translational Cancer Research Centre
Director: Associate Professor Paul Harnett

Northern Translational Cancer Research Unit
Director: Professor Stephen Clarke

 AWARD    |  
Congratulations to Prof Roger Reddel

Professor Roger Reddel from the Children's Medical Research Institute has won the 2011 Premier's Award for Outstanding Cancer Researcher for his work on cellular immortalisation - the ability of cancer cells to divide an unlimited number of times.

This is a prestigious award and the CRN congratulates Roger who is an invaluable member of the network.

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NSW & ACT Cancer Epi Symposium: Pathways for Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers

13th September 2011| 10am - 4pm
Medical Foundation Auditorium

This symposium will explore the various career opportunities and pathways that are available to postgraduates and early career researchers. Our invited speakers have come from diverse backgrounds including academia, research, and private industry. It will be a great opportunity to gain insight into the speakers lifestories and learn how to develop your own career.

The keynote speaker is Dr Christian Abet Ph.D., M.P.H. Investigator, National Cancer Institute (USA). There will also be a session on Resume Rescue for postgraduates presented by the University’s Career Centre.

Registrations open soon.

Postgraduate Symposium

Tuesday, November 29 | 9am - 5pm
Sydney Law School Building

The Postgraduate symposium aims to provide the University of Sydney postgraduate research students from all disciplines, the opportunity to present their research, share and discuss work within the student community, to hear about postdoctural experiences, to network with colleagues, and to inspire postgraduates in various phases of their career.

Registrations open soon.

Sydney Cancer Conference 2012

27 - 28th September 2012| University of Sydney
Sydney Law School Building

Save the Date - more information to follow soon.

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Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC)/ International Society for Oral Oncology (ISOO)’s 2011 International Symposium


By Liz Dylke, PhD candidate and co-Chair of the CRN Postgraduate Student Working Group.

On 23-25th June I attended the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC)/ International Society for Oral Oncology (ISOO)’s 2011 International Symposium in Athens, Greece.  

MASCC/ISOO’s focus is in preventing and managing the adverse effects of cancer and its treatment and this conference attracted a wide range of specialists who manage the side effects of cancer - from oncologists and surgeons to nurses and physiotherapists.

Overall this was a very informative and well organised conference. A number of themes were seen throughout the oral and poster presentations as well as the sponsored presentations such as chemo-induced nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and iron deficiency during chemo and radiotherapy. Another interesting theme was encouraging the inclusion of little researched populations. One particular group of focus was on those with advanced cancer who are typically not only excluded from most trials which focus on early stage cancer but have had few full trials completed with them. It was convincingly argued that this group required and would benefit from further investigation into many areas related to their treatment and quality of life and  importantly that this could be practically and ethically done. Hopefully this will encourage researchers to consider this group for future projects.

To assist with the proliferation of information seen at the symposium, a new format of poster presentation was trialled. This made a number of the outstanding posters available online before, during and after the conference as well as having the traditional poster format. Questions could be sent directly to the authors but as I have yet to receive any questions, it remains to be seen if this is a useful addition.

The only disappointment was that a number of presentations were not completed as the presenter did not show up, particularly with local presenters. This left some gaps in the schedule and meant that some important topics were not addressed.

The MASCC/ISOO symposium is an annual event and will be held in June 2012 in New York.  For those working in areas relating to supportive care during and after cancer treatment, this may be a conference to consider attending in the future!

 POSTGRAD Q & A     |  
Dr Mi-Joung Lee of the Breast Cancer Research Group


While it may be hard to picture some days, there will be a life after your postgraduate degree. That’s when the big questions really start - what area do I want to work in? Am I ready to be an independent researcher? How will I actually use my degree? For many, a post-doc fellowship will be an excellent way to round your training and further your research experience.

Dr Mi-Joung Lee of the Breast Cancer Research Group at the Faculty of Health Science has recently completed her post-doctoral fellowship which included 18 months at Stanford University. She tells us about her experience.

What was your area of interest for your post-doc and who did you receive funding from?

My post-doc project looked at lower limb lymphoedema secondary to cancer treatment. I was especially interested in the measurement and assessment side of this condition. I received an International Clinical and Research fellowship from the Cancer Institute NSW.

You spent 18 months at Stanford University with one of the pre-eminent researchers in the field of lymphoedema (Prof Stanley Rockson). How did you organise this?

My mentor from the University of Sydney had been collaborating with Prof Rockson so I contacted him directly to get a letter of support for the fellowship. When I received the fellowship, the coordinator for the post-doctoral fellowship program at the School of Medicine at Stanford University then organised a supporting letter to apply for a US visa and other official documentation.

What was the best part of your time in Stanford?

Studying and working at Stanford I had the chance to interact with different researchers and to attend courses and classes offered for post-doctoral fellows. There were weekly classes relating to almost every issue which early career researchers and postgraduate students will come across. Some particularly interesting topics included how to get your first job as an academic, how to start your own research labs, and how to apply research grants. 

What was the hardest thing about doing an international post-doc?

I have to say the hardest thing was being lonely and starting all over again to make friends. The problem was that I was only staying there for 1 and a half years so when I started to get to know people, it was time to come back.

For those of us considering applying for a post-doc fellowship on completion of our degrees, can you give us any tips on what we should be doing now to strengthen our applications?

Get more publications and whenever you have the chance, be involved in grant applications. Even if you are not a CI on a grant application, being involved in the application process will give you preparation experience and an insight into how to write a “sexier” application. So be there!

What do you feel are the benefits of doing a post-doc after completing a PhD?

It gives you more opportunities to be involved in research and to get more publications. It also gives you time to think about what you want to do in the future. In addition, it gives you experience in managing research staff.  

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Tumour Microenvironment

The Tumour Microenvironment Special Interest Group was initiated by Associate Professor Jennifer Byrne (Children’s Cancer Research Unit, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead). The microenvironment in which a tumour originates and grows is influenced by both tumour and host cells. Understanding how these two compartments contribute to the local environment, and influence each other, will require interactions between researchers from different disciplines.

If you are interested in joining the Tumour Microenvironment Special Interest Group , please contact the Cancer Research Network Office by email or on (02) 9114 1943.

Objectives of this SIG:
To increase and promote research relevant to the tumour microenvironment at the University of Sydney.
To promote the formation of new collaborations between SIG members, particularly those working in different disciplines.

Organise regular workshops and meetings that maximise opportunities for SIG members to present their research.
Develop, maintain and circulate a SIG membership list with an associated biological and technical expertise register.
Advertise collaborative granting opportunities of interest to SIG members.
Where resources permit, assist with coordinating grant applications from SIG members for shared infrastructure.
Promote SIG activities through the University of Sydney Cancer Network to increase SIG membership.

The tumour microenvironment special interest group is a great opportunity to:

Discuss new and exciting research in this area; Brush up on and expand your knowledge of relevant techniques; Discuss possibilities for collaborative research; Share your knowledge; and Interact with researchers who share your interests.


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CRN Special Interest Groups
CRN Member Profile
Postgraduate Profile
Funding Opportunities
Career Assistance
Other Events
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Dr Anne Cust is an epidemiologist with the Cancer Epidemiology and Services Research group, Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney. Her qualifications include a PhD from The University of Sydney and the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Lyon, France, MPH(Hons) from The University of Sydney, BSc from The University of Queensland and BA from The University of Queensland.

She worked in perinatal research and neonatal clinical trials at The University of Sydney for 5 years before completing a PhD in cancer epidemiology in 2007. Her PhD thesis examined the Lifestyle and metabolic determinants of endometrial cancer. She was enrolled under a cotutelle agreement between the School of Public Health, University of Sydney, and the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Lyon, France. In Lyon, she was based at the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer, where she had the opportunity to work with investigators on the large European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort study. Subsequently, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Molecular, Environmental, Genetic and Analytic Epidemiology, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, gaining additional training in genetic epidemiology. She moved back to Sydney in January 2011.

Dr Cust is currently the recipient of an Early Career Development Fellowship from the Cancer Institute NSW and a public health postdoctoral fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). In 2007, she received the prestigious Cancer Institute NSW Premier's Award for Outstanding Research Scholar. She is a Chief Investigator on a NHMRC-funded project investigating the genetic and environmental causes of melanoma, especially in young people diagnosed under 40 years of age, and has also been a chief investigator on grants from the Victorian Cancer Agency and the Fondation de France.

Dr Cust has over thirty published or accepted peer-reviewed papers, one book chapter, three published research letters, and has co-authored two bi-national reports. She has developed several ongoing scientific collaborations with other cancer researchers in Australia and overseas, including at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (France), Umeå University (Sweden), Alberta Cancer Board (Canada), German Cancer Research Centre (Germany), and with the Cancer Research Network (Sydney), and the Melanoma Genetics International Research Consortium (GenoMEL). Dr Cust is a reviewer for more than twenty international journals.

She is trained in University PhD supervision and is currently an associate PhD supervisor. She is a member of the Australasian Epidemiological Association (AEA), American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Melanoma Genetics International Research Consortium (GenoMEL), and Society for Melanoma Research.

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Ben Smith, Co Chair of the CRN Postgraduate Students Working Group is a PhD candidate investigating the psychosocial impact of surviving testicular cancer.


Scholarship| Closing 19 August 2011
PhD Scholarships in Basic Medical Research. More

IPDF| Closing 19 August 2011
Catalyst grants to academic staff to encourage international research collaboration. More  

University of Sydney Research Office | Funding opportunities

NHRMC Funding | Timetable for 2011 Funding Applications

Summer Research Scholarships | Opens Mid-August 2011
The University of Sydney Medical School is offering up to 60 places. More 


26 - 30 September 2011 | Monash & UTS
ACSPRI courses
The 2011 ACSPRI Spring Program will be held from the 26th - 30th September 2011, with 13 courses being offered simultaneously across two campuses; Monash Unversity and University of Technology Sydney. Early Bird registration closes on 8th August. Book online  


The Centenary Institute TUESDAY SEMINARS
August 2011
12.00 noon - 1.00pm
Lecture Theatre, Level 6,
Building 93, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Grounds

The CREST workshop – Understanding health economics in medical oncology research MOGA ASM,
10th of August 2011

BMRI-ANSTO Molecular Imaging Workshop
24 August 2011
Brain and Mind Research Institute, 100 Mallett St, Camperdown

Dr Alex Mitchell presentation - The Future of Psycho-oncology Research and Clinical Practice School of Psychology Colloquium Friday, 26 August 2011, 4pm-5pm
Education Lecture Room 424, Building A35, Manning Road, Camperdown Campus

Inaugural Solariscare Symposium 2011
Friday 16th September 2011
University Club, University of Western Australia

Asia Pacific Cancer Conference 2011
10–12 November 2011
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2nd International Conference on Stem Cells and Cancer 2011

Proliferation, Differentiation and Apoptosis
15th-18th October 2011
PUNE, India

8th European Breast Cancer Conference 2012
21-24 March 2012
Vienna, Austria

New Directions in Leukaemia Research 2012
25-28 March, 2012
Sunshine Coast

AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2012
March 31-April 4, 2012
Chicago, USA

LUNG 2012 - the Third European Lung Conference
18-21 April 2012
Geneva, Switzerland

UICC World Cancer Congress 2012
27-30 August 2012
Montreal Canada
4 November 2011 registration opens
9 January 2012 abstracts submission opens. Travel grants on offer.

Sydney Inernational Breast Cancer Congress 2012
23 to 26 October 2012
Sydney, Australia

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