Dr Angela Merlot, based at the Children’s Cancer Institute, has been recognised for her work developing new drugs and strategies to combat some of the deadliest cancers and prevent their spread and adaptation to current drugs.
The Tall Poppy Science Awards, an initiative of the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS), acknowledge excellence in research and commitment to communicating science to a broad audience. The awards are held in each state to celebrate researchers across science, engineering and mathematics.
Eleven researchers were awarded NSW Tall Poppy Science Awards Tall Poppies last night at a ceremony in Sydney.
“These Tall Poppies are already helping to promote a scientifically literate society where we can stimulate engaged discourse about the future of our communities and inspire a new generation of passionate researchers,” CI Professor Maria Kavallaris AM said.
“A more scientifically engaged society is something every scientist should aspire to and the reason that Tall Poppy winners are so important.”
The 2019 Tall Poppy Science Awards has been the biggest since the campaign’s inception in 1998, with more than 350 nominations from across Australia this year.
Dr Merlot, a Scientia Fellow at UNSW Medicine, has been recognised for her cancer biology projects that aim to better understand the mechanisms by which pancreatic cancer cells grow and adapt to their environment, why current treatments become ineffective and the development of nanoparticles to improve drug delivery.
Dr Merlot’s research focuses on the endoplasmic reticulum, a type of organelle – or subunit within a cell – that has been shown to help cancers grow, spread and develop drug resistance.
“We are looking at why this organelle and its cellular pathways become over-active in cancer cells and how we can stop this over-activity. This activity has been shown to be a prognostic indicator, positively correlating with aggressive and advanced cancers with a poor prognosis,” Dr Merlot said.