Our key staff are acknowledged leaders in their fields of expertise and are also active in translational agendas, national and international professional bodies. This ensures any scientific advances are not only tested objectively to ensure feasibility and relevance in service delivery but also that they engage with health care funders, professional best practice processes and policy makers to ensure that these advances become part of mainstream delivery of health care.
Professor Ross McKinnon (Research Director, Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer)
Prof Graeme Young’s research on screening for colorectal cancer has lead to a fundamental change in health policy in Australia (implementation of the national screening program). Furthermore, as a consequence of his basic and translational research in the field, he now advises government and health authorities in NZ, Canada, France, England, Scotland and US. He chairs the World Organisation of Digestive Endoscopy (OMED) Colorectal Cancer Screening Committee and co-chairs the Asia-Pacific chapter. Prof Young’s contributions to biology and diagnostics have changed how the world approaches screening for colorectal cancer. His work on the impact of diet on the colonic environment and its relevance to the health of the colon has lead to an invitation from the Gates Foundation to apply to them for funds from its global health project. This work is now in the process of being incorporated into WHO policy.
Prof David Watson is a national leader in research into prevention of an increasingly common form of oesophageal cancer that arises as a result of Barrett’s Oesophagus, a condition subsequent upon long-standing gastro-oesophageal reflux. His work has established the largest upper GI tissue bank and molecular program in the world and is funded from both US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Australian national competitive funds, the latter dedicated to funding work with obvious translational capacity in sight. This includes a Strategic Research Partnership (STREP) grant from the NSW Cancer Council. Prof Watson’s work leads the way in addressing how we can best approach preventing progression to cancer in these patients.
Professor Pam Sykes is the Professor of Preventive Cancer Biology and a leading researcher in the field of low-dose radiation and its effects on the body. Her work is internationally unique in that she has developed systems to study the effects of radiation at levels only just above background and so highly relevant to modern-day exposure in a range of environments. Others have not been able to devise systems to study the effects at such low, and human-relevant, levels and so she has repeatedly attracted funds from the US Department of Energy. Here advice is sought from policy-makers especially in the US and her work has brought about a rethink as to how exposure to radiation affects humans and how we respond to such exposure.
Prof Lynne Cobiac commenced her appointment as Head of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics in January 2007 having previously worked at CSIRO for 20 years most recently as a Business Development Manager and Research Leader in the Preventive Health Flagship. Prof Cobiac has a major research interest in Nutrigenomics and the role of nutrition in cancer prevention and bowel health. With colleagues at Flinders, CSIRO and elsewhere, she has studying how specific nutrients, lifestyle and genetic factors interact to influence cancer risk.
Prof Carlene Wilson was attracted to Flinders in early 2008 from CSIRO to take up the Foundation Chair in Cancer Prevention (Behavioural Research). She has been the national leader in devising new strategies aimed at empowering people to understand their personal susceptibility to cancer and how to improve the likelihood that this translates into improved preventive lifestyles. She has contributed to the work that will now change the strategy for offering screening in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
Dr Michael Michael holds international patents for technology based on microRNAs – small RNA molecules found in all cells that regulate the activity of many genes, including those important for cancer development. This technology, arising from research undertaken at Flinders, has significant application to gene therapy and stem cell therapy.
Prof Peter Mackenzie has an international reputation in the field of xenobiotic-metabolising enzymes. These are responsible for removing drugs and carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals from the body and are therefore important for cancer prevention and development. Prof Mackenzie holds a prestigious NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship and has received substantial research funding from both competitive grants and industry sources.
Prof Bogda Koczwara is Head of the Department of Medical Oncology, a key unit of our clinical sciences research platform. Her dedicated team pursue a comprehensive research agenda, which includes the areas of new drug development, psycho-oncology and cancer survivorship care. Prof Koczwara's leadership in the cancer field is highly respected and includes her roles as incoming President of the Clinical Oncologcal Society of Australia, Regional Director of Cancer Services for the Southern Adelaide Health Service and Co-Director of the new Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer.