Sydney Catalyst Monthly Newsletter
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Thank You and Farewell

This past month we said farewell to our much loved Education Project Officer, Bonnie Laxton-Blinkhorn. Bonnie was offered a position with our collaborating partner group PoCoG, as the Executive Officer - Communications. In her new role Bonnie is responsible for creating all PoCoG’s member communications and for managing member events and meetings.

While we'll miss seeing Bonnie's smiley face in the Sydney Catalyst office, we look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with her from a new perspective. 


Members in the News

Sydney Catalyst member Professor David Thomas, director of The Kinghorn Cancer Centre and head of the cancer division of the Garvan Institute in NSW, was in the news twice this past month. 

The first story deals with rare cancers and the fight for more research, funding and support. David is leading a Sydney Catalyst supported program: the Molecular Screening and Therapeutics (MoST) Program, for patients with rare forms of cancer. It focuses on molecular screening of individual tumours to match them to the best therapy. 

The second story discusses a landmark study showing two thirds of all cancers are caused by DNA replications. David weighs in with his wisdom and an interesting perspective.

Click on the links above to read both stories on their entirety.


Flagship 1: EnRICH

The Sydney Catalyst flagship program “Embedding Research (and Evidence) in Cancer Healthcare - EnRICH will shortly commence a pilot phase at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse before patient recruitment opens at other Sydney Catalyst member hospitals in the second half of the year.

With an aim of assembling a prospective cohort of a minimum 1000 lung cancer patients to better define, treat and care for patients, EnRICH will establish a comprehensive platform for Sydney Catalyst translational research. Diagnostic tumour specimens and serial blood samples will be available for researchers undertaking molecular and biomarker studies. Matched clinical data, linked to quality indicators, will map current patterns of care for the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer to identify gaps. Patient reported outcomes will be collected to assess quality of life, disease specific symptoms and distress to identify opportunities for improving patient/carer morbidity. Researchers will be able to access these data to inform intervention and implementation sub-studies and facilitate health economic evaluations.

We are looking forward to engaging with Sydney Catalyst members to identify opportunities for EnRICH sub-studies across the translational spectrum and will be organising a Concept Development Workshop in late 2017/early 2018. In the meantime, if you would like further information or have a sub-study proposal you would like to discuss please contact


Travel & Education Awards: New Round Opening

We are pleased to announce a new round of funding for our Travel and Education (T&E) Awards is due to open the week commencing 24 April, 2017. Our aim is to encourage training and development of outstanding researchers and clinicians from within Sydney Catalyst member groups and institutions, who have the potential to develop highly significant careers in cancer care and research, and meet the overall goals of Sydney Catalyst.
There will be five awards available of up to $2000 each, to allow clinicians (medical, nursing, allied health) and others working in the area of cancer services and research, to attend conferences and seminars related to cancer management, supportive care and research
This year we're introducing two new categories, so pop over to our website to read more or download the application guidelines here.


Post-Grad & ECR Symposium: On This Month

Register online now for our upcoming 2017 Post-Graduate & Early Career Researcher Symposium. 
WHERE: Robert Lusby Auditorium, Concord Medical School
WHEN: Friday 28th April, 2017
The 2017 Symposium is being designed with collaboration and networking in mind. The day will start with a relaxed morning tea and there will be plenty of time to meet and talk with other participants from within and outside your area of expertise. 

Our keynote speaker, Prof Barbara Fazekas de St Groth (Director, Ramaciotti Facility for Human Systems Biology and Prof, Discipline of Pathology, Sydney Medical School), will be sharing insights from her career, including what she's learned about 'crossing the Ts',  bringing multi-disciplinary teams together and career development for scientists aspiring to do translational research.

Download the flyer for more information and we'll look forward to seeing you there!

PhD Opportunities Showcase: Save The Date

Do you know someone who's thinking about undertaking a PhD in cancer research? Are they wondering "what's next?" 
We're inviting all prospective PhD students to join us for our 'Scaling New Heights: PhD Opportunities Showcase', to hear about some amazing opportunities available to them. And we're inviting you, as a Sydney Catalyst member, to come along and engage with these students and share your cancer research wisdom.
WHEN: Wednesday 23 August, 2017
WHERE: Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney
During a casual afternoon meeting, students will have the opportunity to hear from Sydney Catalyst members and then meet them to ask all their burning questions. We're offering invaluable hints and tips on leveraging opportunities within a wide group of Sydney Catalyst members (potential supervisors, existing students and others), giving students a greater sense of what it means to be part of a larger community of translational cancer research.
Lead by Sydney Catalyst members Dr Claudia Rutherford and Dr Nicky Lawrence, this opportunity is open to all prospective PhD students and all Sydney Catalyst members who'd like to be involved. Save the Date for now and watch this space for further information as registrations open soon.
If you have anyone in mind, please forward this announcement on.

Other Opportunities

As always we have some exciting events and opportunities coming up. Check out the highlights below and then head to our website for even more. 


Double Shot With ... Dr. Stuart Gallagher 

  1. Describe your role in one sentence. I am a cell biologist with the Centenary Institute who is investigating epigenetics to find better treatments for melanoma patients.
  2. A campaign I am most excited about right now is ... our annual
    SUIT UP! For Science! Which begins on May 1st and runs for a month.
  3. The ‘SUIT UP! For Science’ campaign ... supports life saving medical research. Australia is home to some of the best and brightest scientific minds in the world and that’s why we’re suiting up like scientists to support them. All funds raised go towards supporting their research in the areas of cancer, inflammation and cardiovascular disease, working towards understanding disease and ultimately, finding cures.
  4. To get involved with ‘SUIT UP! For Science!’ as a business, individual or a school ... go to and get clicking, or call 1800 677 977.
  5. I do what I do because … I love the discovery and learning of science, and I love that what I do can help others.
  6. At work I’m always learning that … I don’t know enough and I’ll never know enough – but it’s better to acknowledge this than to try to fake that you know everything.
  7. The most rewarding part of my job is … When a result first flashes up on the screen and you know that it means something important. This explains my perverse love of western blots (a way of analysing protein) – they take a while to perform and often don’t work, but a good one is both beautiful and tells an important story.
  8. What makes me smile is … The reception I get from my son and daughter when I get home. They are both under 5, so they are still excited to see me.
  9. The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is … Look where you want to go. (Actually advice for riding a bike, but can be applied generally).
  10. My drink of choice is … Anything from the taps of Wayward Brewing Co.
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