Daniel Cameron, a doctoral student at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and University of Melbourne, has won a sought-after 2016 Picchi Award for Excellence in Cancer Research.
Mr Cameron was deemed the top scientific applicant for the award in a year with a record number of high-calibre applications.
He will use his $10,000 award to attend the Genome Informatics Conference in Cambridge, UK, in September, followed by visits to institutes in Britain and the US.
The award, sponsored by the Picchi Brothers Foundation, supports travel for the purposes of international collaboration and development towards research independence for top PhD students within the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) partners. It is judged on the productivity and impact of work from a PhD.
Mr Cameron, who is based in Associate Professor Tony Papenfuss’s laboratory in the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s Bioinformatics Division, contributes to research projects across a number of other VCCC organisations. His research focusses on improving methods for detecting genomic rearrangements in tumour genome sequencing data. Genomic rearrangements are an important type of mutation in cancer.
As part of his PhD Mr Cameron has developed the award-winning software program GRIDSS (Genome Rearrangement Identification Software Suite), a powerful new approach to detecting these rearrangements.
Mr Cameron said the opportunity to present his work on GRIDSS to the Genome Informatics Conference would give the software much needed exposure. “GRIDSS is already being used in a number of cancer projects; it has broad application,” he said.
Mr Cameron had an exceptional background equipping him for bioinformatics research and methods development – he worked in commercial software development for a decade as a software engineer and consultant before starting his PhD. He previously obtained a Bachelor of Engineering (software) and Bachelor of Science (mathematics).
The Picchi Award is open to University of Melbourne PhD candidates undertaking cancer-related research training within a member of the VCCC, an alliance of nine Victorian hospitals and research centres improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute is the research powerhouse of the VCCC.
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