PhD student wins cancer research excellence award

PhD student wins cancer research excellence award

22 December 2014
Ms Julia Marchingo, a PhD student at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and The University of Melbourne, has won a 2014 Picchi Award for Excellence in Cancer Research.

Ms Julia Marchingo in the labMs Marchingo was one of two PhD students recognised for their originality, innovation and contribution to cancer research, along with Dr Chun Yew Fong from The University of Melbourne and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Ms Marchingo and Dr Fong will each receive a $10,000 scholarship to enable them to present their research findings at important international scientific meetings in 2015.

The award is sponsored by the Picchi Brothers Foundation, and is intended to recognise, develop and support the top PhD students in the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) partners. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute is the research powerhouse of the VCCC, which is a collaborative network of Victorian hospitals and research centres improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The recipient’s research must address a pivotal area of cancer control with awardees being chosen based on their productivity and the potential impact of their research.

Ms Marchingo was part of a Walter and Eliza Hall Institute-led team that combined laboratory data with mathematical modelling to understand how complex external signals affect the magnitude of the immune response. Ms Marchingo was the first author on the publication, which was published in the journal Science.

“Our research showed that the more times T cells divide, the more powerfully they can fight their target,” said Ms Marchingo.

The recent success of treatments that harness the immune system to kill cancer cells provides great potential for Ms Marchingo’s research discoveries to help develop new, and improve existing, cancer treatments.

Mr Joseph Lukaitis, chair of the Picchi Brothers Foundation said it was the hope of the foundation that the award would inspire and encourage the next generation of leaders in cancer research.

The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre is a powerful partnership of nine leading Victorian organisations including The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The Royal Melbourne, The University of Melbourne, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, The Royal Women’s Hospital, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Western Health and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, and Austin Health working together to control and cure cancer. It is growing the next generation of top cancer researchers to more dramatically improve cancer outcomes.

Further information:

Liz Williams
Media and Publications Manager
T: +61 428 034 089
E: williams@wehi.edu.au

Super Content: 
Researchers looking at mathematical equations

Our researchers have defined for the first time how the size of the immune response is controlled during infection, or in response to vaccination.