Professor Maria Kavallaris AM - Australian Centre for NanoMedicine

Professor Maria Kavallaris AM - Australian Centre for NanoMedicine

Bio21 Auditorium
Start Time: 
Wed, 08/02/2023 - 1:00pm
End Time: 
Wed, 08/02/2023 - 2:00pm

WEHI Wednesday Seminar hosted by Professor Clare Scott

Professor Maria Kavallaris AM

Founding Director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine at the University of New South Wales, Head of the Translational Cancer Nanomedicine Theme at the Children’s Cancer Institute Lowy Research Centre

Engineering childhood cancer for precision medicine

Bio21 Auditorium (in-person viewing highly recommended)

Join via ZOOM

Webinar ID: 850 5905 8387

Passcode: wehiwednes

Including Q&A session

High-risk childhood solid tumours are difficult to cure and survivors frequently experience long-term side effects of treatment. Predicting therapy response and avoiding the use of toxic and unnecessary therapies, remains a major obstacle to cure. Innovative strategies are needed to identify the best treatment for individual patients in an accurate and timely manner. Tumour biopsies often lack sufficient sample for phenotypic drug screening, requiring cell expansion via primary cell culture or development of patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models – a process that can take over 6 months. Moreover, many models lack consideration to the tumour extracellular matrix environment that supports tumour growth, and impacts drug penetration and efficacy. Our research is combining patient tumour samples, engineering that mimics the tumour environment, and 3D-bioprinting technology we developed to form cancer “tumours in a dish”, in order to identifying the best treatment for patients diagnosed with high-risk cancers and avoid the use of ineffective and often toxic therapies. To advance our understanding of the biology of the phenotypic behaviour of tumour cells, we have recently developed a 3D bioprinting high-throughput approach to study migration and invasion that is amenable to drug screening applications. 

Professor Maria Kavallaris AM is Founding Director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine at UNSW Sydney, and Head of the Translational Cancer NanoMedicine Theme, Children’s Cancer Institute, Sydney Australia. Maria is recognised for her innovation in driving interdisciplinary research in cancer nanomedicine. She is internationally regarded for her research in cancer biology and therapeutics in childhood and adult cancers. Her research has identified clinically important mechanisms of resistance to cancer therapies, with her discoveries leading to patents, and industry and clinical linkages for the development of cancer therapeutics and devices. Maria has developed 3D bioprinted cancer organoids to unravel the biology of cancer and to advance this technology for cancer precision medicine. Contributions to innovation are evidenced through numerous awards including, the 2017 Premiers Science and Engineering Award for Leadership in Innovation in NSW, 2019 Lemberg Medal, and along with colleagues, received the 2021 ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative use of Technology. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and the Royal Society of New South Wales. In 2019, Maria was appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia, in 2020 she was named the NSW Woman of the Year, and in 2022 received the Presidential Medal for Outstanding Contributions from the Republic of Cyprus.


All welcome!