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Champions of cutting-edge medical research

The CASS Foundation is a longstanding supporter of WEHI, having championed cutting-edge medical research at the institute for over 20 years. The Foundation is focused on supporting two medical research funding streams – early career travel awards and ‘proof-of-concept’ research projects.

These two arms are complementary in their mission to support the developing careers of rising stars in medical research. Providing travel grants to scientists during the early stages of their career provides them the opportunity to grow professionally, while developing crucial and lasting collaborations that place them in good stead to make significant advances in their chosen field.

The Foundation also provides pivotal funding for ‘proof-of-concept’ projects that have the potential to make strides forward in our understanding of disease and treatments, but would be unlikely to attract funding from government due to their higher risk. This type of support is transformative for our scientists’ careers as it provides the ability to perform experiments that are daring, take calculated risks, but have the possibility of an enormous payoff.

The CASS Foundation meets with past grant recipients at WEHI. L-R: Dr Phillip Pymm, David Abraham AM, Tamara Abraham, Associate Professor Tracy Putoczki, David Aitken, Dr Marcel Doerflinger.
Above: The CASS Foundation meets with past grant recipients at WEHI. L-R: Dr Phillip Pymm, David Abraham AM, Tamara Abraham, Associate Professor Tracy Putoczki, David Aitken, Dr Marcel Doerflinger.

WEHI researcher Dr Marcel Doerflinger was fortunate enough to receive both a travel award and a research project grant from The CASS Foundation in 2017 and 2018. These grants were received at a pivotal time in his career, within three years of him being awarded his PhD.

Dr Doerflinger’s work focuses on infectious diseases, specifically on the interactions between our immune system and invading pathogens, with the aim to develop new therapeutic options to improve disease outcomes.

“The ability to travel to a prestigious international conference kick-started my career by enabling me to make connections with specialists in my niche field of research that ultimately formed the basis of my current research program,”
– Dr Marcel Doerflinger

This support, along with research funding provided by The CASS Foundation, drove Dr Doerflinger’s research forwards, which has been marked by multiple impactful findings published in scientific journals. This success affirmed his position as an emerging leader in his field and culminated in his recent appointment as a laboratory head at WEHI.  

“I am grateful to The CASS Foundation for the support they provided to me as an early-career researcher, as the long-term impacts have been truly immense,” said Dr Doerflinger. 

The Foundation’s dedication and passion for medical research has not only progressed our knowledge, but has also propelled the careers of many WEHI scientists, like Dr Doerflinger, enabling them to build international collaborations and independent research teams to drive forward transformational science. 

Header image: Dr Marcel Doerflinger

Ways you can support WEHI

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