ASSC grant success for early career researchers announced

The Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Research Centre (ASSC), is backing new research into skin and skin cancer with the announcement of the winners of the ASSC Early Career Researcher Scheme.

The ASSC, which is a joint collaboration of The University of Queensland and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, recently announced three early career researchers were successful in receiving an ASSC grant via the scheme.

The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute researcher Dr Arutha Kulasinghe was awarded a grant which will focus on metabolic profiling of skin cancers using cutting-edge tissue mapping approaches.

Despite the advances in treatment in recent year, 40‐50% cutaneous melanoma patients do not respond to immunotherapy, and a significant proportion of melanoma patients who show an initial response, later develop treatment resistance.

“This is a new approach for understanding metabolic, epigenetic and immune infiltration directly from tissue samples – providing us new insights into therapy resistance and sensitivity in skin cancer.” Said Dr Kulasinghe.

“The funding will enable us to have a new lens of enquiry for skin cancers.”

The this is the fourth year of the scheme that aims to support researchers in the early stage of their career.

Congratulations to the following researchers for their 2022 ASSC Early Career Researcher Grants:

  • Dr Arutha Kulasinghe (UQDI) and Associate Professor Jason Lee (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute): Investigating melanoma immune evasion via modulating metabolic processes through epigenetic means.
  • Dr Mitchell Stark (UQDI), Dr Harald Oey (UQDI) and Wendy Kao (UQDI): Spatially resolved transcriptional profiling of benign keratinocytic proliferations.
  • Dr Gustavo Rodrigues Rossi (UQDI), Dr Fernando S.F. Guimaraes (UQDI) and Timothy McCulloch (UQ): Tumour necrosis factor as new checkpoint inhibitor for natural killer cells-based immunotherapy for melanoma.  

The ASSC look forwards to the awardees presenting their results at an ASSC annual event.

The awards were presented in person at the Alan Cooper Epiderm Lecture, hosted The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute’s Dermatology Research Centre.

The ASSC Early Career Researcher Scheme aims to encourage collaboration between UQ and QIMR Berghofer and to accelerate translational outcomes in skin disease and skin cancer research.

Media: Melissa Kerr,, +61 3443 7494.