Funding success for early career skin cancer researchers

The Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Research Centre (ASSC), is backing new research into skin and skin cancer with the announcement of the four 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 four early career researchers were successful in receiving an ASSC grant via the scheme.

Professor H. Peter Soyer, UQ chair in dermatology and co-lead of the ASSC, said that the Centre is proud to support researchers in the early stage of their career.

“Supporting researchers in their early career gives them a step up in applying for larger competitive grant schemes”.

These newly funded projects span areas from artificial intelligence to new technologies to investigate melanoma progression.

UQ Diamantina Institute researcher Dr Brigid Betz-Stablein was awarded a grant for her project which aims to create the first database of 3D total body images focusing on Australians with skin of colour, and to quantify problems of not using diverse, representative data when training artificial intelligence models for dermatology.

“There is a lack of diversity in dermatology imaging databases leading to highly biased artificial algorithms that are only generalizable across the largely Caucasian populations on which they are developed.”

“The ASSC funding has made it possible to proactively address the lack of diversity in dermatology datasets and to make the advances from artificial intelligence models beneficial for all.”

Congratulations to the following UQ and QIMR Berghofer researchers for their 2021 ASSC Early Career Researcher Grants:

  • Dr Brigid Betz-Stablein (UQDI) and A/Prof Catherine Olsen (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute): “Artificial Intelligence and 3D imaging of the total skin surface in Australians with skin of colour”
  • Dr Mathias Seviiri (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute) and Prof Daniel Chambers (Metro North Hospital Health Service): “Optimising keratinocyte cancer risk stratification in lung transplant recipients: A pilot incorporating genetic-environmental factors.”
  • Dr Loredana Spoerri (UQDI), Dr Jacinta Simmons (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute), Prof Glen Boyle (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute): “Understanding control of extra-cellular matrix composition and leukocyte infiltration in melanoma.”
  • Dr Mitchell Stark (UQDI) and Dr Harald Oey (UQDI), Prof H Peter Soyer (UQDI), Prof Gabrielle Belz (UQDI), A/Prof Andreas Moller (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute): “Investigating tumour infiltrating lymphocytes and primary melanoma progression via spatially resolved whole transcriptome sequencing.”

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.

The Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Research Centre (ASSC) was established in 2016 by The University of Queensland and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in recognition of the internationally recognised talent in skin and skin cancer research in Brisbane.

Media: Melissa Kerr,, +61 3443 7494.