New awards to build up the future for early career skin cancer researchers

The future of skin and skin cancer research gets a boost from the Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Research Centre (ASSC), 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, today announced five early career researchers will receive an ASSC grant via the scheme.

Professor H. Peter Soyer, UQ chair in dermatology and co-lead of the ASSC, said that this round saw the largest ever number of applications to the scheme.

“The depth of skin and skin cancer research being conducted across our institutions is very promising.”

Professor David Whiteman, Deputy Director at QIMR Berghofer and ASSC co-lead, said that by supporting research careers early you further more than just the research project itself.

“It allows researchers to build a track record that can help them to obtain larger grants and build a career in research.” Professor Whiteman said.

These newly funded projects span areas from wound healing to new treatment strategies in skin cancer to genetic risk score for melanoma and new melanoma diagnostics.

UQ researcher Priscila Oliveira de Lima was awarded a grant for her project which analyses the impact of the immune system in perineural invasion of cutaneous SCC of the head and neck (cSCCHN) following treatment with a novel combination therapy.

“Ultimately, information regarding immune cell engagement and activation following combination therapy in preclinical models will provide additional data to support inclusion of patients with perineural spread of cSCCHN in phase II clinical trials.”

“Obtaining this grant is a great opportunity for early career researchers such as myself to advance their career, expand their knowledge and grow confidence by gaining more experience in project management and developing leadership skills.”

“It will also help open doors for other great research opportunities in the future.” Ms de Lima said.

Congratulations to the following UQ and QIMR Berghofer researchers for their 2020 ASSC Early Career Researcher Grants:

  • Dr Danielle Kamato (UQ) & Dr Sarika Namjoshi (UQ), Dr Yousuf Mohammed (UQDI), Dr Tushar Kumeria (UQ) -“Biodegradable Silicon Micro-Rods for Enhanced Local Delivery of TRAP for accelerated wound healing”
  • Mr Gregory Kelly (QIMR Berghofer) & A/Prof Jason Lee (QIMRB) Prof Nick Hayward (QIMR Berghofer) – “The role of epigenetic modifiers in non-cutaneous melanoma”
  • Ms Priscila O. de Lima (UQDI) & A/Prof Fiona Simpson (UQDI), Prof Glen Boyle (QIMR Berghofer) – “Novel Therapeutic Strategies for the Treatment of Cutaneous SCC of the Head and Neck with Perineural Invasion”
  • Dr Quan Nguyen (UQ) & Dr Mitchell Stark (UQDI), Dr Tobias Bald (QIMR Berghofer) – “Developing precision melanoma diagnostics using spatial sequencing, tissue imaging and machine learning”
  • Dr Tatiane Yanes (UQDI) & A/Prof Matthew Law (QIMR Berghofer) – “Translating Polygenic Risk Scores: feasibility, acceptability, and impact of proving melanoma holistic risk information”

This is the second year the ASSC has supported the Early Career Researcher Scheme, 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.