And the Frank Fenner Prize for Life Sciences goes to....

29 October

veski innovation fellow, Professor Mark Dawson has been recognised in the 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science for his pioneering research in the field of epigenetics and its impact on human health and disease.

Professor Dawson was awarded the prestigious Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, in an evening ceremony conducted online due to COVID-19.

Professor Dawson is a clinician-scientist and Peter Mac’s Associate Director of Research Translation. Over the past decade he has made ground-breaking discoveries that have revolutionised the treatment of blood cancers.

Mark is just one of veski's global talent attraction successes, with veski innovation fellows realising a ROI to the State of Victoria of 18.4:1.

In 2014, veski with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, returned Mark to Australia from the Deptartment of Haematology, University of Cambridge, to undertake his research into studying the most common subtype of AML and to establish a novel targeted epigenetic therapy against this disease.

In offering his congratulations, Peter Mac Executive Director of Cancer Research Professor Ricky Johnstone said Professor Dawson was a “rare talent in Australian life sciences, with an outstanding track record of translating fundamental scientific discoveries into changes to clinical practice”.

“Professor Dawson has revolutionised the field of epigenetics in cancer, and in the development of improved treatment of people with cancer,” he said.

“He is an absolute global leader by any metric or criteria.”

Professor Dawson’s research has created a platform for more than 30 clinical trials across more than 20 countries, providing access to potentially life-extending novel therapies for people with cancer. He has been a named Chief Investigator on major projects receiving more than $12.5 million in national and international funding.

Professor Andrew Roberts, Cancer Theme Leader at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research said: “any one of Professor Dawson’s achievements should be considered outstanding on their own. That by mid-career he has made such significant contributions is truly exceptional.”

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are Australia’s most prestigious awards for outstanding achievements in scientific research, research-based innovation, and excellence in science teaching.

The 2020 awards were announced on Wednesday evening (28 October) at an event held online due to the pandemic. You can re-watch the event, and see information about all award recipients, here.

[Courtesy of Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre]

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