Scientific Advisory Committee

Providing our board with external industry-based and relevant medical perspective and comment in assessing project funding applications. Their role is to ensure the Foundation’s ability to continue achieving its goals of funding scientific excellence. 

Together they provide our board with external industry-based and relevant medical perspective and comment in assessing project funding applications. Their role is to ensure the Foundation’s ability to continue achieving its goals of funding scientific excellence.

We’re proud to have the support of this exemplary group of volunteers proving their various medical, clinical, psychology, paediatric and science expertise to our board to assist them with determining the projects and roles that advance childhood cancer research and treatment the Foundation will fund.

Meet the MyRoom and Children’s Cancer Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee Members

Board and staff members who have been directly affected by childhood cancer

Prof. Doug Hilton AO – Chairman

Director, Walter + Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research 

Prof. Doug Hilton is best known for his discoveries in the area of cytokine signalling and, his advocacy for health & medical research and gender equity in science. His lab aims to understand which of the 30,000 genes are important in the production and function of blood cells, and how this information can be used to better prevent, diagnose, and treat blood cell diseases such as leukaemia, arthritis, and asthma. Prof. Hilton has been awarded numerous prizes for his research into how blood cells communicate and has led major collaborations with industry to translate his discoveries from bench to bedside.

Prof. David Ashley MD

Director, The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke

Prof. Ashley is a professor in the Departments of Neurosurgery, Paediatrics, Medicine, and Pathology at Duke University. His career in cancer research dates more than two decades, with his primary research focus on the immunology, epigenetics, and genetics of brain tumours. His achievements in research have led to change in practice in the care of both children and adults with brain tumours. Prof. Ashley is highly regarded for his work, as evidenced by numerous awards and invitations to plenary sessions and symposia of international standing.

Prof. Sarah-Jane Dawson

Professor, Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, University of Melbourne

Prof. Sarah-Jane Dawson is a clinician-scientist. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Melbourne in 1998, and trained as a medical oncologist in Melbourne, Australia. She completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK. Following postdoctoral studies at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, she returned to Melbourne in 2014 to head the Molecular Biomarkers and Translational Genomics Laboratory at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Her current research interests are focused on the development of non-invasive blood-based biomarkers (‘liquid biopsies’) for clinical application, including early detection, risk stratification and disease monitoring in cancer management.

Stephen Jane

Dean, Sub faculty of Translational Medicine and Public Health, Monash University

Prof. Jane is Foundation Dean, Sub-Faculty of Translational Medicine and Public Health. He was Head of Central Clinical School (2011-2019), Monash University and is Director of Research for Alfred Hospital. He is also a member of the Clinical Haematology Service. Professor Jane has a range of research interests investigating both developmental and acquired disorders of the blood and skin in mouse models. At a basic level, this involves the study of gene transcription. He currently holds a number of NHandMRC and other competitive grants. He has published over 120 papers including articles in Science, Nature Medicine and Developmental Cell.

Nicole la Gruta

ARC Future Fellow and Professor, Monash University

Nicole La Gruta is head of the T cell development and function laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash University. She received her Ph.D. from Monash University in 2000 and her postdoctoral training at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Nicole was recruited to Monash University in 2016 where she undertakes a comprehensive program of research to elucidate the key determinants of robust T cell immunity, as well as having a keen interest in understanding the molecular basis of T cell dysfunction in the elderly.

Kate Johnson

Chair of the Children’s Cancer Centre Parent’s Advisory Group at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne

Kate holds a Ph.D., Psychology and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne She has also been involved in academic research experience at leading medical research institutions including Harvard Medical School. Kate’s experience includes hands-on management of data-intensive research programs, facilitation of research collaborations, analysis and publication of research outcomes, submission of grant applications, development and documentation of core operating policies and procedures. Kate is also the mother of David, now 11. At age 3, David was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

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