MPCCC is excited to announce the prize winners of its inaugural State-wide search for Outstanding Cancer Research and to acknowledge the highly ranked nominees with an honourable mention.

This highly prestigious award set out to identify and reward cancer research excellence in Victoria and encourage future research leadership.

For the first time in MPCCC’s history of awards recognising and supporting cancer researchers, the MPCCC opened this opportunity to all Victorian mid-career researchers.

Candidates were nominated by their colleagues, based on a recent impactful publication, and its contribution to advancing our understanding of cancer. Research leadership was also an important factor considered by the National review panel.

“Victoria demonstrates great strengths in mid-career researchers providing great optimism for the quality of future research and research leadership in this state” said Professor Melissa Southey, Chair of the MPCCC Executive.

The winners of the MPCCC Award for Outstanding Cancer Research will present their research at a seminar on Friday 13 November. Register for webinar >>

Award for Outstanding Cancer Research – 2020 prize winners

The MPCCC would like to congratulate the two award winners who have each received $5000.


Dr Pouya Faridi, Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University

Dr Pouya Faridi’s research has made two new ground-breaking observations in melanoma; firstly that spliced peptide antigens are shared between different tumours from individuals expressing the same HLA allomorphs and secondly that they are as frequently immunogenic as more conventional cancer associated antigens or mutation bearing neoantigens. These observations have had immediate clinical application via a vaccine clinical trial at the University of Pennsylvania.

Read more here

Associate Professor Renea Taylor, Deputy Head, Biomedicine Discovery Institute Cancer Program, Monash University

A/Prof Taylor discovered that unlike most other cancers which rely on glucose to fuel growth, human prostate cancer is reliant on fats to grow.  Her research also showed that prostate cancer growth can be reduced by up to 50%, by blocking the uptake of these fats into prostate tumours, either by genetic approaches in mice or using an antibody that blocks the action of a protein, termed CD36, that transports fatty acids into tumours.

Read more here


Award for Outstanding Cancer Research – Honourable mentions

The MPCCC would like to acknowledge the following highly ranked candidates with an honourable mention:

Dr Sarah Best, Senior Research Fellow, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Dr Best identified a new pathway that can be exploited to target KEAP1 mutant lung cancer, a subtype of adenocarcinoma, bringing personalised medicine closer to the patient.

Read more here


Dr Rebekah Engel, Cabrini Monash Department of Surgery and Epithelial Regeneration Laboratory, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University

Dr Engel investigated the role of a newly defined population of stem cells, “revival” stem cells, in colorectal cancer and more specifically, how this influences chemoresistance.

Read More here

Dr Jessica Holien, Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, RMIT University

Dr Holien discovered a therapeutic target for the children’s cancer, Neuroblastoma, and the multi-disciplinary group of researchers are currently designing drugs to inhibit this target.

Read more here