Young cancer researcher to meet the world's best

March 30, 2008

A young Hunter cancer researcher will visit the United States next week to meet with some of the world's leading cancer researchers and establish research alliances for our region.

Gladys M. Brawn Memorial Post Doctoral Research Fellow Dr Nikola Bowden from the University of Newcastle has been awarded a PULSE Education Prize to attend two international cancer research meetings in San Diego.

Dr Bowden will present the results of her early research into a rare childhood skin cancer disorder, Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), at the world's largest cancer meeting, the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research. She will also attend the Illumina User Group Meeting to learn from experts in genetic research.

The prize is supported by PULSE, a group of young Hunter business people who organise social events to raise money for the Hunter Medical Research Institute's (HMRI) early career researchers.

"As a young researcher, it is most valuable to establish collaborations with other research groups beyond the Hunter. Even though we have a lot of expertise here, talking and exchanging details of recent findings with researchers from international research centres is one of the fastest ways to enhance our research," said Dr Bowden.

"Xeroderma Pigmentosum affects 1 in 250,000 people and results in extreme sensitivity to UV light and a significantly increased risk of sunlight induced skin cancer. As the number of XP patients is quite low in Australia, initiating a collaboration with XP researchers overseas will increase the number of patients involved in my research. This will provide better results and will help me to attract continued funding for my research.

"International collaborations increase the level of expertise in the Hunter region and also assist in highlighting the high level of expertise we already have here."
Dr Bowden's XP research is funded by the Matthew Heaney Memorial Trust and HMRI Life Governor Jennie Thomas.

Dr Bowden is a member of the University of Newcastle's Priority Research Centre for Bioinformatics, Biomarker Discovery and Information Based Medicine and works in collaboration with HMRI's Information Based Medicine Research Program. HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.

Dr Nikola Bowden is available for interview and photographs at John Hunter Hospital today.

Research Australia

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