Medicinal chemist wins inaugural De Burgh Fellowship

November 10, 2010

Medicinal chemist Dr Guillaume Lessene has been awarded the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute's inaugural de Burgh Fellowship at the institute's annual general meeting in Melbourne, Australia.

The $AUD150,000 de Burgh Fellowship honours the role Professor Patrick de Burgh played in shaping the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. It was established this year following the death of Professor de Burgh in August at the age of 94.

It was in Professor de Burgh's laboratory at the University of Sydney that institute legends Professor Donald Metcalf, Professor Jacques Miller and Sir Gustav Nossal obtained their first taste of research.

Professor de Burgh was a Bosch Professor or Bacteriology at the University of Sydney and worked on the pathogenesis of infectious disease.

Dr Lessene said it was a great honour to be named the de Burgh Fellow. "The fact the fellowship acknowledges translational research is really important -- that is what I do every day and it's great that these activities are supported by the fellowship and the institute," Dr Lessene said.

Dr Lessene translates research findings from the institute into the discovery and development of new drugs. His main focus is cancer research and Dr Lessene is currently working on developing inhibitors to the pro-survival Bcl-2 proteins that are involved in programmed cell death, for treatment of several types of cancer. He is also involved in projects looking at other cancer targets, such as tyrosine kinases, and non-cancer targets involved in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.

"We work in multidisciplinary teams in constant interaction with biologists to create small molecules that will interact with or modulate recognised cell signaling pathways or targets involved in disease, with the aim of treating or curing that disease," Dr Lessene said.

"The very high standing of the research at the institute is a key element in the success of our program. The Chemical Biology division of which I am part is there to take the next step, bringing these biological discoveries from the laboratory and translating them into molecules that have the right biological activities and properties to reach clinical trials and potentially become a new drug."

Institute director Professor Doug Hilton congratulated Dr Lessene and said the institute and the Australian community owed Professor de Burgh a great debt.

"One could only imagine the shape of Australian medical research today had Professor de Burgh provided a humdrum rather than an inspiring environment," Professor Hilton said.

"The De Burgh Fellowship is awarded to a scientist with an outstanding record of research or research translation, who collaborates productively with other members of the faculty, and who is likely to make a major contribution to the institute in the long term. Guillaume meets all these criteria with aplomb."
-end-


Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.