Professor Jane Visvader & Professor Geoffrey Lindeman

2017 Victoria Prize for Science & Innovation

Professors Jane Visvader and Geoffrey Lindeman have been awarded the 2017 Victoria Prize in recognition of their legacy for cancer research activities in Australia and their ongoing efforts to translate basic discoveries to the clinic.

In 1997, Professors Visvader and Lindeman were recruited to Victoria from Boston to establish a new Breast Cancer Laboratory at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute as part of the Victorian Breast Cancer Research Consortium.

The initiatives arising from the establishment of their laboratory, which required a shift in their research focus to breast cancer and the introduction of new technologies and models within the institute, created a legacy for cancer research activities in Australia.

Discoveries made by the pair and their team have altered the way breast cancer is viewed by researchers. They have pioneered a new field of research in breast cancer, related to breast stem cell biology, and their group’s work has laid a framework for ongoing efforts to translate basic discoveries to the clinic. These discoveries are poised to deliver improved breast cancer outcomes for women today and for generations to follow.

Victoria’s research community continues to benefit from their complementary skills. Jane trained as a molecular and cellular biologist and initially obtained her PhD in plant molecular biology, while Geoffrey trained as a medical oncologist before undertaking a PhD in the haematopoietic field, gaining expertise in mouse models.

Since 1998, they have worked closely as a team, acquiring new expertise in breast cancer research. In parallel, Geoffrey has facilitated the establishment of a Tissue Bank and Familial Cancer Centre with direct engagement with their laboratory research program. His joint sessional appointment at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has also ensured direct links to the clinic for the team and through his clinical trial activities, the team has gained direct access to clinical trial experts and has established high-level links to the pharmaceutical industry.

Jane and Geoffrey have received numerous awards, both individually and jointly, including the 2016 Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research.