Leading clinician-researcher & optics specialist return to Victoria

18 March

New optical technologies that could allow digital cameras to ‘see’ more than colour and a novel approach to treating acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) will be developed in Victoria as a result of the return of two world-class researchers as veski innovation fellows.

Dr Mark Dawson formerly of the University of Cambridge in the UK and Professor Kenneth Crozier from Harvard University in the USA were welcomed back to Victoria today by the Minister for Health, the Hon David Davis MLC in front of family, colleagues and representatives across the science community.

The Minister for Health, the Hon David Davis MLC announced that Dr Mark Dawson has returned to work at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre where he is leading a group of researchers in the newly established Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory while Professor Kenneth Crozier will return in July 2014 to join the University of Melbourne’s School of Physics and Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

“Both the research into epigenetics by Dr Dawson and the investigation of new optical technologies by Professor Crozier have the potential to lead to better health care outcomes, which is why it's critical for veski and the Victorian Government to bring these leading researchers back, enabling them to become embedded in the State's prestigious research communities,” the Hon David Davis said.

Dr Mark Dawson is one of Australia’s most promising and talented clinician-researchers and is working towards an effective treatment for AML. He aims to translate important basic science discoveries made in the laboratory into innovative and targeted cancer therapies, which will build on his previous collaborations with international pharmaceutical companies.

Dr Dawson is focused on epigenetic therapies which target proteins that package and regulate DNA and have shown remarkable promise in the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia. His project aims to study the most common subtype of AML and establish a novel targeted epigenetic therapy against this disease.

Professor Kenneth Crozier will return from Harvard University in July 2014 to continue the development of ground-breaking optical technologies with a range of potential applications from improved digital cameras to systems for imaging biological samples.

He will also establish a team of students and research fellows who will work with him to develop optical technologies based on nanoscience that could allow digital cameras to ‘see’ more than colour as well as individual viruses and molecules to be held in place and observed, and large area samples to be imaged at high resolution with unprecedented speed.

With 2014 marking veski’s 10 year anniversary, veski chief executive officer Ms Julia L Page said the board was excited to welcome the 19th and 20th innovation fellows to Victoria and would support them in joining the science and innovation communities.

“In veski’s first 10 years, we have been able to attract 20 of the world’s most outstanding researchers and scientists to continue their work in Victoria, and Dr Dawson and Professor Crozier join an impressive group which includes the President-elect of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor Andrew Holmes AM,” Ms Page said.

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