Second Prime Minister's Prize for veski family

31 October

Dr Mark Shackleton who returned to Victoria in 2010 as a veski innovation fellow has been awarded one of this year’s Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.

Dr Shackleton received the $50,000 Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year in recognition of his work on breast cancer and melanoma, which is transforming our understanding of how cancers grow and resist treatment.

Mark is the second veski innovation fellow to receive the Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year following in the footsteps of Professor Michael Cowley FTSE.

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science were presented by the Prime Minister and Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research at the Prize Dinner in the Great Hall of Parliament House on Wednesday 31 October.

When asked why he went into cancer research, Mark said all he ever really wanted to be was a doctor—and to cure cancer.

“I have a problem with a culture that spends millions of dollars on advances that provide only two or three months of extra survival to patients. A 22-year-old with cancer wants 50 more years, not just a few months. So I really wanted to do something brand new, to contribute in a way that was more fundamental than prescribing drugs too often of limited efficacy. What impresses me about basic science is its power to change history. Its potential impact is quite staggering.”

Mark returned to Victoria to work at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre where he is a Medical Oncologist and Group Leader of the Melanoma Research Laboratory.

He relocated from the University of Michigan in a town called Ann Arbor, USA, and since returning to Australia as a veski innovation fellow he has been awarded a significant amount of funding including a Pfizer Australia Research Fellowship worth $1 million.

As well as leading his research team at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Mark continues to care for melanoma patients at regular clinics at the institution.

Other recipients of the 2012 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science included:

  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Science - Ken Freeman
  • Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year – Eric May
  • The Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools - Michael van der Ploeg
  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools - Anita Trenwith

Visit the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science website for more information about Mark’s award and to watch a video about his work.

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