Brain cancer kills more Australian children than any other disease. My mission is to change that statistic, and to make sure kids diagnosed with brain cancer can lead long, happy and healthy lives.
When I studied the human body at university, there were so many fascinating subjects that I couldn’t choose what I liked best. A friend suggested I combine my interests, which were neuroscience (study of the brain) and oncology (the study of cancer), so I chose to research brain cancer! I completed my training in neuroscience and oncology at one of the top universities in the world, the University of Oxford. Now I’m back in Australia using my expertise to develop more effective, less toxic treatments for kids with brain cancer.
Survival rates for kids with brain cancer have barely changed in 30 years, and the treatments we use haven’t changed either. We desperately need more research into this devastating disease, so that we can develop better treatments. To do this, we need more funding for scientific research in Australia. We need research to be able to provide hope to kids with cancer and their families. I hope that in the future young people can see cancer research as an exciting career path, and I hope to inspire them to join the search for a cure.
I was the first Aboriginal woman to graduate with a PhD from the University of Oxford. Ten years ago there had never been an Aboriginal person studying at Oxford or Cambridge. Now there are more than 40 of us, and we have the trailblazers who came before us to thank. Aboriginal people are doing great things in mathematics, medicine, the arts, and the sciences. We are setting a path for the next generation of young Australians to follow, and I hope we can be successful in teaching and inspiring them to reach their potential, in cancer research or wherever that may lie.