2018 Bupa Health Foundation Researcher Award Winner announced

Congratulations to Dr Jennifer Huynh, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI) who has won the 2018 Bupa Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award for her research focused on identifying new therapies for colorectal cancer using the immune system.

Dr Huynh was announced as the recipient of the Emerging Health Researcher Award for 2018 and will receive the prize of $25,000 to further her research career.

Annette Schmiede, Bupa Health Foundation Executive Leader said the Emerging Health Researcher Award was created to provide financial assistance to early career researchers as well as recognise the important contribution they make to the health of Australians. This comes at a critical time in their research careers.

Annette Schmiede, Bupa Health Foundation Executive Leader
These awards began out of a desire to support early career researchers whose drive and commitment often out way the financial remuneration of the role.

We must ensure we have a healthy pipeline of emerging researchers if we are to enable Australia’s research sector to be a leader and globally competitive.
Annette Schmiede, Bupa Health Foundation Executive Leader

Dr Huynh has a keen interest in understanding how the immune system works and how cancer cells can evade detection by the immune response. She has discovered that a molecule produced in our bodies called IL-11 can drive the growth of tumours, by preventing the immune system from attacking and killing colorectal cancer cells.

Dr Huynh is currently actively working with clinicians, researchers and industry to develop and test drugs that can block IL-11 to deliver a new therapy for cancer patients.

With colorectal cancer being among the deadliest cancers, Dr Huynh’s work has the potential to have lasting impact on the survivorship of Australian’s suffering from colorectal cancer.

Dr Huynh was nominated by Professor Matthias Ernst, Scientific Director, ONJCRI who said Dr Huynh has got a bright research career ahead of her.

“It’s quite clear Jennifer is a fantastic scientist and I think she stands out as one of the people that will eventually go on to run her own independent research lab,” said Professor Ernst.

  • In addition to Dr Huynh, three additional outstanding early career researcher were acknowledged as award finalists each receiving $5,000 to continue their research in the following areas: Reducing hospital readmission and death after heart failure

  • Reducing obesity through nutrition guidelines and programs in childcare centres

  • Using technology to improve the physical and mental health of Australian adolescents

Ms Schmiede said the finalists are all working in diverse areas focusing on improving better health outcomes for Australians.

“Our finalists are a diverse group- clinician researchers, biomedical researchers, public health researchers and health system researchers,” said Ms Schmiede.

“The diversity among the award finalists is a reminder of the depth and breadth of the research sector as well as the scope of the health challenges we must tackle.”

Previous Emerging Health Researcher Award winners:

2017 Dr Amanda McCullough, Bond University

2016 Associate Professor Gail Garvey, Menzies School of Health Research

2015 Dr Gabrielle McCallum, Menzies School of Health Research.

2014 Dr Greg Ebert, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

2013 Dr Andy Hsu, Peter McCallum Cancer Centre

2012 Dr Priya Sumithran, University of Melbourne

More information on the Bupa Health Foundation and Emerging Researcher Awards

The Bupa Health Foundation is one of Australia’s leading corporate foundations dedicated to health. We are committed to improving the health of the Australian community and ensuring the sustainability of affordable healthcare through collaborative partnerships.

The Bupa Health Foundation was established in 2005 and has invested more than $31million to support over 120 projects in real health and care improvements.

The Emerging Health Researcher Awards is celebrating its sixth anniversary after being established in 2012.

For more information please visit www.bupa.com.au/foundation.


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