My research interests involve the identification of genetic events underlying the growth of metastatic melanoma with a strong focus on translating these findings into new therapeutic applications. This includes understanding the genetics of both melanoma predisposition and the somatic events leading to tumorigenesis. More recently as a NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow, I have been using genome-wide shRNA and CRISPR functional screens to identify melanoma specific dependencies and interrogate mechanisms of resistance observed in targeted drug regimes. My long-term career goal is to improve the dismal survival rates for patients with late-stage melanoma, contributing to the transition of metastatic melanoma into a manageable and controllable form of disease.
Besides my research, I have a strong passion for science communication and the professional development of early-career researchers. I believe, as scientists, we have an obligation to inform the community on the outcomes of our research, in particular, those studies that are funded by government organizations. Through these efforts, we can promote the benefits of medical research, inspire the next-generation of scientists and educate the public on preventative strategies to reduce the burden of cancer in society (this is particularly important for melanoma, a disease of which is largely preventable). As future scientific leaders, empowering early-career researchers to achieve their maximum potential is critical for moving the field forward to prevent and cure cancer. Since joining the Associate membership and attending my first AACR Annual Meeting in 2010, I have continued to appreciate and benefit from the opportunities and excellent resources that the AACR provides. I relish the opportunity to be involved with the AACR Associate Member Council and strive to contribute exceptional programming to help advance the careers of my fellow colleagues and peers.