National honour for leukaemia research leader

14 Mar 2019
National honour for leukaemia research leader

The Director of SAHMRI’s Cancer Program, Professor Deb White, has been honoured as the only South Australian-based recipient at last night’s National Health and Medical Research Council’s Research Excellence Awards. 

Professor White says she’s excited but humbled to be judged by her peers as the top ranked applicant for the R.D Wright Biomedical Career Development Fellowship – Level 2. 

“This is an incredible honour and it’s important to recognise my team of dedicated post docs and students who deserve to be receiving this with me,” Professor White said. 

“We have done much of what we have to date on a shoestring and I can’t thank them enough for having the faith to take this crazy journey with me.” 

SAHMRI’s Executive Director, Professor Steve Wesselingh, congratulated Professor White on becoming the second NHMRC Research Excellence Award recipient in the institute’s five-year history. 

“Deb is a leader, a teacher and an innovator whose work on leukaemia, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia in particular, is having a discernible impact on the lives of patients,” he said. 

“She’s active not just in the lab but recognises the need to involve patients and their families in every stage of the research process.” 

While gratefully receiving her award, Professor White says nothing can compare to the satisfaction of helping people battle leukaemia or related diseases. 

“You need to be working in an area where you are impassioned,” she said. 

“The acute lymphoblastic leukaemia field is rapidly evolving, not only in the genomics area but more recently in assessing the life-long effects of high dose chemotherapy and other treatments. 

“My fulfillment comes from working in a field where the potential to make a significant difference for our patients is now tangible.” 

Professor White is also the Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia Flagship Leader for Australian Genomics, a member of the Zero Children’s Cancer Initiative and a Professor in both Medicine and Paediatrics at the University of Adelaide. 

SAHMRI's Cancer Theme is supported by funding from Cancer Council SA's Beat Cancer Project.