Funded Projects

The Cindy Sullivan Fellowship takes the form of a 2-year grant allowing payment of a stipend to the value of $100,000 per year plus an additional $10,000 per year for research support.

It has been awarded to two research projects:

  • Genetic profiling of women with low-grade serious ovarian cancer by Dr Dane Cheasley
  • Aboriginal women at increased risk of cervical cancer incidence and mortality: Quantifying the risk in an era of national prevention programs by Dr Aime Powell

Aboriginal women at increased risk of cervical cancer incidence and mortality

In 2018 Dr Aime Powell BExSc MExSc PhD was awarded the Cindy Sullivan Fellowship. She is currently employed by The Institute of Health Research, University of Notre Dame and is funded by St John of God Hospital Subiaco as an Early Career Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Her research project is entitled “Aboriginal women at increased risk of cervical cancer incidence and mortality: Quantifying the risk in an era of national prevention programs.”

In 2016, the National Framework for Gynaecological Cancer Control reported a critical need to improve gynaecological cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (including prevention of cervical cancer). Aboriginal women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer and four times more likely to die from the disease when compared to non-aboriginal women. There has been no reduction in cervical cancer incidence and mortality for Aboriginal women despite the National HPV Vaccination Program and the National Cervical Screening Program.

Dr Paul Cohen, Director Gynaecological Cancer research, St John of God Hospital Subiaco, will be supervising Dr Powell in her research. Dr Cohen is a well-respected and active member for the Australian Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, The Australian and New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group, and the Australian Society of Gynaecological Oncologists (ASGO).

You can read an update on Dr Powell’s research here.

Genetic profiling of women with low-grade serous ovarian cancer

Dr Dane Cheasley BBiolSc (hons), PhD from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne was selected as the successful applicant for the AGCF and Way in Network Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award 2017 – AGCF’s first Postdoctoral Fellowship grant.

Dr Cheasley currently holds a full time position at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre as a Postdoctoral Fellow, working on genetic and genomic studies of interval breast cancers and rare ovarian cancers. He has also held a postdoctoral research fellowship position at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne

Dr Cheasley’s research hopes to fill in one of the gaps in the current treatment of ovarian cancer. Despite the fact that 200,000 women are diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer world-wide annually and only approximately 40% survive five years, ovarian cancer has for many years  been treated as a single disease.

It is now known that there are multiple distinct subtypes of ovarian cancer, and each subtype has a different genetic profile. One of the less common subtypes is low-grade serous carcinoma, which is particularly common in young women. This cancer is difficult to treat because it is usually resistant to chemotherapy. Dr Cheasley’s research will look at the genetic profile of women with low-grade serous ovarian cancer, with a view to   better understanding why the disease is resistant to  chemotherapy. His research will also attempt to  develop a new, effective gene (or targeted) therapy for the disease.

Professor Ian Campbell, Head of the  Cancer Genetics Laboratory at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre will be supervising Dr Cheasley in his research. Professor Campbell is an industry pioneer in breast and ovarian cancer genetics and geometrics and has established an international reputation for research excellence in these areas.

You can read an update on Dr Cheasley’s research here.