Dame Kate Campbell Fellow 2023

Breast Cancer Unit
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

My career at MDHS starts from 2014 when I was admitted to the Faculty as a PhD student. After completing my PhD in 2018, I became a postdoctoral researcher at MDHS, and have been working at the Faculty with support from external fellowships from NHMRC, Victorian Cancer Agency and Cancer Council Victoria. Now I am a Senior Research Fellow and the Deputy Head of the Breast Cancer Unit at Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, and am leading a team on cancer research at the Unit.

My research interest includes genetic and epigenetic epidemiology, cancer risk modelling and causal inference. I have several research projects on these topics, such as a project investigating how to better predict breast cancer risk using information from family history, genetics and lifestyle, a project investigating the causal risk factors of breast cancer, a project developing causal inference methods based on family data, and a project investigating the cancer risks of people with an inherited mutation in known cancer-related genes (e.g., BRCA1, BRCA2).

My work is highly relevant to the community and is directly translatable to health practice. For example, my research provided the evidence that, other than breast and ovarian cancers, people with mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes also have an increased risk of pancreatic, prostate and possible stomach cancers, and my research also provided the probabilities of developing these cancers for people carrying the mutations. These findings are very informative for the clinical management for people carrying the mutations and their close relatives.

To me, I think the Fellowship is a recognition first, which recognizes my past performance in research and leadership. I am very thrilled to receive this recognition, especially given that I am only four years post-PhD. Moreover, I think the Fellowship is an encouragement – it spurs me on to keep and improve my performance, and to continue conducting health and medical research that is relevant and helpful to the community, playing a leadership role in both the Faculty and my research field as an early-career researchers, and demonstrating the Faculty values.