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Spotlight on talented researchers at Science on the Swan

Two of the faculty’s talented postgraduate students, from the School of Biomedical Sciences Stem Cell and Cancer Biology Laboratory, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, were awarded Best Poster Prizes at the annual Science on the Swan conference.  Curtin was a conference partner for the event, which had the theme of Cutting Edge with a focus on developed or developing medical devices that improve the quality of life and wellbeing of the community.

The three day conference, which is in its second year, featured leading local and international health and medical researchers, and is designed to broaden scientists’ exposure to innovative new research, and offer a platform for outstanding local projects to be showcased. Curtin presented 18 posters at the event.

Abhijeet Deshmukh won the prize for his poster ‘The role of secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (sFRP4) in Chemo-sensitisation of Cancer Stem cells’ and Sebastian Pohl was awarded for his poster ‘DEAD-Box Helicase DP103 regulates Wnt/β-catenin signalling in triple negative breast cancer stem-like cells’. It is the second Science on the Swan award for Mr Pohl.

Sebastian Pohl was awarded best poster presentation prize for his poster 'DEAD-Box Helicase DP103 regulates Wnt/β-catenin signalling in triple negative breast cancer stem-like cells'.
Sebastian Pohl was awarded best poster presentation prize for his poster 'DEAD-Box Helicase DP103 regulates Wnt/β-catenin signalling in triple negative breast cancer stem-like cells'.

Mr Pohl and Mr Deshmukh are part of the Stem Cell and Cancer Biology Laboratory headed by Professor Arunasalam Dharmarajan.  Their work is aimed at understanding the interaction between signalling molecules associated with cancer formation and progression, and how to inhibit these interactions by using the endogenously produced protein secreted frizzled-related protein 4.

Mr Deshmukh said the support of Professor Arunasalam Dharmarajan had been critical to the success of his project.

“I would like to add a special mention for Professor Dharmarajan for all his support throughout my project, which is very good reflection of our group and institute,” he said.

Abhijeet Deshmukh was awarded best poster presentation prize for his poster 'The role of secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (sFRP4) in Chemo-sensitisation of Cancer Stem cells'.
Abhijeet Deshmukh was awarded best poster presentation prize for his poster 'The role of secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (sFRP4) in Chemo-sensitisation of Cancer Stem cells'.

The conference, which ran from Tuesday 3 May to Thursday 5 May 2016, connects leading researchers from across Australia with the medical research talent of Western Australia. It is run in collaboration with Curtin, UWA, Murdoch, ECU and Notre Dame, and in partnership with the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, the Telethon Kids Institute, WA Health Translation Network, the key teaching and research hospitals and the WA Government through the Department of Health and the Office of Science.

Science on the Swan received a lot of media coverage, including a profile of   Dr Nina Tirnitz-Parker, Senior Research Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences, in The West Australian.