Cancer researcher Maria Kavallaris AM named NSW Premier’s woman of the year

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Internationally renowned scientist Professor Maria Kavallaris AM has been named the 2020 NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year – the top honour at the NSW Women of the Year awards. 

Prof. Kavallaris accepted the award from Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor at the WOTY Awards ceremony in Sydney today.

“Maria is a remarkable achiever whose ground-breaking research has led to more effective therapies for aggressive childhood cancers,” Ms Berejiklian said.

A further six outstanding women from across NSW took out the top spot in their nominated category, ranging from community heroes to lifetime achievers.

“Congratulations to all the incredible women who have deservedly been recognised; their achievements are an inspiration to women who want to make a difference.” Ms Berejiklian said.

Mrs Taylor said this year’s awards program attracted an unprecedented number of nominations and more than 7,000 votes in the publicly decided categories.

“Be it science, industry, business or community; every part of NSW has benefited from the outstanding contributions made by women,” Mrs Taylor said.

“You can’t be what you can’t see; so please join me in celebrating these women and sharing their stories of success to help improve the lives of girls and young women across our state.”

Dedicated to treating aggressive childhood cancers

Maria is an exceptional researcher, whose own journey with cancer aged 21, led her to dedicate her career to developing treatments for aggressive childhood cancers.

As founding director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine at UNSW, as well as head of the Tumour Biology and Targeting program at Children’s Cancer Institute, Maria has made key advances in our understanding and treatment of neuroblastoma; the most common cancer in babies and the third-most common cancer in children.

Her studies have not only identified how some tumours can grow and spread, she has also applied this knowledge to develop effective, less toxic cancer therapies using nanotechnology. Maria’s leadership in cancer nanomedicine has led to clinical and industry collaborations to translate her discoveries into practice.

Maria’s work has been recognised by many national and international awards, including the highly prestigious 2019 Lemberg Medal from the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

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