University of Western Australia: National prize for world-leading asbestos diseases researcher

An internationally recognised researcher from The University of Western Australia who has helped shape the practice of medical oncology in Australia and around the world has been awarded a national prize.

Professor Anna Nowak, an oncologist and UWA’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health and Medical Research), was presented the with the inaugural 2021 Professor M. Tattersall Heroes Award in recognition of her contribution to the discipline of medical oncology in Australia.

The award, presented by the Medical Oncology Group of Australia, acknowledges contributions by Australian medical oncologists which honour the spirit, courage and commitment of the late Professor Martin H Tattersall AO, and his significant contributions to medical oncology in Australia.

Professor Nowak has been an active mentor and teacher in medical oncology and has made leadership contributions to her discipline, including as Chair of the CoOperative Group for NeuroOncology.

The award also recognises her compassionate approach to patient care and her engagement with the community. Professor Nowak has also led transformative research in mesothelioma with profound and far-reaching impacts on people with the condition.

Experimental work from her PhD showed that chemotherapy and immunotherapy were synergistic, which has ultimately led to the development of three clinical trials of chemo-immunotherapy in mesothelioma, including the positive DREAM clinical trial and the international DREAM3R trial.

As well as her role as UWA Pro Vice-Chancellor delivering research strategy and outcomes in health and medicine, Professor Nowak is also Director of the National Research Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases (NCARD), a practising medical oncologist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and a member of the Board of Directors, Cancer Council WA.

In May 2021, Professor Nowak was presented with the Wagner Medal for her extraordinary contribution to research into mesothelioma.

Professor Nowak will be presented with the Award next Thursday 5 August at the MOGA 2021 Online Annual Scientific Meeting – The Future of Oncology: Improving Outcomes Through Innovation, and will deliver the Award Address at 4.30pm.

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