19 October 2021
SNOW MEDICAL INVESTMENT EXCEEDS $50 MILLION WITH THREE NEW SNOW FELLOWSHIPS
The Snow Medical Research Foundation today announced three new Snow Fellowships of $8 million each to three young outstanding biomedical research leaders. This $24 million investment brings Snow Medical’s biomedical research funding to $53 million over the last 2 years.
Snow Fellowships, awarded annually, are the biggest philanthropic investment in emerging biomedical research leaders in Australia, and represent a long-term vision of backing Australia’s brightest young researchers. The funding is used to develop world-leading teams based in Australia’s best research organisations.
“Snow Medical backs the boldest and best of the next generation of researchers. We set out to find exceptional visionary leaders, and our three 2021 Snow Fellows are truly outstanding,” Snow Medical Chair Tom Snow said.
“These three high achievers are young, early-to-mid-career scientists who have already built exceptional, high impact multidisciplinary programs and teams, and we are very proud to be a part of their journey. They are amongst the best in their field, worldwide.
“The Snow Fellowships will accelerate their programs, for the benefit of their institutions, the research sector and society through ongoing contributions to science and health, leadership and community.”
“I’m also pleased to see a majority of women in our group this year, as we have an unwavering commitment to equity and diversity in our program.
The three Snow Fellows are:
- Dr Melanie Eckersley Maslin: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
- Program title: Epigenetic plasticity in development and cancer
- Associate Prof. Marina Pajic: Garvan institute of Medical Research, Sydney
- Program Title: Precision Oncology for Pancreatic Cancer Research Program
- Dr Shom Goel: The University of Melbourne and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
- Program Title: Understanding and targeting therapy-induced senescence in cancer
(More information on the Fellows can be found below)
Snow Medical Founder, Terry Snow, was impressed with the high calibre of fellows who applied in 2021.
“I’m particularly pleased that our fellows have demonstrated a strong commitment to generous leadership; mentoring other scientists in their teams, as well as their institutions, and collaborators,” Terry Snow said.
“I have always had a commitment to excellence in everything I do. I wanted to back the best talent. The Fellows are an absolute demonstration of excellence.
“Each Fellow is based in an outstanding research organisations with a strong commitment to a culture of excellence, where they are supported by some of the best infrastructure and professional development programs available for them and their teams.”
Fellowship funding is available to set up and operate a research laboratory and will provide salaries for the Snow Fellow and post-doctoral researchers, PhD student scholarship top-ups, technical and laboratory management support, project funds and leadership development.
The appointment of the three Snow Fellows in 2021 brings the total number of Snow Fellowship to six and Snow Medical is looking to appoint a further two Snow Fellows in 2022.
Media contact – Chris Wagner: 0434 378 939
About the Fellows
Dr Shom Goel: The University of Melbourne and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Program Title: Understanding and targeting therapy-induced senescence in cancer
Dr. Shom Goel is a Laboratory Group Leader at the University of Melbourne and a Consultant Oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. His research is focused on understanding mechanisms underlying response and resistance to contemporary therapies for solid tumours, most notably breast cancer.
Shom is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He completed medical school at the University of Adelaide, where he was awarded the Honours Alumni Medal as the top-ranked graduate across all faculties of the University. He then completed specialist training in Sydney, and there was awarded the Bryan Hudson Medal as the top-ranked candidate in the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ Fellowship examination. Supported by the WG Walker Fulbright Scholarship (awarded to Australia’s highest-ranked Fulbright Scholar each year), he relocated to Boston to conduct his doctoral research at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He was subsequently awarded a Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and was appointed as a Goldfarb-Rudkin Fellow in Breast Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 2009. He was also awarded the Dana-Farber’s inaugural J. Dirk Iglehart Fellowship in Breast Oncology.
Shom returned to Australia in 2019 having spent ten years in Boston. His research group positions itself at the intersection of cell cycle biology, epigenetics, and tumour immunology in cancer. He has developed new transgenic mouse models of breast cancer, which have proven valuable for uncovering new mechanisms of drug activity and resistance, and his work has been published in high-impact journals including Nature, Cancer Cell and Nature Cancer. His laboratory findings have triggered the development of numerous randomised clinical trials in breast cancer, and he serves as either Global PI or Translational PI for four of these. He was also recently appointed Chair-Elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Education Committee.
Associate Prof. Marina Pajic: Garvan institute of Medical Research, Sydney
Program Title: Precision Oncology for Pancreatic Cancer Research Program
Marina Pajic is a leader in pancreatic cancer research. Since returning from the Netherlands and establishing her lab at the Garvan in 2013, Associate Professor Marina Pajic has developed an innovative program that builds on the unique infrastructure she has generated, a wealth of integrated human cancer genomic and gene product expression profiles, complex 3D and patient-derived mouse models, rapidly evolving technologies, and close clinical links, to reveal new insights into the deregulation of molecules commonly hijacked in pancreatic cancer, which drive tumour (i) heterogeneity (ii) metastasis and (iii) chemoresistance. She has built a large integrated program with Australian and International collaborators and is using this knowledge to inform the rational design of novel, tailored treatment options for pancreatic cancer Her research is supported by the NHMRC, Cancer Australia, Cancer Council NSW, Tour de Cure, ACRF, CINSW, the Philip Hemstritch Fellowship in Pancreatic Cancer and the Girgensohn Foundation. Marina’s contributions have been recognised by several prestigious awards including the Australian Academy of Science 2020 Ruth Stephens Gani Medal for achievements in the field of applied cancer genomics and precision medicine for pancreatic cancer, the NSW Premier’s Outstanding Cancer Research Fellow Award and the Cancer Institute NSW Wildfire and Rising Star Awards.
Dr Melanie Eckersley Maslin: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and University of Melbourne
Program title: Epigenetic plasticity in development and cancer
Dr Melanie Eckersley-Maslin’s is applying her previous research in embryonic development in the USA and UK, and her discovery of factors that control embryonic development, to understand cancer progression. Her research explores how cell identity and function is established in embryos and how these processes are deregulated in cancers, with the ultimate aim to identify new prognostic markers and therapeutic targets.
She is a group leader at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and research fellow in the Department of Anatomy and Physiology at the University of Melbourne.
Melanie studied Advanced Sciences at the University of Sydney before completing her PhD in molecular biology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s School of Biological Sciences in New York, USA with Prof David Spector. In 2014, she moved to the Babraham Institute, Cambridge UK to work with Prof Wolf Reik as a postdoctoral research fellow supported by an EMBO Fellowship, Marie Curie Independent Fellowship and a UK government Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Discovery Grant. Her postdoctoral research focused on the epigenetic control of early embryonic cell fate transitions including zygotic genome activation and gastrulation. This led to the discovery of new control factors that are important in early embryonic development.
In 2020, Melanie was awarded the prestigious 2020 Metcalf prize for Stem Cell Research by the National Stem Cell Foundation reflecting her upcoming leadership in the field. In 2021, she returned to Australia as a group leader investigating the concepts of epigenetic plasticity in development and cancer using stem cell and cancer models and single-cell and CRISPR-based technologies.
About Snow Medical Research Foundation
The Snow Medical Research Foundation (Snow Medical) is the creation of Canberra’s Snow family and is a vision of businessman and philanthropist, Terry Snow and his wife Ginette. Snow Medical’s pivotal program, the Snow Fellowships, targets emerging global research leaders that show the potential to drive, manage and influence the next generation of health and medical innovation.
The eight-year Snow Fellowship, funded at up to $1 million per year, provides outstanding biomedical researchers the independence to focus on building ambitious multidisciplinary research programs and teams capable of changing the face of healthcare in Australia and globally.
In 2020, three inaugural Snow Fellowships were awarded. Snow Medical has also provided $5.5 million for COVID-19 research and has supported the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance to develop new strategic approaches to solve cardiovascular disease.