Leukaemia expert honoured for research excellence

Thursday, 14 March 2019

debwhiteThe University of Adelaide’s Professor Deborah White has been honoured in this year’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Research Excellence Awards for her leukaemia research.

Professor White, who is Professor in Medicine, Paediatrics and Sciences at the University of Adelaide and Director of the Cancer Program at South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), says she’s excited but humbled to be judged by her peers as the top ranked applicant for the R.D Wright Biomedical Career Development Fellowship – Level 2.

“This is an incredible honour and it’s important to recognise my team of dedicated post docs and students who deserve to be receiving this with me,” says Professor White.

“We have done much of what we have to date on a shoestring and I can’t thank them enough for having the faith to take this crazy journey with me.”

Professor White’s research focus is on precision medicine in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). By integrating genomics, metagenomics, bioinformatics and functional analyses her work provides readily accessible diagnostic screening and therapeutic triage paradigms. This will transform the treatment and outcomes for the most vulnerable ALL patients.

While gratefully receiving her award, Professor White says nothing can compare to the satisfaction of helping people battle leukaemia or related diseases.

“You need to be working in an area where you are impassioned,” she says.

“The acute lymphoblastic leukaemia field is rapidly evolving, not only in the genomics area but more recently in assessing the life-long effects of high dose chemotherapy and other treatments.

“My fulfilment comes from working in a field where the potential to make a significant difference for our patients is now tangible.”

Professor White has held numerous international, national and local peer-reviewed grants, authored more than 95 scientific publications, and is an inventor on several patents. She is the ALL Flagship Lead for Australian Genomics and the South Australian Scientific lead for Zero Children’s Cancer. In 2014, Professor White received the ASMR Leading Light award and in 2016, she was awarded the University of Adelaide James McWha medal.

Professor White received her award from the NHMRC at a ceremony in Canberra overnight.

Pictured: Professor White


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Crispin Savage
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