Dyason Fellowships to Ee Ming Wong and Dunstin Flanagan

Congratulations to Ming from the Department of Pathology and Dusty from the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at the Peter Doherty Institute, who both received a prestigious Dyason Fellowship awarded by the University of Melbourne. Ming and Dusty will be spending their fellowships in international laboratories to further their respective research in breast cancer and tumour organoid technology. 

Ee Ming Wong

Ming, a post-doctoral researcher at the Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory, will go to Columbia University New York where she will work with the highly regarded breast cancer epidemiologist Professor Mary Beth Terry. 

Ming’s research and work under the guidance of Professor Melissa Southey has inspired her to continue her research in the area of breast cancer. Her breakthrough research discovered that promoter methylation of the BRCA1 gene was associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer in specific groups. 

Professor Terry, an early proponent of methylation as a risk factor for breast cancer, is also the principal investigator of the New York Breast Cancer Family Registry, a large cohort of high-risk breast cancer families which is part of a wider, international Breast Cancer Family Registry. The BCFR, a unique resource, involves six international research sites (New York, California, Philadelphia, Utah, Ontario and Melbourne) and has been following families since 1995. Some 30,000 women and men from nearly 12,000 families are involved in the project.

Dustin Flanagan

Dusty, a post-doctoral researcher in Professor Elizabeth Vincan’s, Molecular Oncology Laboratory, will be visiting the Clevers Laboratory at the Hubrecht Institute in the Netherlands to gain hands on experience in their living organoid tissue bank. Professor Hans Clevers (pictured above with Dusty and Professor Liz Vincan) was hosted by the Vincan Laboratory, University of Melbourne and the Walter and Eliza Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) while he was on sabbatical in Melbourne last year.  

The Clevers laboratory established the first Organoid Bank in the world, with ground breaking research in tumour organoid technology which enables mini-tumour organoids to be grown from patients’ tumour tissues and tested for their sensitivity to anti-cancer drugs. This will provide cancer patients with pre-tested personalised tailored therapies.

The knowledge gained during this visit will be invaluable to establishing Australia’s first cancer patient derived Organoid Bank at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC), a collaborative research venture involving WEHI, University of Melbourne, VCCC, and the Royal Melbourne Hospital. 

The Dyason Fellowship

The Dyason Fellowship offers early career researchers the opportunity to develop their research ideas by undertaking or hosting a short-term international visit that strengthens collaborations and networks with leading international researchers.

The Fellowship is named after Edward Dyason, a Melbourne philanthropist and engineer who, in 1947, bequeathed the university half of his residuary estate for the advancement of education. 

Awards are announced in March and August and University of Melbourne Academic Staff Level 6 and above researchers are eligible to apply. Applications are currently open for the August awards and information about the Fellowship can be obtained from the Dyason Fellowship website.