Pharmacy Student Awarded Best Presenter at Cancer Research Network Meeting

19 November 2009

PhD Student Joyce Gong
PhD Student Joyce Gong

First year PhD Student, Joyce Gong was recently awarded 'Best Oral Presentation by a Basic Scientist' at the University of Sydney's Cancer Research Network Scientific Meeting.

Joyce presented her research, which is funded by the NSW Cancer Council, on drug resistance in cancer treatment. "It really is a wonderful achievement" said Dr Mary Bebawy, Joyce's primary supervisor at the Faculty of Pharmacy.

The purpose of the meeting, held on Friday 6 November 2009 at the Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre, was to provide a forum for post-graduate students to present their research to an audience of peers who were able to contribute ideas for further research. It also provided a good networking opportunity for researchers in the same research area.

"In cancer treatment, tumour cells become resistant to drugs" explains Joyce, "what we are investigating is whether biological products called microparticles can transfer this resistance from one cell to the next and if so, how we can stop it. I'm also looking at whether this resistance increases the invasive capacity of tumour cells. So if resistance can be prevented then the subsequent invasion of healthy cells can be too."

Joyce completed her Bachelor of Pharmacy Degree at the University of Sydney's Faculty of Pharmacy in 2008 and became interested in this topic while completing her 4th year honours program.

"I wasn't sure when I chose my undergraduate degree what I wanted to do, but knew it would be in applied science" she says. "Then I did my honours research in my final year with Dr Bebawy. Her project was my first choice by far and now my PhD project is a continuation of that, which I started straight after graduation".

The research meeting involved 25 presenters in total, 22 post-graduates and 3 post-doctorates and was chaired by Dr Prunella Blinman.

Joyce acknowledged the mentorship of her primary supervisor Dr Bebawy and associate supervisors Professor Georges Grau and Dr Valery Combes (Sydney Medical School). "They are absolute experts in their field and yet still so down to earth, warm and ridiculously funny" she says.

"Winning the award hascertainly helped boost my confidence in terms of making large-scale presentations. I've never been fond of making presentations but at least now I know that I am capable of doing it, and apparently doing it well!" says Joyce.

Contact: Claire Riordan

Phone: 02 9351 2311

Email: 0a1e1d0a07201338233e2556113a1f0f363c026910282640022c