Dr Laura Genovesi

Research Fellow at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institue

Laura obtained her PhD from The University of Western Australia, before relocating to the University of Queensland to commence her post-doctoral studies in the laboratory of Prof. Brandon Wainwright. Dr Genovesi’s research focuses on discovering and delivering novel therapies for children with brain cancer, employing a multi-disciplinary approach integrating basic biomedical discovery, experimental systems biology and translational medicine.

She has led a number of high-impact studies including  utilising sophisticated genetic approaches to identify new drug targets for paediatric brain cancer, validating two drugs as successful therapies for paediatric brain cancer and perhaps most significantly, elucidating one of the biggest challenges in brain cancer treatment – the blood-brain barrier. Dr Genovesi’s work led to the first international clinical trial for CDK4/6 inhibitors for paediatric brain cancer, with a subsequent trials now underway.

She has an exemplary track record for an early career biomedical scientist, with several first author publications in prestigious journals and successful competitive research grants including continuous fellowship funding since 2017. Her reputation is evidenced by being invited to sit on key national BC committees for both preclinical and clinical research and invited speaker invitations at key national and international conferences.

Dr Jason Cain

Head, Developmental and Cancer Biology Group Centre for Cancer Research

Hudson Institute of Medical Research

Dr Jason Cain is head of the Developmental and Cancer Biology research group in the Centre of Cancer Research at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research. Dr Cain’s research focus is to understand the roles of critical embryonic signaling pathways and epigenetic mechanisms in normal development and how dysregulation of these processes can lead to the initiation and progression of cancer that can be therapeutically exploited.

After completing his BSc (2000), BSc(Hons) (2001) and PhD (2006) in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Monash University, Dr Cain undertook his post-doctoral training at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada with Dr Norman Rosenblum in the Program of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology. Here, he focused on the role of the Hedgehog signalling pathway in development and disease, developing valuable and specialized skills in developmental biology, mouse models of human disease, and congenital and paediatric diseases. In 2010, he returned to Australia as a Research Fellow with Prof Neil Watkins at the Monash Institute for Medical Research, now the Hudson Institute. Here, Dr Cain developed his current research program in childhood brain and bone cancer, combining a unique skill set of developmental and cancer biology expertise, techniques and concepts.

Alexander Davenport

Postdoctoral research scientist at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research

After completing his PhD in CAR T cell Biology at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre he moved to the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (University of Cambridge), to focus on the fundamentals of T Cell Killing. His project included working with AstraZeneca to screen drugs for their effect on cytotoxic T cell killing as well as investigating the role of metabolism in T cell function.

In 2019 Alex was recruited to a biotech start-up where he led the immune programme for two years, helping to obtain the company’s Series A and B investments totalling £120m. The immune programme’s focus was the creation of immune cells through forward reprogramming of inducible pluripotent stem cells, seeking to solve the problem of cellular supply in immunotherapy. In 2022 Alex was recruited back to Australia under the supervision of Assoc/Prof Misty Jenkins to discover novel protein targets and create new Immunotherapies for Paediatric Brain Cancer including DMG and Ependymoma.

Alex is passionate about translational research that has the potential for real long-term benefits for patient lives.

Alex’s focus on brain cancer has been guided by his personal experience in losing a close friend to Anaplastic Astrocytoma in early 2020.”

Dr Ryan Cross

Senior postdoctoral researcher in the Jenkins lab at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) of Medical Research in Parkville Victoria.

He is an emerging leader in the brain cancer immunotherapy field with specific expertise in the development novel CARs for adult and paediatric CNS tumours. He has led the development of a therapeutic discovery pipeline spanning patient sample novel target identification using advanced mass spectrometry through to orthotopic brain tumour implantation. He works closely with clinical collaborators to expedite preclinical findings into real world impacts.