Winner at the SPG Thompson Prize Evening 2013

The Thompson Prize Evening was recently held at the Centenary Institute. From a large pool of applicants, six finalists were chosen. All six finalists gave excellent talks and for a full recap of the night (and the results), please visit the Sydney Protein group website.

Congratulations to our winner, Ms Mary Iconomou (Garvan Institute), shown in the photo here receiving the ATA Scientific Award from Josep Font. The travel award (worth $600) is intended to assist Honours or PhD students to attend one of the Lorne meetings in 2014.

Mary is a 3rd year PhD student in the Ubiquitin Signaling group under the supervision of Dr. Darren Saunders at The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Garvan Institute of Medical Research. The Ubiquitin Signaling group is focused in understanding the mechanisms of tumourigenesis and cancer progression.

Mary’s work focuses on investigating how proteins are tagged for destruction by the cell’s recycling system, the Ubiquitin Proteasome System (UPS), which is often disrupted in breast cancer. In particular she is interested in one aspect of the UPS, the E3 ligases that determine which proteins are tagged for destruction. Her research will greatly improve knowledge of normal E3 ligase UBR5 function in human cells and how its altered function contributes to the process of cancer development and progression. In addition this study will also identify new molecules that can be targeted by anti-cancer drugs.

When asked why Mary chose this fields of study, she replied “I chose to work in the medical research field because I have many relatives and friends who have been affected by cancer. I have always been passionate about science since high school and in understanding how normal biological processes are disrupted to cause diseases such as cancer. After completing my PhD I plan to undertake a postdoctoral position in Europe”.