Eureka! for UNSW

UNSW researchers have won two prestigious Eureka Prizes for their work in medical research.

Levon Eureka inside

UNSW researchers have won two prestigious Eureka Prizes for their work in medical research.

The Eureka Prizes are Australia's premier award scheme for outstanding science and are presented annually by the Australian Museum.

Described as one of the most outstanding researchers of his generation, Professor Levon Khachigian, Senior Principal Research Fellow at UNSW's Centre for Vascular Research, was awarded the NSW Office for Science and Medical Research Jamie Callachor Eureka Prize for Medical Research.

Professor Khachigian was recognised for ground-breaking work revolutionising the understanding of transcriptional control in blood vessels using innovative small-molecule gene-targeting agents as inhibitors of angiogenesis, inflammation and intimal thickening.

The research potentially offers many important new therapeutic solutions in the area of cardiovascular pathology.

The Voiceless Eureka Prize for Research which Replaces the Use of Animals or Animal Product went to Children's Cancer Institute Australia/UNSW researchers, Associate Professor Maria Kavallaris, Dr Sela Pouha - and Dr Nicole Verrills, who has since left for the University of Newcastle.

The team was recognised for its breakthrough development of new models of drug resistance within cancer cells in childhood leukaemia utilising animal-free differential proteonomics. This promises new treatment approaches for drug-resistant cancers.

UNSW's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Les Field, says the University is delighted by the wins.

Professor Khachigian is at the forefront of medical research in Australia, he says.

"This is yet another example of the excellence in medical research being conducted at UNSW.

"Professor Khachigian's success not only represents due recognition for outstanding individual achievement, but also reflects the broader scope of research leadership attained by UNSW at a national level.

"The outstanding research being conducted through the CCIA is truly of a world-class standard. UNSW is proud to have such a strong working relationship with the CCIA, dedicated to the mutual goal of finding a cure for childhood cancers."