New Indigenous Academy Awards

Precision cancer research, using an individual’s genetic profile to improve diagnosis and targeted care, has been recognised as a key pathway to reducing Indigenous cancer impact, with a new award presented to the Telethon Kids Institute,

Dr Justine Clark, co-winner of the 2024 Australian Academy of Science’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scientist Award, is investigating the use of improved precision cancer systems to improve patient outcomes.

“Aboriginal people are about 14% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, compared with non-Aboriginal people, and also about 20% less likely to survive after diagnosis,” researcher and award recipient Dr Justine Clark said.

Māori researchers in New Zealand have begun to explore the potential for genomics-guided precision cancer medicine to improve outcomes for Māori peoples, and Dr Clark’s project brings together Māori New Zealander and Aboriginal Australian precision cancer researchers. The researchers will use the process to identify key cancer types to focus on, guided by community priorities and goals.

Dr Joe Greet from the University of Melbourne was the award’s other recipient, after developing a process to improve wetland health and sustainability through Indigenous-led initiatives.

Dr Greet’s Healing Water Country program engages Traditional Owners from the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people to assess the health of billabongs, sharing their knowledge about better ways to manage waterways.

“This is a culturally significant and innovative project as it recognises the efficacy and importance of Traditional Owner leadership in the scientific investigation and management of freshwater environments,” Dr Greet said.

You can watch a video about the award winners here.



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