2016 recipients of the Heliflite Young Explorer and CHAMP Young Pioneer Awards and the Palmer Innovation Prize announced

The winners of the Heliflite Young Explorer Award, CHAMP Young Pioneer Award and Palmer Innovation Prize were announced at Garvan’s Annual General Meeting on 3 May 2016.
2016 recipients of the Heliflite Young Explorer and CHAMP Young Pioneer Awards and the Palmer Innovation Prize announced

Dr Danyal Butt, A/Prof Daniel Christ, Dr Joanna Achinger-Kawecka and Dr Nenad Bartonicek

05 May 2016

The winners of the Heliflite Young Explorer Award, CHAMP Young Pioneer Award and Palmer Innovation Prize were announced at Garvan’s Annual General Meeting on 3 May 2016.

Dr Joanna Achinger-Kawecka and Dr Danyal Butt from Garvan’s Genomics and Epigenetics and Immunology Divisions respectively were awarded the 2016 Heliflite Young Explorer Awards. The Award supports two of the most outstanding early career researchers at Garvan each year by facilitating international travel to conferences and laboratories to foster career development.

Dr Achinger-Kawecka will attend The Chromatin Structure and Function Gordon Research Conference in Switzerland in May 2016 to present her research on the organisation of the cancer genome. Dr Butt will attend the Keystone Symposia on B Cells and T Follicular Helper Cells in Canada in April 2017 to present his research, develop an international profile, learn from top international researchers and identify future opportunities for collaborations with international leaders in the field.

Dr Nenad Bartonicek from Garvan’s Genomics and Epigenetics Division was awarded the 2016 CHAMP Young Pioneer Award. The award, presented annually by CHAMP Private Equity, aims to assist an early-mid career researcher to test an innovative research idea. 

Dr Bartonicek will use the award to address the question of how parents transmit environmental information, such as response to specific odours, to their offspring. Dr Bartonicek has proposed the hypothesis that noncoding RNAs from the brain pass through the blood-placenta barrier during pregnancy, thereby influencing epigenetic events in early embryogenesis.

Associate Professor Daniel Christ, Head of the Antibody Therapeutics Laboratory in Garvan’s Immunology Division, was presented with the inaugural Palmer Innovation Prize.  Joseph Palmer & Sons is Australia’s oldest brokerage firm; its prize aims to encourage and support translational innovation arising from research at Garvan.

A/Prof Christ, together with a number of colleagues, developed a technology to stabilise therapeutic antibodies, called StAbilize, which is being commercialised through a Garvan owned company, Solvanix.  StAbilize technology addresses the issue of antibody aggregation – a key factor in drug development that leads to loss of yield, higher manufacturing costs and limits on how a product can be used in patients. 

StAbilize has the potential to have major impact in the development of therapeutic antibodies and it’s for this work, from discovery to spin-out, that A/Prof Christ received the Palmer Innovation Prize.

Congratulations to the award winners and continued thanks to Heliflite, CHAMP Private Equity and Joseph Palmer & Sons for their generous support of our talented young researchers.