International conferences beckon for Stuart Furler award-winners

Garvan congratulates PhD students Claire Vennin and Ira Deveson, the 2016 Stuart Furler Travel Award recipients.

Ira Deveson and Claire Vennin.

14 December 2016

The annual Stuart Furler Travel Awards have been awarded to Garvan PhD students Claire Vennin and Ira Deveson.

The Awards, presented to third-year PhD students at Garvan with outstanding research records and bright futures, provide $5000 to support travel to attend a major international conference, as well as to visit labs of potential collaborators. 

Claire, based in Garvan’s Cancer Division in the Invasion and Metastasis Laboratory, will use the Award to attend the Cancer Precision Medicine conference in Amsterdam in March 2017.

For her PhD, Claire is assessing therapeutic strategies for pancreatic cancer. Her data suggest a new strategy to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy efficacy and impair the spread of pancreatic cancer through the body. By attending the Cancer Precision Medicine conference, Claire hopes to learn how to translate her findings, taking them towards personalised clinical strategies to treat this devastating disease.

Ira, from Garvan’s Genomics and Epigenetics Division in the Transcriptomics Laboratory, will use the award to attend the 2017 annual meetings of the European and American Societies for Human Genetics (in Copenhagen and Orlando, Florida respectively).

Ira’s PhD focuses on finding ways to understand the sensitivity and accuracy of whole genome sequencing.  He has developed a set of synthetic genes that can be added to a human DNA sample before performing genome sequencing.

These synthetic genes – called ‘Sequins’ – very closely resemble real human genes, making it possible to assess, and then optimise, each stage of a genome sequencing workflow.

By attending the two annual meetings, Ira will be able to describe Sequins and discuss the merits of this new technology to an assembly of leading researchers and clinicians from around the world.

Stuart Furler was a long-serving and highly respected scientist in Garvan’s Diabetes and Metabolism Division who died of pancreatic cancer in 2007. Mr and Mrs Paul and Judy Hennessy established the Travel Award in his memory, as a way of nurturing early career researchers. 

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