State Custodians Young Garvan Edgy Ideas awards night

Congratulations to Dr Samantha Oakes, the 2016 State Custodians Young Garvan Award winner at the inaugural ‘Edgy Ideas’ event, and runners up Drs David Herrmann and Marcia Munoz.

Dr Samantha Oakes

21 June 2016

Dr Samantha Oakes, of Garvan’s Cancer Division, has been awarded the 2016 State Custodians Young Garvan Award at the inaugural ‘Edgy Ideas’ event at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research on Thursday night. Runners-up were Drs David Herrmann and Marcia Munoz from Garvan’s Cancer and Bone Biology Divisions, respectively.

Dr Oakes’ winning edgy idea is to trick cancer cells into thinking they’re infected with a virus such that they will be recognised by the immune system. Dr Herrmann’s is to predict the spread of cancer before it happens by observing cancer cells in a living animal, and Dr Munoz’ is to test a cure for a childhood autoimmune disease using an existing therapy.

The Edgy Ideas program provides a unique forum for Garvan’s young and early-mid career researchers to pitch an innovative and inventive idea to a 100-strong crowd of young professionals. Three finalists are selected on scientific merit from all applications, by members of Garvan’s Executive Management Group.

The crowd then vote for the ‘edgiest’ idea to choose the winner of a $25,000 cash prize from State Custodians. The runners up were each awarded return flights to the U.S. with Delta Airlines to further develop their research careers through conference presentations or working with collaborators.

In the lead up to Edgy Ideas event, each finalist worked with a mentor (from State Custodians and the Young Garvan committee) to refine their presentation skills and put their ‘best pitch forward.’ 

The Young Garvan Committee is a volunteer group of young professionals who donate their passion, time and skills to inform and inspire the younger generation about Garvan’s medical research. Each member of the Young Garvan committee is passionate about and dedicated to supporting Garvan’s research and helping our researchers communicate their science to young professionals.

Garvan extends its appreciation to State Custodians as lead sponsors of the Award, and Delta Air Lines, for their generous support of Young Garvan.

For more about Garvan’s breakthrough medical research or to get involved in Young Garvan, please contact Jessica Jones, Corporate Partnerships Coordinator at