The Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute’s Dr Samantha Wade has been named as a finalist in the 2020 NSW Women of the Year Awards.

One of only 30 finalists across five categories, Dr Wade is nominated for NSW Young Woman of the Year. She has been recognised for her research into pancreatic cancer, most notably the contribution to the invention of a device that can shrink pancreatic tumours.

“I could see that the current ways of treating pancreatic cancer were ineffective and the side effects outweighed the benefits. Over the past six years, I’ve worked as part of a team under Dr Kara Vine-Perrow to design, develop and patent a novel implantable drug delivery device that is designed to be implanted inside a tumour,” Dr Wade said.

“This allows the chemotherapy to be delivered locally to the tumour, which allows for effective treatment of the tumour without the extreme side effects. While still a way off translation into humans, we have seen some promising results in pre-clinical animal studies.”

Dr Wade’s nomination follows on from her being awarded the Dr Margeret Gardiner Award for Medical Research in 2020.

She said this nomination will allow her research to reach a broader audience.

“It means our lab’s research is getting exposure at high profile events, which is always beneficial. It’ll allow us to show that we are doing some really exciting work in Wollongong. It will expose me to a range of influential people that I otherwise would not have had to opportunity to meet,” she said.

Dr Wade encourages other young women and girls looking for a career in science to stick to their passion.

“Winning this award would be another confirmation that I am where I am supposed to be. I would tell other women in science to know your strengths. Exam results are sometimes be a poor indicator of research ability. Align yourself with a supervisor that sees that there is more to a person than exam grades, a rarity I was lucky enough to find and work with.”

The winners of the NSW Women of the Year Awards will be announced at the official ceremony in Sydney on 10 March.

 

Article and image credit: ihmri.org.au