Entry for:2018 Queensland Women in STEM Prize
1. Please provide a short summary of your research, project or technology.
In Queensland, one in two men and one in two women will develop cancer in their lifetime. Traditional methods for cancer research use cells grown on a two-dimensional surface, such as plastic or glass, which does not replicate human biology because humans are not two-dimensional. I am developing new three-dimensional technologies for cancer research, using cancer cells grown inside of a jelly-like material (a hydrogel). These three-dimensional models are like “mini-tissues”, that are able to provide a more realistic environment for researchers to study cancer. This research will benefit Queensland by placing it at the forefront of cutting-edge cancer research technologies, and by providing a new method for drug companies to test new cancer treatments. This could lead to a greater speed to market, greater drug accuracy in humans, and will reduce drug testing in animals. These three-dimensional “mini-tissues” open the way for a new generation of cancer research.