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27 February 2024

ALIGN is thrilled to congratulate Dr Justine Clark on receiving the 2024 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scientist Award from the Australian Academy of Science.

Indigenous Australians experience profound disadvantage in cancer health outcomes in comparison to the broader Australian population. While Australian cancer patients have begun to reap the benefits of precision medicine, Indigenous Australians still face barriers in accessing standard and precision cancer screening and treatment, as well as clinical trials.

Indigenous-led precision cancer research provides a unique opportunity to create novel, tailored cancer care for Indigenous Australians. However, this research must be guided by community priorities and aspirations, as well as clinical data identifying cancers that have the greatest burden on Indigenous Australians.

Dr Clark’s project “To build networks between Indigenous cancer researchers in Australia and New Zealand and develop data-driven, Indigenous-led Australian precision cancer research”, will develop ongoing relationships with Aboriginal South Australian community members to establish their priorities and aspirations for precision cancer research. An established dataset on cancer treatments and outcomes in Australia will be interrogated to provide the first understanding of medical/pharmaceutical benefits scheme (MBS/PBS) treatment specific outcomes for Indigenous Australians with cancer. Dr Clark will set future research priorities by characterising cancer types that demonstrate the greatest burden of disease among Indigenous Australians.

This award recognises research in the physical and biological sciences, allowing interdisciplinary and sociocultural research that could straddle the social sciences and humanities, by outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PhD students and early- and mid-career scientists. Read more about the award on the Australian Academy of Science website.

Dr Clark is a proud Adnyamathanha woman, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Indigenous Cancer Research in the Indigenous Genomics team at Telethon Kids Institute based in Adelaide. She will officially accept the award in person in Canberra at the Australian Academy of Science, Science at the Shine Dome event in September.

We wish Dr Clark every success for her important work.

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