Professor Robyn Ward AM
keynote speaker in 2005, 2007, 2013 and 2023

24 Years of Inspiring Talks

Over the last two decades, we’ve had the privilege of hearing some of the leading cancer researchers in Australia share updates on the very latest advances in their fields of expertise.

Professor Robyn Ward AM

Keynote speaker in 2005, 2007, 2013 and 2023

Professor Robyn Ward AM is inaugural Executive Dean and Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Medicine and Health at The University of Sydney. Professor Ward is an academic leader, cancer researcher and medical oncologist training both as a physician and a scientist, and for many years has played a key role in health policy in Australia. Throughout her career Robyn has shown a sustained capacity for innovative research into the range of issues that underlie cancer. In particular, she has made several important contributions to translational cancer research in bowel cancer. In 2013, Robyn was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to medical research and patient care in the field of oncology.

keynote speaker in 2021

Professor John Rasko AO

Professor John Rasko AO, Director of Cell and Molecular Gene Therapies at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, is a world-renowned gene therapy physician-scientist and practicing haematologist/pathologist. His research has been successful in uncovering new mechanisms of leukemia, understanding blood hormones and their mechanisms of action, and clinical trials of new biological therapies for cancer and bleeding disorders.

With funding from Cancer Council NSW, Professor Rasko and his team are the first in Australia to test CAR T-cell immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer. The technique involves using a patient’s own immune cells and reprogramming them to attack only cancer cells. If shown to be effective, this revolutionary new treatment could provide much-needed hope for patients who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

keynote speaker in 2016 and 2022

Professor Karen Canfell

Professor Karen Canfell is the inaugural Director of the Daffodil Centre, a joint venture between Cancer Council NSW and the University of Sydney. Over the last 18 years, her research has had a major impact on cervical cancer prevention policy decisions in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Karen’s work in this area has been recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO), which approached her to be a key member of a ground-breaking technical group on global cervical cancer elimination.

Karen was named one of Australia’s top 100 Women of Influence in 2015. She was appointed as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health Sciences in 2017. In 2021, Karen received two prestigious awards – the Jeannie Ferris Cancer Australia Recognition Award, and the NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Investigator Grant Award (Leadership in Health Services Research).

keynote speaker in 2009

Dr Michelle McDonald

Dr Michelle McDonald leads the Bone Microenvironment Group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. She is a post-doctoral scientist looking to improve strategies for treating bone diseases associated with multiple myeloma and breast and prostate cancers. Over the next few years Michelle’s research is focussing on uncovering what activates dormant myeloma cells and causes cancer to grow in the bone and testing if drugs used for other bone diseases can trigger myeloma cells to go back into hibernation.

keynote speaker in 2018

Professor Anna deFazio

Professor Anna deFazio heads the Gynaecological Oncology Research Laboratory at the Centre for Cancer Research, the Westmead Institute for Medical Research. The focus of Anna’s research is to understand the clinical and genetic factors that influence response and resistance to chemotherapy in ovarian cancer. In 2017, Anna established a major new study to develop strategies to better define ovarian cancer patient subsets, in an effort to optimise the selection of patients for novel molecularly-targeted clinical trials and ultimately to individualise treatment.

keynote speaker in 2014

Associate Professor David Smith

Associate Professor David Smith leads the Prostate Cancer research stream at the Daffodil Centre. He is an epidemiologist and health services researcher with specific expertise in issues related to the causes of prostate cancer, the effects of early detection and screening, patterns of care for prostate cancer and improving the quality of life of men living with prostate cancer. 

keynote speaker in 2012

Professor Murray Norris AM

Professor Murray Norris AM is Deputy Director of Children’s Cancer Institute and Head of the Molecular Diagnostics Program. In 2016, the Children’s Cancer Institute and Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network launched the Zero Childhood Cancer program – the most ambitious and comprehensive child cancer research program ever undertaken in Australia. In 2015, Murray was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to medical research as a molecular biologist and for pioneering developments of treatment for cancer in children.

keynote speaker in 2011 and 2017

Professor Roger Reddel AO

Professor Roger Reddel AO is Director of the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) and Head of its Cancer Research Unit. In 2016, Roger, with Professor Phil Robinson, established a new world-leading research project and facility called ProCan. Over the next 5-7 years, ProCan is analysing 70,000 samples of all types of cancer from all over the world to build a database of information to advance scientific discovery and enhance clinical treatment worldwide.

keynote speaker in 2010

Professor Graham Colditz

Professor Graham Colditz is an internationally recognised leader in cancer prevention research and Deputy Director of the Institute of Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis. As an epidemiologist and public health expert, Graham has received numerous awards including the 2011 Medal of Honour (American Cancer Society’s highest honour) and the 2014 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Prevention Research.

keynote speaker in 2009, 2015 and 2019

Professor Ian Frazer AC

Professor Ian Frazer AC is recognised as co-inventor of the technology enabling the HPV vaccines, currently used worldwide to help prevent cervical cancer. He continues to lead work on new vaccine technologies. Ian was recognised as Australian of the Year in 2006 and was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2012. Most recently, Ian was appointed chair of the federal government’s Medical Research Future Fund.

keynote speaker in 2008

Professor Charlie Teo AM

Professor Charlie Teo AM is a world-renowned neurosurgeon and brain cancer researcher. Charlie established the internationally acclaimed Centre for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery, for which he was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2011. His work has extended the lives of many children and adults with brain tumours, some of which were previously considered to be inoperable.

keynote speaker in 2000-2005

Dr Andrew Penman AM

Dr Andrew Penman AM has undoubtedly saved the lives of thousands of Australians by reframing cancer as a social issue not just a medical one. As CEO of Cancer Council NSW from 1998 to 2012, Andrew pushed the public health focus to reach larger numbers of people by targeting their working and leisure environments. Under Andrew’s stewardship, Cancer Council NSW increased its investment in research, establishing ongoing partnerships with the best researchers in the field. His work in cancer control was recognised by his appointment as a Member in the Order of Australia (AM) in 2010.