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Nikola Bowden Named as ‘Tall Poppy’ in Science

Oct 22 2015

Newcastle cancer researcher Dr Nikola Bowden has been named one of Australia’s ‘Tall Poppies’ in science at the prestigious NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Awards at the Sydney Powerhouse Museum.

Honouring Australia’s brightest young scientific researchers and communicators, the award recognises both scientific achievement and engagement with the community to raise awareness of science.

A molecular biologist from HMRI’s Cancer Program, Dr Bowden’s breakthrough research interest is DNA repair in cancer; particularly melanoma and ovarian cancer.

Dr Bowden was the first to report on the relationship between DNA repair pathways and chemotherapy resistance in melanoma and uses next-generation profiling techniques to unlock the mysteries of melanoma.

A prolific science communicator, Dr Bowden uses social media as a platform for promoting and fostering interest in science.

“To engage the community in science we need to make science accessible and appealing. Social media is a great way to connect with the community and hopefully support future funding of research.

“It is a great honour to receive a Young Tall Poppy Award amongst a group of exceptional young researchers. My team of young, enthusiastic and brilliant researchers have helped make great headway in cancer research in getting a basic discovery in melanoma into a clinical trial, so the award really is for the whole team.

University of Newcastle Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Kevin Hall, said that to be recognised as a Young Tall Poppy was a tremendous accomplishment for Dr Bowden.

“It is encouraging to see our outstanding young researchers recognised for their excellence, especially when they are also play such a vital role in educating and inspiring the broader community about the possibilities of science,” Professor Hall said.

A women in science advocate, Dr Bowden also works with the Australian Academy of Science Early-Mid Career Researcher Forum, which initiated the science and gender equity (SAGE) pilot being undertaken by most Universities Australia-wide.

Dr Bowden was also recently announced as one of four recipients of a Ramiciotti Foundation philanthropic Health Investment Grant awarded to autonomous early career researchers for her work with repurposing chemotherapy to prime advanced melanoma.

* HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the Community.