March 10, 2021
Medical researcher named as NSW Young Woman of the Year
Dr Samantha Wade recognised for her contributions to pancreatic cancer research
Dr Samantha Wade from the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute and the University of Wollongong has been named as the 2021 NSW Young Woman of the Year.
The winners of the NSW Women of the Year Awards were announced at the official ceremony in Sydney this morning.
One of 30 finalists across five categories, Dr Wade received the award 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 said the achievement 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 is 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.”
About the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute
Established in 2008, the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) is a not-for-profit charity that supports health and medical research in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven.
IHMRI provides over 150 affiliated researchers with a range of services to help them find new insights into disease and illness, devise prevention strategies, and develop more effective treatments and health care services. IHMRI also supports clinical research studies and commercial clinical trials to test new treatments and devices.
As an independent Medical Research Institute (MRI) IHMRI also helps its partners, the University of Wollongong and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, advance health and medical research in our region.
Photo caption: Dr Samantha Wade (second from right) with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and other honorees at the NSW Women of the Year Awards.