Peter Mac’s Prof Mark Dawson has been named the 2020 recipient of the McCulloch & Till Award from the International Society for Experimental Haematology – the first time an Australian has received the honour.

Established in 2004 in honour of Prof Ernest McCulloch and Prof James Till, two pioneers in the field of haematology – the study of blood and its components - this award recognises exceptional mid-career scientists from around the world.

Marking ISEH’s 70th year as the world’s peak body for experimental haematology, Prof Dawson was awarded the McCullogh & Till Award for his significant contributions to advancing knowledge in the areas of basic haematology, immunology, stem cell research, cell and gene therapy.

Prof Dawson is a clinician-scientist at Peter Mac, working both as a Consultant Haematologist as well as Group Leader for a team of researchers aimed at deciphering the role that epigenetics plays in the initiation, maintenance and progression of aggressive blood cancers such as acute myeloid leukaemia.

His scientific discoveries have led to the development and characterisation of new approaches to cancer treatment targeting the epigenetic machinery. As an active clinician he has led several clinical trials and coordinated large international translational research studies to help understand what determines response and resistance to epigenetic therapies in haematological cancers.

“It is truly an honour to have received this award, and for my contributions to the haematology field to be recognised by ISEH,” says Prof Dawson.

“Most importantly, this is a wonderful acknowledgement of the hard work and commitment of the incredible team of researchers that come together every day to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing people with blood cancer.”

As part of his award, Prof Dawson will deliver a scientific lecture to international leaders in haematology research at the ISEH Annual Meeting in New York in August.

 “It is humbling to join what is an amazing list of previous awardees, including some of the biggest names in haematology research over the past 17 years,” says Prof Dawson.

As the first Australian scientist to receive this honour, Prof Dawson says this is proof that Australians can match it with the best researchers in the world.

“I hope that our emerging researchers see that Melbourne, and in particular Peter Mac, is an incredible place to do research. The work we do here can make a real impact for people with cancer across the globe.”