Peter Mac’s Professor Sarah-Jane Dawson has jointly received the prestigious Jian Zhou Medal from the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS). 

Prof Dawson is recognised for her pioneering work to develop blood tests that can detect fragments of tumour DNA.

These “liquid biopsy” tests are less invasive and painful than conventional tissue biopsy, and give clinicians a powerful new tool to tailor treatment and actively monitor a patient’s response. 

“I’m extremely proud to be one of two recipients of this award,” Prof Dawson says. 

“I really believe that translational research is one of the major ways that we can make a difference.” 

The Medal recognises a rising star of Australian health and medical science, with a focus on translational medical science. 

It is named in memory of Dr Jian Zhou, the molecular biologist and virologist who worked with Professor Ian Frazer to ultimately develop the HPV vaccines now used globally to protect against cervical cancer. 

Dr Zhou died in 1999 at the age of 42, and his work helped change the course of this cancer. 

For the inaugural year of the Medal, the AAHMS selected joint recipients – also recognising Prof Andrew Steer from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute for his work to combat tropical diseases. 

Prof Dawson and Prof Steer were also among 28 newly inducted Fellows of the AAHMS this week.

The AAHMS Scientific Meeting 2020 is underway from Wednesday to Friday, October 14 – 16.