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07 Nov 2018

Comprehensive Cancer PhD Milestone - 200th student

  • Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre
  • Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Congratulations to 200th CCPhD student Narelle Keating

The Comprehensive Cancer PhD program supports the academic professional development of students undertaking cancer-related research within Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre alliance organisations. Last month the 200th student - Narelle Keating enrolled in the program, signifying a major milestone in networking and information sharing among emerging cancer researchers. We spoke with Narelle about her aspirations for the program.

Narelle Keating standing with arms crossed

My name’s Narelle Keating and I’m a PhD student at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI). I got my first taste of biomedical research about two and a half years ago, starting at WEHI as an undergraduate student with a small project in Sandra Nicholson’s laboratory. I stayed on to do Honours in her lab and loved the project so much that I decided to pursue a PhD.

I’m a cell biologist interested in how a family of proteins called the suppressor of cytokine signalling (SOCS) proteins switch off the immune response. When treating certain diseases such as cancers, it may be beneficial to prolong or amplify the immune response. Therefore, by understanding how to manipulate the SOCS family of proteins we can potentially make our immune system more powerful and it could help us improve current cancer and disease therapies.

I was interested in joining the CCPhD program because it meant I’d have access to a wide range of resources that I felt would help me get the most out of my PhD. These resources include a seminar series that presents topics from a variety of scientific perspectives, symposiums where I could learn about the work of my superiors, peers, as well as present my own research, and meeting other PhD students who are also undertaking a cancer-related PhD. I feel that peer support during a PhD is critical. PhDs are often overwhelming, and it’s comforting to know that there are people around you who are making and learning from as many mistakes as you are.

My professional and personal aspirations are really quite simple. I want to do good quality science with good quality scientists. I love my work and I feel extremely privileged to have the opportunity to contribute to the discoveries that unpack the regulation of the immune response.

Congratulations to Narelle and all of the Comprehensive Cancer PhD students on setting the agenda for cancer research into the future.

The CCPhD program is hosting their next event to be held Wednesday 14 Nov - 4:00pm - 5:00pm. Come along to their Inaugural ‘Chat with a Nobel Laureate’ - Professor Peter Doherty. All welcome but registration is essential. Register here.