Geneticist Dr Logan Walker has won a prestigious research fellowship to develop better ways of identifying high-risk breast and ovarian cancer patients.
The $800,000 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship will allow Dr Walker to work for five years on determining the best ways to take genomic medicine from the laboratory into the medical clinic. Genomic medicine is about customising medical care to each person's unique genetic makeup, and has been touted as the future for medicine.
Dr Walker says in the case of cancer, genomic medicine could potentially provide life-saving information to patients and their families who are most vulnerable to developing the disease.
“One issue is that while technologies are becoming more accessible and affordable than ever, there is still a lack of clarity about what genetic variations really mean for the patient. Deciding who should receive genetic testing, and interpreting the test results, are two major dilemmas for health care professionals.''
Dr Walker will use the Fellowship, funded by the Royal Society, to develop better methods for identifying high-risk breast and ovarian cancer patients, and new approaches for evaluating the clinical significance of genetic changes. This knowledge and expertise in cancer will also help in developing protocols to evaluate genetic changes responsible for inherited diseases other than cancer.
Dr Walker says the Fellowship provides a fantastic opportunity to develop in his field of study and hopefully have a positive impact on human health.