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Professor Peter Shepherd receives NZSO Translational Research Award

12 September 2017

Professor Peter Shepherd, Professor of Cell Signalling at the University of Auckland and Deputy Director of the Maurice Wilkins Centre, recently received the New Zealand Society of Oncology (NZSO) 2017 Translational Research Award.

The NZSO presents this award annually to “an eminent New Zealand investigator who has made outstanding contributions to translational cancer research”. Each year, a panel of NZSO judges selects the award recipient following a competitive nomination process.

Professor Shepherd has been involved in a wide variety of collaborative projects in translational cancer research over the years and the NZSO panel deemed that his leadership and expertise in cell signalling to have been essential to many successful anti-cancer drug developments. For example the PI-3 kinase inhibitor PWT33597, which has undergone a phase I clinical trial. In addition to the PI-3 kinase pathway, Professor Shepherd’s research efforts have also focused on the VEGF pathway, growth factor receptors, factors affecting MEK and BRAF inhibitor response, the role of growth hormone receptors, and the mechanisms by which targeted therapies act on glioblastoma and melanoma.

The award was announced during the 2017 Queenstown Research Week conference that, under Professor Shepherd’s organisational leadership over the past 10 years, has developed into one of the largest multidisciplinary biomedical and medical sciences conferences in Australasia.

Professor Shepherd says “The transinstitutional nature of the Maurice Wilkins Centre has built many valuable multidisciplinary and multi-institutional collaborations and, together with the MWC's flexible funding mechanisms, the centre has played a key role in improving the connectivity and productivity of translational research in New Zealand. It is really a system not seen anywhere else in the world".