Researcher

Mr John Kokkinos

Keywords

Biography

I am a Scientia PhD Scholar at UNSW exploring nanomedicine as a potential therapeutic for pancreatic cancer. I am supervised by Associate Professor Phoebe Phillips, Professor David Goldstein, Dr George Sharbeen, Associate Professor Joshua McCarroll, and Professor Cyrille Boyer. Supported by the highly prestigious UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship, my project is titled: Reprogramming the Stroma using Gene Silencing Nano-Drugs to Inhibit Pancreatic...view more

I am a Scientia PhD Scholar at UNSW exploring nanomedicine as a potential therapeutic for pancreatic cancer. I am supervised by Associate Professor Phoebe Phillips, Professor David Goldstein, Dr George Sharbeen, Associate Professor Joshua McCarroll, and Professor Cyrille Boyer. Supported by the highly prestigious UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship, my project is titled: Reprogramming the Stroma using Gene Silencing Nano-Drugs to Inhibit Pancreatic Tumours. I have won several awards during my PhD including Winner of the 2019 UNSW 3-Minute Thesis Competition, and have presented my work at several national and international conferences. I have also been awarded a grant from Tour de Cure to develop a novel pre-clinical model of pancreatic cancer.


My Awards

  • Outstanding Contribution to Research Award, Faculty of Medicine & Health UNSW
  • Young Investigator Award, American Pancreatic Association
  • Outstanding Achievement in Research Award, Australian Society for Medical Research
  • Winner at UNSW 3-Minute Thesis Final 2019
  • Health & Medical Research Early Career Award – Open Junior Division, Tow Coast Association
  • Bioscience Reports Best Poster Award, Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation
  • Tour de Cure PhD Support Scholarship
  • UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship
  • Shortlisted by UNSW for CSL Florey Next Generation Award

My Research Activities

Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest of all major cancers. A major driver of the aggressive nature of this hideous disease is the dense fibrotic scar tissue surrounding pancreatic tumours which acts like a fortress to protect and support the tumour. In my PhD, our team has developed an innovative method to grow whole pieces of human pancreatic tumours in the lab, thus mimicking the tumour and its surrounding 'fortress'. Down the track, this breakthrough will allow us to test chemotherapy drugs on each patient's individual tumour to inform personalised treatment for pancreatic cancer. Our multidisciplinary team is also developing a state-of-the-art nanomedicine to break through the tumour 'fortress' and deliver death signals to pancreatic cancer cells.

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