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UNSW Medicine cancer researcher appointed new ASMR President

As a talented pancreatic cancer researcher whose work is offering new hope of better survival for patients - and also the wife of a cancer survivor - Dr Phoebe Phillips knows better than most the vital importance of medical research.

Her prestigious appointment as President of the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) will see her directing her energies into advocacy for investment into health and medical research at a time of increasing funding uncertainty in the sector.

ASMR is the peak professional society representing Australian health and medical research, with more than 120,000 members and affiliates in Australia. It has a long-established role in public, political and scientific advocacy.

“The sector is currently in crisis - we have an ageing population that we won’t be able to sustain, and we have evidence that putting investment into health and medical research reduces costs and improves health outcomes,” says Dr Phillips.

“My role is to present this evidence which shows the importance to the health outcomes of Australians and to the economy of investing in medical research and the need to retain a strong scientific workforce.”

Dr Phillips is a Senior Research Fellow in the Adult Cancer Program at the UNSW Lowy Cancer Research Centre. As head of the Pancreatic Cancer Translational Research Group, she is developing new ways of accessing and destroying tumour cells in the pancreas, where at best chemotherapy currently offers only 16 weeks improved survival.

In her influential new role as ASMR President, she will meet regularly with the Prime Minister, senators, health ministers and politicians as well as funding bodies like the NHMRC and ARC to advocate for the critical importance of medical and health research and ensure the Government follows through on its commitment to establish the Medical Research Future Fund.