UQ researcher wins award for women in life sciences

22 November 2019

University of Queensland (UQ) researcher Dr Priyakshi Kalita de Croft has won the prestigious Rose-Anne Kelso Commemorative Award for her research into breast cancers which spread to the brain, known as brain metastasis.

The Rose-Anne Kelso Commemorative Award was created by Life Sciences Queensland Limited and recognises an individual female’s endeavours, passion and dedication to the health and life sciences industry.

Dr Kalita de Croft from UQ’s Centre for Clinical Research says brain metastasis is a devastating condition, which makes finding a cure so important.

“About 20% of breast cancer patients develop brain metastasis,” Dr Kalita de Croft said.

“And they tend to be of a much younger age group than patients with other subtypes of breast cancer, usually between 20-49 years of age.

“My work is looking at the changes which occur within the brain where the tumour is growing, so we can get a better understanding of the mechanisms behind these changes.

“I know that a deeper knowledge of these mechanisms will pave the way for better treatments for these young patients, and ultimately a cure.”

It was a very personal experience with cancer which set Dr Kalita de Croft on the path to a career in research.

“When I was 10 years old my grandfather was diagnosed with end-stage oesophageal cancer and was given months to live.

“I come from a very close-knit family in India and as part of our culture we decided not to put him in hospice and took care of him ourselves.

“So for the next year all of my weekends were spent visiting him, seeing him suffer and struggle through it until the day he took his last breath.

“This episode left a vivid memory and ever since I have been fascinated by how a particular disease develops in the body and what can we do to treat it.”

Faculty of Medicine Communications, med.media@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3365 5118, +61 436 368 746.