Last week the Minister for Health and Medical Research announced the Cancer Institute NSW (CINSW) Research Grant Awards, which included an Early Career Fellowship awarded to BABS researcher, Dr Natalia Castaño-Rodríguez. This recent CINSW Fellowship will support Natalia’s efforts to tackle gastric adenocarcinoma, the fourth most common cancer worldwide, by advancing our understanding of the interactions between host immunogenetics and the gastric microbiome in five diverse ethnic groups from Australia, East Asia and South America.

Equally important, the Faculty of Science recently awarded Natalia one of the four UNSW Scientia Fellowships commencing in 2020. This fellowship is intended to provide additional funding for leadership and career development, which will certainly consolidate Natalia’s position as a rising academic in our School. Natalia hopes that she can apply the acquired skills not only with her own research group but also in her role as the Chair of UNSW’s Early Career Academic Network (ECAN).

Natalia joined BABS in 2009 as a higher degree student (MPhil and PhD) under Professor Hazel Mitchell’s supervision, which led to an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship. Natalia's achievements are undoubtedly an excellent example of a young international student who believed she could dedicate her life to science and found a nurturing environment in our University that has enabled her to grow and capitalise her hard work.