UNSW Sydney Conjoint Professor Michelle Haber has been honoured for outstanding contributions to childhood cancer research with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at CEO Magazine’s Executive of the Year Awards. 

World-renowned scientist Prof. Haber has dedicated her professional life to improving outcomes for children with cancer. She is one of Australia’s leading translational researchers for advancing our understanding of childhood cancers neuroblastoma and leukaemia, leading to new clinical approaches that have improved survival and quality of life.

Prof. Haber said she’s delighted to receive the award, which she accepted in her capacity as Executive Director of the Children’s Cancer Institute, based at UNSW.

“I’ve been privileged to receive accolades for my research, but to receive an award as a CEO is a first, and I’m very proud!” she said.

“My proudest achievement is establishing the Zero Childhood Cancer Program, or ZERO, which we run in partnership with the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital.

“ZERO recognises that every child’s cancer is unique. By analysing the genetics of each child and their cancer, we can understand what’s happening at a molecular level, and use this understanding to formulate personalised treatment recommendations. Results have shown that this approach significantly improves outcomes, and there are children alive today who wouldn’t be without ZERO.”

Prof. Haber said that while “flashes of inspiration” can take years to translate into reality, extraordinary things can be achieved by thinking outside the box, leading the way and bringing the right people together.

“I absolutely believe that one day, we will be able to cure all children with cancer, and that it’s not if, it’s when,” she said.

Read more: Zero Childhood Cancer precision medicine program expands to include all young Australians with cancer

CEO Magazine Founder Chris Dutton paid tribute to Prof. Haber, declaring her a worthy Lifetime Achievement recipient.

“Our magazine shines a light on leaders driving positive change, and few have achieved more in improving outcomes for young cancer patients than Michelle,” he said. “Her extraordinary work makes this a thoroughly well-deserved award.”

The magazine had a record number of entries for its 12th annual awards, which were presented at a Hollywood-themed ceremony at The Star Sydney. Read CEO Magazine’s story.