PhD - University of New South Wales
B App Sci - University of Technology Sydney
Professor Maria Kavallaris AM is Founding Director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine at the University of New South Wales, Head of the Translational Cancer Nanomedicine Theme at the Children’s Cancer Institute and a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator. Maria is recognised for her innovation in driving multidisciplinary research in cancer nanomedicine. An outstanding scientific leader, she is internationally recognised for her research in cancer biology and therapeutics. Her research has identified clinically important mechanisms of resistance to cancer therapies, with her discoveries leading to patents, industry and clinical linkages for the development of cancer therapeutics and devices. Maria’s pioneering research has shown effective nanoparticle-based delivery of gene silencing material and chemotherapy, can reduce tumour growth in aggressive cancers.
Maria is Chair of the Australian Institute for Policy and Science, and a Life Member and past-President of the Australian Society for Medical Research. The impact of her research has been recognised many times, including via receipt of the Australian Museum Eureka Prize, as well as being named by the NHMRC as an Australian ‘high achiever’ in health and medical research. Recognition of her significant contributions to innovation is reflected in her being named in 2015 amongst the AFR/Westpac 100 Women of Influence (Innovation category), as well as the inaugural Knowledge Nation 100 – the ‘rock stars’ of Australia's innovation-driven new economy, and she received the 2017 Premiers Science and Engineering Award for Leadership in Innovation in NSW. In 2019, she was awarded the Lemberg Medal, a prestigious award bestowed by ASBMB; and has won both the 2019 UTS Chancellor’s Excellence Award and the 2019 UTS Alumni Excellence Award for Science. She is an elected Fellow of both the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and the Royal Society of New South Wales. Maria was named the 2020 NSW Premier's Woman of the Year.
A recognised medical research leader, she has been appointed on government funding panels including NHMRC Research Committee, NHMRC Women in Health Sciences Committee, and the Medical Research Future Fund Stem Cell Therapies Advisory Committee, where she contributes to high level policy. In 2019, Maria was appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for her significant service to medicine, and to medical research, in the field of childhood and adult cancers. Maria received the 2022 Presidential Medal for Outstanding Contributions, Republic of Cyprus.
Outstanding track record of attracting competitive peer-reviewed research funding throughout career having secured more than $70 million in support either as lead or co-investigator. This includes lead Chief Investigator (CI) on an NHMRC Program Grant ($7M; 2016-21), NHMRC Investigator Grant ($2.45M; 2023-27), NHMRC Synergy Grant (2023-2027), co-CI ARC Centre of Excellence (2014-21), Cancer Australia (2020-22), NSW Cancer Council (2023-25), Tour de Cure (2022-24), and Neuroblastoma Australia (2023-24).
Professor Kavallaris has held numerous prestigious fellowships that include: IARC Cancer Research Training Award, NHMRC RD Wright Fellowship, NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship, NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship, and NHMRC Investigator.
2023-2027 NHMRC Investigator (Level 3)
2017-2021 NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship
2014-2018 NHMRC Established Career Fellowship
2009 – 2013 NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship
2004 – 2008 NHMRC RD Wright Career Development Fellowship
1996 International Agency for Research on Cancer, Cancer Research Training Fellowship*. World Health Organisation. Host: Prof. Susan B Horwitz, Department Molecular Pharmacology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA. *Highly competitive fellowship with only 13 awarded worldwide in 1995.
2022 Presidential Medal for Outstanding Contributions, Republic of Cyprus
2021 ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology
2020 NSW Premier's Woman of the Year
2019 Lemberg Medal, ASBMB
2019 UTS Chancellor’s Excellence Award
2019 UTS Alumni Excellence Award for Science
2019 Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
2017 Premier's Science and Engineering Prize for Leadership in Innovation in NSW
2015 AFR/Westpac 100 Women of Influence
2015 “Knowledge Nation 100” (Australia’s top 100 visionaries, intellects, founders and game changers who help shape the country’s future prosperity).
2015 The Australian Financial Review & Westpac “100 Women of Influence” Award
2013 NSInnovations People’s Choice Award and Division Finalist for the “Development of a first-in-class lung cancer therapeutic”
2011 OEEGA International Women’s Day – Award for Excellence in the field of Scientific Research
2007 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Voiceless Research Which Replaces the Use of Animals or Animal Products – “Unravelling the Enigma of Drug Resistance in Cancer”
2007 Visiting Professorship Awarded from the University of Marseille, France (all expenses paid)
2005 Achievement Award International Women’s Day – in recognition of “extraordinary contributions to research”, Cyprus Community of NSW
2004 Young Tall Poppy Award – recognises “achievements of outstanding young researchers in the sciences and biomedical sciences”, Australian Institute of Policy and Science
2002 Institute Award - Children’s Cancer Institute Australia for Outstanding Service in Pursuit of the Institute’s Vision
1998 Leo & Jenny Leukaemia and Cancer Foundation Your Research of the Year. Finalist and Merit Certificate Awardee.
1998 Bristol Myers Squibb Oncology Young Investigator Award – American Association for Cancer Research Meeting, New Orleans, March, 1998. Highly competitive award.
1997 B G Levanthal Scholar Award – Women in Cancer Research. American Association for Cancer Research Meeting, San Diego, CA, April 1997. Highly competitive award.
1996 Bristol Myers Squibb Oncology Travel Award – American Association for Cancer Research Meeting, Washington DC, April 1996. Highly competitive.
1994 NSW State Cancer Council Travel Grant.
1990 Tow Research Prize – Coast Medical Association Meeting, Prince Henry Hospital, NSW, Australia