November 7, 2018  Print

Leading researchers have come together to discuss how  their translational research at Westmead is improving health for people in Western Sydney and beyond.

Professor Jon Iredell, Professor Anna deFazio, Professor Clara Chow and Dr Ken Micklethwaite discuss how their translational research is improving health for people in Western Sydney and beyond.

More than 100 people attended the panel discussion to hear eminent researchers from across the Westmead precinct speak on their ground-breaking translational research

The special event celebrated Professor Peter Castaldi’s legacy. Peter was the driving force behind research excellence at Westmead Hospital, from which the Westmead Institute for Medical Research developed.

We will always remember Peter as one of the scientific founders of this great precinct. We will miss his wise council, his quiet strength, his sense of equity and his life-long passion for medical research and its translation into improved health care for all.

The panel event was led by Peter's son, Julien Castaldi, and featured leading Westmead researchers, Professor Jon Iredell, Professor Anna deFazio, Professor Clara Chow, and Dr Ken Micklethwaite.

This event was held as part of the Westmead Hospital’s 40th birthday celebrations.

What did the panel have to say?

Professor Jon Iredell

Professor Jon Iredell is researching the use of a naturally occurring virus to cure patients infected with bacteria and ‘superbugs’ that are resistant to antibiotics. He is exploiting billions of years of the way viruses and bacteria function, and turning things on its head to make the viruses work for us.

Jon is Director of our Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, senior staff specialist in infectious diseases and microbiology at Westmead Hospital, and a Professor at the University of Sydney.

Generations of researchers have set the culture at Westmead in stone.

Walking into Westmead is walking into an enabling culture, and a strong culture of clinical excellence.

We collaborate with pure scientists and clinicians to come up with new, ground-breaking solutions to older or chronic issues.”

Professor Anna deFazio

Professor Anna deFazio is leading the INOVATe study, which uses DNA sequencing and intensive molecular testing to understand the biology of ovarian cancer tumours, directs patients to the most relevant clinical trials.

The INOVATe program looks outside the box, and uses drugs that are not necessarily used to treat ovarian cancer, such as certain melanoma drugs.

As a researcher at Westmead, she has the opportunity to attend clinical meetings to establish patient needs and what the best care is. She believes this sort of relationship is what Peter Castaldi wanted to achieve.

Anna is Leader of our Ovarian Cancer Research Group and Sydney West Chair in Translational Cancer Research, and a Professor at the University of Sydney.

“Westmead has an incredibly bright future and is going from strength to strength.”

“Students will provide the pipeline of young, bright future researchers, and new ideas.”

Professor Clara Chow

Professor Clara Chow is committed to reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease through prevention and innovative approaches to treat the disease, including E-health programs.

She said that Westmead provides space to bump into world-leading researchers, and bounce ideas off people from different disciplines.

Clara is a Professor at Sydney Medical School, Westmead and a cardiologist at the Westmead Hospital, and a Professor at the University of Sydney.

“Westmead is the place to be.”

“It’s exciting to see something grow from an idea, to production, to testing, and translating into results, all within the Westmead precinct.”





Dr Kenneth Micklethwaite

Dr Kenneth Micklethwaite is researching a life-changing therapy for leukaemia.

He said that Immune cells can very effectively kill cancer cells, but often fail to see these cancerous cells. CAR T-cell therapy can help the immune cells recognise and kill cancer.

Ken doesn’t view his work – using immune cells to cure cancer – as the end of work at Westmead, he views it as the beginning of what we can achieve and in the future.

Ken is a cancer researcher in our Cell Therapies Research Group, and a haematologist and blood and marrow stem cell transplant physician at Westmead Hospital.

My work is just the start of what we can achieve in the future.