Dr Angelica Merlot leads the Cancer Targets and Therapeutics Team in the Tumour Biology and Targeting Group at Children's Cancer Institute. Angelica has not wasted any time establishing her career as a cancer researcher, becoming Australia’s youngest-ever recipient of a National Health and Medical Research Council fellowship in 2018.
‘Like many Australians, I’ve lost family members to cancer, and it’s their stories and struggles that inspire me,’ she explains. ‘I want to do research that improves patient outcomes and survival rates.’
Before joining the Institute in May 2018, Angelica worked at the University of Sydney, developing new anti-cancer drugs for particularly difficult-to-treat cancers, including pancreatic cancer. One of these drugs successfully entered a Phase 1 clinical trial in Australia.
Angelica’s work is focused on improving our understanding of how tumours grow, spread, and adapt to evade anti-cancer therapies, and applying this understanding to develop new drugs and strategies that are safer and more effective than current therapies. This involves using nanoparticles to selectively target and kill cancer cells, leaving healthy cells unharmed.
‘I’m very passionate about the work we do, and very focused on producing outcomes that improve survival rates,’ she says.
In 2019, Angelica was named the Premier’s Early Career Researcher of the Year (Biological Sciences) and a Tall Poppy Award Winner. Awarded the 2019 NSW Young Woman of the Year, she is a committed champion for women in science, medicine and technology, and hopes to encourage girls and women to pursue careers in research. To date, she has attracted over $2 million in grant funding, and has presented her work at more than 40 conferences in Australia and around the world.
2020 PdCCRS Cancer Australia/Cure Cancer Australia Grant
2019 NSW Early Career Researcher of the Year (Biological Sciences)
2019 Tall Poppy Award
2019 NSW Young Woman of the Year
2019 Tour de Cure Grant
2018 PdCCRS Cancer Australia/Cure Cancer Australia Grant
2018 Scientia Research Fellow
2016 NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship
2016 CINSW ECR Fellowship