Dr Emmy Dolman moved to Australia from the Netherlands in 2019 to take up a position as Senior Scientist in the Zero Childhood Cancer (ZERO) Program. She also holds a Conjoint Senior Lecturer position in the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW Sydney.
Before joining our Institute, Emmy worked at the Princess Máxima Centre for Paediatric Oncology, where her research focused on developing patient-derived model systems and biomarker-driven targeted therapies for children with neuroblastoma, and understanding and overcoming resistance to therapy. In addition, she set up a high-throughput drug screening (HTS) facility to help identify improved treatment options for children with cancer, and to support clinical treatment decision making as part of a Dutch national precision medicine program called iTHER.
‘I first learned about ZERO when I attended an international meeting of scientists working on the creation of a global consortium known as COMPASS, which aims to harmonise in vitro drug testing in precision medicine programs for childhood cancer worldwide,’ Emmy explains. ‘I’d been to Australia before for an internship and loved it, and I was ready for a change, so when the opportunity came up to work at the Children’s Cancer Institute on ZERO, I took it.’
Emmy is responsible for the in vitro drug testing component of ZERO and the integration of the resulting data into personalised treatment recommendations for children taking part in the Program. She is also working to improve the ZERO drug testing platform by integrating tailored drug concentration ranges and drug combination screening, and to develop our understanding of why certain patients respond to certain drugs. Related to this work, she coordinates our Institute’s involvement in the global COMPASS consortium.
Emmy is highly motivated to do research with a direct clinical impact. In her previous role, her work on the preclinical testing of a small molecule inhibitor called Venetoclax was instrumental in the drug’s advancement to clinical trial in children with cancer. Looking to the future, she is keen to collaborate with other scientists to develop more effective and less toxic tailored drug therapies, as well as investigate the value of different types of therapies that might benefit children with cancer, including immunomodulating therapies.
‘I want to see new or improved treatments become available, based on my findings,’ she says. ‘My career will have been successful if I can say that some of my results made it into the clinic and helped kids with cancer.’
As of 2023, Emmy is recognised as the Live for Lily Senior Scientist in the Zero Childhood Cancer team, proudly funded by the Live for Lily Foundation.
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0567-5918