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Collaboration and Exhibition Success for APCRC-Q

Professor Colleen Nelson and Dr Patrick Ling, both representing The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre – Queensland (APCRC-Q) and the Australian Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance (AusCanPCRA), recently attended the reputable ICMAN5 conference. These two leaders in the field of prostate cancer exhibited some of their current research at the event that ran from the 13th to the 15th of October 2011.
Collaboration and Exhibition Success for APCRC-Q

Prof Colleen Nelson, Prof Ron Quinn and Dr Peter Eck

ICMAN5, held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in Brisbane Australia, marked the Fifth International Conference on Mechanisms of Action of Nutraceuticals.

The conference attracted a wide selection of professionals, discussing the latest research in nutraceuticals and complementary medicines. Attendees ranged from leading international researchers, clinicians, and pharmacists, as well as industry and government leaders.

Prof Zee Upton (QUT), Prof Jenny Martin (UQ), Dr Naveed Khan (Griffith Enterprise), Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), John Mickel MP, The Hon Peter Beattie, Prof Peter Howe (UniSA), Prof Michael Fenech (CSIRO)
Prof Zee Upton (QUT), Prof Jenny Martin (UQ), Dr Naveed Khan (Griffith Enterprise), Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), John Mickel MP, The Hon Peter Beattie, Prof Peter Howe (UniSA), Prof Michael Fenech (CSIRO)

Mario Pennisi is the Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Clinical Trials Network and ICMAN 5 organiser as well as a member of the AusCan Alliance, and was delighted with the attendance and contribution of fellow Alliance members.

Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), Mario Pennisi (Life Sciences Qld), Lee Anne Murphy (MAHRN Canada)
Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), Mario Pennisi (Life Sciences Qld), Lee Anne Murphy (MAHRN Canada)

“No-one knows where the next breakthrough will come from, but we do know that minds that are open to new ideas and suggestions as to how challenges may be met are most likely to be the ones who succeed,” he said.

“Success comes from collaboration and the sharing of ideas, seen through the involvement of Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran at ICMAN5, certainly contributing to the prospect of new ideas and opportunities being born.”

Plenary sessions, breakout seminars, posters, and trade exhibitions allowed the delegates to discuss the development of therapies preventing and treating chronic disease and conditions.

This was the first time ICMAN has been held in the Southern Hemisphere, and in the Asia-Pacific Region, and the APCRC-Q caught up with organisers and attendees to find out what the conference meant to them and their research efforts in this challenging field.

Dr Patrick Ling
Dr Patrick Ling (APCRC-Q)

Dr Patrick Ling is the Vice Chancellor Fellow for APCRC-Q and enjoyed the conference immensely.

“The conference was fantastic as it contained speakers from both industry and research fields. This proved a great opportunity for APCRC-Q to gain exposure to potential collaborations and commercial sectors,” Dr Ling said.

The researcher particularly enjoyed the sessions on vitamin D and cancer, adding that there are still plenty of controversial issues about the topics. Dr Ling also found discussion on commercialisation and funding opportunities, in regards to research and nutraceuticals, of specific interest.

When asked the value that he places on conferences such as ICMAN, Dr Ling stated that these events present great openings to match research scientists and commercial partners. He believes conferences are professionally beneficial for showcasing research.

“Apart from the learning opportunities on the exciting research being conducted in this area, I have met with at least three potential collaborators, two of which are within the food industry,” he said.

“Conferences allow us to attract collaboration, these particular researchers were all impressed with the capabilities of APCRC-Q after viewing the research posters.”

The APCRC-Q booth attracted much interest from attendees who were eager to learn more about the clinical research occurring at APCRC-Q, proving that the exhibition of research aids in raising awareness and support.

Dr Ling gave a glowing report of the event, although commented that he would like to see a larger section on cancer next year.

Dr Patrick Ling on the Australian Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance:

Dr Ling has been involved in the Australian Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance (AusCanPCRA) since 2009.

When asked about the highlights of his involvement, the Doctor responded favourably,

“I attended the AusCan Alliance meeting last year, which I found to be a great event as I had the chance to meet world leading researchers from North America. I was also exposed to innovative ideas which have helped me to build my own research direction,” he said.

The researcher is impressed with the ways in which the alliance promotes prostate cancer research, believing that it synergized the expertise both Australia and Canada contain, speeding up research on this topic.

Dr Ling is particularly delighted with personal profiles within the AusCanPCRA website in which each researcher has a platform they can use to contact potential collaborators.

Dr Ling envisages joint grant applications for international research funding through the Alliance in the upcoming future.

Vasundara Venkateswaran
Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran (UToronto)

Australian Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance member, Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran - Associate Professor within the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto and Division of Urology at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre in Toronto - also attended the ICMAN conference and spoke on her work in dietary agents in relation to prostate cancer.

During her visit to Australia, Dr Venkateswaran also spoke at the APCRC-Q’s regular Seminar Series, receiving a warm welcome and positive feedback on her research from attendees.

The researcher enjoyed the ICMAN conference, stating that it was excellent and very informative as well as a great opportunity to network.

Jeff Greenwood (NZ Inst for Plant & Food Research), Aaron Etra (Int Council of ICMAN), Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran (UToronto)
Jeff Greenwood (NZ Inst for Plant & Food Research), Aaron Etra (Int Council of ICMAN), Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran (UToronto)

When asked about the value of conferences such as this, Dr Venkateswaran rated the conference as excellent and diverse, covering a wide range of topics.

She would anticipate more on cancer in the years to come.

“All of the sessions were great in terms of novel/effective agents, although they were not all focussed on the development of therapies for the treatment of chronic diseases,” she said.

“Having said that, there were specific sessions wherein the focus was on dietary agents in inflammation and inflammation associated carcinogenesis, cardiac, cancer, metabolic syndrome etc.”

“The key is looking at these agents in terms of their translational potential and the conference met these requirements,” Dr Venkateswaran said.

The researcher believes that conferences provide a great opportunity to showcase work in order to attract collaborators.

Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran on the Australian Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Alliance:

Dr Vasundara Venkateswaran has been a member of the AusCan Alliance since its’ inception in 2008 and greatly enjoyed visiting the prostate centre in Brisbane as well as interacting with the team there.

Mr Pennisi was pleased to have the Scientist on board for the conference.

“The international set of speakers at ICMAN5 was augmented by the international networks of the Aus-Can PCRAlliance, with Professor Colleen Nelson’s suggestion of a speaker of the highest quality in Dr Venkateswaran,” he said.

“She made a significant contribution to the success of ICMAN5 and we were so pleased that Vasu Venkateswaran was able to accept our invitation.”

Dr Venkateswaran lists the AusCan Symposium held at the Gold Coast in 2010 as a highlight of her involvement with the Alliance.

When asked how she believes the Alliance contributes to promoting prostate cancer research, the Scientist replied that the organisation brings together researchers with similar interest.

“The Alliance provides an efficient and professional way to collaborate and sustain interaction,” she said.

Dr Venkateswaran looks forward to her future within the AusCan Alliance and reflects positively on her involvement thus far.

“It was a great opportunity to be here at the Queensland University of Technology to render seminars and interact with the faculties and researchers,” she said.

“I would like to see myself being involved in the Alliance to a greater degree and would at some point consider being part of the APCRC-Q.”

The researcher would like to see more opportunities for scientists like herself to spend a year or two mutual exchange between Canada and Australia at the level of students and post doctoral fellows.

Stay tuned for more exciting interviews with the dedicated members of the AusCan Alliance.

Prof Ron Quinn (Griffith Uni), Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q)
Prof Ron Quinn (Griffith Uni), Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q)

Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), Dr Roger Stanley (QAAFI, UQ), Mario Pennisi (Life Sciences Qld)
Prof Colleen Nelson (APCRC-Q), Dr Roger Stanley (QAAFI, UQ), Mario Pennisi (Life Sciences Qld)