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Dr Jyotsna Batra receives prestigious 2014 Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman Award

APCRC-Q geneticist, Dr Jyostna Batra, recently won a prestigious Indian Award for her research on the genetic biomarkers of prostate cancer aimed at improving early diagnosis of the cancer to enable targeted treatment.

Dr Batra, who is based within the APCRC-Q at Brisbane's Translational Research Institute (TRI) at Princess Alexandra Hospital, is one of only 30 recipients of the 2014 Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman award, given to people of Indian origin living in other countries to help further their education or careers.

"My research is aimed at finding better biomarkers that will help us identify men who are predisposed to develop prostate cancer by determining the genetic factors responsible for causing the cancer," says Dr Batra, a leader in functional genomics research that focuses on cancer diagnosis and treatment.

"Developing a better understanding of the underlying genetics of cancer will give doctors the best chance of diagnosing cancer early and treating it when a patient's potential for survival is high.

"As cancer progresses toward a more advanced state, successful treatment becomes more challenging, and the process becomes more difficult for both doctors and also for patients. Late stage treatment also places a greater strain on the health service."

Dr Batra was first awarded an Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation Fellowship in 2008. This Fellowship enabled me to come to Australia and start my career seven years ago. I have adjusted well in the new research environment and now successfully lead my own research group," she said.

Subsequently, she has been awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council project grant,Peter Doherty Fellowship, and, recently, a Career Development Award (2015-2018), as well as Cancer Australia Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme funding for her valuable research.

"I am deeply grateful to Distinguished Professor Judith Clements, whose mentorship and support have been instrumental in assisting me with my research and in achieving this award.

Dr Batra received the award from Puducherry Governor Virendra Kataria, on behalf of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee.

"I am delighted to have such recognition in India, my country of origin, for my contribution to science, and I feel privileged and honoured to be among 30 Indians who have been recognised," she said.

Dr Batra collaborates with Dr Sharmila Bapat at the National Centre for Cell Science in Pune, India with the aid of an Australia-India Strategic Research Fund grant, and with Dr Sunita Saxena at the National Institute of Pathology in Delhi.

“We are very proud and pleased to have one of our researchers honoured with such a prestigious award,” said Distinguished Professor Judith Clements, Scientific Director of the APCRC-Q.

“We are delighted to be able to attract and retain such high calibre international researchers as Dr Batra at the APCRC-Q.”