He’s a young ‘Tall Poppy’ in science

He’s a young ‘Tall Poppy’ in science

28 Sep 2010

Dr Marc Kvansakul – whose new laboratory at La Trobe University probes the biology of cell death regulation to help develop new anti-cancer drugs and reduce the side effects of chemotherapy – has won a Young Tall Poppy Science award.

Dr Marc Kvansakul

He was one of nine young Victorian researchers to receive the award run by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS).

 Congratulating him on his achievement, La Trobe Dean of Science, Technology and Engineering, Professor Brian McGaw, said the award recognises Dr Kvansakul’s outstanding research work and his passion for communicating the significance of science to the wider community.

Dr Kvansakul has already published eleven internationally recognised scientific papers. He also plays a key role in La Trobe outreach activities in secondary schools where he works on science projects with year nine pupils and teachers.

A graduate of Imperial College, London, Dr Kvansakul specialises in the science of protein interactions using X-ray crystallography and the Australian Synchrotron for his experiments. He explains that cells are normally programmed to commit suicide if they are infected.

‘They “take one for the team” to prevent spread of the infection,’ he says. ‘I’m studying how some viruses can block this process and stop their new home from self-destructing. This “hijacking” of cells not only allows the virus to breed in safety, but can also help cells to become cancerous.’


Dr Kvansakul came to Melbourne in 2004 to work on viral cell death inhibition at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute. He moved to La Trobe early this year after receiving an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship and project grant.

AIPS Executive Director, Elektra Spathopoulos, said Tall Poppy winners ‘represent the brightest researchers investigating the important issues that benefit all Australians and the world.


‘With increased public debate on science issues and policy, and still decreasing enrolments in senior high school science and maths, the need to inspire young people about science and educating the wider community has never been more important.’

• Dr Kvansakul lives in Coburg.  For further information and interviews, please contact Ernest Raetz, Tel 03 9479 2315 or 041 226 1919


Issued by:

Ernest Raetz

Media & Communications | La Trobe University | Bundoora, Australia 3086 T +61 3 9479 2315 | M +61 0412 261 919 | F+61 3 9479 1387 | <mailto:e.raetz@latrobe.edu.au>


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