Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Lab

Despite improvements in surgical & oncological management, pancreatic cancer has a dismal prognosis. While the Australian Pancreatic Centre prides itself on better survival outcomes for patients, breakthroughs in treatment are desperately needed. The Centre’s involvement with research into the basic sciences and translation of these findings into treatments for patients is essential for changing the paradigm for pancreatic cancer patients. The Centre partners with the Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory as a vehicle for driving this research. It also currently supports the work of Surgical Research Fellow, Dr Chris Nahm.
The Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory was established in 1980 and is located in the Kolling Building at Royal North Shore Hospital. It is the research arm of the Medical Oncology Department. It is part of the Hormones and Cancer Division of the Kolling Institute, which is affiliated with Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney and is a member of Sydney Vital, a Cancer Institute NSW Translational Cancer Research Centre.
The team of medical oncologists and cancer researchers work together to fast-track discoveries into clinical practice. The focus is on increasing understanding of cancer biology, identifying better ways to diagnose and predict how a cancer will behave, and improving cancer treatment for better outcomes for cancer patients.

Dr Chris Nahm LMusTCL B.Sc(Med) MBBS(Hons) FRACS

Dr Chris Nahm is a Clinical Lecturer at the University of Sydney and Surgical Research Fellow at the Australian Pancreatic Centre. After graduating from medical school at the University of New South Wales in 2008, he completed his internship, residency and training in general surgery at Royal North Shore Hospital and was awarded Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 2016. With the support of an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship and the Australian Pancreatic Centre, he is currently undertaking a PhD with the University of Sydney under the supervision of Dr Thomas Hugh, Dr Anubhav Mittal, Clinical Professor Jas Samra, Dr Viive Howell and Dr Emily Colvin. Based in the Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory in the Kolling Institute, he is exploring the role of biomarkers and oxidative stress in the early diagnosis and accurate prognostication of pancreatic cancer. Chris is also heavily involved with the clinical teaching and research supervision of medical students.

Dr Emily Colvin

Dr Emily Colvin is a University of Sydney postdoctoral researcher in the Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory. In 2005 she graduated with a Bachelor of Medical Science (Hons I) from the University of New South Wales before commencing her PhD in the Pancreatic Cancer Research Group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Her project focused on identifying and validating biomarkers that predict a patient’s response to treatment.
In 2009, she was awarded the Cancer Institute NSW Premier’s Award for Outstanding Cancer Research Scholar for this research. Dr Colvin completed her PhD in 2011 and is now based at the Kolling Institute, Royal North Shore Hospital. Her current research focuses on developing more effective immunotherapies to treat pancreatic cancer.

Dr Viive Howell

Dr Howell is the Research Director of the Bill Walsh Translational Cancer Research Laboratory, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney. Prior to her current appointments she was a Cancer Institute NSW Northern Translational Cancer Research Unit Fellow, a Cancer Institute NSW Fellow and NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow at the University of Michigan, USA and the University of Sydney. Her research has also attracted funding from Cancer Council NSW and Cure Cancer Australia Foundation and she works collaboratively with several biotech companies. She has extensive expertise in molecular genetics and in vivo modelling which she applied to understanding the molecular mechanisms of cancer and the identification of disease biomarkers.
Her PhD studies led to changes to the WHO guidelines for diagnosis of parathyroid cancer. Her laboratory is focused on improving treatment and outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients through the development of novel immunotherapies and the identification of prognostic and predictive biomarkers.