PROFILE

Professor Anna Nowak

Started at UWA: 1990

Leading oncologist in malignant mesothelioma and neuro-oncology research

One of the most rewarding aspects of cancer research is taking a concept all the way through from the laboratory to treating people with cancer, and seeing it improve people’s lives. Professor Anna Nowak

Professor Anna Nowak is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), having initially commenced in the role in an acting capacity in 2022. As DVCR, she is a member of the UWA Executive and has responsibility for research strategy and operations, strategic research institutes and facilities, and HDR students, across the University. Previously she was Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health and Medical Sciences) and prior to that, Associate Dean (Research) and Deputy Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

Professor Nowak completed her medical training (MBBS) at UWA in 1990, medical oncology training (FRACP) in 2000, and a PhD at UWA in 2003. She has longstanding research and clinical interests in malignant mesothelioma and neuro-oncology.

As a UWA Clinical Academic since 2005, she was a Medical Oncologist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH) and Professor within the School of Medicine. She was Director of the National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases (NCARD) at UWA, Chair of the national Cooperative Group in NeuroOncology (COGNO).

With her laboratory-based PhD thesis in tumour immunology, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical trials and quality of life research, and subsequent involvement in psychosocial oncology, imaging, bio banking, genetics and other relevant fields, Professor Nowak has gained a unique translational perspective with expertise in laboratory science, clinical trials, and both quantitative and qualitative research which informs her current role.

While she has worked at UWA and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital for most of her career, Professor Nowak has also spent time working in Sydney, NSW and Chicago, USA. She has extensive experience working with the pharmaceutical industry, translation to guidelines and policy, and working with government and non-government agencies.

She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, with Board experience including the Cancer Council of Western Australia, Trinity Residential College Council, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, International Marine Observing System, Population Health Research Network and the Raine Study. In 2022, she completed a Master of Leadership with a dissertation focussed on research leadership in Higher Education.

 

Mesothelioma

As the Director at UWA’s National Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases (NCARD), a National Health and Medical Research Council Centre for Research Excellence focused on mesothelioma, Professor Nowak works alongside 35 scientific staff. NCARD has an international reputation for mesothelioma immunology, biomarkers and translational clinical trials. Professor Nowak’s main focus is on clinical trials in mesothelioma, with a specific interest in chemoimmunotherapy, translational biomarkers and imaging in clinical trials.

 

Neuro-Oncology

Anna is the chair of the Australian CoOperative trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO). Professor Nowak previously co-chaired the Brain Cancer Biobanking Australia for two years following its inception. As the co-principal investigator of the Australian Genomics and Outcomes of Glioma biobanking collaboration, Professor Nowak provided clinical leadership to a team that collected tumour and blood biospecimens and correlative clinical data from over 1000 patients with glioma. This biospecimen bank is now available as a research resource.

Notable Achievements

023-cancer Created with Sketch.

WA Cancer Researcher of the Year, Cancer Council Western Australia, 2018

award Created with Sketch.

Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation Pioneer Award (USA), 2017

medal Created with Sketch.

Emeritus Professor Eric G Saint Memorial Award in recognition of excellence in research and care in Asbestos Diseases, 2014

Inaugural Professor Martin H. Tattersall Heroes Award, Medical Oncology Group of Australia, 2021

Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, 2022

008-trophy Created with Sketch.

International Mesothelioma Interest Group Wagner Medal, 2021

Top mesothelioma investigator named cancer researcher of the year

Funding


2018-2019

USA Department of Defense

  • The MexTAg Collaborative Cross: Understanding Genetic Modifiers in Mesothelioma.
  • Fisher S, Lake RA, Morahan G, Ram R, Nowak AK, Lesterhuis J, Bueno R.

iCARE Dust Diseases Board

  • The MexTAg Collaborative Cross.
  • Fisher S, Lake RA, Nowak AK.

iCARE Dust Diseases Board

  • Identifying immune biomarkers of response to chemotherapy in malignant mesothelioma.
  • McDonnell A, Nowak AK, Lake RA, Robinson B, Cook A.

2018

Slater and Gordon (Health Projects and Research Fund)

  • Mesothelioma and exercise
  • Nowak AK, Fisher S, McIntyre C, Lake RA, Newton R.

2017-2019

NHMRC project grant

  • Compartmental analysis of T-cell responses in thoracic malignancies.
  • Robinson BWS, Lee YCG, Creaney J, Lake RA, Holt R, Nowak AK, Watson M, Pearson, Chee J.

More grants and publications.

Contact Professor Anna Nowak