Publish Date: 
Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 11:00

2017/18 TRI Development Award Winners 

Predicting the success of immunotherapies for advanced melanoma patients

Applicant: Dr Gregor Kijanka, Mater Foundation Senior Research Fellow

Team members: Prof Matt Brown, Prof Ricardo Dolcetti, Prof Andrew Barbour, A/Prof Kristen Radford, Janine Thomas

Collaboration: Mater Research, Queensland University of Technology, The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute (UQDI), Princess Alexandra Hospital.


Cancer immunotherapies are revolutionising clinical management of advanced cancer patients.  Despite the success, these therapies are expensive and the majority of patients do not sustain a response in the long term.  The key challenge is to identify the patients who are most likely to benefit from immunotherapy from those better suited to alternative and/or adjuvant treatments. 

Around four to six new Stage III and IV patients present at the Melanoma Unit at PA Hospital each week.

Collaborative research at TRI, which combines the strengths of clinicians, researchers and cutting edge technologies, aims to provide a comprehensive profile of the genetic and immunologic landscape of these patients to discover who is most likely to benefit from immunotherapy.

The TRI Development Award will be used to increase the hours of a dedicated research nurse within the Melanoma Unit, over a six month period, to identify, gain consent and collect data of approximately 40 advanced melanoma patients undergoing immunotherapy.  


Peritoneal dialysis mobile App (PD-Buddy)

Applicant: Dr Magid Fahim, Nephrologist

Team members: Dr Yeoungjee Cho, Mrs Peta-Anne Paul-Bent,

Collaboration: A collaboration between the Australian eHealth Research Centre; the UQ Centre for Online Research and the Australasian Kidney Trials Network


Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) is a cost-effective and user-friendly form of dialysis for people with end-stage kidney disease.  Yet the use of this form of dialysis is declining due to a high rate of PD-related complications including infections like peritonitis.

PD is critically dependent on patient self-management, so trials are underway to see if improved training of patients and nurses, using a program called the Targeted Education Approach to Improve Peritoneal Dialysis (TEACH-PD), will reduce the rate of PD-related complications. 

The TRI Development Award will be used to adapt and incorporate a mobile App, called PD-Buddy, into the TEACH-PD trials. The PD-Buddy mobile app:

  • Allows patients to record symptoms in real time
  • Provides links to the TEACH-PD training material
  • Sends photos/messages to the patient’s physician in a secure environment
  • Enables the renal treatment team to give direct feedback to patients.

The trials will test the effectiveness and usability of the PD-Buddy app with the aim of providing patients with an invaluable tool to manage their health and allow long-term use of peritoneal dialysis.


The TRI Development Awards are now open for submissions. The Awards encourage, recognise and assist midcareer researchers, clinicians and support staff at TRI who undertake activities aligned with the TRI vision of generating and translating new knowledge into practice.  

These activities could include; developing new collaborations; generating new knowledge that improves patient outcomes; or to encourage and assist others at TRI to understand and participate in achieving the TRI vision.

The Awards are not limited to research but aim to cover all activities that assist TRI achieve its vision and may ultimately help to generate and translate new knowledge into clinical practice.

Two awards will be given at the start of 2018 and each award is for $10,000.  

2017 Key Dates

  • Thursday 2 November: Applications Opened
  • Thursday 30 November: Applications Close
  • Mid December: Award recipients are announced 

Conditions and Eligibility 

  1. The nomination must be supported by at least two members of the Personal Development and Talent Management Committee from different partner organisations other than the organisation of the nominated person. 
  2. To be eligible for an award, the recipient must be a mid-career researcher, clinician or support staff based at TRI. They can also be a member of a team who is working to achieve the TRI vision.
  3. The award can be used for:  
  • salaries of research support staff employed to work on a project
  • project materials/laboratory consumables
  • minor equipment if essential to the project and not available elsewhere at TRI
  • travel directly related to the project (Conference travel will only be funded where key additional meetings with leading scientists/clinicians or industry partners is essential to the project are included)
  • expenses associated with achieving better outcomes or sustainability of the activity.
  1. Funds must be expended by the end of 2018, with no extensions granted, at which time the award recipient will be required to submit a report to TRI on the achieved outcomes and expenditure of the funds.  Any unexpended funds are to be returned to TRI.


For More Information 

Contact Communications and Marketing Director - Louise Morland 

email: [email protected] 

phone: (07) 3443 7744

The TRI Development Awards encourage, recognise and assist midcareer researchers, clinicians and support staff