Publish Date: 
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 14:45

A/Prof Jyotsna Batra wins a 2019 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Award

Congratulations to QUT’s Associate Professor Jyotsna Batra, who has been selected as an Outstanding Early Career Researcher in the 2019 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Awards

Hosted by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS, the annual Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Awards recognise both outstanding research and academic achievement as well as excellence in communication and community engagement, to promote a better public understanding of science. 

Using genetics to improve diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer

A/Prof Batra is the leader of the Cancer Molecular Genetics Group at QUT, based at TRI, which focuses on understanding the genetic basis of prostate cancer to identify better diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and new therapeutic targets.  

Although prostate cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer mortality in Australian men, we are currently unable to predict at diagnosis whether a patient has slow-growing or more aggressive disease at diagnosis. This means that some patients receive unnecessary treatment that will adversely impact on their quality of life without benefit. 

“My laboratory is trying to solve this problem by examining tiny changes to DNA called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms or ‘SNPs’ that are linked to prostate cancer. SNPs are the most common type of genetic variation among people. So far, we have identified ~150 genetic variations that are common in men with prostate cancer,” Says A/Prof Batra.

“The next step is to find those SNPs which will be able to identify, at diagnosis, which men will go on develop aggressive disease and benefit the most from vigorous treatment.” 

Extensive involvement in communication and community engagement

As a strong female leader, A/Prof Batra has been very active in advocating gender, diversity and inclusion issues; proactive mentoring of early career researchers; and engagement with the future generations of research academics. 

A/Prof Batra also gives multiple talks each year to the public to raise awareness about cancer research. She has been interviewed by SBS radio (in multiple languages) and ABC news, and had articles published in the Cancer Council Queensland newsletter. 

In addition, A/Prof Batra is passionate about educating and encouraging school students to engage in Science and Technology, hosting them yearly in her laboratory; volunteering at the Brisbane Science Festival; and speaking as a Flying Scientist with space enthusiasts at the 50th Moon Anniversary Event, Charleville, on the topic ‘DNA turning alien’. 

TRI congratulates A/Prof Batra on this outstanding achievement.