Nina's Story

“In biomedical research, we all have the ultimate goal to help patients and their families.” A/Prof Nina Tirnitz-Parker, Curtin University.

A/Prof Nina Tirnitz-parker received a 2010 grant to research ‘The role of liver progenitor cells in accelerated disease progression after liver transplantation.’ The results from this study were published in “Hepatology” titled: TWEAK is a mitogen for liver progenitor cells. The results were presented at the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in Boston, Massachusetts and the presentation won the prestigious “Presidential Poster of Distinction Award.

“The seed grant was absolutely crucial for my work and literally started my career in liver disease research. I was able to generate data that were presented at a national conference and formed the basis of a successful long-term collaboration, which has resulted in three consecutive project grants from our national funding body, the National Health & Medical Research Council.”

A/Prof Tirnitz-Parker’s group has decoded some of the ‘language’ that liver cells use to talk to neighbouring cells to regenerate the tissue or, in contrast, progress the disease to cancer. Through these data they have identified several potential targets for therapeutic targeting. This work formed the basis for many exciting international collaborations on hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma.

It is extremely difficult to obtain research funding, especially when you are starting out. So many talented researchers with bright ideas have to leave academia due to a lack of funding. We don’t do it for the money. We are passionate about our research, and in biomedical research, we all have the ultimate goal to help patients and their families.

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