An academic from Queen's Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology has received two prestigious awards for her work in cancer research.
Dr Eileen Parkes won the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Young Investigator Award (YIA), one of only two researchers in the UK – and the first and only one in Northern Ireland – to have been recognised in this way. As well as this, Dr Parkes won the Conquer Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award, the only researcher chosen from Europe for this accolade. This award was, again, a first for Northern Ireland.
The research undertaken by Dr Parkes focuses on the role of the immune system in cancer growth and spread, and how cancers respond to various anti-cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy. Explaining further, Dr Parkes said: "I'm interested in how cancers with damaged, or messy, DNA turn on the immune system, and how to exploit this to make our current treatments better. I also want to understand how cancer uses the immune system to its own ends, to grow and establish itself, and find treatments that can prevent the cancer spreading."
Speaking about the awards, Dr Parkes said:
"I'm absolutely thrilled and honoured to receive these awards, both of which are the first awarded in Northern Ireland. I'm very fortunate to work with a great team – and have support from my mentors Professors Richard Kennedy and Ian Mills, both of whom have provided invaluable encouragement and support. I'm really excited to see where this research will lead – what drives me is the chance to make a difference for people with cancer in Northern Ireland and globally, building on the already great work being done at the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen's."