By Leigh Dayton,  4 January 2022

When Cartherics Biomedical Honours student Elizabeth (Liz) Bakaniozos opened an e-mail this month from the Director and CEO of Monash University’s Hudson Institute of Medical Research she was “really surprised and grateful”.

And rightly so. Elizabeth Hartland wrote to advise and congratulate Liz on winning the Hudson Institute Lois Salamonsen Honours Award for 2021. Bakaniozos’ laboratory project with Cartherics focussed on improving natural killer cell immunotherapy by targeting the adenosine signalling pathway.

Cartherics CEO Alan Trounson also complimented Bakaniozos for winning the award, along with her “stellar performance” in the laboratory. “Fantastic effort and now recognised. You should be very proud”, he said.

Not only did Bakaniozos win the award, and a $200 prize, she won the inaugural award. It was established not only to honour reproductive endocrinologist Salamonsen, but to recognise outstanding Honours students like Bakaniozos. The award was based on her course work and Honours thesis, as well as her laboratory work.

Hartland also congratulated Bakaniozos’ Cartherics supervisors – Education Officer Graham Jenkin, Chief Translation Officer Walid Azar and Chief Development Officer Richard Boyd. It was a sentiment Bakaniozos shares: “The honours year was such a challenging year and I could not have achieved anything without the help and guidance of my supervisors and the Cartherics team”.

Bakaniozos discovered immunology in the second year of her Biomedical science degree. “I remember learning about therapies such as vaccines, CAR-T therapies, monoclonal antibodies and being fascinated by how it all worked,” she says, noting the potential for future cancer treatments….and a future career path.