The Ron Evans AM Fellowship

Congratulations to Dr Marius Dannappel and Dr Madara Ratnadiwakara who have been awarded The Ron Evans AM Fellowship to progress treatments for bowel cancer.

The two researchers will work on a collaborative project to discover new molecular therapies for bowel cancer, particularly metastatic disease. Dr Dannappel is a bowel inflammation and cancer scientist and Dr Ratnadiwakara is a cancer genetics researcher with a special interest in RNA regulation in bowel cancer.

“The Fellowship presents a fantastic opportunity to combine our expertise and present critical data needed for biomarkers and therapies targeting bowel cancer,” Dr Ratnadiwakara said.

The Ron Evans AM Fellowship – an enduring legacy

The Ron Evans AM Fellowship was established in memory of AFL great, Ron Evans AM, who passed away from bowel cancer in 2007. His family wanted to leave a positive and enduring legacy. In the years following his passing, they dedicated their time to raising funds for medical research to find a cure for bowel cancer, a disease that claims the lives of 5375 Australians each year – the second largest cause of cancer deaths.

Ron’s wife, Andrea Evans, said, “When people remember Ron, they might recall his honesty and integrity, his contributions to business in Australia, or the lasting legacy he created for a sport he loved, AFL football. Ron was also a philanthropist, and when he passed away, our family decided to support research to help find a cure for this disease.”

“Bowel cancer is the second largest cause of cancer deaths in Australia and affects both men and women. By providing funding to find a cure or better treatment, we hope others may not have to go through what we have. Since Ron’s passing, our family has helped raise more than $1 million to support a PhD scholarship and post-doctoral fellowship in cancer research in Ron’s name at Hudson Institute, to enable researchers to gain a greater understanding of this disease and how it spreads.”

“Ron was an unassuming man and didn’t like to speak about his disease. However, he would be proud that his name is now affiliated with the fight against bowel cancer. When you lose someone, they will always be with you. It was such a shock losing Ron, and I sometimes wonder what would have happened if different treatments existed when he got cancer.”

“Our family funds medical research to make a difference to somebody who is living with bowel cancer to hopefully change their life and the life of their family. This is why we help.”

The Ron Evans AM Fellowship

Dr Marius Dannappel from the Cancer Genetics and Functional Genomics Research Group at Hudson Institute

Dr Marius Dannappel

Dr Marius Dannappel is a third‐year postdoctoral research fellow in the Cancer Genetics and Functional Genomics Research group. He has a longstanding interest in bowel inflammation and cancer. Over the past five years, Dr Dannappel has published his work on mechanisms of bowel inflammation in top scientific journals, including Immunity, Molecular Cell and Nature (first author). More recently, Dr Dannappel has cultured bowel cancer organoids derived directly from bowel cancer patients. Dr Dannappel’s expertise in intestinal organoid biology will be essential for testing new targets developed by the Anko lab in clinically relevant models of bowel cancer.

Dr Madara Ratnadiwakara

Dr Madara Ratnadiwakara is a fourth‐year postdoctoral research fellow in the Functional RNAomics Research group. Her background is in cancer genetics, with current interest in understanding RNA regulation in bowel cancer. Over the past five years, she has published five papers in top journals including highly‐cited first author papers in eLife and Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology. Dr Ratnadiwakara’s expertise in different aspects of RNA and cancer cell biology will be critical for the project.

Research Groups leading this work