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Interesting People in Science Australian Embassy Dublin 19 February 2019

  • 28 February 2019

Australian Embassy Interesting People in Science series - An Evening with Professor John Seymour AM, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre 19 February 2019 Australian Embassy Dublin

Members of WITS were delighted to attend ‘An evening with Professor John Seynour’ AM at the Australian Embassy in Dublin. Professor John Seymour is from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, one of the world’s leading cancer research, education and treatment centres globally. Professor Seymour is a world-renowned cancer researcher and is the clinical haematologist and Associate Director of Clinical Research at Peter Mac. He most recently was jointly awarded the 2018 Victoria Prize for Life Sciences.

The evening gave us a unique insight into Professor Seymour’s background from ‘humble beginnings’ to ‘forging the path’ as the first of his family to go to University. He mentioned the positive power of influential people in his life from his Physics teacher to his amazing mentor Prof. Michael Keating. On discussing his work on Pulmonary Alveolar Protenesis and the positive outcomes for patients with this disease, he advised to always ‘Be willing to follow where the science takes you’.

On the MacCallum Cancer Centre and the bringing together of minds for the betterment of patients, he wholly encourages support and collaboration, a sentiment that was welcomed by the audience. On discussing highlights of his career, it was evident how involved and invested Prof. Seymour is in his patients. He discussed the profound impact his patients and their experience of living with their disease and indeed dealing with their death has had on him and how these experiences have provided him with a fulfilling career.

When asked where he feels the next exciting developments in Cancer will lie, he mentioned two major developments, one being the already established genomics area and the other is CAR T-cell therapy. Adoptive Cell Transfer or ACT is an immunotherapy approach collecting and using a patient’s own immune cells to treat their cancer. While there are several types of ACT, CAR T-cell therapy has advanced the furthest in clinical development and is providing us with positive outcomes.

Opening up personally, he shared his love of cycling and encourages us to ‘keep our health’ and nurture our resilience’. On balancing his career and the love of his two sons and wife he said ‘There is no magic answer…being fulfilled encourages others’.

It was an open, honest and inspiring conversation with Professor Seymour, one which the audience enjoyed immensely. Our thanks to the team at the Embassy for the opportunity for WITS to participate in this evening.

In the photo Simon Mamouney Deputy Head of Mission Australian Embassy, Anna Murnaghan WITS, Mr. Richard Andrews, Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Susan Treacy WITS, Professor John Seymour and Sinead Carroll WITS