Ilaria Pagani

Ilaria Pagani

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


I am a biomedical researcher in the field of cancer. I previously studied breast cancer and proliferative vitreoretinopathy, but my current and future focus are haematological diseases, in particular chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). I have a PhD in Experimental Medicine and Oncology, completed in 2012, and I am a Specialist in Medical Genetics, completed in November 2016 with highest honours.

I am a new recipient of the prestigious Beat Cancer Project Mid-career Fellowship valued at $300,000, awarded by the Cancer Council South Australia for the years 2020-2022. I also been awarded the SAHMRI seed funding grant for mid-career researchers valued at $30,000.The aim of my fellowship is identifying and exploiting metabolic dependencies for improved therapeutic outcomes in CML patients. Only ~20% of CML patients are able to achieve optimal outcomes, and 20-30% develop resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy or develop fatal blast crisis. This is driven by the failure of current therapies to eradicate leukaemic stem/progenitor cells. My mid-term goal is to develop targeted therapies by re-purposing FDA-approved drugs targeting survival signals and metabolic dependencies in these leukaemic stem/progenitor cells. This approach will enable rapid translation into clinical practice, with an immediate impact on the lives of CML patients.

As Principal Investigator in 2019 I have been awarded the first international-John-Goldman-Research-Award valued at $130,000 for 2 years, beating 29 applicants from 14 countries. The aim of this second project is understanding the causes of treatment free remission after discontinuation of therapy in CML, and identifying patients who can safely cease therapy by using artificial intelligence. This will lead to the development of new targeted therapies for patients predicted to relapse.

I am an Ambassador for the European Association for Cancer Research, promoting the advancement of cancer research for public benefit. I have been recently appointed President of the Association for Research between Italy and Australia, which aim is to diffuse research and create network between researchers, costumers and governments. I am a passionate science communicator, engaging with media and with the community, and I am and advocate for women in STEM.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2017 - 2020 Affiliated Lecturer University of Adelaide, Adelaide
    2015 - 2018 Post-Doctoral Researcher South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide
    2014 - 2014 Visiting-Post Doc South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide
    2012 - 2014 Post-Doctoral Researcher University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome
    2012 - 2012 Visiting Post-Doc Medical Research Council (MRC), London
    2011 - 2012 Post-Doctoral Researcher University of Insubria, Varese
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2020 Award Mid-Career Researcher Presentation First Prize SAHMRI Australia
    2019 Award International John Goldman Research Award European School of Haematology (ESH) Australia
    2019 Award ESH Travel Grant covering all expenses European School of Haematology Australia
    2018 Invitation Technical expert/guide to the Italian Delegation in SAHMRI South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) Australia
    2018 Invitation Invited speaker to the Cancer in SA Translational Research Meeting, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Adelaide, SA, Australia. South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) Australia
    2018 Award Best poster Award New Directions in Leukaemia Research (NDLR) 2018 Meeting Australia $250
    2016 Achievement Invited speaker to the Cancer in SA Translational Research Meeting, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Adelaide, SA, Australia. South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) Australia
    2016 Achievement Invited speaker to the Hematology Seminar, S.A. Pathology, Adelaide, SA, Australia SA Pathology Australia
    2016 Achievement Invited speaker to the 2016 Leukaemia Foundation Patient Education Conference, CML Session, Adelaide University, Australia. Leukaemia Foundation Australia
    2016 Invitation Invited to judge oral/poster presentations for the EMBL Australia Postgraduate Symposium 2016 at SAHMRI, Adelaide, Australia. EMBL Australia Australia
    2016 Award Competitive selective Beat Cancer Project Travel Grant 2016 Cancer Council South Australia Australia $1250
    2015 Achievement Invited speaker to the Blood Club Translational Research Meeting, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), Adelaide, SA, Australia. South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) Australia
    2014 Award Top 10 Best Abstracts European Society Human Genetics (ESHG), Milan, Italy Italy
    2013 Award American Society of Hematology (ASH) International Post-doctoral Fellow (IPDF) approval and $500 ASH Abstract Achievement Award American Society of Hematology (ASH) Italy $500
    2012 Fellowship competitive selective 3 years - Italian Association for Cancer Research" (AIRC) Fellowship Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC) Italy
    2011 Award Competitive Selective Travel Fellowship covering all expenses to participate at the 11th FEBS Young Scientist Forum and at 36th FEBS Congress. FEBS Italy
    2011 Fellowship Italian Association against Leukaemia and Lymphoma (AIL) Fellowship Italian Association against Leukaemia and Lymphoma (AIL) Italy
    2007 Scholarship Insubria University PhD Scholarship, Varese, Italy. Insubria University Italy
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
    French Can read, write, speak and understand spoken
    Italian Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2012 University of Insubria, Varese Italy PhD
    2011 - 2016 University of Milan, Milan Italy Specialist in Medical Genetics
    2007 University of Insubria, Varese Italy Master Degree in Molecular Biology
  • Certifications

    Date Title Institution name Country
    2008 State Examination for the qualification in Biological Science University of Insubria, Varese Italy
  • Research Interests

2019: Beat Cancer Research Mid-Career Fellowship- $300,000/3 years, Granted by Cancer Council South Australia's Beat Cancer Project on behalf of its donors and the State Government of South Australia through the Department of Health and Wellbeing.”'

2019: Principal Investigator: Ilaria Stefania Pagani. SAHMRI Mid-Career Seed Funding Grant ($30,000/1 year)"Identifying and exploiting metabolic dependencies for improved therapeutic outcomes in chronic myeloid leukaemia patients". Award date: 01/01/2020→ 31/12/2020.

2019: Principal Investigator: Ilaria Stefania Pagani. Winner of the First European School of Haematology (ESH) International John Goldman Research Award ($130,000/2 years). "Use of machine learning to integrate clinical data and biomarkers to optimize prediction of TFR". Award date: 22/05/19;  1/10/19 → 30/09/21. 

  • 2019: Biochemistry III tutorial, Adelaide University, Australia.

  • 2018: Biochemistry III tutorial, University of Adelaide, Australia

  • 2016: Biochemistry III tutorial, Adelaide University, Australia.

  • 2007-2013: Tutorial of Laboratory Techniques and genetics to Medicine Students, Insubria University, Varese, Italy.

 

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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 Co-Supervisor Evaluating the mechanism of resistance in Bcr-Abl positive leukemia cells Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Govinda Poudel
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Measurement of mitochondrial respiration via seahorse experiments using frozen MNCs from CML patients SAHMRI SAHMRI Summer Research Scholarship Other Full Time Lian Tran
    2019 - 2019 Principal Supervisor DNA QPCR assay for the monitoring of minimal residual disease in CML patients SAHMRI SAHMRI Summer Research Scholarship Other Full Time Tarin Ritchie
    2018 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Mitochondrial DNA mutations in CML The University of Adelaide Placement Other Part Time Samuel Cannata, Rico Acuna
    2018 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Mitochondrial DNA copy Numbers in MPN UniSA Placement Other Part Time Lian Thuy
    2017 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Monitoring BCR-ABL content in 2 Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) Patients Involved in a Trial of Treatment Free Remission (TFR) The University of Adelaide Placement Other Part Time Caitlin Skinner
    2014 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Next generation Sequencing in CML Insubria University Postdoctorate Pirrone Cristina
    2011 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Monitoring of minimal residual disease in CML by gDNA QPCR Insubria University, Varese, Italy Master Full Time Giorgia Aimoni
    2011 - ongoing Principal Supervisor Monitoring of Minimal Residual Disease in CMl Insubria University Master Pirrone Cristina
    2011 - 2013 Principal Supervisor Next-Generation Sequencing as a new approach to monitor minimal residual disease in CML Insubria University Doctorate Full Time Pirrone Cristina
    2011 - ongoing Co-Supervisor p53-Otx1 in retina Faculty of Medicine, Insubria University, Master Borroni Davide
    2009 - 2011 Principal Supervisor p53 and Otx1 in Glioblastoma and Breast Cancer Faculty of Medicine, Insubria University Placement Other Annalisa Paolino, Eleonora Scotti, Martina Baiardo
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  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2020 - ongoing Board Member Radio Italiana 531 Youth Radio Italiana 531 Australia
    2020 - ongoing President Association for Italian Researchers in Australasia – South Australia (ARIA). Association for Italian Researchers in Australasia – South Australia (ARIA). Australia
    2019 - ongoing Board Member Myeloid Leukaemia Consumer Advisory Gro SAHMRI Australia

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