Australian Cypriot Professor Maria Kavallaris was honoured in Cyprus at the Presidential Palace by President Anastasiades for her achievements.
Maria Kavallaris AM FAHMS FRSN is an Australian scientist, based at the University of New South Wales’ Children’s Cancer Institute, where she is best known for her contributions to the field of cancer research. On 25 January 2019, Kavallaris was appointed a member of the Order of Australia.Kavallaris was born in Australia, and is of Greek and Cypriot descent. She returned to Morphou, Cyprus, with her family while still in primary school. Soon after, Cyprus was invaded by Turkey, forcing her family to flee for safety to Kavallaris’ maternal great grandparents’ house in the mountains. Four weeks later, Kavallaris’ family headed to a British base, were airlifted to the UK, and then returned to Australia again (1974).
In grade 10, Kavallaris left high school to complete a pathology technician course. She then pursued a Bachelor of Applied Science at the University of Technology Sydney, where she was also working in the laboratory of Alan Pettigrew. In 1983, when she was 21, Kavallaris was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer. While undergoing chemotherapy, she decided to complete her undergraduate degree and pursue a PhD in cancer research.
During the first year of her PhD at the University of New South Wales, Kavallaris’s 30-year-old brother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died within six weeks.[
Following her PhD, Kavallaris worked at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, U.S.A., as an IARC Cancer Research Fellow where she made significant contributions towards understanding the role of cytoskeleton proteins in tumour growth and cancer cell survival.
She then returned to Australia to work at the newly opened University of New South Wales’ Children’s Cancer Institute in 1984, where her research focuses on childhood cancer. This has involved using nanotechnology to develop cancer therapies, and to determine mechanisms which lead to anti-cancer drug resistance.
Kavallaris is a founding Director of the Australian Centre for Nanomedicine that she established in 2011.She is also the head of the Translational Cancer Nanomedicine Theme at the University of New South Wales’ Children’s Cancer Institute. She is co-Chair of the Australian Institute for Policy and Science, and past President and Life Member of the Australian Society for Medical Research.
Kavallaris has received over $40 million in research funding, and has trained over 50 students.She has an h-index and i10-index of 59 and 132 respectively, and has been cited over 12,400 times.
On 25 January 2019, Kavallaris was appointed a member of the Order of Australia. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales (FRSN)  and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.