Rita Leitoguinho receives Australian Society for Medical Research award for outstanding PhD presentation

13 June 2019
Congratulations Rita, on your well-deserved ASMR award.
Rita Leitoguinho, a PhD Candidate at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, was awarded the Best Final Year PhD Presentation Award from the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) at the Victorian awards night. 

Rita is investigating a gene called VENTX that has been linked to leukemia. During her PhD, supervised by Professor Andrew Elefanty, she found that activating this gene during blood cell development in a dish stops normal blood from being formed and instead generates immature blood cells.

Using genetically modified human stem cells to study blood development offers the perfect platform to understand more about these cells. Developing human blood stem cells that are genetically free from mutations could, in future, be used for blood cell transplants, as leukemia treatments rely on healthy blood stem cells. 

This year’s ASMR Victorian Student Research Symposium showcased many brilliant young scientists, who are all hoping to close the gap between medical research and clinical translation. 

“It was an honour to have received the Award in the midst of such wonderful scientists”, said Rita.

The ASMR is the peak professional society representing Australian health and medical research. The ASMR fosters community support for Australian medical research and brings together public, political and scientific advocates.
“I am incredibly grateful to ASMR and other platforms like Stem Cells Australia for granting me the opportunity to develop both as a researcher and as a science advocate.”

Rita Leitoguinho is a PhD Candidate with the Stem Cells Australia network. Rita was a Researcher Ambassador at Stem Cell Australia's recent public forum.