This profile was very kindly contributed to our project by the UNSW Women in Medicine group,a group for UNSW medical students to engage with, discuss, and promote the challenges faced by females in the medical profession.
Professor Michelle Haber graduated with a PhD from the School of Pathology, UNSW, in 1984, in the field of chemical carcinogenesis, and subsequently undertook post-doctoral positions at the Hadassah Hebrew University, in Israel and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.
Following her PhD, she was appointed as one of three inaugural staff at Children’s Cancer Institute and was appointed Executive Director in 2003 and she is Head of the Institute’s Experimental Therapeutics Program.
Professor Haber is internationally recognised for her world-class research into the treatment of neuroblastoma and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in children. Her project team are working towards more effective treatments for individual childhood cancers by identifying molecular targets that drive the growth and development of cancer in children, developing new drugs to inhibit the action of these targets, and combining existing and new drug treatments into novel therapeutic approaches that can be rapidly translated into national and international clinical trials. She has received numerous awards for her research, particularly in terms of translating her research findings into the clinic, including the NSW Science and Engineering Award for Biomedical Sciences and Engineering in 2011, and the same year was one of four NSW Finalists for Australian of the Year. In 2012 her research was recognised by being awarded the Cancer Institute NSW Premier’s Award for Translational Cancer Research, and her research into neuroblastoma was chosen by NHMRC in 2012 as one of ‘Ten of the Best’ Research Programs, based on the enormously promising results achieved in recent times. In 2013, she was one of three shortlisted finalists for the 2013 Eureka Prize for Medical Research Translation, and was recognised by articles in The Lancet profiling both the team, and also Children’s Cancer Institute, as world leaders in childhood cancer translational research. In 2014, Professor Haber was awarded Cancer Institute NSW Premier’s Award for Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year and in 2015, she was appointed an Inaugural Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.