03:47am Tuesday 12 November 2019

Garvan scientist selected to set ovarian cancer prevention research priorities in US

Garvan scientist selected to set  ovarian cancer prevention research priorities in US

Dr Goli Samimi

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research congratulates Dr Goli Samimi on her appointment as Program Director of Ovarian Cancer Prevention Research for The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States.

Originally from the US, Dr Samimi has been the head of Garvan’s Ovarian Cancer Research project since 2011, working with her team to develop a blood-based, early detection test for ovarian cancer. 

Dr Samimi’s new role at NIH will see her setting the priorities and direction of ovarian cancer prevention research and funding for the United States.

Of her appointment, Dr Samimi says, “I am beyond honoured to have even been considered for this prestigious position. I’m delighted that I will play a significant role in setting the ovarian cancer prevention research priorities for the whole of the United States. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to provide meaningful and broad outcomes for a disease area desperately in need of breakthroughs, and to which I am committed.”

According to Professor John Mattick, Executive Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Dr Samimi’s appointment will have significant global impact.

“NIH is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services and is the largest funding body for medical research in the world. Its work impacts and influences research priorities across the world. 

“While we are sad to see Dr Samimi leave Garvan and Australia, we are thrilled that her contribution, knowledge, skill and passion, which has been so greatly valued here at Garvan, has been recognised internationally,” said Professor Mattick. 

That passion is evident in the fact that Dr Goli Samimi will continue to drive her research here at Garvan, while she is based in the US.

“I am delighted that Dr Samimi has chosen to retain leadership of Garvan’s Ovarian Cancer Early Detection research project through to April 2016. She will continue to manage the program (pro-bono) as an Honorary Scientist at Garvan,” added Professor Mattick.

Mrs Margaret Rose AM is a business leader, ovarian cancer survivor and dedicated advocate for Garvan’s ovarian cancer research into improved early detection.  Her philanthropic support and advocacy has been a driving force behind the success of Dr Samimi’s research project to date. 

Mrs Rose said, “It is shocking to me that, more than 20 years after my diagnosis, outcomes for those diagnosed with ovarian cancer have not improved.

“Ovarian cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed gynaecological cancer in Australia, with more than 1,400 new cases expected to be diagnosed this year. Of these women, 70% are diagnosed at late stage and have a five-year survival rate of just 30%. This is because ovarian cancer is almost always diagnosed late, when the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries and metastasised throughout the peritoneal cavity. However, if ovarian cancer is diagnosed in the early stages, the five-year survival rate increases dramatically to 90%. 

“This is why I am so passionate about supporting and advocating for Garvan’s research to find a blood-based early detection test for ovarian cancer.  This test has the potential to save hundreds of lives each year.

“Dr Samimi’s dedication to this goal is inspiring, and I whole-heartedly support her new appointment and know she will be a wonderful advocate for improving outcomes for this devastating disease,” said Mrs Rose.

The progress made to date by Garvan’s ovarian cancer research team has been possible thanks to generous and passionate supporters like Mrs Rose. 

Mr Andrew Giles, Chief Executive of the Garvan Research Foundation says that support from all levels of the community is essential to ensuring the future of medical research in Australia. “Garvan’s ovarian cancer research is a great example of how community support can have real influence on the breakthroughs made today, and in the future. 

“This particular research project has been the focus of Garvan’s annual Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day Leaders’ Lunch, an event spearheaded by Mrs Rose and kindly hosted by The Hon Jillian Skinner who, at the time, was NSW Minister for Medical Research.  The event is attended by Garvan supporters, media and those working to improve outcomes for women diagnosed with this devastating disease. Its aim is to raise much-needed awareness about this disease, arm people with information to share through their channels of influence, and provide updates about Garvan’s vital work to find an early detection, blood-based test.”


 – END –



Anna Greenhalgh, Communications Coordinator, Garvan Research Foundation

P: 02 9295 8126    M:  0437 282 467    E:  a.greenhalgh@garvan.org.au

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