Dr Melanie McConnell presented during Brain Awareness Month 2020 on her research conducted at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research. The primary focus of Dr McConnell's research is to investigate and understand how cancer cells survive stress and apply this knowledge to the development of more effective cancer therapies. Her primary focus of research revolves around a specific type of brain cancer called Glioblastoma.
Dr Melanie McConnell was born in Wellington and grew up on the Kapiti Coast. She completed her Bachelor of Science (Honours) in virology at Otago University, then focused on her PhD studying childhood kidney cancer. Dr McConnell then moved to New York City, where her research centred on leukaemia and then returned to New Zealand on a repatriation grant from the Neurological Foundation where she set up a brain cancer stem cell program at the Malaghan Institute in Wellington. Since then her research focuses primarily on studying how brain cancers resist therapy.
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