While Amanda hadn’t planned on making a career out of skin cancer research, she admits that in retrospect, it was destiny. Growing up on a farm, she has seen first-hand the dangers and impacts of skin cancer.
‘After decades on the land my dad has had a few skin cancers cut out, and I know that many older farmers in my community have too after years of working the land with little protection.’
Amanda completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at USQ, followed by an Honours year investigating the effects of different dietary interventions on colorectal cancer. She is now close to completing her PhD, looking at how different exposures of UVB radiation can cause different levels of DNA damage and, ultimately, how that can cause skin cancers.
While she initially planned on studying to be a doctor, Amanda developed an interest for research during her final undergraduate year.
‘I decided that I’d rather work as someone who figures out how to stop cancer than be someone who tells people they have cancer.’
Long-term philanthropic supporters of USQ, Lyn and Bobbie Brazil made the generous decision to help fund a portion of Amanda’s research when she started her PhD.
With the funding, Amanda was able to purchase the resources that would provide and produce quality research. It also allowed her to travel to Barcelona in 2019 to attend an international skin cancer research conference, where she learned about the latest in the field and new techniques that she was able to apply to her own research.
‘When you are given direct donations from people within the community you really do feel an added layer of importance to the work you’re doing, and there’s a feeling of mutual goodwill there. As a donor they believe in their investment, and as the researcher you want those donors to see quality results with good outcomes.’
‘For someone who was the first person in their family to attend university it was an opportunity I’m very grateful for, and I’ll forever be indebted to the Brazil family for their contribution to my PhD.’