Dr Maria Tsoli Senior Research Officer
The Targeted Therapies Research Lab in Sydney is a long way from the small town in Greece where Dr Maria Tsoli grew up. At seventeen, Maria moved to Australia where she finished school and university. She then completed a PhD in Germany, and worked in the United States of America before moving back to Australia to research the childhood brain cancer DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) at Children’s Cancer Institute.
DIPG is a brain tumour that develops on the brain stem, affecting the nervous system and is the most aggressive, and deadly of of all childhood cancers and is currently uniformly fatal with no children surviving this devastating cancer.
Maria often meets parents who’ve lost a child to DIPG. Some of them make the invaluable decision to donate samples of the tumour that has taken their child’s life, in the hope that the knowledge gained from studying it might ultimately help to destroy DIPG and spare the lives and suffering of other children.
“The most difficult moments are when you meet parents who have lost their children from brain tumours. It’s very emotional and very inspiring at the same time.”
The team are determined to find new treatments. In the lab they are testing drugs for their effectiveness on DIPG tumour tissue samples to discover which might inhibit DIPG cell growth.
Maria’s work can be emotionally draining, but it has its lighter moments. She’s been known to dance in corridors when excited by a great research result!
Maria will be riding in the Children's Cancer Institute team, so make sure you stop by and say hi!