Professor Jonathan Cebon, former Head of ONJCRI’s Cancer Immunobiology Program has been awarded with the 2021 Austin Medical Research Foundation (AMRF) Distinguished Scientist Award.

The award recognises a prominent researcher who has made a significant contribution to Health Research, fostered young people into research and contributed to the research community at Austin Health. The Austin Medical Research Foundation (AMRF) supports more than 800 researchers in hospital departments, three University of Melbourne departments and four independent research institutes at the vibrant Austin precinct.

Jonathan is a worthy recipient, his impressive career spans 30 years at Austin Health alone. He played an integral role in conceptualising and ultimately bringing to life the vision to establish the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute as closely partnered organisations. Since then, his expertise and leadership as a physician-scientist have been instrumental in establishing the Austin as an Australian leader in translational research and cancer clinical trials.

Jonathan is the immediate past Medical Director of Cancer Services at the ONJ Centre and ONJCRI and Director of the Ludwig Institute. He is a Professor in Medicine at La Trobe and Melbourne Universities and a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

“It is an honour and privilege to be acknowledged in this way. The Austin has been such a large part of my career; after first joining the campus as a medical student I then returned in 1992 to take up the position as the Head of Oncology at the then Ludwig Institute. I have spent the past 30 years in cancer research at the Austin and so it is wonderful to be recognised for this contribution.” Said Jonathan.

Jonathan is not only an extraordinary physician-scientist, but he is an outstanding leader and mentor for young researchers. He dedicates much of his time to mentoring postgraduate research students, postdoctoral researchers, Clinical Research Fellows, and Oncology Advanced Trainees, supervising over 21 research higher-degree students during his time at ONJCRI and supporting the careers of countless notable leaders in medical oncology and cancer research, many of whom have gone on to establish their own international and/or national standing.

“There are many important things that constitute successful and enduring research, one of them is collaboration and the other is continuity. When people move on, it is important that research continues and that there are opportunities to build on past achievements, that’s why I think it is so important to support the careers of those coming through.

The work should never be about the individual researcher, it should always be focused on the success of the endeavor.”

There is no doubt that Jonathan’s incredible work and career will continue to impact patients, peers, and young clinician scientists over the coming years.