Pamali Fonseka

2021 ASBMB FELLOWSHIP AND THE FRED COLLINS AWARD: PAMALI FONSEKA

Department of Biochemistry and Genetics

La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science

La Trobe University

Pamali Fonseka completed a Master in Biotechnology at La Trobe University. Later, Pamali was awarded a PhD scholarship from La Trobe University to continue her research under the supervision of Professor Suresh Mathivanan. During her PhD, Pamali investigated the key regulators of neuroblastoma aggressiveness using cell and molecular biology, biochemical techniques, and proteomics. She discovered that by modulating the cellular lineage, treatment resistant aggressive neuroblastoma cells can be sensitised to standard-of-care chemotherapeutic drugs. After completion of her PhD in 2018, Pamali started her postdoctoral research investigating the role of extracellular vesicles in cancer progression. In 2019, she was awarded a CASS Foundation Medicine/Science grant as sole CI to investigate novel strategies to combat high-risk neuroblastoma. Pamali has more than 15 publications and book chapters in journals including Nature Communications, Nucleic Acids Research, Journal of Extracellular Vesicles and Nature Immunology. Pamali has received several travel awards which she utilised to present her work in international conferences. She won the best oral presentation award (one of three awarded) in International Society of Extracellular Vesicles 2020 conference. She is an Editor of the Springer book series Next Frontiers: Extracellular Vesicles and Associate Guest Editor of a Cells special issue in 2021.

Pamali will use this fellowship to visit Professor Paul Timpson’s laboratory at Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney to learn organotypic collagen invasion assay, which will aid her in shortlisting drugs that can be examined later in pre-clinical models of neuroblastoma.