Maria Kavallaris

Founding Director, Australian Centre for NanoMedicine
UNSW Sydney
Head, Translational Cancer Nanomedicine Theme
Children's Cancer Institute
Head, Research Engagement
Children's Cancer Institute

Sydney, NSW

Contact me for

  • Mentoring
  • Sitting on boards or committees
  • Outreach activities
  • Conference presenting
  • Opportunities to collaborate


Professor Maria Kavallaris is recognised for her innovation in driving multidisciplinary research in cancer nanomedicine. An outstanding scientific leader, she is internationally recognised for her research in cancer biology and therapeutics. Her research has identified clinically important mechanisms of resistance to cancer therapies, with her discoveries leading to patents, industry and clinical linkages for the development of cancer therapeutics and devices. Maria’s pioneering research has shown effective nanoparticle-based delivery of gene silencing material and chemotherapy, can reduce tumour growth in aggressive cancers. 

Maria is Chair of the Australian Institute for Policy and Science, and a Life Member and past-President of the Australian Society for Medical Research. The impact of her research has been recognised many times, including via receipt of the Australian Museum Eureka Prize, as well as being named by the NHMRC as an Australian ‘high achiever’ in health and medical research. Recognition of her significant contributions to innovation is reflected in her being named in 2015 amongst the AFR/Westpac 100 Women of Influence (Innovation category), as well as the inaugural Knowledge Nation 100 – the ‘rock stars’ of Australia's innovation-driven new economy, and the winner of the 2017 Premiers Science and Engineering Award for Leadership in Innovation in NSW. The Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has awarded Maria the 2019 Lemberg Medal that recognises distinguished biochemists or molecular biologists, and made significant contributions to the scientific community. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales.

Maria is a passionate and highly committed medical researcher, mentor, advocate and communicator; making her an outstanding role model for young women, both within science/medicine and beyond. In 2019, Maria was appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for her significant service to medicine, and to medical research, in the field of childhood and adult cancers. Maria was named the 2020 NSW Premier's Woman of the Year.

Maria identifies as culturally and linguistically diverse.