Brigid is Associate Professor in cancer epidemiology at the University of Melbourne and sits on our research grants panel, helping to choose which projects receive funding.
I was torn between wanting to be a large-animal veterinarian or a classical ballet dancer. It turns out I didn’t have the stomach for the first or the talent for the second.
No, I was generally very well-behaved at school (except for talking too much!)
No, I haven’t worn a lab coat since I was an undergraduate studying science at the University of Queensland.
After graduating from my undergraduate degree, I started doing volunteer work at a cancer not-for-profit agency in Queensland. This organisation had just initiated a pilot randomised controlled trial of community-based melanoma screening, and I was recruited to work as a research assistant on that trial. That’s when I knew that epidemiology [the science of determining the causes of health and disease in populations] was the career I wanted to pursue.
I doubt anyone hasn’t been affected by this disease in some way. My maternal grandmother was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2006, but thanks to medical science she got another 5 good years before the cancer returned and she died in 2012.
World Cancer Research Fund have been a huge support in my career. You provided me with my first project-specific grant. Previously I got some fellowships, but WCRF funded the activate trial, which was a pilot randomised control trial of wearable technology to see whether that helps women with breast cancer to increase their activity. We had some really nice results from that trial and demonstrated it is helpful.