Research Centre

Funded Research

Since its formation in May 2014 the Mark Hughes Foundation has funded the following initiatives:

Mark Hughes Foundation Brain Cancer Biobank

"The Virtuous Circle: A Living Brain Cancer Biobank"

Researchers: Professor Rodney Scott, Dr Marjorie Walker

The Hunter Cancer Biobank (HCB), located at HMRI, was established in 2012 to meet the growing needs of local cancer research, and provides our local highly respected researchers with high quality tissues, free of charge, allowing them to conduct state of the art research into all types of cancer. The HCB collects a range of tumours from adult patients having cancer-related surgery in the Hunter New England region. Only excess tissue (that is not required for a patient’s diagnosis and treatment) is stored in the HCB; this tissue would otherwise be discarded. The HCB currently has over 3300 tumour samples.

Thanks to the establishment of the Mark Hughes Foundation now banks cancer and blood samples from every consenting patient and has built a comprehensive brain cancer Biobank.

More info

Mark Hughes Foundation Brain Cancer Care Co-ordinator

Hunter New England Local Health District

This project most importantly assists patients and their families with support through diagnosis, treatment, access to clinical trials, follow-up on discharge and end of life care. Jane Morrison was initially seconded to this role while recruitment took place.


This role is currently filled by Alisha Gooley as Sandy Nixon is on maternity leave.

Matt Callander Beanie for Brain Cancer Research Fellowship

Researchers: Dr. Kelly McKelvey (SNOG)

Sydney neuroscientist Dr Kelly McKelvey will study and optimise clinical treatment options for brain cancer patients.

Her three-year funding support came via the NRL’s Round 11 Beanie for Brain Cancer initiative in partnership with the Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF). It was presented at the recent Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Awards Night by Anne Callander and eldest daughter Madison.

Dr McKelvey is an immunology specialist with a background in neuroanatomy and pharmacology, enabling her to analyse the brain microenvironment in depth. Along with colleagues from the Sydney Neuro-Oncology Group and in collaboration with Hunter cancer researchers, she is specifically focused on high-grade brain cancers – including glioblastoma, which tragically claimed Matt’s life.