Cancer Researcher Inspiring Extension Students

GATEway Tuesday, 02 Nov 2021

It takes a certain tenacity to go from a public school in Dundee, Scotland to being a Professor heading up your own research program in Brisbane, Queensland.

Professor Derek Richard grew up in Scotland and attended a public high school in Dundee Scotland, which he says has more murderers than University Graduates as part of the school Alumni.

Addressing BCC GATEway students about his research into Cancer and Ageing, Prof Richard encouraged them to not only think differently, but to never stop working hard to achieve their goals and dreams.

Cancer and Ageing Research Program (C.A.R.P.) seeks to uncover why cancer develops at a molecular level and also to identify changes that occur in cells that causes ageing diseases like cancer, arthritis and Alzheimers. But Prof Richard is adamant that he does not intend to stop at just researching. His goal, with his team of researchers, is to develop cancer targeting drugs, stop cancers before they start and combat other ageing diseases.

GATEway students received an in-depth look at some of C.A.R.P.’s research as Prof. Richard explained reasoning and methods for analysing RNA and DNA, the proteins in our body that make us more or less susceptible to cancer. This research is already being put into practice with a range of skin care products launched last year. At the heart of the “Ellus & Krue” skin care range is an “EPI-gN” serum developed by C.A.R.P. that slows the ageing process. This cosmetic company uses the science to create a product which in turn through the sales of the product generates much needed income to fund the valuable research being done.

“I was never traditionally smart” explains Professor Richard. “I grew up in social housing, I was the only 1 of 160 to go straight into University.”

With the assistance of the Cancer and Ageing Research Foundation and through sales of ethical coffee brand “CARF Coffee”, the skincare range from Ellus and Krue, public engagement, fundraising, cancer contract services and 2 biotechnology companies; Proffessor Derek Richard funds his research so that he can make a difference in the world of Cancer and Ageing.

“Think Differently” Professor Richard says. “That’s the best advice I can give to anyone – aspiring scientist or not. Think Differently, work hard, gain experience and learn from everything and everyone”.

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