Young Sutherland Shire scientist is 2016 NSW Young Woman of the Year

Winning work: Minister for Women, Pru Goward, and NSW premier Mike Baird congratulate Dharmica Mistry on her award that recognises her scientific research in breast cancer detection.
Winning work: Minister for Women, Pru Goward, and NSW premier Mike Baird congratulate Dharmica Mistry on her award that recognises her scientific research in breast cancer detection.

An inspiring scientist from Jannali is the 2016 NSW Young Woman of the Year.

Medical innovation: Dr Mistry at work in the lab.

Medical innovation: Dr Mistry at work in the lab.

Dharmica Mistry, 30, won the award for developing a new type of breast cancer screening technology that could revolutionise early breast cancer detection.

The Harvey Norman Young Woman of the Year celebrates women aged 18-30 who have excelled in their career or made a significant contribution to their community.

Dr Mistry was one of four finalists acknowledged by the government. 

Her core focus is to commercialise a universal ground-breaking breast cancer screening test in collaboration with the University of Kentucky.

For eight years she has driven partnerships and research, leading to 90 per cent accuracy rates in detecting the presence of the most common form of invasive cancer.

The former student of Gymea Technology High School is also recipient of the 2015 Young Scientist Award.

The chief scientist at BCAL Diagnostics says her aim is to transform women’s health through medical innovation.

“We’re developing a blood test for women not just over 50 but for all ages, which is significant because cancer in younger women is more aggressive, so we need options,” she said.

“The current model relies on a woman having to be physically present at a clinic for breast imaging.”

After she finished her degree, Dr Mistry got a job with as start-up company, and there she started looking at detecting breast cancer through the study of hair.

“I carried out experiments and discovered perhaps what we’re seeing are changes in the blood,” she said.

“I was able to show that we were looking for differences in particular markers that change in patients, which led to believe that the tumour was shedding these markers into the bloodstream and to the hair fibre, where the change was appearing. A blood test directly addresses the limitations associated with mammography by being effective, accurate and easily accessible.

“I think about the amazing women in my life, some who have been impacted by the disease. This award is a great motivator.”

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