Dr Ahern is a Medical Oncologist dedicated to improving outcomes for cancer patients through immune-oncology research. She has a strong interest in preclinical and translational relating to the interaction between immune system and cancer, and immunotherapies. Her clinical interests encompass early-phase trials, immunotherapy, brain cancer, head and neck cancer, and skin cancers including melanoma. Dr Ahern is an early career researcher. She submitted her PhD thesis in July 2020, titled “Targeting Receptor Activator of NF-kB pathways in combination immunotherapy” based on work performed at Queensland Institute of Medical Research Berghofer, developing novel immunotherapy approaches for cancer in preclinical models. She is an investigator on four current translational grants to the value of >AUD$3.5M, focusing on immuno-oncology in lung and colorectal cancer.
Together with national/international collaborators she has developed key novel pre-clinical and observational research which formed the basis for an investigator-sponsored study of neoadjuvant immunotherapy in lung cancer (POPCORN, ACTRN12618001121257). This research also yielded an international patent for a novel immunotherapeutic of which Dr Ahern is a co-owner.
Dr Ahern is an investigator on several other translational research projects in head and neck cancer, melanoma, and brain cancer; and qualitative research in geriatric oncology and cancer care services staff wellbeing in relation to the CoVID-19 pandemic. Dr Ahern values collaboration with diverse members of the cancer multidisciplinary team, and to that end works with Nutrition and Dietetics researchers and head and neck cancer clinicians in projects assessing sarcopenia and epidemiological trends in head and neck cancer, and Nuclear Medicine physicians in novel theranostics targets. She is a participant in the Qld Adult Brain Cancer Workshop through which she is developing a novel immune-oncology therapeutic clinical trial.