Australian first for head and neck cancer | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse
 In Lifehouse News, OpenHouse News, Research Stories


We’re thrilled to announce that we have received a donation of $3.9 million from the Lang Walker Family Foundation to establish Australia’s first Professorial Chair in head and neck cancer surgery, in partnership with the University of Sydney. This inaugural position has been awarded to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Director of Head and Neck Cancer Research, Professor Jonathan Clark AM.

Head and neck cancers are complex and aggressive, often leaving patients requiring significant facial reconstruction. This incredible donation will enable us to develop our own in-house capability for digital surgical planning and 3D printing for facial reconstructive surgery, giving patients like Michelle (pictured above with Professor Clark AM) access to life-changing breakthroughs.

In 2017, Michelle was diagnosed with a rare ameloblastoma in her jaw. It took months for Prof Clark and the team to plan Michelle’s surgery, which involved removing the affected jaw bone, part of the roof of the mouth and 10 upper teeth, and replacing with bone, skin and muscle from Michelle’s left leg.  

“I am forever grateful to Professor Clark and the team for a new working body that can breathe, smile, talk, walk and eat,” says Michelle.

“In-house technology will enable us to shorten the planning process from months to days, while driving research that will push the boundaries of technology, transforming outcomes for more patients like Michelle,” says A/Prof Carsten Palme, Director of Head and Neck Surgery at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

This amazing gift is a testament not only to the work of the Head and Neck team, but to the incredible generosity and vision of donors like you. Your donations established our head and neck research team, and enabled them to build the strong and compelling base of evidence needed to attract further philanthropic funding.

On behalf of the Head and Neck team – thank you for the incredible difference you make.

To learn more about how you can support research at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, please contact our Development team at or on (02) 8514 0006. 



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