Get to know your College: Dr Ashley Hopkins

Working with the Precision Medicine Group at the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, Dr Ashley Hopkins is at the forefront of new approaches to tackle our most challenging diseases.

What do you do at Flinders University?

I am a National Breast Cancer Foundation Early Career Fellow and pharmacist researcher within the discipline of pharmacology. My research field is clinical cancer epidemiology and pharmacometrics. My research focus is the identification of precision-use strategies and facilitating informed decisions with respect to medicines in cancer.

Most recently, I have been exploring opportunity to use emerging big data sources to explore the impact of concomitant non-cancer medicines on the outcomes of patients with cancer.

What is the backbone of your research at Flinders?

My extensive experience in the policy and practical aspects of accessing pharmaceutical industry and electronic-health record data has facilitated access to data from more than 100,000 cancer patients across more than 100 trials, as well as the American Society for Clinical Oncology’s CancerLinQ database. These are among the world’s largest common data models of cancer trials, and CancerLinQ is among the world’s largest routine care cancer treatment databases.

I have established projects using clinical trial data from companies including AstraZeneca, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Genentech, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi and Takeda.

Can you briefly describe the work journey that took you to this point in your career?

I am a pharmacist who completed my internship and worked at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. I completed my PhD within the Australian Centre for Pharmacometrics (University of South Australia), developing skills in the utilisation of population data under the mentorship of Associate Professor Wiese, Associate Professor Foster, Professor Upton, Professor Proudman and Dr King.

What do you value most about working at Flinders University?

The support and mentoring of the entire Flinders community. Specifically, the support I have received from my formal mentors including Professor Michael Sorich, Associate Professor Andrew Rowland, Professor Ross McKinnon and all the researchers within the pharmacology and medical oncology teams.

What is your proudest achievement here at Flinders?

Firstly, I am immensely proud of the all the honours, PhD and advanced studies students that I have had the pleasure to engage with over the years. They provide the spark to endure through the tough days!

Secondly, I am very proud of the time I have spent with the Tour De Cure – SA Discovery Tour Family. I had the pleasure to participate in the 2019 SA Discovery Tour (left). Tour participation has provided regular opportunities for consumer feedback at friendly training rides and breakfasts. It has also provided opportunities to promote health and research at consumer events and school visits. I have personally raised over $3,000, led over 20 training rides, and have made lifelong friends.

I also rode the 2019 Cancer Voices Challenge, and 2020 Flinders Foundation 12-hour ride for World Cancer Day. I have immensely enjoyed all the experiences I have had with the Tour De Cure family and encourage others to join.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Bike riding, watching footy and Netflix. Hopefully 2020 will be a good one for Port Adelaide!

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