The Surgical Oncology Group has long standing interests in the management of oesophageal, gastric and pancreatic cancer, melanoma and soft tissue tumours. Melanoma in particular has seen significant changes in management over the last decade with much needed improvements in survival. Our research group is involved in studies which seek to further improve patient outcomes. Genomics have underpinned major advances in our understanding of oesophageal, gastric and pancreatic cancers. Incorporation of genomics into clinical practice is a necessary next step for precision cancer care.

The Surgical Oncology Group's research encompasses:

  1. Clinical research, including randomised controlled clinical trials
  2. Laboratory based research, including molecular biology
  3. Translational research integrating the laboratory and clinical domains, including radiomics
  4. Clinical practice guidelines.

  • Professor Andrew Barbour

    Princess Alexandra Hospital Southside Clinical Unit
    Affiliate Professor
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • Dr Vanessa Bonazzi

    Research Fellow
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • Dr Lauren Aoude

    UQ Amplify Fellow
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • Dr Sandra Brosda

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • James Lonie

    Mr James Lonie

    PhD student
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute

Our current research projects focus on:

  1. Whole genome sequencing of oesophageal adenocarcinoma
    1. Intratumour heterogeneity
    2. Genomic evolution
    3. Circulating biomarkers for precision medicine
    4. Neoantigens and immune response
    5. Radiomics
  2. Whole exome sequencing of melanoma
    1. Intratumour heterogeneity
    2. Circulating biomarkers for precision medicine
    3. Radiomics
  3. Clinical Trials
    1. MASTERPLAN for pancreatic cancer

Student projects

  • Use circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) from stage III/IV melanoma patients to confirm the feasibility of using ‘liquid biopsy’ as a non-invasive test for assessing tumour burden. This will be used as a biomarker for prognostication and monitoring of treatment response.

In the last three years we have received funding from:

  • Queensland Health Advance Fellowship to determine utility of ctDNA for precision medicine in BRAF wild type Stage III and IV melanoma
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital Program Grant for Cancer Evolution Biobank
  • NHMRC Development Grant with Dr Barbara Rolfe (UQ) regarding the role of Complement C3a and neutrophils in melanoma
  • ASSC Grant with Dr Jason Lee (QIMR Berghofer) investigating the role of cholesterol on melanoma
  • PdCCRS investigationg radiomics as biomarkers for genomic subgroups and survival in melanoma
  • NHMRC Project Grant with Dr Nic Waddell (QIMR Berghofer) whole genome sequencing study of patient samples obtained from DOCTOR trial
  • MRFF MASTERPLAN clinical trial of chemotherapy and stereotactic radiation for pancreatic cancer
  • SERTA Grant investigating T cell response to tumour neoantigens in long term surivors of oesophageal cancer
  • Avner Foundation with Dr John Hooper Theranostic biomolecules for improved diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.
  • Roche Diagnostics ctDNA: Towards biomarkers of progression and prognosis in Oesophageal Cancer

We have a long-standing collaboration with Dr Nicola Waddell from QIMR-Berghofer, through which we have developed our genomics program. We have also collaborated with Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald at the University of Cambridge on oesophageal cancer genomics.

Our work with Professor Riccardo Dolcetti from UQDI/PeterMacCallum Cancer Centre focuses on immune markers in oesophageal cancer patients.

A collaboration with Associate Professor Viktor Vegh, from the Centre for Advanced Imaging, is developing a radiomics biomarker program.

We have partnerships with cancer clinician researchers in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Our group also collaborates with the Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group (AGITG) in the conduct of clinical trials and translational studies.