About

The main focus of our research is melanoma heterogeneity, metastasis and drug sensitivity.

We have made important contributions to the understanding of interactions of melanoma with its microenvironment and signaling pathways in melanoma, particularly with regards to identifying novel therapies and having developed a 3D spheroid melanoma model.

Using cutting-edge technology, including real-time cell cycle imaging in 3D culture and in vivo, we study the role of dynamic melanoma heterogeneity in melanomagenesis and melanoma metastasis, with the goal to develop novel therapeutic approaches by simultaneously targeting different tumor cell subpopulations. We are in the unique position to combine sophisticated imaging and biosensor approaches with biochemical methods to provide unprecedented insight to the mechanisms of tumor heterogeneity and tumor-ECM interactions.

Students

  • Mr Robert Ju
  • Mr Sean Vittadello

  1. Defining the role of extracellular matrix-tumour cell crosstalk in melanoma biology and therapy.
  2. Mechanisms of altered tumour cell mechanics in metastatic disease
  3. Induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress to potentiate immunogenic cell death to improve melanoma therapy
  4. Identification of unique molecular signatures of differentially cycling tumour cell subpopulations in a 3D melanoma model
  5. Mathematical models of 4D multicellular spheroids

Student projects

  1. Defining the role of extracellular matrix-tumour cell crosstalk in melanoma biology and therapy.
  2. Mechanisms of altered tumour cell mechanics in metastatic disease
  3. Identification of unique molecular signatures of differentially cycling tumour cell subpopulations in a 3D melanoma model

Grants

We have ongoing funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC), Cancer Council Queensland (CCQ), Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD), and PA Research Foundation (PARF).

Partners

We are collaborating with Alexander Roesch/Dirk Schadendorf (Essen, Germany), Friedegund Meier/Dana Westphal (Dresden, Germany), Wolfgang Weninger (Vienna, Austria), Meenhard Herlyn (Philadelphia, USA), Juoni Uitto (Philadelphia, USA), Lars Ittner (Macquarie University, Sydney), Matthew Simpson, Scott McCue, Aaron Smith (QUT), Helmut Schaider (UQDI), Ethan Scott (UQ SBMS), and Brian Gabrielli (Mater Research).