About

Our team crosses many fields of science. We use cell biology to improve targeted therapy and immunotherapy against cancer. We are also the scientific leads of clinical trials of combination therapy approaches we have discovered and work closely with surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, medicinal chemists and pharmacologists to translate basic scientific findings to better outcomes for cancer patients.

  • Dr Fiona Simpson

    Dr Fiona Simpson

    Senior Research Fellow
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • Dr Shannon Leftwich

    Research Fellow
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • Dr Blerida Banushi

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • Dr Laurette Chew

    Senior Research Technician
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • Dr Caroline Cooper (Staff Pathologist PAH and MSc student)
  • Dr Campbell Schmid (Surgeon in training)
  • Dr Johnson Huang (Surgeon in training)
  • Dr Emma Karlsen (Medical PHO and MSc)
  • Dr James Nightingale (Medical PHO and MSc)

  • CESTEM1B: Phase IB dose escalation trail in head and neck, triple negative breast and adenoid cystic cancers.
  • Improving ADCC response in monoclonal antibody therapy using dynamin inhibition.
  • Characterising the protein complexes responsible for immune synapse formation to allow rational drug design to modulate immunity both as increase and decrease.

Student projects available

  • Identifying natural killer cell memory response antigens in therapy context
  • Characterisation of cell biology and signalling biogenesis of the immune synapse

Dynamin modulators for reversing immunotherapy resistance in head and neck cancer (NHMRC Project Grants led by The University of Newcastle)
(2019–2022) University of Newcastle

Improving immune memory responses to monoclonal antibody therapies.
(2019–2020) Merchant Charitable Foundation

Donation to support the research of Fiona Simpson
(2019) PA Research Foundation

Increasing the number of breast cancer therapeutic antibody possibilities, patient choices and success
(2018–2019) PA Research Foundation

Pre-clinical testing for combination therapy
(2018–2019) PA Research Foundation

CESTEM-1 research support
(2017–2022) Princess Alexandra Hospital R&D Foundation

Our central team collaborators are:

  • Dr James Wells
  • Professor Jennifer Martin
  • Professor Euan Walpole
  • Professor Benedict Panizza
  • Professor Rob Parton
  • Professor Adam McCluskey
  • Professor Phil Robinson
  • Professor Sandro Porceddu
  • Professor Riccardo Dolcetti
  • Professor Peter Soyer
  • Professor Ranjeny Thomas
  • Professor Ian Frazer
  • Dr Roberta Mazzieri
  • Dr Katharine Cuff
  • Dr Mathew Foote

Partner organisations/institutions/supporters

  • Metro South Health
  • Queensland Head and Neck Cancer Centre
  • University of Newcstle
  • University of Sydney
  • Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI, Sydney)
  • Merck KgAa
  • Princess Alexandra Research Foundation
  • Merchant Foundation
  • Cancer Council Queensland
  • National Breast Cancer Foundation
  • Rotary International (Nundah)
  • EO (Entrepreneurs Organisation)
  • Aveo (via PARF)
  • Allied Leisure and Health (via PARF)
  • ANZHNS

To donate to cancer therapy research, click on the button below.

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