Our research themes


The BDI Cancer Program is focused on discovering the molecular basis behind how different cancers develop and progress, which is fundamental to the development of novel and effective preventative, detection and treatment strategies.

Research themes

Our program adopts a thematic approach to cancer research, focusing on the following areas:

Cancer cell signalling

Cancer cell signalling

Our research in this area aims to identify and characterise the molecular events that lead to the transmission of oncogenic signals in cancer cells. Approaches such as mass spectrometry-based proteomics and computational network modelling are used to bring a network-level perspective to these studies.

Tumour microenvironment

Tumour microenvironment

We explore the complex interplay between cancer cells, the extra-cellular matrix, stromal fibroblasts, and immune and endothelial cells in cancer development.

Cancer epigenetics and transcription

We aim to determine the structure, mechanism and functional roles of specific transcription factors and epigenetic regulators, and how they contribute to cancer development and progression.

Therapeutic development

Therapeutic development

This important theme is directed towards exploiting information derived from our 'basic' research projects to develop novel therapeutic strategies and biomarkers.

Tumour streams

The BDI Cancer Program undertakes research on a number of different tumour types. This spans different stages of research from investigations into fundamental biology through to target validation and drug discovery. Areas of focus and expertise by tumour stream include:

Prostate cancer

Understanding the heterogeneity of localised prostate cancer using:

  • Patient-derived xenograft models
  • Prognostic indicators of aggressive prostate cancer
  • defining molecular changes in prostate cancer stroma through application of different 'omics approaches
  • Development of 3D in vitro models of disease
  • Identification of links between diabetes or obesity and aggressive prostate cancer

Colorectal and gastric cancer

Development of organoid models as improved in vitro experimental models of disease for drug screening programs and personalised medicine approaches.

Breast cancer

Characterization of the role of specific signalling proteins in disease development and progression using:

  • in vitro and animal models
  • Determination and computational modelling of breast cancer signalling networks
  • Identification of novel biomarkers of disease subtype
  • Prognosis and response to therapy
  • Preclinical validation of new drug targets
  • Development of antibody-based therapeutics

Pancreatic cancer

Identification of subtype-selective biomarkers and therapeutic strategies by phosphoproteomic profiling.

Brain cancer

Understanding how epigenetic abnormalities lead to brain cancer.