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Brisbane Specialist Surgery Research

Throughout my career I have maintained a commitment to the academic aspects of surgical practice as well as clinical care of patients. My major research themes are oesophageal, pancreatic and gastric malignancy, and melanoma.

My academic interests have encompassed the areas of:

  1. Clinical research, including randomised controlled clinical trials.
  2. Laboratory based research, including molecular biology pertinent to upper gastrointestinal disease and melanoma.
  3. Translational research integrating the laboratory and clinical domains.

As a clinical researcher, I have been active in the conduct of clinical trials at Phase I, II and III levels. I was the Principal Investigator of a randomised phase II trial of preoperative chemotherapy or chemo-radiotherapy based on poor early response to standard chemotherapy for resectable oesophageal cancer (DOCTOR trial, NHMRC APP #1011782).

I was also the Principal Investigator on an investigator initiated, AGITG-sponsored phase II clinical trial of pre-operative chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer (GAP trial). Both of these national trials include biological substudies with tumour tissue and blood banking and subsequent molecular analyses aimed at answering specific questions, including the identification of biomarkers of response to therapy. The GAP translational study (GAP-T) is funded by NHMRC (APP#1026563).

I am a Chief Investigator for the AGITG-sponsored and Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) MASTERPLAN study. MASTERPLAN is a nationwide randomized trial of chemotherapy with or without stereotactic radiation therapy for pancreatic cancer. Stereotactic radiation therapy is new technique that delivers highly focussed doses of radiation therapy with the aim of increasing the chances of successful surgery and reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer growth.

As a translational researcher at the Diamantina Institute, The University of Queensland, I am the head of Surgical Oncology Lab at the Translational Research Institute. My research has focused on using genomic, epigenomic and expression data to classify oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC), pancreatic cancer and melanoma and identify biomarkers of outcome. We are also investigating the potential to identify cancer markers in the blood that may be used to determine prognosis and monitor treatment.

There may be an opportunity to participate in a clinical trial related to your condition. Available options will be discussed at your appointment. Some of the options for gastrointestinal cancers may be found at gicancer.org.au.