• The University of Western Australia (M561), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


I am a mid-career clinician/scientist who graduated from Leeds School of Medicine in 1993. I obtained my PhD in molecular biology in 2008 through the University of Western Australia. I am now a practicing consultant Paediatric Oncologist/Neuro-Oncologist at Perth Children’s Hospital, and I was appointed Head of the Paediatric and Adolescent Oncology/Haematology Department in 2015 and the Stan Perron Chair in Pediatric Oncology and Haematology in June 2018. My postdoctoral training at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital resulted in extensive experience in mouse model generation, preclinical testing and brain cancer cell biology. During this time, I developed the first spontaneous mouse model of ependymoma, for which I received the Young Investigator award for scientific excellence at the International Symposium Paediatric Neuro-Oncology. I established the Brain Tumour Research Programme at the Telethon Kids Institute in 2009, which I now co-lead. This is now the largest program in Australia specifically focused on childhood brain tumours which brings together clinicians, scientists and neuro-surgeons with an intense focus on providing laboratory evidence that will more accurately inform new paediatric brain cancer clinical trials.


I am a member of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Central Nervous System (CNS) Tumour committee. The COG is the world’s largest cooperative group devoted exclusively to paediatric cancer research, and conducts clinical and translational research trials for children and adolescents with cancer. I conceived and wrote the new international Children's Oncology Group (COG) front-line clinical trial for WNT-driven average risk MB for which I am Study Chair. Recently with Co-laboratory head, Raelene Endersby I also conceived and wrote a new international trial to test a kinase inhibitor in relapsed medulloblastoma (SJ-ELiOT). I am thus acutely aware of the evidence needed to introduce new therapies for children with cancer. I am also a member of the International Medulloblastoma Working Group. In 2013, I organised and co-convened the international Medulloblastoma Down Under meeting, the proceedings of which were published in Acta Neuropathologica (127:189-201). The most important consensus from the meeting was the proposition to include a new molecular medulloblastoma classification scheme in the latest edition of ‘Classification of Tumours in the Central Nervous System’, published by the World Health Organization in 2016.


Nationally, I sit on the board of the Australian Children's Cancer Trials group, I am the Deputy Chair on the Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology/Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) Executive (2014-present) and I also chair the ANZCHOG CNS Tumour Group, including paediatric and radiation oncologists from around Australasia focused on the development of clinical trials for children with brain tumours. My international standing is evidenced by high impact papers such as Lancet Oncology, Nature and Nature Medicine. I have been nominated for Australian of the Year twice (2017 and 2018) and Nedlands Citizen of the Year (2018) and was a finalist for Western Australian of the Year (2018). In 2019 I was highly commended by the Western Australian Health Consumers’ Council Consumer Excellence Award, runner up Cure Cancer Researcher of the Year and awarded the Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Collaborative Collaborator of the Year and the Australian Society for Medical Research Peter Doherty Leading Light Award.

Current projects

I Co-Direct The Brain Tumour Research team at Telethon Kids is with Dr Raelene Endersby. The overarching goals of our group are to define the poorly understood basic biology of several types of childhood brain tumours and improve therapies. We achieve this in the following ways:

•Elucidate the molecular basis of different brain tumour types, including medulloblastoma and ependymoma among others, through the analysis of primary patient specimens.

•Improve understanding of the molecular events contributing to these diseases, by analysing the impact of altered signaling pathways on survival, proliferation, invasiveness and tumorigenicity of brain tumour cells.

•Develop novel preclinical models of paediatric brain tumours in which to test new treatments. We utilise transplantable xenograft, patient derived xenograft, and genetically engineered tumour models representative of paediatric brain tumour in our translational research.

•Obtain and test new therapies in combination with standard clinical chemotherapy and radiation protocols in appropriate brain tumour models. We acquired Australia’s first X-RAD SmART platform to model clinical radiation treatment and are currently investigating new therapies that can enhance its efficacy to hopefully reduce the harmful radiation dose.

•Translate our findings into improved therapies through clinical collaborations.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Molecular biology (Paediatric Leukaemia Biology) , PhD, Oncogenes and prognosis in paediatric T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Award Date: 1 Dec 2008

Medicine, MB ChB (Distinction: Pharmacology), University of Leeds

1988Jul 1993

External positions

Head of Department, Paediatric Oncology and Haematology, Perth Children’s Hospital

10 Jun 2018 → …

Consultant Paediatric Oncologist/Neuro-oncologist, Perth Children’s Hospital

10 Jun 2018 → …

Principal Investigator and Co-Head Brain Tumour Research Programme, Telethon Kids Institute

1 Apr 2013 → …

Research expertise keywords

  • Paediatrics
  • Brain tumours
  • Cancer - translation
  • Cancer biology
  • Cancer genetics
  • Cancer—leukaemia
  • Cancer research


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