A PhD graduate from the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich (Switzerland), I trained initially as a postdoctoral fellow in the Pharmaceutical Industry at Merck Sharp & Dohme (USA) in the area of bone biology.
In 1990, I joined the laboratory of Prof Ashley Dunn at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Melbourne to extend my studies into molecular mechanisms that underpin the growth of cancer cells. In 1996 I was recruited as Deputy Head for the Bone Biology Research Department at Novartis in Switzerland. Following my return to Melbourne in 1998 as Group Leader, Ludwig Melbourne-Parkville Branch, I was appointed Acting Director in 2009. In 2012 I moved to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, where I continued to embrace genetic tools and state-of-the-art molecular biology to understand the molecular mechanism that allow the cells of the lining in the stomach and bowel to continuously renew without forming tumours.
Recently, my work has identified several critical proteins, which derail this process and allow cells to unabatedly grow when acquiring mutations and to cause cancer of the stomach and the colon. I was appointed inaugural Scientific Director of the newly established Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute in 2014. At the ONJCRI my laboratory team is exploring novel strategies to target these cancer-promoting proteins, to develop new therapeutics for gastrointestinal cancers.
BSc, Eidgenösische Technische Hochschule, Zürich, Switzerland
PhD, Eidgenösische Technische Hochschule Zürich & University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland
Member, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
Scientific Director, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute
Professor and Head of School, School of Cancer Medicine, La Trobe University
NHMRC Principal Research Fellow
2005 George Hodgson Medal
2014 Inaugural Colin Geary Visiting Professor in Pathology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand (Awarded jointly to Joan Heath and Matthias Ernst)