Translational Research Institute & Online
06 Aug 2024 10:00am12:00pm

TRI Seminar Series


Come along and support our EMCR researchers at the third instalment of the TRI Seminar Series for 2024. This seminar will be presented as a mini-symposium on Cancer Imaging and will feature EMCR research on how imaging is furthering our knowledge of cancer disease processes and therapy. 

Date: Tuesday 6 August 2024
Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm (Followed by a networking lunch till 12.30pm)
Location: TRI Auditorium or Zoom (Please register for Zoom login details)



Dr Robert Ju, The University of Queensland

Rob is a post-doc in the Stehbens lab at AIBN/IMB, he completed his PhD under the supervision of Dr Samantha Stehbens and Professor Nikolas Haass and uses quantitative live-cell microscopy and novel 3D models to address biological questions.

Confined cancer cell invasion driven by the cytoskeleton
Cancer cells face considerable mechanical challenges as they migrate through 3D microenvironment , where cells must be able to exert and resist mechanical forces to progress motility. This talk will describe recent work by the Stehbens lab detailing where we use multi-modal quantitative live-cell microscopy, molecular tagging, and novel 3D models to unravel how cancer cells move through and survive mechanically strenuous environments.  

Dr Alexis Bonfim-Melo, The University of Queensland

Alexis completed his PhD with Prof. Renato Mortara on the actin-dependent molecular mechanisms driving Trypanosoma cruzi internalization in non-phagocytic epithelial cells (UNIFESP, Brazil). There he accrued expertise in cell and molecular biology of host-pathogen interactions but also on diverse microscopy analysis, mainly live cell imaging confocal microscopy. In 2019, he moved to Australia working on epithelial mechanobiology and homeostasis with Prof. Alpha Yap, IMB/UQ. There, he used inducible caspase-1 system and live cell imaging to describe intrinsic epithelium responses coping with pyroptotic/lytic cell death. In 2021, he joined Dr. Mathew Jones group in Frazer Inst. to implement novel Quantitative-Image-Based Cytometry analysis to study fundamental regulation of DNA replication and cell cycle in transformed and non-transformed cells. So far he has published 23 per reviewed articles and he currently collaborates with diverse research groups on the topics of cell cycle, DNA replication and damage response, and cell death with QIBC analysis.

Studying Cell Cycle and DNA Replication through the lenses of Quantitative-Image-Based Cytometry
Single cell analysis are powerful tools to interrogate cell population and subpopulation phenotypic responses to varied challenges. In this seminar we overview on how we have developed QIBC analysis in Jones lab and how we use it to address fundamental questions on cancer biology and chemotherapy.

Jordan Kumar, The University of Queensland

Jordan is a 3rd year PhD student in the Haass lab based at the Frazer Institute. Formerly a member of the Gobe lab working on Renal Cell Carinoma, I have shifted my focus to Melanoma architecture and treatment.

Spatial Assessment of Ki67 to Stratify for MITF in Primary and Metastatic Melanoma  

Shivam Vora, Mater Research

Shivam Vora is a 3rd year PhD student in the Smiling for Smiddy Cancer Cell Cycle Group at Mater Research. Shivam completed his Master's in Biotechnology from UQ in 2020 and graduated with a Dean's Commendation for Academic Excellence.  After completing his Master's degree, Shivam started his PhD at Mater Research under the supervision of Prof Brian Gabrielli in 2021. His work focuses on polyploidy induced by the inhibition of Aurora Kinase B and the genetic background that determines the outcomes of this inhibition. 

High content and live cell imaging of polyploidy
This talk will include the procedures and findings of fluorescent imaging experiments using high content and live cell imaging and analysis of cells induced with polyploidy using Aurora Kinase B inhibitor treatment. 

Dr. Xiao Tan, QIMR Berghofer

Xiao Tan completed his PhD in 2024 in the Biomedical Machine Learning Lab at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, Australia, under the supervision of Dr. Quan Nguyen. He has now become a postdoc in the same lab. His research focuses on the application of deep learning in the biomedical field. Xiao has developed several bioinformatics tools for the spatial omics field, such as SpaCell, stLearn, and STimage. These tools involve predicting biomarkers from histopathological images and integrating spatial omics data, such as spatial transcriptomics data and spatial proteomics data.

Leveraging Spatial Proteomics to Unveil Cell Type Communities in Melanoma Tumour Microenvironments
Melanoma is a highly aggressive form of skin cancer with a propensity for rapid progression and metastasis. This study leverages the advanced spatial proteomics data from the Phenocycler-Fusion platform to study skin cancer, specifically melanoma. By integrating high-resolution spatial mapping with proteomic profiling, we identify distinct cell type communities within tumour microenvironments. Our approach elucidates the cellular heterogeneity and dynamic intercellular interactions that characterise melanoma progression. This comprehensive analysis not only enhances our understanding of melanoma biology but also identifies potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets.

Dr Marija Kojic, The University of Queensland

Marija Kojic graduated with a Master’s degree in Molecular Biology and Physiology, major in Genetics, from the University of Belgrade, Serbia in 2011. After her studies, she worked in the field of cell and developmental biology at the University Medical Centre Göttingen, Germany. Marija obtained her PhD degree in 2016 for her work on the genetic regulation of development and disorders of the cerebellum in Professor Wainright’s laboratory. She continued her research focussed on neurodevelopmental disorders and brain cancer in the same lab. Marija currently works on novel diagnostic approaches and treatment strategies for brain malignancies in children.

Dr William McGaha, Metro South Health

I am PhD candidate based in Queensland, Australia. The theme for my thesis is "Improving outcomes from pancreatic cancer in high-volume centers". I am also completing my General Surgical Education and Training concurrently. Like many others, I have both personal and professional experience with pancreatic cancer and wish to see better outcomes from this terrible disease. I also have a strong interest in medical education, having held appointments as an educational registrar, and contributed to research in this field.

Detecting high-grade dysplasia and stage I PDAC on 68Ga-FAPI-PET/CT.
5-year survival for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) exceeds 74% if diagnosed at stage I, however, this represents just 12% of resected cases.1 Detection of cancer at this stage - or prior to this at the point of high-grade dysplasia (HGD) - represents a significant opportunity to improve survival. Gallium-68 linked fibroblast activation protein inhibitor (68Ga-FAPI) is a novel radiotracer used with positron emission tomography/computed tomography (68Ga-FAPI-PET/CT). It targets fibroblast activation protein (FAP), which is a cell surface receptor expressed on cancer associated fibroblasts (malignant stroma) as well as epithelial cancer cells in PDAC. This study aimed to determine if stromal and epithelial FAP expression, as measured by immunohistochemistry or 68Ga-FAPI-PET/CT, could distinguish early malignancy (HGD, stage I PDAC) from indolent pathology (LGD, CP).