Dr Honor Hugo


Postdoctoral Research Fellow/Lecturer in Molecular Pathology


About me

Honor Hugo (PhD) is a Lecturer and scientist in the School of Biomedical Science, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology. She obtained her PhD from the Department of Pathology at The University of Melbourne. Subsequently, she undertook early postdoctoral training at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and St Vincent’s Institute, both in Melbourne where she studied cellular mechanisms enabling breast cancer metastasis (EMT). In 2016 Dr Hugo was recruited to the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at QUT as a Research Officer, and the following year was offered the position of Lecturer in Molecular Pathology within the university. As a researcher with a career interrupted 4 times due to the birth of children, Dr Hugo’s work is highly cited (2219 citations, h-index 11). She is a previous winner of the National Breast Cancer Foundation Postdoctoral Training Fellowship, and has been awarded a Victorian Cancer Agency Early Career Seed Grant for her research. Dr Hugo has attracted university funding to support collaborative research with the Australian Centre for Health Law Research at QUT, to explore the ethical implications of communicating Mammographic Density to Australian Women, and has recently received an Engaging Science Grant from the QLD government to support her science-based high school outreach program “INSPIRE”. Dr Hugo is a member of a team of scientists at QUT, who have active and ongoing connections with industry with the aim to develop alternate ways of detecting breast density without exposing women to ionizing radiation, as occurs in mammography. The other component of her research focuses on understanding the underlying biological mechanism through which mammographically dense breast tissue increases the risk of developing breast cancer, employing a unique mammary tissue explant approach, coupled with MicroCT.

Dr Hugo has a keen interest in encouraging scientists to communicate their work to the lay person, and has conceived and directed the schools outreach program INSPIRE in 2017 and 2018, receiving co-funding from the Queensland Government Engaging Science Program and QUT to do so.


 ADDIN EN.REFLIST 1.         T. Blick, E. Widodo, H. Hugo, M. Waltham, M. E. Lenburg, R. M. Neve, and E. W. Thompson, Epithelial mesenchymal transition traits in human breast cancer cell lines, Clin Exp Metastasis  25 (2008), 629-642.


2.         T. Blick, H. Hugo,, E. Widodo, M. Waltham, C. Pinto, S. A. Mani, R. A. Weinberg, R. M. Neve, M. E. Lenburg, and E. W. Thompson, Epithelial mesenchymal transition traits in human breast cancer cell lines parallel the CD44(hi/)CD24 (lo/-) stem cell phenotype in human breast cancer, J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia  15 (2010), 235-252.


3.         Y. Drabsch, H. Hugo, R. Zhang, D. H. Dowhan, Y. R. Miao, A. M. Gewirtz, S. C. Barry, R. G. Ramsay, and T. J. Gonda, Mechanism of and requirement for estrogen-regulated MYB expression in estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer cells, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A  104 (2007), 13762-13767.


4.         N. P. Gunasinghe, A. Wells, E. W. Thompson, and H. Hugo, Mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) as a mechanism for metastatic colonisation in breast cancer, Cancer Metastasis Rev  31 (2012), 469-478.


5.         M. C. Hardy, M. R. Desselle, and Consortium Catch a Rising Star, Engaging rural Australian communities in National Science Week helps increase visibility for women researchers, R Soc Open Sci  4 (2017), 170548.


6.         H. Hugo, A. Cures, N. Suraweera, Y. Drabsch, D. Purcell, T. Mantamadiotis, W. Phillips, A. Dobrovic, G. Zupi, T. J. Gonda, B. Iacopetta, and R. G. Ramsay, Mutations in the MYB intron I regulatory sequence increase transcription in colon cancers, Genes Chromosomes Cancer  45 (2006), 1143-1154.


7.         H. Hugo, M. L. Ackland, T. Blick, M. G. Lawrence, J. A. Clements, E. D. Williams, and E. W. Thompson, Epithelial--mesenchymal and mesenchymal--epithelial transitions in carcinoma progression, J Cell Physiol  213 (2007), 374-383.


8.         H. J. Hugo, R. Wafai, T. Blick, E. W. Thompson, and D. F. Newgreen, Staurosporine augments EGF-mediated EMT in PMC42-LA cells through actin depolymerisation, focal contact size reduction and Snail1 induction - a model for cross-modulation, BMC Cancer  9 (2009), 235.


9.         H. J. Hugo, M. I. Kokkinos, T. Blick, M. L. Ackland, E. W. Thompson, and D. F. Newgreen, Defining the E-cadherin repressor interactome in epithelial-mesenchymal transition: the PMC42 model as a case study, Cells Tissues Organs  193 (2011), 23-40.


10.       H. J. Hugo, S. Lebret, E. Tomaskovic-Crook, N. Ahmed, T. Blick, D. F. Newgreen, E. W. Thompson, and M. L. Ackland, Contribution of Fibroblast and Mast Cell (Afferent) and Tumor (Efferent) IL-6 Effects within the Tumor Microenvironment, Cancer Microenviron  5 (2012), 83-93.


11.       H. J. Hugo, L. Pereira, R. Suryadinata, Y. Drabsch, T. J. Gonda, N. P. Gunasinghe, C. Pinto, E. T. Soo, B. J. van Denderen, P. Hill, R. G. Ramsay, B. Sarcevic, D. F. Newgreen, and E. W. Thompson, Direct repression of MYB by ZEB1 suppresses proliferation and epithelial gene expression during epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition of breast cancer cells, Breast Cancer Res  15 (2013), R113.


12.       H. J. Hugo, C. Saunders, R. G. Ramsay, and E. W. Thompson, New Insights on COX-2 in Chronic Inflammation Driving Breast Cancer Growth and Metastasis, J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia  20 (2015), 109-119.


13.       H. J. Hugo, Npad Gunasinghe, B. G. Hollier, T. Tanaka, T. Blick, A. Toh, P. Hill, C. Gilles, M. Waltham, and E. W. Thompson, Epithelial requirement for in vitro proliferation and xenograft growth and metastasis of MDA-MB-468 human breast cancer cells: oncogenic rather than tumor-suppressive role of E-cadherin, Breast Cancer Res  19 (2017), 86.


14.       H. J. Hugo, A. Zysk, P. Dasari, K. Britt, J. L. Hopper, J. Stone, E. W. Thompson, and W. V. Ingman, InforMD: a new initiative to raise public awareness about breast density, Ecancermedicalscience  12 (2018), 807.


15.       H.J. Hugo, M. C. Tourell, P.M. O'Gorman, A.E. Paige, R.M. Wellard, T. Lloyd, K. I. Momot, and E. W. Thompson, Looking beyond the mammogram to assess mammographic density: a narrative review., Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging Accepted for publication March 2018. (2018),


16.       L. A. Pereira, H. J. Hugo, J. Malaterre, X. Huiling, S. Sonza, A. Cures, D. F. Purcell, P. A. Ramsland, S. Gerondakis, T. J. Gonda, and R. G. Ramsay, MYB elongation is regulated by the nucleic acid binding of NFkappaB p50 to the intronic stem-loop region, PLoS One  10 (2015), e0122919.


17.       M. S. Shawky, H. Martin, H. J. Hugo, T. Lloyd, K. L. Britt, A. Redfern, and E. W. Thompson, Mammographic density: a potential monitoring biomarker for adjuvant and preventative breast cancer endocrine therapies, Oncotarget  8 (2017), 5578-5591.


18.       M. C. Tourell, T. S. Ali, H. J. Hugo, C. Pyke, S. Yang, T. Lloyd, E. W. Thompson, and K. I. Momot, T1 -based sensing of mammographic density using single-sided portable NMR, Magn Reson Med  (2018). 

Research fields

Mammographic density, mechanotransduction, cancer cell biology