Research Centres - Camperdown campus

Members of The University of Sydney Cancer Research Network who are located at the Camperdown campus work in the following Research Centres.


Sydney Medical School

Faculty of Science

Faculty of Pharmacy

Faculty of Nursing

Centre for Medical Psychology & Evidence-based Decision-making (CeMPED)

CeMPED is co-directed by Professor Phyllis Butow (School of Psychology), Professor Martin Tattersall (Central Clinical School) and A/Professor Alexandra Barratt (School of Public Health). CeMPED is a cross-faculty, multidisciplinary organisation that sits within the School of Psychology, the School of Public Health and the Department of Medicine within the Faculties of Science and Medicine. It combines the two very active existing research groups within the University; the Medical Psychology Research Unit (MPRU) and the Sydney Health Decision Group (SHDG).

Bosch Institute, University of Sydney and NSW Health

The Bosch Institute is a joint initiative of the University of Sydney and the NSW Health Service, carrying out "from bench to bedside" research with projects that range from basic research at the molecular level right through to the application of research findings in a clinical setting. Research in the Cancer, Cell Biology and Development theme, led by Professor Des Richardson, uses cell biological and other methods to investigate the mechanisms that regulate cell proliferation and differentiation. This general approach is applied to understanding basic cell physiology, cancer biology, developmental biology and the pathogenesis of infectious diseases. There are a number of areas of particular research strengths within this Research Theme. These include hormonal control of cell function (including the role of hormones in promoting the growth of breast and prostate cancers), the regulation of gene expression (and its importance in determining embryonic development, tumour progression and tissue differentiation), intracellular signalling systems, and the diagnosis and treatment of malignancies.

Centenary Institute, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and University of Sydney

The Centenary Institute, located at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH), is directed by Professor Mathew Vadas. The Centenary Institute has formal affiliations with the University of Sydney and RPAH and its location helps to promote opportunities for students to become involved in research as well as the translation of basic discoveries into clinical practices. The Centenary Institute's research programme is based on a combination of cell biology, molecular medicine and immunology. Research is carried out by eight teams within Centenary, namely B Cell Biology, Cancer Drug Resistance, Gene and Stem Cell Therapy, Liver Immunobiology, Lymphocyte Differentiation, Molecular Cardiology, Mycobacterial Immunity, and T Cell Biology. In addition, collaborative research programmes exist with departments and institutes at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital including Clinical Immunology, Cardiology, Institute of Haematology and the Sydney Cancer Centre.

Australian Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis

The Australian Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis (ACMM), the largest and most comprehensive facility of its type in Australia.

The centre incorporates the headquarters the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility (AMMRF), and it is a node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Design in Light Metals. Researchers have access to an outstanding array of nanostructural analysis equipment, both within the ACMM and at our partner nodes.

The centre is a major contributor to the University’s research output, and plays a vital role in supporting the microscopy and wider community through training, award courses and consulting. This group is interested in the nanobiology of cancer, and research in this area is lead by A/Prof. Filip Braet and Dr Lilian Soon.

Medical Foundation

The Medical Foundation, a privately funded medical research funding body within the University of Sydney, supports a portfolio of internationally recognised research across diverse fields of medicine in Sydney Medical School Clinical Schools and associated institutes.

The Medical Foundation Cancer Program includes research into the prevention, cause and treatment of breast cancer, prostate cancer and liver cancer, as well as measuring the effects of genes, environment and behaviour on cancer risk and outcome.

NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre

The NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, a clinical research organisation, runs large multicentre clinical trials, takes part in investigator-initiated trials of national and international cooperative trial groups and contributes expertise to trials run by others. It undertakes research in basic science, health care delivery and trial methods and reviews evidence from completed trials. Through extensive education and training program the CTC aims to foster high-quality collaborative clinical trials research to improve health outcomes for patients worldwide. Scholarships, postgraduate courses and other education opportunities are offered for Australian and overseas candidates.

For those wanting to run their own trials, the CTC can advise on trial design or operation, randomise patients or analyse data.

The CTC’s research is conducted across a diverse range of therapeutic areas, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, neonatal health and diabetes. The CTC has basic science researchers studying the mechanisms of diabetes and its complications and cardiovascular disease and its treatments. There is a telehealth program, which aims to deliver best-care standards of treatment and practice to remote Aboriginal communities. All research and clinical trials undertaken through the CTC are conducted strictly according to guidelines for research and are audited by the CTC and regulatory authorities and/or sponsors. The clinical trials program continues to grow in breadth and depth, particularly in oncology.

The oncology program at the CTC coordinates trials of treatments for a range of cancers. These phase II and phase III studies are often multidisciplinary, incorporating surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology and novel treatments such as biological agents. The CTC is the coordinating centre for several cancer cooperative research groups, including the Australasian Gastro-Intestinal trials Group (AGITG), Australasian Lung Trials Group (ALTG), Australian New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG), Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group (ANZUP), and the Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO).

The CTC is also a member of Sydney Catalyst: the Translational Cancer Research Centre of Central Sydney and Regional New South Wales. Sydney Catalyst is a virtual centre bringing together a consortium of cancer researchers, led by the CTC's director, Professor John Simes.

The Cochrane Breast Cancer Group

The Cochrane Breast Cancer Group is a collaborative review group of the Cochrane Collaboration, committed to developing evidence relating to prevention, early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Its activities are coordinated by a team of editors and a secretariat based at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre.

The Office of Postgraduate Medical Education

The Office of Postgraduate Medical Education (OPME) is a Sydney Medical School based team which is dedicated to the research, innovation, and development of graduate, post-graduate and professional education for medical and health science professionals. The group aspires to be recognised internationally as leaders in developing and delivering innovative, research-led models for teaching and learning in professional health.

OPME provides an academic base and a stimulating supportive environment for all Faculty staff interested in medical educational research and development. Their Masters in Medical Education includes experienced teachers with international research reputations, and they support their sister organization the Office of Medical Education (OME) in providing input into the graduate medical program.

OPME has over 10 years experience in the creation and maintenance of educational websites. During this time it has successfully developed a wide variety of online materials where IT specifications are consistently driven by educational requirements. Sites of interest for cancer researchers include:

School of Public Health

The Cancer Genes, Environment and Behaviour Program is led by Professor Bruce Armstrong. Most of the research collects individual data from people with cancer. The project "Why do some breast cancers present at an advanced stage in women in Australia?" has interviewed women with breast cancer about events leading to their diagnosis. The question arose through research findings that larger breast cancers are as frequent now as in the early 1990s, despite widespread breast screening and falling breast cancer death rates. The research is exploring how much individual contribution is made by factors such as: the women's social support, the type of breast cancer, and their access to medical care. Ongoing studies are also investigating the health impact of mobile phone use and the interaction of sun exposure and personal risk profiles in the development of skin cancer, both melanoma and the non-melanocytic skin cancers.

The research undertaken by the Tobacco Control Group, led by Professor Simon Chapman in the School of Public Health, seeks to provide evidence about nicotine addiction and the adverse health effects of smoking (the link between smoking and lung cancer), supporting the need for strong regulation of the tobacco industry. These results are very important to public health in Australia, and this work draws on over 40 million pages of internal documents regarding the tobacco industry’s strategies to resist effective tobacco control in Australasia.

The Screening and Diagnostic Test Evaluation Program (STEP) has been established within the School of Public Health since 1998, and includes research in two broad areas: understanding which screening programs are worthwhile and examine how those that are worthwhile should be best implemented, and exploring the test performance characteristics of different screening and diagnostic tests. STEP has three broad research arms: screening and diagnostic test accuracy, screening and diagnostic test outcomes, and informed decision making in screening and diagnostic tests.

Sydney Bioinformatics

Sydney Bioinformatics was established in 2007 through a merger of the Sydney University Biological Informatics and Technology Centre and the Australian Genomic Information Centre.

The aim of Sydney Bioinformatics is to increase life science research through the effective use of bioinformatics.

Sydney Bioinformatics achieves this aim by:

  • Providing a Core Facility in bioinformatics for staff and students of the University of Sydney and its affiliated research institutes and teaching hospitals as well as other relevant academic, research, and commercial organisations throughout Australia;
  • Offering “professional bioinformatics services” including: collaborative research; expert assistance, advice, and consultancy; and, customized data analysis and software development;
  • Offering vocational and educational training in the use of bioinformatics to postgraduate students, research staff, and academic staff;
  • Fostering research and teaching in bioinformatics through the facilitation of cross-disciplinary interaction between bioinformatics researchers and academics within the University and its affiliated research institutes and teaching hospitals;
  • Providing access to specific online bioinformatics software and resources to aid life science research.

Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and University of Sydney

The Sydney Cancer Centre is part of the Sydney South West Area Health Service, and works closely with the University of Sydney to conduct three broad types of cancer research - basic, translational and clinical. The research programs, include investigations into:

The Sydney Cancer Centre is at the forefront of cancer care and research in Australia. Based at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, with facilities at Concord Hospital, the Sydney Cancer Centre also provides outreach services to Dubbo Base Hospital.

School of Chemistry

The School of Chemistry at The University of Sydney has extensive expertise in many aspects of Biological, Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. These include the design and pharmacology of new drugs, improved formulations for drug delivery, the mechanism of chemical causes for some diseases, the interaction of small molecules and metals with proteins, DNA and other biomaterials, the design and improvement of pesticides and herbicides, and biosensors. Trevor Hambley’s group works in the area of Biological and Medicinal Chemistry, focusing on research into platinum anticancer drugs, matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors and sequence selective DNA binding agents relevant to cancer.

The Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) group is led by Dr Lou Rendina. BNCT is an experimental cancer treatment that is currently undergoing Phase I/II clinical trials in several countries. Researchers in this group have recently developed several new classes of BNCT agents including boronated platinum drugs, DNA intercalators, phosphonium salts and, in collaboration with Dr Kate Jolliffe (USyd), tumour-selective cyclic RGD peptides. In collaboration with Prof JA Coderre (MIT), the BNCT group is also exploring the efficacy of these agents toward selected tumours in the presence of thermal neutrons.

School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences

Research interests in the School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences are broad, with particular expertise in protein structure and function, the regulation of gene expression and metabolism. Professor Richard Christopherson's Cell Biology Group focuses on the roles of proteins in the networks of molecular interactions within living cells and the adverse consequences of defects in these. Areas of particular interest include development of novel methods for immunophenotyping leukaemia and lymphomas.

Institute of Medical Physics

Medical Physics is the field in which physical scientists apply their knowledge and training in many different areas of medicine including the treatment of cancer, medical imaging, physiological monitoring and medical electronics.

The Institute of Medical Physics within the School of Physics, University of Sydney, acts as an umbrella organization for all research and teaching activities within the School that are related to Medical Physics.

A number of different research projects are currently being undertaken, in association with the Institute of Medical Physics including:

  • Radiation biology of intensity modulated radiation therapies
  • Radiation and gel dosimetry for radiation oncology and medical imaging
  • Motion correction for radiation oncology and medical imaging
    Functional and molecular imaging
  • Development of radionuclide standards
  • Neutron flux characterisation of OPAL nuclear reactor
  • Optical characterisation of tissues
  • Characterisation of tissues using terahertz imaging
  • Phantom materials for microimaging

Faculty of Pharmacy

Research interests in the Faculty of Pharmacy cover a broad spectrum of pharmaceutical and clinical sciences ranging from the design, synthesis, testing and mechanism of action of drugs, through studies on methods of drug delivery and on the fate of drugs in humans and animals, to research on the clinical and sociological aspects of pharmacy. With respect to cancer research, groups within the Faculty of Pharmacy are currently focusing on understanding the variability in response to anticancer medicines. Work led by Professor McLachlan uses a population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modelling approach to investigate inter-patient variability and correlate predictive patient factors with drug exposure in people living with cancer. Work led by Professor Murray is looking at the development of omega-3 fatty acid derivatives as anti-cancer agents, as well as the optimisation of anti-cancer treatments in patients (with respect to cytochrome P450). The ultimate aim of this work is to provide a rational basis for dose individualisation to improve treatment outcome.

The Australia-China Centre for Research in Chinese Medicines (ACCRCM)
The Australia-China Centre for Research in Chinese Medicines (ACCRCM) was established in 2007 and is joint collaboration between the University of Sydney, the University of Western Sydney and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.

This is the first cooperative venture between Australian and Chinese universities to promote and advance the knowledge of Chinese medicine, the integration of Chinese and Western medicine, and the utilisation of Chinese medicine in the prevention and treatment of diseases worldwide.

The centre will integrate research strengths in the biomedical and clinical sciences among Australian and Chinese universities, and aims to become the leading centre of its kind in the world.

Faculty of Nursing

There are two broad research streams within Cancer and Palliative Care Group, in the Faculty of Nursing. The first uses qualitative methodology to investigate and improve current cancer and palliative care support services for patients and their families. The second utilises a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods to analyse cancer prevention strategies, with a focus on culturally sensitive prevention strategies.