The CRE has a strong team of Chief Investigators, all with exceptional track records and reputations in the field.
Professor H. Peter Soyer (UQ) brings dermato-oncology expertise, with special emphasis on advancing dermoscopy, dermato-pathology.
Professor Soyer is Inaugural Chair in Dermatology at UQ, Director of the Dermatology Research Centre at the Translational Research Institute and Director of the Dermatology Department, Princess Alexandra Hospital. He is currently Acting Director of the UQ Diamantina Institute.
His specific research expertise lies in the study of macro- and micro-morphology of skin conditions, and the application of new technologies to melanoma early detection. He is considered one of the pioneers of dermoscopy of pigmented skin lesions, a non-invasive diagnostic method for the early diagnosis of melanoma, and led the development of the morphologic classification system currently used worldwide.
He has assembled the CRE multidisciplinary team, has personally collaborated with all CRE Chief Investigators previously, and will lead the collaborative team.
Prof Soyer will work with the CRE team to further advance the applications of dermoscopy, by combining its information with that derived from molecular biology advances which will be progressed in Programs I and III. He will oversee the research on the use of dermatoscopes by consumers in Program II. Together with Prof Janda he proposed the concept of enhanced skin self-examination which may become the new public health standard. He holds two patents together with A/Prof Prow, and will place specific emphasis on advancing the entrepreneurial thinking of CRE staff and students. He is actively engaged with the scientific community worldwide and was the scientific program chair of the Controversies in Skin Cancer Conference in Brisbane in 2015. In 2017 he will lead the Convenor team for the 9th Melanoma World Congress, and will include CRE staff in all aspects of organisation for their professional development.
Professor Adele Green (QIMR-B) brings expertise in melanoma and skin cancer epidemiology as well as research methodology.
Professor Green is a Senior Scientist and Head of the Cancer & Population Studies Group at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. Her research is exemplary in being an authoritative source of advice for health professionals regarding skin cancer prevention (US NIH, and the BMJ’s Clinical Evidence series since 2002).
Prof Green recently led a team with Prof Aitken that published the first-available 20-year survival figures for patients diagnosed with thin melanomas (<1.00mm) based on QLD Cancer Registry data. This provided physicians with a sound basis for reassurance to these patients that their risk of dying is small, while noting the small proportion at relatively high risk of dying who might benefit from more aggressive treatments and long-term follow-up.
From 2000-2005 Prof Green was Chair of the Health Advisory Committee of the NHMRC, then the principal committee responsible for facilitating the translation of research findings into health care practice and/or health policy. She oversaw 50 sets of clinical practice guidelines and practice handbooks. She currently chairs the Research and Data Advisory Committee of Cancer Australia and a Scientific Expert Group of the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection.
Prof Green will instill in the CRE team a clear sense for the importance of research that is conducted to the very highest methodological standards, and will mentor CRE trainees on how to relate to agencies such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer / WHO.
Professor Joanne Aitken (CCQ) brings expertise in melanoma early detection, and epidemiology, and will link the CRE with community.
Professor Aitken is Head of Research in the Viertel Cancer Research Centre, Cancer Council QLD, Director of the QLD Cancer Registry; Director of the Australian Paediatric Cancer Registry; and holds academic positions with several Universities.
Having led the world’s only randomised trial of the effectiveness of a population skin screening program for melanoma involving 70,000 adults in 18 communities (ten-year follow-up currently underway); large population-based case-control studies of melanoma aetiology in adolescents and of melanoma screening; and two large population-based family studies of gene x environment interaction in melanoma aetiology, her expertise is in strong demand.
She is a member of the International Task Force on Skin Cancer Screening and Prevention for Germany’s national skin cancer screening program, sat on the Executive Steering Committee, Global Advances and Controversies in Skin Cancer Conference, 2015; and is part of the Executive Organizing Committee, 9th World Melanoma Congress, 2017.
Prof Aitken will ensure that all CRE staff and students conduct their research with community benefit in mind, and communicate their research outcomes in a consumer-appropriate manner.
Professor Scott Menzies (The Uni of Sydney) knows the biological and morphological attributes of naevi, and can guide CRE staff in patent development.
Professor Menzies is a Professor in the Discipline of Dermatology at The University of Sydney and was Director (currently deputy), The Sydney Melanoma Diagnostic Centre from 2003-2013.
He is known as a world leader in the development of technologies for the diagnosis of primary melanoma of the skin (dermoscopy, sequential digital dermoscopy imaging, in-vivo confocal microscopy, and automated diagnostic techniques) - work that has directly resulted in category A recommendations for the diagnosis of melanoma in NHMRC-ratified national guidelines, and successfully bringing diagnostic techniques to market. Together with A/Prof Kasparian he brings expertise gained from a prospective trial of a high-risk melanoma cohort that assessed the relative efficacy of melanoma diagnostic methods, cost analysis and development of a psycho-educational intervention. He is currently on the scientific advisory boards of, and can link the CRE with, two international companies who have, or are developing, automated diagnostic devices for primary melanoma (DermTech Internat., USA; SciBase AB, Sweden).
Prof Menzies will provide clinical expertise across Programs I-III, mentor trainees in dermoscopy, development of educational materials for patients and clinicians, and how to select intellectual property which may be successfully turned into patents.
Associate Professor Rick Sturm (UQ) brings expertise in molecular biology, gene expression and genetics.
Associate Professor Sturm is a Principal Research Fellow of the Dermatology Research Centre within the School of Medicine at the UQ and a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow in his third 5-year term (2013-2017).
He has achieved several research breakthroughs, including the first description of the gene structure and evolutionary relationship of the three human TYRP1 pigmentation gene family members. He was also first to link three MC1R alleles R151C, R160W and D294H to the red hair, fair skin and freckling phenotype (RHC), with these alleles representing a major cause of red hair in European populations. His studies have provided a molecular basis to blue-brown eye colour linked to the OCA2/HERC2 locus.
A/Prof Sturm will mentor the CRE trainees and guide them in research practice and conducting breakthroughs.
Associate Professor David Duffy (QIMR-B) brings expertise in genetic epidemiology, particularly in relation to statistical analysis.
Associate Professor Duffy is a Senior Research Fellow in the Genetic Epidemiology Unit at the QIMR-Berghofer Medical Research Institute. He has extensive expertise in epidemiology, particularly genetic epidemiology and is an analyst who contributes to the entirety of genetic studies from concept through to the final interpretation of results.
He already has collaborations with multiple Chief Investigator’s involved in the CRE, involving studies on pigmentation and melanoma and cancer genetics. A/Prof Duffy is also involved in several international consortiums in the fields of malignant melanoma, naevi, and human pigmentation. He is an author of papers that described six new melanoma genes and regularly reviews manuscripts for key journals in his area of expertise. He has successfully mentored numerous higher research students over the years.
A/Prof Duffy brings to the CRE his extensive expertise in statistical and epidemiological methods.
Professor Monika Janda (QUT) brings behavioural research methods and qualitative analyses skills.
She brings health behavioural research methods skills, and a health psychology focus to the CRE. This is particularly important for the development of interventions directed at consumers, which will likely evolve from all three research programs, but most prominently from Program II. Skin self-examination is currently recommended by public health authorities, but adding dermoscopy may make this behaviour much better suited to find melanomas early.
Professor Janda is the Scientific Co-ordinator for the CRE.
Associate Professor Tarl Prow (UQ) is a translational researcher who brings unique expertise in medical technology and development.
Associate Professor Prow is a research only academic specialized in biotechnology development with a focus on skin imaging/image analysis and microdevices. He is the Deputy Director of the Dermatology Research Centre within the School of Medicine and heads a group of researchers focused on micromedical devices for dermatology and nanomedicine.
He brings multidisciplinary expertise in the fields of micro-medical device development, nanodermatology, topical drug delivery and non-invasive imaging and is an inventor on 8 patents and patent applications. Two of his patent families help to underpin a $40M biotechnology start-up.
A/Prof Prow will engage with CRE staff and students regarding the design of products that will reform drug delivery or micro-medical applications.
Associate Professor Helmut Schaider (UQ) combines clinical and laboratory skills and will be a mentor linking expertise across programs.
Associate Professor Schaider is an academic dermatologist with 14 years clinical experience (Medical University of Graz, Department of Dermatology, Austria). He is a team leader at the Dermatology Research Centre within the School of Medicine at The University of Queensland.
He trained as a clinical scientist at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), for two years and worked as a postdoctoral scientist for three years in the field of melanoma biology at The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia.
His combined clinical, administrative and translational research experiences are a good basis for contributing to the overall success of the CRE.
The CRE also has an exceptionally strong and diversified pool of Associate Investigators:
Dr Victoria Atkinson, Medical Oncologist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane
Professor Boris Bastian, Dermatopathologist, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco
Associate Professor Clara Curiel-Lewandrowski, Dermatologist, University of Arizona, Tuscon
Professor Brian Gabrielli, Mater Research Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane
Professor Allan Halpern, Chief, Dermatology Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York
Professor Rainer Hofmann-Wellenhof, Professor of Dermatology, Medical University of Graz, Graz
Associate Professor Nadine Kasparian, Psychologist, University of New South Wales, Sydney
Professor John Kelly, Dermatologist, The Victorian Melanoma Service, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne
Associate Professor Lois Loescher, Behavioural Scientist, University of Arizona, Tuscon
Dr Graeme Walker, Carcinogenesis Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane