Why we dowhat we do

Our priority is to outsmart cancer.

Our vision is to help people live better with cancer and defeat it.

Our mission is to discover and develop breakthrough cancer therapies to provide the best health outcomes for patients.

We do this by discovering and developing new cancer therapies to provide real and life changing benefits for people impacted by cancer.

With researchers based just metres from where people are receiving treatment, our scientific discoveries are rapidly translated into breakthrough clinical therapies.

Our six core research programs focus on developing treatments for a range of cancers including breast, bowel and gastrointestinal tract, lung, skin, liver and brain cancer.

Emerging knowledge from the laboratory is quickly translated into patient trials, with our investigators overseeing active clinical trials right across Australia.

Observations from the clinic are then investigated by our research team, creating a continual cycle of learning and improvement between scientific research and patient care.

At a glance

Our Research

We have more than 140 research studies currently underway across six core research programs. Learn more about our research programs.


In 2019, our researchers published 121 scientific papers. A full list of publications is available in our 2019 Annual Report

Clinical Trials

In 2019, we proudly partnered our researchers and clinicians with patients from many areas in Australia to lead 157 clinical trials. Find out more about our Clinical Trials.

Global Network

In 2019, we had 73 international researchers from 32 countries working to deliver high-impact translational research, and 258 collaborations across 19 countries.

La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine

Learn more about the school

The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute is the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine.

The school is located in the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre, a comprehensive cancer centre at Austin Health in Melbourne, Australia.

All research activities are supported by outstanding research services  and technical expertise. The School’s significant contributions to basic discovery, translational research and clinical trials are enhanced through research and training collaborations with the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science and other Schools at the University’s Bundoora campus.

Our Institute Director, Professor Matthias Ernst is the inaugural Head of School of Cancer Medicine.

“There are many great medical research institutes studying fundamental questions about cancer, and excellent hospitals studying fundamental questions about cancer and provide wonderful care. But very few medical research institutes manage to achieve the critical mix where scientists, doctors, students, patients and families collaborate to make an impact on cancer care. This ability to partner and collaborate is what motivates us and drives the research excellence to which everyone at ONJCRI is committed.”

Prof Matthias Ernst, Director


Our Partners

La Trobe University

The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute is proudly affiliated with La Trobe University, leading to the establishment of the La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine, based at the Institute. Together we undertake collaborative research, joint training of medical researchers and translate research into clinical practice, ultimately improving health outcomes for patients with cancer.

ONJ Cancer Centre

The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre is a partnership between Austin Health and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute. Together, we are a comprehensive cancer centre. This partnership provides a unique facility that helps patients live better with cancer and defeat it through world class treatment, integrated research, leading clinical trials and tailored wellness programs.

Austin Health

Austin Health is a leading specialist tertiary and quaternary public health service based in Heidelberg, Melbourne. Austin is recognised rfor our specialist work in cancer, infectious diseases, obesity, sleep medicine, intensive care medicine, neurology, endocrinology, mental health and rehabilitation, and an internationally recognised centre of excellence in hospital-based research. They are also the largest Victorian provider of training for specialist physicians and surgeons.


The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute is an independent organisation. The Board governs the activities of the organisation, manages policy and provides strategic direction.


Our Executive Team are driven by our shared focus to outsmart cancer. Together, they lead the operational decisions and strategic priorities of the Institute.

Clinician Scientists

Our team of clinician scientists helps to ensure that we can rapidly translate our research knowledge to patients. These scientists move between the clinic – where they directly treat patients with a range of cancers – and the laboratory, where they collaborate with researchers to improve and develop treatments. Being in the clinic regularly means our clinician scientists are working hard to find answers to the questions which matter most to our patients.