Dr Normand Pouliot

Head, Matrix Microenvironment and Metastasis Laboratory

Being a medical researcher challenges me intellectually and has allowed me to develop a broad range of professional skills. I love getting up in the morning knowing that, through my work, I make a meaningful contribution to society and help make people’s lives better, particularly those afflicted with cancer.

I migrated to Australia in 1992 to undertake my PhD studies at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, investigating autocrine factors regulating the growth of colon cancer. I gained industry experience with Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals and Glaxo-Wellcome Australia, returning to academic research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre where my research spanned the fields of skin biology, stem cells and breast cancer. I recently established my research group and joined the Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute to head the Matrix Microenvironment and Metastasis Laboratory within the newly established Translational Breast Cancer Program.

One in eight women are affected by breast cancer and, every year approximately 2700 Australian women will succumb to the disease. My research group investigates how cancer spreads to distant organs (metastasis), a process responsible for the majority of deaths from breast cancer. We focus on understanding how matrix proteins in the tumour environment contribute to breast cancer progression, with a particular interest in how they aid the escape and spread of cancer cells to bone and brain. Research projects in my laboratory use pre-clinical mouse models of metastatic triple negative and HER2+ve breast cancer to test new therapies targeting matrix proteins or their cell surface receptors, with the long-term goal of translating these findings into the clinic.