Prof Matthias Ernst

Prof Matthias Ernst

Director, ONJCRI
Head, Cancer and Inflammation Program
Head, Cancer and Inflammation Laboratory
Head, School of Cancer Medicine, La Trobe University

Conducting research in close proximity to clinicians provides my group with an opportunity to use our scientific curiosity to address the most urgent needs of cancer patients.

After gaining my PhD at the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland, I received postdoctoral training at the Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories in Pennsylvania in the area of bone biology.

With the aim of extending my studies into the molecular mechanisms which underpin the growth of cancer cells, I joined Prof Ashley Dunn’s laboratory at the Melbourne-Parkville Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR).

In 1996, I returned to Switzerland, to join Novartis as the Deputy Head for Bone Biology Research Department. I was invited back to LICR in 1998 as Group Leader and was appointed Acting Director in 2009.

In 2012, I moved to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, where I continued to explore state-of-the-art molecular biology and genetic tools to understand mechanisms which corrupt the normal renewal of the lining of the bowel and stomach, resulting in tumour formation. I  joined ONJCRI in late 2014 and my laboratory team explores novel strategies to target mechanisms by which tumour cells and normal cells communicate and develop new treatments for gastrointestinal cancers.


Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO

Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO

Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO is currently Chair of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC as well as Chairing the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC and the HEARing CRC. She is Chair of the National Climate Science Advisory Committee and Chair of Fishburners, Australia’s largest technology start-up co-working space. She is also Chair of TIP Group Ltd and a Director of Bioplatforms Australia, a member of the NSW Council of the AICD and the Industry Member of the National Health and Medical Research Council, NHMRC.


Prof John Dewar AO

Prof John Dewar AO

Prof John Dewar AO is the Vice-Chancellor and President of La Trobe University. An internationally-known family law specialist and researcher, he has held senior leadership positions at Griffith University and the University of Melbourne as Provost, and has served on a number of higher education and legal bodies, groups and committees, including for the State and Federal Governments. He is a director of Universities Australia and Adjunct Professor in both the Melbourne and La Trobe Law Schools.


Sally Capp

Sally Capp

The Lord Mayor of Melbourne Sally Capp has extensive experience in executive leadership roles including at the Property Council of Australia, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce, KPMG and ANZ Bank, and represented the Victorian Government as Agent General across Europe and Israel. She has acted on a number of boards including for private and public companies, not-for-profit organisations and was the first female director of the Collingwood Football Club.


Richard Balderstone

Richard Balderstone

Richard Balderstone has worked in the financial and investment markets for over 35 years. He is a Director of JCP Investment Partners, as well as a Trustee Director of several charitable organisations including the Baker Foundation, Cormack Foundation, Surf Life Saving Foundation and the SecondBite Future Trust. Richard was previously a Director of ABN AMRO (and BZW) for over 10 years, a Director of the Australian Rail Track Corporation and a Trustee Director of the Commonwealth Public Service Superannuation Schemes (CSS/PSS).


Prof Ashley Dunn

Prof Ashley Dunn

Chair, Scientific Advisory Committee

Prof Ashley Dunn became Head of the Molecular Biology Program at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (Melbourne) in 1982. Two years later he and colleagues molecularly cloned GM-CSF, a cytokine used to aid recovery of bone marrow in cancer patients following chemotherapy treatment.

He served as Associate Director of the Institute until 2004, is currently a Professorial Fellow of the Department of Surgery at the University of Melbourne and serves on several scientific advisory boards.