Prof Michael P. Brown MBBS (Hons I) FRACP FRCPA PhD

Head, Translational Oncology Laboratory, Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB)

Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist, Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH)

Director, RAH Cancer Clinical Trials Unit

Professor Medical Oncology, The University of Adelaide

Adjunct Professor, University of South Australia

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Prof Brown is qualified as a specialist physician in clinical immunology and in medical oncology, a pathologist in laboratory immunology, and has research training in gene therapy and cancer immunotherapy. He obtained four years’ research experience working in the laboratory of gene therapy pioneer, Prof Malcolm Brenner, on gene transfer studies in murine models and on the development of related clinical protocols.

He has >20 years’ clinical oncology experience sub-specialising in tumour subtypes of lung cancer and melanoma and >25 years’ experience in clinical protocol development including in early phase immunotherapy studies. He has led the RAH Cancer Clinical Trials Unit >12 years, and it has >12 FTE staff and a portfolio of >40 active trials. Brown has >140 peer-reviewed papers (46 since 2016) including in Lancet Oncol, J Clin Oncol, and Ann Oncol (>8000 career citations). He is South Australian node leader and a Board member of the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Program, administering rare and less common cancer diagnosis and treatment.

At CCB, Brown investigates cancer immunotherapies in a preclinical and clinical laboratory research program, which includes translating chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell technology from preclinical model systems to the ongoing CARPETS phase 1 clinical trial.

Dr Lisa Ebert BSc (Hons) PhD

Senior Research Fellow, Translational Oncology Laboratory, Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB)

Affiliate Senior Lecturer, The University of Adelaide

Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, University of South Australia

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Dr Ebert completed her B.Sc. (Hons) and PhD at University of Adelaide in 2002, with numerous accolades including the University Medal. She then undertook successful post-doctoral positions with Prof Bernhard Moser at the University of Bern (Switzerland) in the field of leukocyte trafficking, and with Prof Weisan Chen at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (Melbourne) in the field of tumour immunology, before returning to Adelaide at the Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB) in 2011. During her research career, despite 2.5 years of parental leave, she has received >$3.2M in competitive research funding (including a Florey Fellowship) and published >40 peer-reviewed articles, including 24 articles as first (or shared-first) author or senior author. Her work has been published in top-tier journals including J Exp Med, Immunity, Cancer Res (x2) and Clin Cancer Res (x2), and her publications have received > 2,600 citations (average 62 per article). She is also an inventor on an international patent. Over the last 5 years, she has developed a strong research focus on brain tumours and currently develops novel CAR-T cell-based immunotherapies to treat glioblastoma. She is expert in multi-parameter flow cytometry, processing and analysis of patient tumour tissues and functional assays of T-cell activity.

Dr Tessa Gargett BSc (Hons) PhD

Research Fellow, Translational Oncology Laboratory, Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB)

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Dr Gargett won the Derek Rowley Prize for Honours in Microbiology and Immunology in 2007. She has 6 years’ post-doctoral experience in immunology, clinical immunotherapy including CAR-T cell biology and manufacturing. In 2019 she was awarded a Beat Cancer Project Early Career Fellowship. She has published 22 articles in the last 10 years (11 as first author), with over 1,000 career citations. In addition to her research experience, Dr Gargett has expertise in phase I clinical trial project management including preparation of Clinical Trials Exemption applications, Human Research Ethics applications, Office of The Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) applications and clinical trial standard operating procedures (SOPs). She is an expert in gene therapy applications as recognised by her appointment to the national Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee (GTTAC) of OGTR in 2017.

She has extensive technical experience in qualitative and quantitative analysis of human blood and tissue samples including multicolour flow cytometry, cytometric bead array, cytotoxicity assays (radiographic, colorimetric and real-time), confocal live imaging, and quantitative PCR. She has certified training in: GMP Competency, Cleanroom procedures, DAFF Quarantine Awareness for Accredited Persons, Microsoft Access Intermediate for clinical trials database management, CliniMACS GMP-grade cell sorting and BD Fortessa LSR 5-laser flow cytometry.

Ms Kristyna Sedivakova MSc

Research Fellow, Translational Oncology Laboratory, Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB)

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Ms Sedivakova was awarded the Chancellor’s Letters of Commendation for Research Excellence at the Charles University of Prague for her undergraduate project investigating genomic aberration in brain cancer patients. Her Master's degree involved molecular and cytogenetic analyses of glial cells and their contribution to classification of brain tumours. She has four additional years’ experience with patients’ brain tumour samples. From 2018, she was employed in Dr Joshua Breunig's team at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles where she investigated precision medicine for paediatric gliomas. Also, she acted as an intermediary between the research laboratory and the clinical neurosurgery department. Subsequently in Australia, she has continued to participate in paediatric and adult brain tumour projects such as an “Investigation of genome-wide epigenetic defects in childhood brain cancers” and “Development of brain organoid models to test personalized therapies for glioblastoma”. She has extensive technical experience in the establishment of primary cell lines and with the analysis of patients’ samples using flow cytometry, immunofluorescence, quantitative PCR, and cytogenetic and molecular cytogenetic methods (I-FISH, mBAND, SNParray). She has also several years of experience with the establishment, monitoring, and testing of therapies using animal models of brain tumours.

Miss Erica Yeo BlabMed (Hons)

PhD candidate, Translational Oncology Laboratory, Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB)

PhD candidate, Clinical and Health Sciences, University of South Australia

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Miss Yeo has completed her B.Lab.Med. (Hons) degree with First Class Honours. During her undergraduate degree, she has received Chancellor’s Letters of Commendation every year from the University of South Australia. She had the opportunity to join the Translational Oncology Laboratory in 2017 through a Vacation Research Scholarship awarded by the University of South Australia. Since then, she continued her Honours and PhD research investigating novel therapies for the treatment of glioblastoma. She has experience in CAR-T cell manufacturing, flow cytometry, imaging and glioblastoma explant culture.

Collaboration with other CCB research groups

Our research is conducted in close collaboration with other research groups at the CCB led by Dr Guillermo Gomez and Prof Stuart Pitson, resulting in 7 collaborative publications since 2019.

List of current research projects

  1. LEVI’S-CATCH Clinical Trial of GD2-CAR-T cell Therapy in children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. Soon to be opened at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network.
  2. KARPOS Clinical Trial of GD2-CAR-T cell Therapy in adults with recurrent glioblastoma. In preparation for opening at Royal Adelaide Hospital.
  3. Dual targeting of brain tumours using (i) CAR-T cells and bi-specific T-cell engager molecules for glioblastoma antigens and (ii) genetically engineered invariant NKT cells for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma.
  4. Improving homing and persistence of CAR-T cells for glioblastoma therapy using single cell RNAseq and gene editing techniques.
  5. Detailed profiling of brain tumour patient tissue and blood samples using single cell RNA sequencing, spatial transcriptomics, immunostaining and multi-parameter flow cytometry.

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