Women's Cancer

Research areas in Women's Cancer

Gynaecological Cancer Research Group

About Us

The overall aim of the Gynaecological Cancer Research Group is to understand why gynaecological cancers develop, how and why they spread throughout the body, and how best to treat them. “Gynaecological cancer” encompasses all cancers of the female reproductive system, though our current research focuses on ovarian and endometrial cancer.

We have a number of current projects including the development of an early detection test for ovarian cancer, and the identification of key targets for anti-metastatic therapies in ovarian and endometrial cancer.

We have a particular interest in the Wnt signalling pathway, an important signalling pathway involved in metastasis. We are particularly interested in investigating the regulation of a number of key proteins involved in this pathway, and understanding their role in the context of ovarian and endometrial cancer spread.

The group is led by Dr Caroline Ford, a cancer researcher within the School of Women's and Children's Health and based at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre. After completing her PhD at UNSW on the topic of oncogenic viruses, Dr Ford undertook two international postdoctoral appointments in cancer research. Her first postdoctoral research appointment was at the University of Toronto, Canada and the second appointment was at Lund University, Sweden. She returned to UNSW in late 2009 funded by an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship and established her research group.

Dr Ford is also an experienced university lecturer, convening courses on medical research, cancer pathology and personalised medicine, including Australia's first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Personalised Medicine. She has completed a Graduate Certificate in University Learning & Teaching, and is passionate about science communication and enhancing the health literacy of the wider community. In 2017 she was named as an inaugural ‘Superstar of STEM’ by Science & Technology Australia.

Research Projects

Current and future projects include:

  • 3D model of ovarian cancer metastasis
  • A search for a “Wnt signature” in gynaecological cancers
  • Expression and function of Wnt receptors in endometrial cancer
  • The effect of Wnt inhibitors on ROR1 and ROR2 signalling using a novel ascites tumour model
Staff/Team members 
Other team members 

Amy Coopes
Independent Learning Project (ILP) Student

Opportunities for Staff/Students 

The Gynaecological Cancer Research Group provides opportunities for Honours students and PhD students.
We also take a select number of Medical School students each year for ILP projects.
As a first point-of-contact please email, Dr Caroline Ford.

Molecular Oncology

The Molecular Oncology Group participates in two large international consortia investigating genetic susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer. The group also co-leads an international consortium studying ovarian tumours to identify clinically relevant biomarkers. In addition the group coordinates the centralised sample repository for these consortia for sequencing, genotyping and tumour profiling and performs high throughput experiments using the latest genomics technologies. 

Read more about Prof Ramus and her research: World leading ovarian cancer researcher joins UNSW Medicine

Staff/Team members 
Other team members 

Maria Intermaggio
Research Officer

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