Our People

Jacinta Simmons

Dr | Research Officer

Cancer Drug Mechanisms

+61 7 3845 3741

Jacinta.Simmons@qimrberghofer.edu.au

WORK HISTORY

After completing her Bachelor of Biotechnology (1st class Honours) at the University of Tasmania in 2008, Dr Simmons moved north to Brisbane. In 2009, she commenced her PhD in the Signal Transduction Laboratory at QIMR Berghofer as a student of the University of Queensland. Her research during this time focused on the centrosomal protein CEP55 and how it contributed to breast cancer initiation and progression.

Following completion of her PhD in 2013, Dr Simmons started work as a Postdoc in the newly established Cancer Drug Mechanisms Laboratory at QIMR Berghofer. Her research focuses on melanoma, a form of skin cancer which is nearly impossible to treat once it spreads beyond the skin. Dr Simmons is interested in the proteins directly involved in the metastatic process and in particular the key transcription factors MITF and BRN2. Her research is moving towards using three-dimensional models to understand how/why metastatic melanoma is so resistant to therapy and finding ways to overcome therapy resistance.

 

CURRENT AREA OF RESEARCH

2013-current: Research Officer

 

OTHER CURRENT APPOINTMENTS

2019-current: Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology

2020-current: Honorary Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland.

 

PREVIOUS APPOINTMENTS

2018-2019: Graduate Development Officer, QIMR Berghofer

2009-2013: PhD Student, Signal Transduction Lab, QIMR Berghofer

2010-2012: Laboratory Assistant, QPharm Pty Ltd

 

RESEARCHER IDENTIFIERS

ORCID number: 0000-0002-9311-1046

Researcher ID: S-2373-2018

 

CURRENT AREA OF RESEARCH

  • Melanoma
  • Metastasis
  • Therapy Resistance
  • Cell Biology

 

RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

  • identified BRN2 as a mediator of anoikis resistance in melanoma (Oncogenesis, 2020).
  • discovered a combined role for transcription factors MITF and BRN2 in melanoma metastasis (Scientific Reports, 2017).
  • identified an alternatively spliced variant of MITF (J. Investigative Dermatology, 2014).

 

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • Australasian Metastasis Research Society (OzMRS), Committee member (2019 – present)
  • QIMR Berghofer Postdoctoral Committee, Chair (2017-present)
  • QIMR Berghofer Postdoctoral Committee, member (2016-2017)
  • Society for Melanoma Research (2014 – present)
  • Metastasis Research Society (2018 – present)

 

AWARDS RECOGNITION

2018:

  • Metastasis Research Society Young Investigator Travel Award
  • Selected speaker: Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Research Centre Annual Scientific Meeting. Brisbane, Australia
  • Selected speaker: 17th Biannual Congress of the Metastasis Research Society – Young Investigation Satellite Meeting. Princeton, USA

2014:

  • Cancer Council QLD Travel Grant-In-Aid

2011:

  • Cancer Council QLD Travel Grant-In-Aid
  • QIMR Post-Graduate Student Travel Award, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

2009

  • Australian Postgraduate Award, PhD Scholarship, Australian Government

 

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

2013: PhD – Breast Cancer Cell Biology, The University of Queensland

2008: Bachelor of BioTechnology (1st Class honours) – Molecular biology and microbiology, The University of Tasmania

 

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