Our People

Jacinta Simmons

Research Officer

Molecular Oncology


Research Publications

  • Kong D, Fahrenhorst-Jones T, Kuo A, Simmons JL, Tan L, Burns JM, Pierens GK, Li R, West NP, Boyle GM, Smith MT, Savage GP and Williams CM (2024), seco-1-Azacubane-2-carboxylic Acid: Derivative Scope and Comparative Biological Evaluation. Journal of Organic Chemistry. 89(1):798-803.
  • Rashidieh B, Bain AL, Tria SM, Sharma S, Stewart CA, Simmons JL, Apaja PM, Duijf PHG, Finnie J and Khanna KK (2023), Alpha-B-Crystallin overexpression is sufficient to promote tumorigenesis and metastasis in mice. Experimental Hematology & Oncology. 12(1):4. (IF 7.13, Q1)
  • Hamilton KD, Czajkowski D, Kong NJ, Tran TD, Gustafson KR, Pauly G, Boyle GM, Simmons JL, Steadman R, Moseley R, Brooks PR, Ogbourne SM and Russell FD (2022), Anti-Fibrotic Potential of Tomentosenol A, a Constituent of Cerumen from the Australian Native Stingless Bee, Tetragonula carbonaria. Antioxidants (Basel). 10.3390/antiox11081604. (IF 7.675, Q1)
  • Fane ME, Chhabra Y, Spoerri L, Simmons JL, Ludwig R, Bonvin E, Goding CR, Strum RA, Boyle GM, Haass NK, Piper M and Smith AG (2021), Reciprocal regulation of BRN2 and NOTCH1/2 signaling synergistically drives melanoma cell migration and invasion. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 10.1016/j.jid.2020.12.039. (IF: 8.551; ranked 4/69 dermatology journals, Q1)
  • Cullen JK, Boyle GM, Yap PY, Elmlinger S, Simmons JL, Broit N, Johns J, Ferguson B, Maslovskaya LA, Savchenko AI, Mirzayans PM, Porzelle A, Bernhardt PV, Gordon VA, Reddell PW, Pagani A, Appendino G, Parsons PG and Williams CM (2021), Activation of PKC supports the anticancer activity of tigilanol tiglate and related epoxytiglianes. Sci Rep. 10.1038/s41598-020-80397-9. (IF: 4.380; ranked 18/73 multidisciplinary science journals, Q1)
  • Simmons JL, Neuendorf HM and Boyle GM (2020), BRN2 and MITF together impact AXL expression in melanoma. Experimental Dermatology. 10.1111/exd.14225. (IF: 3.960; ranked 19/69 dermatology journals, Q2)
  • Pierce CJ*, Simmons JL*, Broit N, Karunarathne D, Ng MF and Boyle GM (2020), BRN2 expression increases anoikis resistance in melanoma. Oncogenesis. 9, 64. (IF: 7.485; ranked 39/243 oncology journals, Q1). *Joint first authors
  • Sinha D, Kalimutho M, Bowles J, Chan A-L, Merriner DJ, Bain AL., Simmons JL, Freire R, Lopez JA, Hobbs RM, O’Bryan MK and Khanna KK (2018). Cep55 overexpression causes male-specific sterility in mice by suppressing Foxo1 nuclear retention through sustained activation of PI3K/Akt signalling. The FASEB Journal. 32, 4984-4999. (IF:5.192; ranked 14/93 biology journals, Q1)
  • Simmons JL, Pierce CJ, Al-Ejeh F and Boyle GM (2017). MITF and BRN2 contribute to metastatic growth after dissemination of melanoma. Scientific Reports. 7, 10909. (IF: 4.380; ranked 18/73 multidisciplinary science journals, Q1)
  • Fane M, Chhabra Y, Hollingsworth D, Simmons JL, Spoerri L, Oh TG, Chin T, Harris L, Harvey T, Muscat GEO, Sturm RA, Haass N, Boyle GM, Piper M, Smith AG (2017). NF1B mediates BRN2 driven melanoma cell migration and invasion via regulation of EZH2 and MITF. EBioMedicine. 16, 63-75. (IF: 8.143; ranked 17/140 medicine, research and experimental journals, Q1)
  • Warren TA, Broit N, Simmons JL, Pierce CJ, Chawla S, Lambie DLJ, Quagliotto G, Brown IS, Parsons PG, Panizza BJ, and Boyle GM (2016). Expression profiling of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma with perineural invasion implicates the p53 pathway in the process. Scientific Reports. 6, 34081. (IF: 4.380; ranked 18/73 multidisciplinary science journals, Q1) 
  • Simmons JL, Pierce CJ, and Boyle GM (2014). Evidence for an Alternatively Spliced MITF Exon 2 Variant. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 134, 1164-1168. (IF: 8.551; ranked 4/69 dermatology journals, Q1)
  • van der Horst A, Simmons J, and Khanna KK (2009). Cep55 stabilization is required for normal execution of cytokinesis. Cell Cycle. 8, 3742-3749. (IF: 4.534; ranked 97/195 cell biology journals, Q2)


  • Neuendorf HM, Simmons JL and Boyle GM (2023), Therapeutic Targeting of Anoikis Resistance in Cutaneous Melanoma Metastasis. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology. 11:1183328. (IF: 6.081).
  • Ng MF, Simmons JL, and Boyle GM (2022). Heterogeneity in Melanoma. Cancers (Basel). 14, 3030.
  • Cullen JK*, Simmons JL*, Parsons PG and Boyle GM (2020). Topical treatments for skin cancer. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. 153, 54-64. Invited Review. (IF: 15.470; ranked 4/276 pharmacology and pharmacy journals, Q1). *Joint first authors

Book Chapters

Career History

  • Dr Jacinta Simmons received her PhD on breast cancer oncogenes from the University of Queensland in 2013. Following this, Jacinta studied melanoma metastasis and treatment response in Professor Glen Boyle’s laboratory at QIMR Berghofer from 2013 – 2022. During this time she was involved in a project identifying novel drivers of resistance to a type of cell death known as anoikis. Following a brief stint in Associate Professor Pascal Duijf’s team at Queensland University of Technology, Jacinta joined the Molecular Oncology group in 2023.

Current Appointments

  • 2023 – Present Research Officer, Molecular Oncology Lab, QIMRB
  • 2022 – Present Adjunct Lecturer, School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology
  • 2020 – Present Honorary Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland

Previous Appointments

  • 2023 Research Officer, Oncogenomics Lab, QIMRB
  • 2022 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology
  • 2022 School Research Ethics Advisor, School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology
  • 2013 – 2022 Research Officer, Cancer Drug Mechanisms Lab, QIMRB
  • 2019 – 2022 Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology
  • 2018 – 2019 Graduate Development Officer, QIMRB

ORCID number:


Researcher ID:

Current Area of Research

Dr Simmons’ research is focused on understanding how tumour cells become resistant to treatments and finding innovative ways to overcome this resistance. She is further interested in utilising and developing 3D cell culture methods to study metastasis and therapy resistance. Her research currently focuses on ovarian cancer and melanoma.

Research Highlights

  • First to describe a role for BRN2 in anoikis resistance – a type of cell death that is not well described in melanocytes/melanoma (Pierce CJ, Simmons JL et al., Oncogenesis, 2020)
  • Identified populations of cells that are important for different stages of melanoma metastasis (Simmons et al., Scientific Reports, 2017)

Professional Memberships

  • 2014-Present Member, Society for Melanoma Research
  • 2018 – Present Member, Australasian Metastasis Research Society (OzMRS).
  • 2019-2023 Committee member, Australasian Metastasis Research Society (OzMRS).
  • 2021-2022 Committee member, QIMR Berghofer Animal Scientific sub-committee.
  • 2017-2021 Chair, Postdoctoral Association of QIMR Berghofer (PAQ).
  • 2016-2018 Co-Treasurer, QIMR Berghofer Staff Association Inc.
  • 2016-2017 Committee member, Postdoctoral Association of QIMR Berghofer (PAQ).
  • 2010 Sub-committee member, ASMR Medical Research Week Student Conference organising committee.

Educational Background

  • PhD – Breast Cancer Cell Biology, The University of Queensland (2013)
  • Bachelor of Biotechnology (1st Class honours) – Molecular biology and microbiology, The University of Tasmania (2008)