Our People

Jill Larsen

Dr | Senior Research Officer


07 3362 0323



Jill has been involved in lung cancer research since 2000, and is highly experienced in molecular biology, cell biology, genomics and bioinformatics. She trained with two lung cancer experts: a PhD with Professor Kwun Fong at the University of Queensland Thoracic Research Centre, The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Australia (2004-2007) and a postdoctorate with Professor John D. Minna at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW), Dallas, USA (2008-2012). Jill returned to Australia early 2013 to join the Oncogenomics Group headed by Professor Nicholas Hayward, with an Honorary Fellow appointment with the School of Medicine at the University of Queensland. She recently completed a year-long Science Policy Fellowship within the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Her research in lung cancer initially investigated single nucleotide polymorphisms for their role in lung cancer susceptibility, which then moved to whole-genome mRNA expression profiling to identify expression profiles to predict tumour recurrence in lung cancer patients for her PhD. During her postdoctoral research Jill helped develop a unique in vitro cell culture-based model of human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) to study lung cancer pathogenesis. This research has led to several publications and research collaborations, and forms the basis of her ongoing research at QIMR Berghofer.



  • Honorary Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Queensland



  • Sessional Academic, Australian Catholic University (2016-2018)
  • Sessional Academic, Queensland University of Technology (2016)
  • Research Officer, Oncogenomics Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia (2013-2015)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA (2008-2012)
  • PhD Student, University of Queensland/The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Australia (2004-2007)
  • Research Assistant, Thoracic Research Centre, The Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Australia (2000-2003)









At QIMR Berghofer, her research investigates two critical stages of lung cancer pathogenesis: early-stage transformation of lung epithelial cells to malignancy and the metastatic progression of lung tumour cells. The ultimate goal of her research is to identify molecular targets to inhibit the development and progression of lung cancer.



  • Comprehensive study showing the EMT transcription factor ZEB1 drives tumorigenesis in lung cancer (Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2016; 126(9):3219-35)
  • Systematic Identification of Molecular Subtype-Selective Vulnerabilities in Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (Cell. 2013; 155(3):552-566)
  • Modelling lung by progressing human lung epithelial cells to malignancy through specific oncogenic manipulations (Molecular Cancer Research. 2013; 11(6):638-650)
  • Identification of ASCL1 as a lineage oncogene providing therapeutic targets for high-grade neuroendocrine lung cancers (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 2014; 111(41):14788-93)
  • Demonstration that NeuroD1 regulates survival and migration of neuroendocrine lung carcinomas via signaling molecules TrkB and NCAM (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 2013; 110(16):6524-6529)
  • Demonstration that aldehyde dehydrogenase activity selects for lung adenocarcinoma stem cells dependent on Notch signaling (Cancer Research. 2010; 70(23):9937-9948)
  • Identification of gene expression signatures that predict recurrence in lung adenocarcinoma and lung squamous cell carcinoma (Clinical Cancer Research. 2007; 13(10):2946-54 and Carcinogenesis. 2007; 28(3):760-6)



  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Member (2008-2018)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2009-2011)
  • Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR), Member (2006-2017)
  • Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) Queensland Branch, State Convenor (2015-2016)
  • Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) Queensland Branch, Health & Medical Research Awards Chair (2014)
  • International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), Member (2006-2015)
  • National Postdoctoral Association (USA), Member (2008-2012)
  • QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Postdoctoral Committee, Member (2014-present)
  • QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Staff Association Executive, Co-Treasurer (2014-2016)
  • Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) (2006-2008)
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center Convergence Implementation Advisory Group, Postdoctoral representative (2009-2010)
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center Postdoctoral Association (USA) (2008-2012)



  • International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) Young Investigator Award (2015-2016)
  • NHMRC CJ Martin Overseas Early Career Fellowship (494511, 2009-2010, 2013-2015)
  • Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSAZ)/Allen and Hanburys Respiratory Research Fellowship (2008, 2011)
  • IASLC Lung Cancer Fellowship (2006-2008)
  • Edwin Tooth PhD Scholarship (2003-2005)

  • BristolMeyer Squib Poster Award – 27th Lorne Cancer Conference (2015)
  • Travel Grant – The CASS Foundation (2014)
  • Young Investigator Award – IASLC 15th World Lung Cancer Conference (2013)
  • Travel Award – 9th CSHL Mechanisms & Models of Cancer (2012)
  • Distinguished Service Award – Postdoctoral Association of UTSW (2012)
  • Scholar-in-Training Award – AACR-Aflac, Inc., 102nd AACR Annual Meeting (2011)
  • Dean’s Commendation List for Outstanding Research Higher Degree Theses – University of Queensland (UQ) (2008)
  • Travel Award – TSANZ, 12th Congress of the Asia Pacific Society of Respirology (2007)
  • National Young Student Researcher of the Year – Cure Cancer Australia (2007)
  • Ann Woolcock Young Investigator Award – TSANZ Annual Scientific Meeting (2007)
  • Travel Award – Queensland Cancer Fund (2005)
  • Travel award – UQ Graduate School International Travel (2005)
  • Travel award – National Lung Cancer Partnership (2003, 2005, 2007)

  • Invited reviewer – Victorian Cancer Agency Mid-Career Research Fellowship Biomedical Evaluation Panel (2018-2020)
  • Invited reviewer – NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship Panel (2015-2016)
  • Invited external reviewer – NHMRC Project Grants (2012-2016), The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation (2013-2016)
  • Peer reviewer for 13 scientific journals
  • Research Higher Degree Student Supervision and Assessment – Primary Supervisor (1 Honours), Co-Supervisor (1 PhD), Primary Research Mentor (11 PhD), Chair of Examiners (1 PhD), Independent Examiner (5 PhD, 1 Honours)



  • Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, Australian Catholic University (2018)
  • Postdoctoral Certificate Program in Cancer, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2011)
  • PhD, Medicine, University of Queensland (2007) – Project: Genomic profiling of tumour recurrence in non-small cell lung carcinoma
  • BSc (Hons), James Cook University (1999) – Project: Characterisation of the Pax-3/Pax-7 homologue Pax-Dam and a non-Long Terminal Repeat Retrotransposon from the coral Acropora millepore
  • BSc, James Cook University (1998)