Professor Mark Smyth is a Senior Scientist and Immunology Coordinator at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. He completed his PhD in 1988 and trained at the NCI (1988-1992), before commencing his independent research career in Australia. Over the last 20 years he rekindled world-wide interest in cancer immune surveillance, defined immune-mediated dormancy of cancer, and the role of the host in chemotherapy and targeted therapy responses in mice and humans. More recently, he has provided new means of classifying natural killer cell (NK) subtypes and two new targets for cancer immunotherapy. He is a past winner of the Coley Medal and Brupbacher Foundation Prizes in Cancer Research. He is the highest cited immunologist in Australia and is a Senior Editor and Advisory Board Member for Cancer Research and Science, respectively.
Current QIMR Berghofer appointment
- March 2013 – current: Senior Scientist, NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, Coordinator Department of Immunology
- Head, Immunology in Cancer and Infection Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Other current appointments
- 2013: Honorary Professor, Queensland University of Technology
- 2012: Honorary Professor, The University of Queensland
- 2013 – 2014: NH&MRC Australia Fellow, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane
- 2007 – 2013: Honorary Professor, University of Melbourne
- 2007 – 2013: Honorary Professor, Monash University
- 2000 – 2013: Program Head, Cancer Immunology Program, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
- 2010 – 2013: NHMRC Australia Fellow, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
- 2007 – 2010: NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
- 2004 – 2006: NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
- 2000 – 2003: NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
- 1999 – 2000: NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Austin Research Institute, Melbourne
- 1998 – 2000: Associate Professor, Victoria University Of Technology
- 1998 – 2000: Senior Fellow in the Department of Medicine, Austin and Heidelberg Repatriation Medical Centre
- 1996 – 1998: Senior Associate in the Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne
- 1994 – 1998: Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in Medical Science, Austin Research Institute, Melbourne
- 1993: Senior Associate in the Department of Surgery, Austin and Heidelberg Repatriation Hospitals, University of Melbourne
- 1993 – 1993: R.Douglas Wright Research Fellow of the NHMRC, Austin Research Institute, Melbourne
- 1991 – 1993: C. J. Martin Fellow of the NHMRC, Austin Research Institute, Melbourne
- 1989 – 1991: C. J. Martin Fellow of the NHMRC, Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, NCI, USA
- 1988 – 1989: Visiting Fellow, Fogarty Visiting Program, Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, NCI, USA
- 1988: Research Fellow, Grade I, Research Centre for Cancer and Transplantation, University of Melbourne
Current Area of Research
The Immunology in Cancer and Infection Laboratory focuses on advancing our understanding of the basic principles underlying an immune response to cancer (and metastases) and infection. We aim to further understand these processes at the molecular level, with particular emphasis on the role of the innate immune system, in particular, NK cells, innate lymphoid cells, dendritic cells and neutrophils.
In particular, we are deleting various genes in NK cells in the context of tumour initiation and metastases. We are also tracking and quantitating ILC in tumour development. Therapeutically, we are using various antibodies and cytokines in combination in mice to stimulate strong innate and lasting adaptive immunity to cancer.
We have developed approaches to block two new pathways, including lymphocyte CD96/TIGIT and adenosine metabolism. Our findings are being used to develop more effective biological and cellular therapies for human cancer, in particular, melanoma, breast and prostate cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, and haematological cancers, such as multiple myeloma.
- First characterised the specificity and transcriptional regulation of perforin and lymphocyte effector function.
- First defined a role for NK and NKT cells in tumor immune surveillance.
- Proved that lymphocyte cytotoxicity was important in cancer immune surveillance.
- First defined a physiological role for TRAIL as a tumor suppressor.
- Made key discoveries linking NK cells and adaptive T cell control of tumors and viruses.
- Defined a role for NKG2D in cytokine and host protection from tumor initiation.
- Demonstrated a unique combination of pathways that can potently reject established cancers in mice.
- First defined immune-mediated dormancy of cancer.
- Defined the role of host in chemotherapy responses.
- First defined CD73 and CD96 as new targets for cancer immunotherapy.
- H index 105, 42000+ citations.
- Inducted into the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (2015).
- Inducted into the Australian Academy of Science (2017).
- Demonstrated the anti-tumor effectiveness of targeting CD73 and adenosine A2A receptor (Cancer Cell 2016).
- Demonstrated neoadjuvant immunotherapy is superior to adjuvant immunotherapy in the context of surgery (Cancer Discovery, 2016).
- Demonstrated IFNgamma is required for cytotoxic T cell-dependent cancer genome immunoediting (Nature Communications).
- Defined a new interaction between Ly-49A and H2-M3 in controlling NK cell anti-tumor activity (Nature Immunology 2012).
- Defined CD96 as a novel immune checkpoint (Nature Immunology 2014).
- Demonstrated anti-metastatic activity of anti-CD96 antibodies alone and in combination with immune checkpoint blockade (Cancer Discovery 2016).
- Demonstrated heparanase regulates natural killer cell invasion of tumors (JCI 2017).
- Demonstrated Braf inhibitors in part require host CCR2 activity (JCI 2013).
- 2017 – current: Tizona Therapeutics Scientific Advisory Board, USA
- 2016 – current: Editorial Advisor at Science
- 2012 – current: PCFA Grants committee
- 2012 – current: Scientific Advisory Board of the Cancer Research Institute, USA
- 2010 – current: Senior Editor at Cancer Research
- 2004 – current: Founded the Cancer Research Institute Pre-doctoral Emphasis Program in Tumor Immunology, Melbourne
- 1995 – current: Member of The American Association of Immunologists
- 1992 – current: Member, Australasian Society for Immunology
- Editorial Boards of Cancer Immunology Research (2017-current), Oncoimmunology (2010-current), Immunotherapy (2008-current), Molecular and Cellular Oncology (2013-current) and The Faculty of 1000 (2004-current)
- 2017: Elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science
- 2015: Ashley Dunn Oration, Lorne Cancer Conference
- 2015: Fellow of Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences
- 2015: NH&MRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship
- 2015: Ranked 1st NH&MRC Research Fellowships 2014 round
- 2015: Ranked 1st NH&MRC Development Grants 2014 round
- 2015: Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers – Immunology
- 2015: QIMR Berghofer Ralph Doherty Prize
- 2012: Career Award, European Academy of Tumor Immunology
- 2011: Member of Academy of Cancer Immunology, Cancer Research Institute, USA
- 2011: Elected to European Academy of Tumor Immunology
- 2010: NH&MRC Australia Fellowship
- 2009: Glaxo Smith Kline Award for Excellence
- 2009: ASI Gordon Ada Award
- 2007: Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Foundation Prize
- 2007: Gordon Ada Oration, ASI, Sydney
- 2007 – 2011: NH&MRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship promotion
- 2004 – 2008: NH&MRC Principal Research Fellowship renewal
- 2003: Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research – Finalist
- 2002: Cancer Research Institute, William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumour Immunology
- 1999 – 2003: NH&MRC Principal Research Fellowship
- 1998: AMGEN Medical Research Award
- 1995: Australian Academy of Science Gottschalk Medal
- 1994 – 1998: Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in Medical Science
- 1993: NH&MRC R. Douglas Wright Research Fellowship
- 1993: Australian Life Sciences Research Award
- 1992: Sandoz Young Investigators Award (TSANZ – Canberra)
- 1991: NCI -FCRDC Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Performance
- 1989 – 1992: NH&MRC C. J. Martin Fellowship
- 1988 – 1989: NIH Fogarty Visiting Fellowship
- 1985 – 1988: PhD, Research Centre for Cancer and Transplantation, Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne
- 1984: B. Sc. (Hons.) University of Melbourne (H1) (Pathology)
- 1981 – 1983: B. Sc. University of Melbourne (Biochemistry/Pathology)