Our People

Matthew H Law

Associate Professor | Senior Research Officer

Statistical Genetics

+61 7 3362 0213



My BSc (Hons) (1997-2000) at Adelaide University and PhD (2003-2007) through Melbourne University (Supervisor Professor Richard G.H. Cotton, Genomic Disorders Research Centre) were in molecular genetics. Following a post-doctoral position at the UHI Millennium Institute, UK, (now the University of the Highlands and Islands) in 2007-2011, I returned to Australia, joining the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

I am a statistical geneticist and bioinformatician in the Statistical Genetics Laboratory, embedded in the wider Genetic Epidemiology department. I have expertise in large data analysis, and am at the forefront of using statistical techniques to identify the genetic underpinnings of skin cancer, particularly melanoma.


2018-current: QIMR Berghofer Senior Research Officer, Statistical Genetics

2018-current: Adjunct Fellow, The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute

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


2011-2018: QIMR Berghofer Research Officer, Statistical Genetics

2007-2011: UHI Millennium Institute, UK, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow




The overarching theme of my research career is determining how genetic variation leads to skin cancers – melanoma and the keratinocyte cancers basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. I am also interested in the genetics of related skin traits such as skin aging. Skin cancers have a huge impact in terms of health care costs and loss of quality of life, and it is critical we better understand why people develop these conditions. I do this through large scale GWAS meta-analyses of national and international cohorts, and by applying/exploring the result of those studies. One such way I apply the results of these GWAS is through polygenic risk scores.

My ongoing involvement in melanoma gene discovery is evidenced by my membership in international melanoma consortiums (e.g. GenoMEL), and publications in Nature Genetics and the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.


I currently have a project available for a Masters or PhD student:


I have published 70 papers since joining QIMR Berghofer. Highlights include:

  • I play a key role in international melanoma genome-wide association studies. I was first author on the then-largest international melanoma meta-analysis of over 30,000 people (Nature Genetics 2015 PMID 26237428, 198 citations [1]). More recently I was last author and co-lead on a much larger follow up that more than tripled that sample size (Nature Genetics 2020 PMID 32341527, 54 citations [1]). Together these projects have enabled us to identify novel genomic variants associated with melanoma risk, and estimate the magnitude of their effect. Through these projects I have identified over 65 regions of the genome that influence melanoma risk, melanoma tumour depth, or skin ageing, more than 45 of which were novel.
  • I have also applied polygenic risk scores derived from these results to explore familial melanoma (First Author Human Molecular Genetics 2020 PMID: 32716505).
  • I have participated in research understanding how these genetic variants modify melanocyte biology (Nature Genetics 2017, Genome Research 2018, Nature Communications 2020, AJHG 2021, Human Molecular Genetics 2021; see full publication record for more details).
  • Through collaboratively published work I have contributed to the discovery of 79 genomic regions associated with risk for keratinocyte skin cancers (Human Molecular Genetics 2019 PMID 31174203), 45 of which were newly identified.

[1] Source: Google Scholar, 14th of January, 2022.


2021-current: Co-convener of the Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Genetics Summit. This summit, which will be held from the 21st to 22nd of March 2022 is titled “Roadmap to PRS in Melanoma”

2020-current: Co-convener of the 15th GeneMappers Conference, 2021

2020-current: QIMR Berghofer Higher Degree Research Committee

2017-2018: Organising committee for the 13th GeneMappers Conference, 2018

2017-current: GEM melanoma consortium

2017-current: Cross-cancer GWAS meta-analysis Working Group

2017-current: Fatty Acids Mendelian Randomisation Working Group

2013-2020: Founding member of the QIMR Berghofer Post-Doctoral committee; Committee Treasurer and sponsorship co-ordinator

2012-current: Member of the American Society of Human Genetics

2011-current: GenoMEL melanoma consortium


2007: PhD Molecular Genetics, University of Melbourne, Australia

2000: BSc(Hons) Genetics, University of Adelaide, Australia