A/Prof Alex Swarbrick

Strategic Program Lead - Targeting the dynamic cellular ecosystem in cancer
Laboratory Head - Swarbrick Lab

A/Prof Alex Swarbrick

Dr Swarbrick leads a multidisciplinary cancer research laboratory of 15 staff and students. Dr Swarbrick co-Leads the Garvan Institute's Strategic Program in Dynamic Cancer Ecosystems with Paul Timpson. Alex graduated with a Bsc (Hons I) in Molecular and Cellular Biology from UNSW in 1995. After obt

Research Level

Senior Principal Research Fellow

Biography

Dr Swarbrick leads a multidisciplinary cancer research laboratory of 15 staff and students.

Dr Swarbrick co-Leads the Garvan Institute's Strategic Program in Dynamic Cancer Ecosystems with Paul Timpson.

Alex graduated with a Bsc (Hons I) in Molecular and Cellular Biology from UNSW in 1995. After obtaining his PhD in 2003 he undertook postdoctoral training with Nobel laureate J. Michael Bishop at the University of California, San Francisco, supported by a CJ Martin Travelling Fellowship from the NHMRC.

In 2008 Alex established the Tumour Progression Laboratory in the Garvan Institute and in 2012 was appointed co-Head of the Breast Translational Oncology Program in the newly commissioned Kinghorn Cancer Centre. Alex is an Associate Professor at UNSW and an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow. He is the Petre Foundation Chair of Breast Cancer Research.

Alex is the immediate-past convenor of the Lorne Cancer Conference, Australia's pre-eminent multi-disciplinary cancer research conference & the Australian Translational Breast & Prostate Cancer Symposium. He chairs the Cancer Research Committee of the Cancer Council NSW and is deputy chair of UNSW's Cancer Theme.

Dr Swarbrick leads a multidisciplinary cancer research laboratory of 15 staff and students.

Dr Swarbrick co-Leads the Garvan Institute's Strategic Program in Dynamic Cancer Ecosystems with Paul Timpson.

Alex graduated with a Bsc (Hons I) in Molecular and Cellular Biology from UNSW in 1995. After obtaining his PhD in 2003 he undertook postdoctoral training with Nobel laureate J. Michael Bishop at the University of California, San Francisco, supported by a CJ Martin Travelling Fellowship from the NHMRC.

In 2008 Alex established the Tumour Progression Laboratory in the Garvan Institute and in 2012 was appointed co-Head of the Breast Translational Oncology Program in the newly commissioned Kinghorn Cancer Centre. Alex is an Associate Professor at UNSW and an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow. He is the Petre Foundation Chair of Breast Cancer Research.

Alex is the immediate-past convenor of the Lorne Cancer Conference, Australia's pre-eminent multi-disciplinary cancer research conference & the Australian Translational Breast & Prostate Cancer Symposium. He chairs the Cancer Research Committee of the Cancer Council NSW and is deputy chair of UNSW's Cancer Theme.

Awards and Honours

2020- Petre Chair of Breast Cancer Research
2019- National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship
2013 - National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship II
2012 - National Breast Cancer Foundation Fellowship
2011 - NSW Premier’s Award for Outstanding Research Fellow 2011
2009 - CINSW Early Career Fellowship
2007 - Sydney University Medal for Excellence in Medical Research

Education

2003 - PhD, University of New South Wales, Sydney - Australia
1995 - Molecular Biology, 1st Class Honours, University of New South Wales, Sydney - Australia

Patents

Australian Provisional Patent Application

Methods of treating breast cancer and reagents therefore

 

Australian Provisional Patent Application

Methods of treating neuroblastoma and reagents therefore

 

Australian Provisional Patent Application 2018903546 

 Phenotypic and molecular characterisation of single cells

 

 

Fundings

Current peer-reviewed funding:

  1. Cancer Council NSW Project Grant. Swarbrick, S. O’Toole. 2022-2024 “Pan-cancer studies of stromal cells for improved immunotherapy” $449,500
  2. National Breast Cancer Foundation of Australia, Investigator Initiated Research Scheme. Swarbrick. 2022-2024 “Targeting B cells for breast cancer immunotherapy” $597,474
  3. National Breast Cancer Foundation of Australia, Investigator Initiated Research Scheme. D.Roden, Swarbrick. 2022-2024 “Unravelling cellular and spatial heterogeneity in human breast cancers” $499,982
  4. US Department of Defence CDMRP Breast Cancer Research program Breakthrough Award Level 2 Swarbrick, S. Tangye, J. Lundeberg, M. Hui, C. Perou 2021-2024 “Systems immunology for breast cancer” $1,265,125
  5. Cancer Council NSW Project Grant. Swarbrick, E. Lim, S. O’Toole. 2020-2022 “New immunotherapies for metastatic breast cancer” $448,000
  6. Melanoma Research Alliance USA Team Science Award. R.Scolyer, J. Wilmott, A. Spillane, F. Newell, A. Swarbrick, 2021-2023 “Targeted and personalized therapies for high risk in-transit melanoma” $1,535,860
  7. National Breast Cancer Foundation of Australia, Investigator Initiated Research Scheme. M. Hui, N.Deng, Swarbrick. 2020-2022 “Understanding breast cancer patients’ response to neoadjuvant therapy at single-cell resolution” $349,930
  8. Movember Translational team award. L. Emmet et al. CIG Swarbrick “PSMA as therapeutic agent and prognostic indicator in men treated with enzalutamide - defining synergistic non-toxic pre-chemotherapy treatment combinations in metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer. ENZA-p: An imaging, biomarker and therapy trial. 2019-2022”. $5,000,000. I lead the cellular genomics correlative science component of this project.
  9. NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship, Swarbrick. 2019-2023. “Discovering new therapeutic strategies for breast cancer at single cell resolution”. $649,175

Selected Publications

(Of a total of 64)

Wu, S.Z, Al-Eryani, G., Roden, D, Junankar, S., Harvey, K., Andersson, A., Thennavan, A., Wang, C., Torpy, J., Bartonicek, N., Wang, T., Larsson, L., Kaczorowski, D., Weisenfeld, N.I., Uytingco, C.R., Chew, J.G., Bent, Z.W., Chan, C-L., Gnanasambandapillai, V., Dutertre, C-A., Gluch, L., Hui, M.N., Beith, J., Parker, A., Robbins, E., Segara, D., Cooper, C., Mak, C., Chan, B., Warrier, S., Ginhouxt, F., Millar, E., Powell, J.E., Williams, S.R., Liu, X.S., O’Toole, S., Lim, E., Lundeberg, J., Perou, C. M., Swarbrick, A (2021) A single-cell and spatially resolved atlas of human breast cancers. Nature Genetics.

Andersson, A., Larsson, L., Stenbeck, L., Salmén, F., Ehinger, A., Wu, S., Al-Eryani, G., Roden, D., Swarbrick, A., Borg, A., Frisen., Engblom, C., Lundeberg, J. (2021). Spatial Deconvolution of HER2-positive Breast Tumors Reveals Novel Intercellular Relationships. Nature Communications Accepted for publication.

Hickey, T.E., Selth, L.A., Chia, K.M., Laven-Law, G., Milioli, H.H., Roden, D., Jindal, S., Hui, M., Finlay-Schultz, J., Ebrahimie, E., et al. Swarbrick, A., Lim, E., Carroll, J., Tilley, W. (2021). "The androgen receptor is a tumor suppressor in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer" Nature Medicine 27, 310-320.

Wu, S. Z. and Swarbrick (2021). "Single-cell advances in stromal-leukocyte interactions in cancer." Immunol Rev 302(1): 286-298. 1 cite.

Sunny Z. Wu, D. L. R., Ghamdan Al-Eryani, Nenad Bartonicek, Kate Harvey, Aurélie S. Cazet, Chia-Ling Chan Simon Junankar, Mun N. Hui, Laurence Gluch, Jane Beith, Andrew Parker, Elizabeth Robbins, Davendra Segara, Cindy Mak, Caroline Cooper, Sanjay Warrier, Joseph Powell, Sandra O’Toole, Elgene Lim and Alexander Swarbrick (2021). "Cryopreservation of human cancers conserves tumour heterogeneity for single-cell multi-omics analysis." Genome Medicine 13, 81.

Ginhoux, F. et al (2021) "A Universal annotation of human monocytes and macrophages in human health and disease" Cell Immunity In Press.

Andersson,A et al, & J. Lundeberg (2021) " Spatial Deconvolution of HER2-positive Breast Tumors Reveals Novel Intercellular RelationshipsNature Communications In Press.

Holliday, H., D. Roden, S. Junankar, S. Z. Wu, e. al, J. Visvader, M. Molloy and A. Swarbrick (2021) "Inhibitor of Differentiation 4 (ID4) represses myoepithelial differentiation of mammary stem cells through its interaction with HEB." iScience. 24, 102072.

Wu, S. Z., D. Roden, al., E. Lim, S. X. Liu and A. Swarbrick (2020) "Stromal cell diversity associated with immune evasion in human triple-negative breast cancer" EMBO Journal 39, e104063. Featured in a news and views article by Kalluri et al "A map of human breast cancer: new players in stromal‐immune crosstalk" EMBO J 2020.

Baker, L.A., H. Holliday, D. Roden, C. Krisp, S.Z. Wu, S. Junankar, . . . A. Swarbrick, Proteogenomic analysis of Inhibitor of Differentiation 4 (ID4) in basal-like breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res, 2020. 22(1): p. 63.

Owen, K.L., L.J. Gearing, D.J. Zanker, N.K. Brockwell, W.H. Khoo, D.L. Roden, . . . B.S. Parker, Prostate cancer cell-intrinsic interferon signaling regulates dormancy and metastatic outgrowth in bone. EMBO Rep, 2020. 21(6): p. e50162.

Piggin, C. L., D. L. Roden, A. M. K. Law, M. P. Molloy, C. Krisp, A. Swarbrick, M. J. Naylor, M. Kalyuga, W. Kaplan, S. R. Oakes, D. Gallego-Ortega, S. J. Clark, J. S. Carroll, N. Bartonicek and C. J. Ormandy (2020). "ELF5 modulates the estrogen receptor cistrome in breast cancer." PLoS Genet 16(1): e1008531.

Singh, M., G. Al-Eryani, S. Carswell, J. M. Ferguson, J. Blackburn, K. Barton, D. Roden, F. Luciani, T. Giang Phan, S. Junankar, K. Jackson, C. C. Goodnow, M. A. Smith and A. Swarbrick (2019). "High-throughput targeted long-read single cell sequencing reveals the clonal and transcriptional landscape of lymphocytes." Nat Commun10(1): 3120.

Cazet, A. S., M. N. Hui, B. L. Elsworth, S. Z. Wu, D. Roden, C. L. Chan, J. N. Skhinas, R. Collot, J. Yang, K. Harvey, M. Z. Johan, C. Cooper, R. Nair, D. Herrmann, A. McFarland, N. Deng, M. Ruiz-Borrego, F. Rojo, J. M. Trigo, S. Bezares, R. Caballero, E. Lim, P. Timpson, S. O'Toole, D. N. Watkins, T. R. Cox, M. S. Samuel, M. Martin and A. Swarbrick (2018). "Targeting stromal remodeling and cancer stem cell plasticity overcomes chemoresistance in triple negative breast cancer." Nature Communications 9(1): 2897.

Lin, H. M., I. Nikolic, J. Yang, L. Castillo, N. Deng, C. L. Chan, N. K. Yeung, E. Dodson, B. Elsworth, C. Spielman, B. Y. Lee, Z. Boyer, K. J. Simpson, R. J. Daly, L. G. Horvath and A. Swarbrick (2018). "MicroRNAs as potential therapeutics to enhance chemosensitivity in advanced prostate cancer." Sci Rep 8(1): 7820.

Lin, H. M., K. L. Mahon, C. Spielman, H. Gurney, G. Mallesara, M. R. Stockler, P. Bastick, K. Briscoe, G. Marx, A. Swarbrick and L. G. Horvath (2017). "Phase 2 study of circulating microRNA biomarkers in castration-resistant prostate cancer." Br J Cancer 116(8): 1002-1011.

Nikolic, I., B. Elsworth, E. Dodson, S. Z. Wu, C. M. Gould, P. Mestdagh, G. M. Marshall, L. G. Horvath, K. J. Simpson and A. Swarbrick (2017). "Discovering cancer vulnerabilities using high-throughput micro-RNA screening." Nucleic Acids Research 45(22): 12657-12670.

Beckers, R. K., C. Selinger, R. Vilain, J. Madore, J. S. Wilmott, K. Harvey, A. Holliday, C. L. Cooper, E. Robbins, D. Gillet, C. W. Kennedy, L. Gluch, H. Carmalt, C. Mak, S. Warrier, H. E. Gee, C. Chan, A. McLean, E. Walker, C. M. McNeil, J. M. Beith, A. Swarbrick, R. A. Scolyer and S. A. O'Toole (2016). "PDl1 expression in triple-negative breast cancer is associated with tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes and improved outcome." Pathology 48 Suppl 1: S146-S147.

Junankar, S., B. L., D. L. Roden, R. Nair, B. Elsworth, D. Gallego-Ortega, P. Lacaze, A. Cazet, I. Nikolic, W. Siang-Teo, J. Yang, A. McFarland, K. Harvey, M. J. Naylor, S. R. Lakhani, P. T. Simpson, A. Raghavendra, J. Saunus, J. Madore, W. Kaplan, C. Ormandy, E. K. A. Millar, S. O'Toole, K. Yun and A. Swarbrick (2015). "ID4 controls mammary stem cells and marks breast cancers with a stem cell-like phenotype " Nature Communications6: 6548.

Junankar, S., G. Shay, J. Jurczyluk, N. Ali, J. Down, N. Pocock, A. Parker, A. Nguyen, S. Sun, B. Kashemirov, C. E. McKenna, P. I. Croucher, A. Swarbrick, K. Weilbaecher, T. G. Phan and M. J. Rogers (2015). "Real-time intravital imaging establishes tumor-associated macrophages as the extraskeletal target of bisphosphonate action in cancer." Cancer Discovery 5(1): 35-42.

Phua, Y. W., A. Nguyen, D. Roden, B. Elsworth, N. Deng, I. Nikolic, J. Yang, A. McFarland, R. Russell, W. Kaplan, M. Cowley, R. Nair, E. Zotenko, S. O'Toole, S. X. Tan, D. E. James, S. J. Clark, H. Kouros-Mehr and A. Swarbrick (2015). "MicroRNA profiling of the pubertal mouse mammary gland identifies miR-184 as a candidate breast tumour suppressor gene." Breast Cancer Res 17(1): 83.

O'Toole SA, Machalek DA, Shearer RF, Millar EK, Nair R, Schofield P, McLeod D, Coooper CL, McNeil CM, McFarland A, Nguyen A, Ormandy CJ, Qiu MR, Rabinovich B, Martelotto LG, Vu D, Hanningan GE, Musgrove EA, Christ D, Sutherland RL, Watkins DN, Swarbrick A. Hedgehog overexpression is associated with stromal interactions and predicts for poor outcome in breast cancer. Cancer Research, 71:4002-4014 (2011).

Swarbrick A, Woods SL, Shaw A, Balakrishnan A, Phua Y, Nguyen A, Chanthery Y, Lim L, Ashton LJ, Judson RL, Huskey N, Blelloch R, Haber M, Norris MD, Lengyel P, Hackett CS, Preiss T, Chetcuti A, Sullivan CS, Marcusson EG, Weiss W, L'Etoile N, Goga A. miR-380-5p represses p53 to control cellular survival and is associated with poor outcome in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma. Nat Medicine, 16:1134-1140, doi:10.1038/nm.2227 (2010).