A/Prof Marina Pajic

A/Prof Marina Pajic

Marina completed her PhD in the laboratory of Prof Michelle Haber at the Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI), University of New South Wales, where she investigated chemoresistance mechanisms in childhood cancers, supported by a University Postgraduate Award and a CCI Postgraduate Scholarship. In 2006,

Biography

Marina completed her PhD in the laboratory of Prof Michelle Haber at the Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI), University of New South Wales, where she investigated chemoresistance mechanisms in childhood cancers, supported by a University Postgraduate Award and a CCI Postgraduate Scholarship. In 2006, Marina moved to work with Prof Piet Borst at the Netherlands Cancer Institute where she developed physiologically-relevant mouse models to study chemotherapy resistance and discovered new mechanisms which guide survival of therapy-resistant cancer-initiating cells during a process termed “transient dormancy”.

Following her return to Australia in 2010 and collaborative efforts within the International Cancer Genome Consortium, Marina has established unique personalised medicine projects for pancreatic cancer, supported by three fellowships from Cancer Institute NSW. Since 2013 Marina leads the Personalised Cancer Therapeutics Lab at the Garvan Institute. Understanding the role of –omic alterations in cancer progression and treatment failure with view to develop novel effective therapeutic approaches are the focus of her research.

She takes an active role in training emerging scientists (Honours and PhD projects). Marina engages and communicates regularly with the public through the Institute’s open events. She is an EACR ambassador and co-director of the Australasian Pancreatic Club.

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Marina completed her PhD in the laboratory of Prof Michelle Haber at the Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI), University of New South Wales, where she investigated chemoresistance mechanisms in childhood cancers, supported by a University Postgraduate Award and a CCI Postgraduate Scholarship. In 2006, Marina moved to work with Prof Piet Borst at the Netherlands Cancer Institute where she developed physiologically-relevant mouse models to study chemotherapy resistance and discovered new mechanisms which guide survival of therapy-resistant cancer-initiating cells during a process termed “transient dormancy”.

Following her return to Australia in 2010 and collaborative efforts within the International Cancer Genome Consortium, Marina has established unique personalised medicine projects for pancreatic cancer, supported by three fellowships from Cancer Institute NSW. Since 2013 Marina leads the Personalised Cancer Therapeutics Lab at the Garvan Institute. Understanding the role of –omic alterations in cancer progression and treatment failure with view to develop novel effective therapeutic approaches are the focus of her research.

She takes an active role in training emerging scientists (Honours and PhD projects). Marina engages and communicates regularly with the public through the Institute’s open events. She is an EACR ambassador and co-director of the Australasian Pancreatic Club.

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Awards and Honours

2020- Australian Academy of Science Ruth Stephens Gani Medal
2019-2023 NHMRC RD Wright Biomedical Career Development Fellowship Level 2
2018- Lorne Genome Young Investigator Award
2017- NSW Premier's Award for Outstanding Cancer Research Fellow
2017-2019 Cancer Institute New South Wales (CINSW) Career Development Fellowship
2014-2016 CINSW Career Development Fellowship
2014-Present– Australasian Pancreatic Club (APC) Co-director; Co-organiser of annual scientific conferences
2013 – Travel Grants (CASS Foundation, Sydney Catalyst)
2012-2013 – Conference Awards (EACR Cancer Genomics Conference, Cambridge, UK; Australian Division of International Academy of Pathology - 38th annual scientific meeting, Australia; EACR 22nd Biennial Congress, Barcelona, Spain)
2012-Present – European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) ambassador
2011-Present– Phillip Hemstritch fellowship in pancreatic cancer
2011-2013– CINSW Early Career Development Fellowship
2003– University Postgraduate Award (University of Sydney) and Children’s Cancer Institute of Australia Postgraduate Scholarship (University of New South Wales)
2002– Postgraduate Scholarship in Cellular Cancer Pharmacology (University of Sydney)
2001– University postgraduate bursary award (University of Auckland)

Education

2008 – PhD (Thesis: The role of multidrug resistance in childhood malignancies), Children’s Cancer Institute Australia / University of New South Wales - Australia
2001 – MSc (with Honours) in Pharmacology, University of Auckland, Auckland - New Zealand
1999 – BSc in Pharmacology, University of Auckland, Auckland - New Zealand

Fundings

Recent funding:

2020-Tour de Cure Senior Investigator Grant (CIA)

2019-2021 NHMRC Project Grant (CIA)

2018-2020 Cancer Australia/ Cancer Council NSW Project Grant (CIA)

2017-2019 Cancer Australia/CCNSW Project Grant (CIA) and NHMRC Project Grant (CID)

2016- Patrys Biotech Innovation Connections Grant (sole academic CI)

2016-2018 Cancer Council New South Wales Project Grant (CIB)

2015-2017 Cancer Australia and NHMRC Project Grant Approvals as Chief Investigator (CIA and CID).

2015- Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation "Woolies on Wheels" Innovation Grant as Principal Investigator

Selected Publications

Lau MT, Ghazanfar S, Parkin A, Chou A, Khuong TM, Yang J, Pajic M*, Neely GG*. *Co-corresponding authors. Systematic Functional Identification of Cancer Multi-Drug Resistance Genes. Genome Biology 2020 21(1):27 

ICGC/TCGA Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes Consortium. Pan-cancer analysis of whole genomes. Nature 2020 578(7793):82-93 

Cipponi A, Goode DL, Bedo J, McCabe MJ, Pajic M, Croucher DR, Rajal AG, Junankar SR, Saunders DN, Lobachevsky P, Papenfuss AT, Nessem D, Nobis M, Warren SC, Timpson P, Cowley M, Vargas A, Qiu MR, Generali DG, Keerthikumar S, Nguyen U, Corcoran NM, Long GV, Blay J-Y, Thomas DM. mTOR signaling orchestrates stress-induced mutagenesis underpinning adaptive evolution in human cancers. Science 2020 368(6495):1127-1131

Porazinski S, Parkin A, Pajic M. Senior and corresponding author. Rho-ROCK signaling in normal physiology and as a key player in shaping the tumor microenvironment. Adv Exp Med Biol 2020 1223:99-127 Springer Nature

Kryza T, Khan T, Puttick S , Li C , Sokolowski KA, Tse BWC, Cuda T, Lyons N, Gough M, Yin J, Parkin A, Deryugina EI, Quigley JP, Law RHP, Whisstock JC, Riddell AD, Barbour AP, Wyld DK, Thomas PA, Rose S, Snell CE, Pajic M, He Y, Hooper JD. Effective targeting of intact and proteolysed CDCP1 for imaging and treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Theranostics 2020 10(9):4116

Parkin A, Man J, Timpson P, Pajic M. Senior and corresponding author. Targeting the complexity of Src signalling in the tumour microenvironment of pancreatic cancer: from mechanism to therapy. FEBS J 2019 286(18):3510-3539

Chou A, Froio D, Nagrial AM, Parkin A, Murphy KJ, Chin VT, Wohl D, Steinmann A, Stark R, Drury A, Walters SN, Vennin C, Burgess A, Pinese M, Chantrill LA, Cowley MJ, Molloy TJ; Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative (APGI), Waddell N, Johns A, Grimmond SM, Chang DK, Biankin AV, Sansom OJ, Morton JP, Grey ST, Cox TR, Turchini J, Samra J, Clarke SJ, Timpson P, Gill AJ, Pajic M. Tailored first-line and second-line CDK4-targeting treatment combinations in mouse models of pancreatic cancer. Gut 2018 67(12):2142  Selected by Gut chief editor to be further highlighted as a video abstract on Gut social media and online:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dOzhGjndDs Study further highlighted by Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology, article in iflscience.com, The Australian, SBS news online and interview on ABC news 24.

Vennin C, Chin VT, Warren S, Lucas MC, Herrmann D, Melenec P, Walters SN, Magenau A, Allam AH, McCloy RA, Conway JRW, Pinese M, Boulghourjian A, Zaratzian A, Heu C, Nagrial AM, Chou A, Steinmann A, Drury A, Froio D, Giry-Laterriere M, Harris NLE, Mcghee EJ, Whan R, Grey S, Johns AL, Samra JS, Chantrill L, Gill AJ, Biankin AV, APGI, Wang Y, Evans TRJ, Anderson KI, Samuel MS, Burgess A, Sansom OJ, Morton JP, Pajic M*, Timpson P*. * Co-last and co-corresponding authors. Science Translational Medicine 2017 9(384). pii: eaai8504. Study further highlighted by Cancer Discovery, Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology and article in New Scientist magazine.

Pajic M, Froio D, Daly S, Doculara L, Millar EK, Graham P, Drury A, Steinmann A, de Bock CE, Boulghourjian A, Zaratzian A, Carroll SL, Toohey JM, O’Toole SA, Harris AL, Buffa FM, Gee HE, Hollway G, Molloy TJ. miR-139-5p modulates radiotherapy resistance in breast cancer via repression of multiple DNA repair and reactive oxygen species defence gene networks. Cancer Research 2018 78(2):501

Pajic M, Blatter S, Guyader C, Gonggrijp M, Kersbergen A, Sol1 W, Drost R, Jonkers J, Borst P, Rottenberg S. Selected alkylating agents can overcome drug tolerance of G0-1 like tumor cells and eradicate BRCA1-deficient mammary tumors in mice. Clinical Cancer Research 2017 23(22):7020

Vennin C, Murphy K, Cox T, Morton J, Pajic M* and Timpson P*. *  Co-last and co-corresponding authors. Reshaping the tumor stroma: emerging therapies in pancreatic cancer. Gastroenterology 2018 154(4):820-838

Scarpa A, Chang DK, Nones K, Corbo V, Patch AM, Bailey P, Lawlor RT, Johns AL, Miller DK, Mafficini A, Rusev B, Scardoni M, Antonello D, Barbi S, Sikora KO, Cingarlini S, Vicentini C, McKay S, Quinn MC, Bruxner TJ, Christ AN, Harliwong I, Idrisoglu S, McLean S, Nourse C, Nourbakhsh E, Wilson PJ, Anderson MJ, Fink JL, Newell F, Waddell N, Holmes O, Kazakoff SH, Leonard C, Wood S, Xu Q, Nagaraj SH, Amato E, Dalai I, Bersani S, Cataldo I, Dei Tos AP, Capelli P, Davì MV, Landoni L, Malpaga A, Miotto M, Whitehall VL, Leggett BA, Harris JL, Harris J, Jones MD, Humphris J, Chantrill LA, Chin V, Nagrial AM, Pajic M et al Whole-genome landscape of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours. Nature. 2017 543(7643):65-71

Bailey P, Chang DK, Nones K, Johns AL, Patch AM, Gingras MC, Miller DK, Christ AN, Bruxner TJ, Quinn MC, Nourse C, Murtaugh LC, Harliwong I, Idrisoglu S, Manning S, Nourbakhsh E, Wani S, Fink L, Holmes O, Chin V, Anderson MJ, Kazakoff S, Leonard C, Newell F, Waddell N, Wood S, Xu Q, Wilson PJ, Cloonan N, Kassahn KS, Taylor D, Quek K, Robertson A, Pantano L, Mincarelli L, Sanchez LN, Evers L, Wu J, Pinese M, Cowley MJ, Jones MD, Colvin EK, Nagrial AM, Humphrey ES, Chantrill LA, Mawson A, Humphris J, Chou A, Pajic M et al. Genomic analyses identify molecular subtypes of pancreatic cancer. Nature 2016 531(7592):47-52

Waddell N, Pajic M, Patch AM, Chang DK, Kassahn KS, Bailey P, Johns AL, Miller D et al. Whole genomes redefine the mutational landscape of pancreatic cancer. Nature 2015 518(7540):495. * Significant national coverage, including interviews with Dr Pajic for SBS and Channel 7 national news.

Chantrill LA, Nagrial AM, Watson C, Johns AL, Martyn-Smith M, Simpson S, Mead S, Jones MD, Samra JS, Gill AJ, Watson N, Chin VT, Humphris JL, Chou A, Brown B, Morey A, Pajic M et al Precision Medicine for Advanced Pancreas Cancer: The Individualized Molecular Pancreatic Cancer Therapy (IMPaCT) Trial. Clinical Cancer Research 2015 21(9):2029.

Al-Ejeh F, Pajic M, Shi W, Kalimutho M, Miranda M, Nagrial AM, Chou A et al. Gemcitabine and CHK1 inhibition potentiate EGFR-directed radioimmunotherapy against pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Clinical Cancer Research 2014 20(12):3187.

Alexandrov LB, Nik-Zainal S, Wedge DC, Aparicio S, Behjati S, Biankin AV, Bignell GR, Bolli N, Borg A, Børresen-Dale A-L, Boyault S, Burkhardt B, Butler AP, Caldas C, Davies HR, Desmedt C, Eils R, Eyfjörð JE, Foekens JA, Greaves M, Hosoda F, Hutter B, Ilicic T, Imbeaud S, Imielinsk M, Jäger N, Pajic M. et al. Signatures of mutational processes in human cancer. Nature 2013; 500(7463):415-21

Chang DK, Johns AL, Scarlett CJ, Pajic M. et al. Molecular Pathological Phenotypes and Outcome in Adenocarcinoma of the Ampulla of Vater. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2013; 31(10):1348-56

Biankin AV, Waddell N, Kassahn KS, Gingras MC, Muthuswamy LB, Johns AL, Miller DK, Wilson PJ, Patch AM, Wu J, Chang DK, Cowley MJ, Gardiner BB, Song S, Harliwong I, Idrisoglu S, Nourse C, Nourbakhsh E, Manning S, Wani S, Gongora M, Pajic M. et al. Genomic Analysis Reveals Roles for Chromatin Modification and Axon Guidance in Pancreatic Cancer. Nature 2012; 491(7424):399-405 IF 36.3

Pérez-Mancera PA, Rust AG, van der Weyden L, Kristiansen G, Li A, Sarver AL, Silverstein KA, Grützmann R, Aust D, Rümmele P, Knösel T, Herd C, Stemple DL, Kettleborough R, Brosnan JA, Li A, Morgan R, Knight S, Yu J, Stegeman S, Collier LS, ten Hoeve JJ, de Ridder J, Klein AP, Goggins M, Hruban RH, Chang DK, Biankin AV, Grimmond SM; Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative, Pajic M et al. The deubiquitinase USP9X suppresses pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Nature 2012; 486(7402):266-70

Pajic M, Murray J, Marshall GM, Cole SP, Norris MD, Haber M. ABCC1 G2012T single nucleotide polymorphism is associated with patient outcome in primary neuroblastoma and altered stability of the ABCC1 gene transcript. Pharmacogenetics and Genomics 2011; 21(5):270

Pajic M, Kersbergen A, van Diepen F et al. Tumor-initiating cells are not enriched in cisplatin-surviving BRCA1;p53-deficient mammary tumor cells in vivo. Cell Cycle 2010; 9(18):3780

Pajic M, Iyer JK, Kersbergen A, et al. A moderate increase in Mdr1a/1b expression causes in vivo resistance to doxorubicin in a mouse model for hereditary breast cancer  Cancer Research  2009; 69 16:6396

Rottenberg S, Nygren AOH, Pajic M et al. Selective induction of chemotherapy resistance of mammary tumors in a conditional mouse model for hereditary breast cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sc USA 2007; 104(29):12117