Skip to main content
Christine Chaffer

Associate Professor Christine Chaffer

Program Director - Cancer Plasticity & Dormancy / Laboratory Head - Cancer Cell Plasticity
Cancer Cell Plasticity Lab

Associate Professor Christine Chaffer completed her training in cancer biology at the University of Melbourne (PhD) followed by her post-doctoral studies at the Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research, MIT, Cambridge, USA, with Professor Robert A Weinberg – a world-leader in cancer biology.

Christine’s passion and career focus is understanding the mechanisms driving human cancer development, progression and metastasis.

Her work also aims to provide translational therapeutic benefits. Christine has challenged, and changed, pre‐established paradigms in cancer biology, and she has multiple high-impact papers demonstrating the effects of cancer cell plasticity on driving tumour progression and development into metastatic disease. Her strengths include mammary gland biology, breast cancer biology, cancer stem cells/tumour-initiating cells and cellular transitions, including the epithelial‐to‐mesenchymal (EMT) and the reverse process, the mesenchymal‐to‐epithelial (MET) transition. At the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Christine heads the Cancer Cell Plasticity Lab, which focuses on the ability of cells to switch phenotypes as a mode of acquiring enhanced tumorigenicity and metastatic ability.



  • 2022The Roberts Innovation Fund - Yale (with Smita Krishnaswamy - Manik Kuchroo - Alex Tong)
  • 2021The Blavatnik Fund for Innovation - Yale (with Smita Krishnaswamy - Manik Kuchroo - Alex Tong)
  • 2019Cancer Institute NSW Career Development Fellowship
  • 2019Finalist (1 of 3): Alan Skyring Memorial Award (ASMR)
  • 2019The Miriam Douglas Blue Sky Endowment
  • 2017Rebecca Wilson Fellowship in Breast Cancer Research - Australia
  • 2011Director’s Fellowship – Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research - USA
  • 2011Ludwig Fund for Cancer Research Post-doctoral Fellowship - USA
  • 2010Margaret and Herman Sokol Postdoctoral Award for Excellence in Research - USA
  • 2009Whitehead Postdoctoral Association Educational Award - USA
  • 2008Director’s Fellowship – Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research - USA
  • 2008NHMRC CJ Martin Post-doctoral Research Fellowship
  • 2006Best Speaker-Australasia Microarray and Associated Technologies Association
  • 2005Junior Investigator Award –St. Vincent’s Hospital Research Week 2005 - Australia
  • 2004Dora Lush Biomedical Postgraduate Research Scholarship - NHMRC
  • 2004Junior Investigator Award – St. Vincent’s Hospital Research Week 2004 - Australia
  • 2000Don Rivett Award (Best Speaker) – Peptide Users Group Spring Symposium - Australia
  • 2000Tocris Neuropharmacology Prize – ASCEPT - Australia