Dr Simon Junankar

Dr Simon Junankar

Simon’s research career has centred around cancer and the immune system, he believes that understanding the interactions between tumours and the immune system holds the key to the development of successful new cancer treatments. Simon has worked in academic and industry research laboratories in Aust


Simon’s research career has centred around cancer and the immune system, he believes that understanding the interactions between tumours and the immune system holds the key to the development of successful new cancer treatments. Simon has worked in academic and industry research laboratories in Australia, the UK and the USA. While working in the highly successful laboratory of Prof. Lisa Coussens (UCSF, USA), he gained insight into how immune cells can promote tumour growth. 

Simon’s PhD studies with Dr Alex Swarbrick in the Cancer Division, Garvan Institute, demonstrated a key role for the transcriptional regulator ID4 in mammary epithelial cell fate decisions and the basal-subtype of breast cancer.  He then took up a post-doc position within the Bone Biology Division at Garvan Institute where he determined that bisphosphonate drugs, a type of drug that are currently used to treat patients with osteoporosis and cancer-associated bone destruction also target tumour promoting macrophages within breast tumours. 

Returning to the Cancer Division in 2016, Simon received an NBCF post-doctoral fellowship to investigate how the immune system and immunotherapies shape the clonal outgrowth of breast cancer at different metastatic sites.


Simon is a current member of the Postdoctoral Development committee and the Workplace Equity committee. 

Awards and Honours

2018 - Estee Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign Award
2017 - CHAMP private equity Young Pioneer Award
2017 - Poster Prize, 2nd Australian Translational Breast Cancer Research Symposium
2016 - National Breast Cancer Foundation Post Doctoral Fellowship
2015 - Poster Prize, 23rd St Vincent’s Research Symposium
2015 - Runner Up, Young Garvan Award 2015
2015 - Best Demonstration of Translation, 3rd Sydney Catalyst PG&ECR Symposium
2013 - Poster Award, 13th International Cancer Induced Bone Disease Meeting
2013 - Travel Award, 13th International Cancer Induced Bone Disease Meeting
2013 - Amgen Outstanding Abstract Award, 23rd ANZBMS Annual Scientific Meeting
2013 - Travel Award, 23rd ANZBMS Annual Scientific Meeting
2013 - Postdoctoral Oral Presentation Prize, 21st NSW ASMR Scientific Meeting
2012 - Poster Prize, 24th Lorne Cancer Conference
2012 - Travel Award, 24th Lorne Cancer Conference
2011 - UNSW PRSS Travel Award, Stem Cells, Cancer and Metastasis, Keystone Symposia
2011 - Travel Award, 23rd Lorne Cancer Conference
2009 - Travel Award, 21st Lorne Cancer Conference
2009 - Cancer Institute NSW, Research Scholars Award
2008 - Australian Postgraduate Award
1997 - Student Scholarship in the Membrane Biology Program, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University


2012 - PhD, Garvan Institute of Medical Research and UNSW Australia - Australia
2000 - BSc with Hons in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Australian National University - Australia

Selected Publications

Oakes, S., Gallego-Ortega, D., Stanford, P., Junankar, S., Au, W., Kikhtyak, Z., von Korff, A., Sergio, C., Law, A., Castillo, L., Allerdice, S., Young, A., Piggin, C., Whittle, B., Bertram, E., Naylor, M., Roden, D., Donovan, J., Korennykh, A., Goodnow, C., O'Bryan, M., Ormandy, C., A mutation in the viral sensor 2'-5'-oligoadenylate synthetase 2 causes failure of lactation, PLOS Genetics, 2017, Nov 8;13(11):e1007072.

Junankar, S., Baker, L., Roden, D., Nair, R., Elsworth, B., Gallego-Ortega, D., Lacaze, P., Cazet, A., Nikolic, I., Teo, W., Yang, J., McFarland, A., Harvey, K., Naylor, M., Lakhani, S., Simpson, P., Raghavendra, A., Saunus, J., Madore, J., Kaplan, W., Ormandy, C., Millar, E., O’Toole, S., Yun, K., Swarbrick, A., ID4 controls mammary stem cells and marks breast cancers with a stem cell-like phenotype, Nature Communications, 2015, 10.1038/ncomms7548.

Junankar, S., Shay, G., Jurczyluk, J., Ali, N., Down, J., Pocock, N., Parker, A., Nguyen, A., Sun, S., Kashemirov, B., McKenna, C., Pocock, N., Croucher, P., Swarbrick, A., Weilbaecher, K., Phan, T., Rogers, M., Cancer Discovery. 2015 Jan;5(1):35-42. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-14-0621. Epub 2014 Oct 13.

Ruffell, B., Affara, N., Cottone, L., Junankar, S., Johansson, M., DeNardo, D., Korets, L., Reinheckel, T., Sloane, B., Bogyo, M., and Coussens, L., Cathepsin C is a Tissue-Specific Regulator of Squamous Carcinogenesis, Genes Dev. 2013 Oct 1;27(19):2086-98.

Nair, R., Roden, D., Teo, W., McFarland, A., Junankar, S., Ye, S., Nguyen, A., Yang, J., Nikolic, I., Hui, M., Morey, A., Shah, J., Pfefferle, A., Usary, J., Selinger, C., Baker, L., Armstrong, N., Cowley, M., Naylor, M., Ormandy, C., Lakhani, S., Herschkowitz, J., Perou, C., Kaplan, W., O’Toole, S., Swarbrick, A., c-Myc and Her2 cooperate to drive a stem-like phenotype with poor prognosis in breast cancer, Oncogene. 2013 Sep 23. 

Swarbrick, A., Junankar, S., Batten, M., Could the properties of IL-27 make it an ideal adjuvant for anticancer immunotherapy? Oncoimmunology. 2013 Aug 1;2(8):e25409

Natividad, K., Junankar, S., Redzwan, N., Nair, R., Wirasinha, R., King, C., Brink, R., Swarbrick, A., Batten, M., Interleukin-27 signaling promotes immunity against endogenously arising murine tumors, , PLoS One. 2013 8(3):e57469. 

Nair, R., Junankar, S., O'Toole, S., Shah, J., Borowsky, AD., Bishop, JM., Swarbrick, A. Redefining the expression and function of the inhibitor of differentiation 1 in mammary gland development. PLoS One. 2010 Aug 3;5(8):e11947

Sounni, NE., Dehne, K., van Kempen, L., Egeblad, M., Affara, NI., Cuevas, I., Wiesen, J., Junankar, S., Korets, L., Lee, J., Shen, J., Morrison, CJ., Overall, CM., Krane, SM., Werb, Z., Boudreau, N., Coussens, LM. Stromal regulation of vessel stability by MMP14 and TGFbeta.  Dis Model Mech. 2010 May-Jun;3(5-6):317-32

Andreu, P., Johansson, M., Affara, NI., Pucci, F., Tan, T., Junankar, S., Korets, L., Lam, J., Tawfik, D., DeNardo, DG., Naldini, L., de Visser, KE., De Palma, M., Coussens, LM. FcRgamma activation regulates inflammation-associated squamous carcinogenesis.  Cancer Cell. 2010 Feb 17;17(2):121-34

Johnen, H., Lin, S., Kuffner, T., Brown, DA., Tsai, VW., Bauskin, AR., Wu. L., Pankhurst, G., Jiang, L., Junankar, S., Hunter, M., Fairlie, WD., Lee, NJ., Enriquez, RF., Baldock, P., Corey, E., Apple, FS., Murakami, MM., Lin, EJ., Wang, C., During, MJ., Sainsbury, A., Herzog, H., Breit, S., Tumor-induced anorexia and weight loss are mediated by the TGF-b superfamily cytokine MIC-1, Nature Medicine, 2007; 13 (11): 1333-40

Junankar, S., Eichten, A., Kramer, A., de Visser, KE., Coussens, LM., Analysis of immune cell infiltrate in squamous carcinoma development, Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings, 2006; 11; 36-43

Bauskin, A., Brown, D., Junankar, S., Rasiah, K., Eggleton, S., Hunter, M., Liu, T., Smith, D., Kuffner, T., Pankhurst, G., Johnen, H., Russell, P., Barret, W., Stricker, P., Grygiel, J., Kench, J., Henshall, S., Sutherland, R., Breit, S., The propeptide mediates formation of stromal stores of PROMIC-1: role in determining prostate cancer outcome, Cancer Research, 2005; 65(6): 2330-6