Dr Thomas Cox

Group Leader - Matrix and Metastasis

Dr Thomas Cox

Thomas is a cancer cell biologist working in the field of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and ECM remodelling in the progression and metastasis of solid tumours. He graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Durham, UK in 2008 and moved to the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London as a Pos

Research Level

NHMRC R.D. Wright Biomedical Fellow (CDF Level 2)

Biography

Thomas is a cancer cell biologist working in the field of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and ECM remodelling in the progression and metastasis of solid tumours. He graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Durham, UK in 2008 and moved to the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London as a PostDoc. Then, in 2012 he relocated to Copenhagen University as an Assistant Professor to continue his research before moving to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in 2016 to establish his own independent group.

Thomas currently leads the Matrix and Metastasis Group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research within The Kinghorn Cancer Centre. The group focuses on how the ECM and ECM remodelling is driven by, but also regulates the behaviour and phenotype of malignant and non-malignant cells. Thomas has a particular interest in how the ECM alters cancer cell response to therapeutics. In particular his group works on the role of Lysyl Oxidase (LOX) and Lysyl Oxidase Like (LOXL) family members in regulating both the biochemical and biomechanical properties of the ECM during fibrosis, cancer progression and metastasis.

The group's research has deepened our understanding of the impact that post-translational modification (cross-linking) and homestasis of the ECM has on tumour signalling pathways. Ultimately, the aim of the Matrix and Metastasis group is to establish targeting of ECM dynamics as a viable therapeutic approach in the treatment of solid cancers.

Thomas is a cancer cell biologist working in the field of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and ECM remodelling in the progression and metastasis of solid tumours. He graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Durham, UK in 2008 and moved to the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London as a PostDoc. Then, in 2012 he relocated to Copenhagen University as an Assistant Professor to continue his research before moving to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in 2016 to establish his own independent group.

Thomas currently leads the Matrix and Metastasis Group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research within The Kinghorn Cancer Centre. The group focuses on how the ECM and ECM remodelling is driven by, but also regulates the behaviour and phenotype of malignant and non-malignant cells. Thomas has a particular interest in how the ECM alters cancer cell response to therapeutics. In particular his group works on the role of Lysyl Oxidase (LOX) and Lysyl Oxidase Like (LOXL) family members in regulating both the biochemical and biomechanical properties of the ECM during fibrosis, cancer progression and metastasis.

The group's research has deepened our understanding of the impact that post-translational modification (cross-linking) and homestasis of the ECM has on tumour signalling pathways. Ultimately, the aim of the Matrix and Metastasis group is to establish targeting of ECM dynamics as a viable therapeutic approach in the treatment of solid cancers.

Awards and Honours

2017 – Ridley Ken Davies Award for future scientific leaders delivering breakthrough medical research

2016 – Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) Herbert Tabor Young Investigator Award for creativity, innovation and scientific excellence

2016 – British Society for Matrix Biology (BSMB) John Scott Young Investigator Award for significant contributions to matrix biology

2011 – WCR Keynote Award – TuMIC-MRS ‘New Concepts in Metastasis’

2009 – AICR Short Talk Award – BICC ‘Microenvironment, Motility and Metastasis’

Education

2008 – PhD Cell Biology, University of Durham – UK

2004 – BSc (Hons) Cell & Molecular Biology, University of Durham – UK

Fundings

  • NHMRC, Australia
  • Cancer Council NSW, Australia
  • Cancer Institute NSW, Australia
  • Susan G Komen Foundation, USA
  • Sydney Catalyst, Australia

Selected Publications

A full up-to-date list of publications is available at www.matrixandmetastasis.com/publications

Last updated: July 2019
(*Equal Contribution / #Corresponding Author)


2019

CAF hierarchy driven by pancreatic cancer cell p53-status creates a pro-metastatic and chemoresistant environment via perlecan
Vennin C, Mélénec P, Rouet R, Nobis M, Cazet A, Murphy K, Herrmann D, Reed D, Lucas M, Warren S, Elgundi Z, Pinese M, Kalna G, Roden D, Samuel M, Zaratzian A, Grey S, Da Silva A, Leung W, (APGI) Australian Pancreatic cancer Genome Initiative, Mathivanan S, Wang Y, Braithwaite A, Christ D, Benda A, Parkin A, Phillips P, Whitelock J, Gill A, Sansom O, Croucher D, Parker B, Pajic M, Morton J, Cox TR#, Timpson P#
Nature Communications (2019)

The extracellular matrix as a key regulator of intracellular signalling networks
Hastings JF*, Skhinas JN*, Fey D, Croucher DR#, Cox TR#
British Journal of Pharmacology (2019)


2018

Recent advances in understanding the complexities of metastasis
Chitty JL*, Filipe EC*, Lucas MC, Herrmann D, Cox TR#, Timpson P#
F1000Research (2018) [Invited Faculty of F1000 review]

Targeting stromal remodeling and cancer stem cell plasticity overcomes chemoresistance in triple negative breast cancer
Cazet AS*, Hui MN*, Elsworth BL, Wu SZ, Roden D, Chan CL, Skhinas JN, Collot R, Yang J, Harvey K, Johan MZ, Cooper C, Nair R, Herrmann D, McFarland A, Deng N, Ruiz-Borrego M, Rojo F, Trigo JM, Bezares S, Caballero R, Lim E, Timpson P, O’Toole S, DN Watkins, Cox TR, Samuel MS, Martín M, Swarbrick A
Nature Communications (2018)

Charting the unexplored extracellular matrix in cancer
Filipe EC*, Chitty JL*, Cox TR#
International Journal of Experimental Pathology (2018)

Reshaping the Tumor Stroma for Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer
Vennin C, Murphy KJ, Morton JP, Cox TR, Pajic M, Timpson P
Gastroenterology (2018)

Proteomic Characterisation of Caenorhabditis elegans Larval Development
Xia T*, Horton ER*, Salcini AE, Pocock R, Cox TR#, Erler JT#
Proteomics (2018)


2017

Tailored first-line and second-line CDK4-targeting treatment combinations in mouse models of pancreatic cancer
Chou A, Froio D, Nagrial AN, 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
Gut (2017)

Three-dimensional organotypic matrices from alternative collagen sources as pre-clinical models for cell biology
Conway JRW, Vennin C, Cazet AS, Herrmann D, Murphy KJ, Warren SC, Wullkopf L, Boulghourjian A, Zaratzian A, Da Silva AM, Pajic M, Morton JP, Cox TR#, Timpson P#
Scientific Reports (2017)

Dynamic Rearrangement of Cell States Detected by Systematic Screening of Sequential Anticancer Treatments
Koplev S*, Longden J*,  Ferkinghoff-Borg J*, Blicher Bjerregård M, Cox TR, Erler JT, Pedersen JT, Voellmy F, Sommer MOA, Linding R
Cell Reports (2017)

The interplay between extracellular matrix remodelling and kinase signalling in cancer progression and metastasis
Skhinas JN, Cox TR#
Cell Adhesion & Migration (2017)


ISDoT: in situ decellularization of tissues for high-resolution imaging and proteomic analysis of native extracellular matrix
Mayorca-Guiliani AE*, Madsen CD*, Cox TR*, Horton ER, Venning FA, Erler JT
Nature Medicine (2017)
*First authors contributed equally

Transient tissue priming via ROCK inhibition uncouples pancreatic cancer progression, sensitivity to chemotherapy, and metastasis
Vennin C*, Chin VT*, Warren SC, Lucas MC, Herrmann D, Magenau A, Melenec A, Walters SN, del Monte-Nieto G, Conway JRW, Nobis M, Allam AH, McCloy RA, Currey N, Pinese M, Boulghourjian A, Zaratzian A, Adam ASA, Heu C, Nagrial AM, Chou A, Steinmann A, Drury A, Froio D, Giry-Laterriere M, Harris NLE, Phan T, Jain R, Weninger W, McGhee EJ, Whan R, Johns AL, Samra JS, Chantrill L, Gill AJ, Kohonen-Corish M, Harvey RP, Biankin AV, Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative (APGI), Evans TRJ, Anderson KI, Gray ST, Ormandy CJ, Gallego-Ortega D, Wang Y, Samuel MS, Sansom OJ, Burgess A, Cox TR, Morton JP, Pajic M, Timpson P
Science Translational Medicine (2017)

Pre-metastatic niches: organ-specific homes for metastases
Peinado H*, Zhang H*, Matei IR*, Costa-Silva B, Hoshino A, Rodrigues G, Psaila B, Kaplan RN, Bromberg JF, Kang Y, Bissel MJ, Cox TR, Giaccia A, Erler JT, Hiratsuka S, Ghajar CM, Lyden D.
Nature Reviews Cancer (2017)

Pre-clinical evaluation of small molecule LOXL2 inhibitors in breast cancer

Chang J*, Lucas M, Leonte L, Garcia-Montolio M, Babloo Singh L, Findlay A, Deodhar M, Foot J, Jarolimek W, Timpson P, Erler JT#, Cox TR# 
Oncotarget (2017)
#Corresponding Author


2016

The Role of Lysyl Oxidase, the Extracellular Matrix and the Pre-Metastatic Niche in Bone Metastasis
Gartland A, Erler JT and Cox TR
Journal of Bone Oncology (2016)

Fibrosis and Cancer: Partners in Crime or Opposing Forces? 
Cox TR# and Erler JT#
Trends In Cancer (2016)
#Corresponding Author

Lysyl Oxidase, a Targetable Secreted Molecule Involved in Cancer Metastasis
Cox TR#, Gartland A, Erler JT
Cancer Research (2016)
#Corresponding Author


2015

Kinome-wide Decoding of Network Attacking Mutations Rewiring Cancer
Creixell P, Schoof EM, Simpson CD, Longden J, Miller CJ, Lou HJ, Perryman L, Cox TR, Zivanovic N, Palmeri A, Wesolowska-Andersen A, Helmer-Citterich M, Ferkinghoff-Borg J, Itamochi H, Bodenmiller B, Erler JT, Turk BE, Linding R
Cell (2015)

Hypoxia and loss of PHD2 inactivate stromal fibroblasts to decrease tumour stiffness and metastasis
Madsen CD, Pedersen JT, Venning FA, Singh LB, Moeendarbary E, Charras G, Cox TR, Sahai E, Erler JT
EMBO Reports (2015)

The hypoxic cancer secretome induces pre-metastatic bone lesions through lysyl oxidase
Cox TR, Rumney RMH, Schoof EM, Perryman L, Høye AM, Agrawal A, Bird, D, Ab Latif N, Forrest H, Evans HR, Huggins ID, Lang G, Linding R, Gartland A, Erler JT
Nature (2015)


2014

Molecular pathways: connecting fibrosis and solid tumor metastasis
Cox TR# and Erler JT
Clinical Cancer Research (2014)
#Corresponding Author


2013

LOX-mediated collagen crosslinking is responsible for fibrosis-enhanced metastasis
Cox TR, Bird D, Baker AM, Barker HE, Ho MW, Lang G, Erler JT
Cancer Research (2013)

Lysyl oxidase plays a critical role in endothelial cell stimulation to drive tumor angiogenesis
Baker AM, Bird D, Welti J, Gourlaouen M, Lang G, Murray G, Reynolds AR, Cox TR, Erler JT
Cancer Research (2013)


2012

The rationale for targeting the LOX family in cancer
Barker HE*, Cox TR* and Erler JT 
Nature Reviews Cancer (2012)
*First authors contributed equally to this work

Lysyl oxidase enzymatic function increases stiffness to drive colorectal cancer progression through FAK
Baker AM, Lang G, Bird D, Cox TR#, Erler JT# 
Oncogene (2012)
#Senior authors contributed equally


2011

Remodeling and homeostasis of the extracellular matrix: implications for fibrotic diseases and cancer
Cox TR and Erler JT
Disease Models and Mechanisms (2011)

The Role of Lysyl Oxidase in SRC-Dependent Proliferation and Metastasis of Colorectal Cancer
Baker AM, Cox TR, Bird D, Lang G, Murray GI, Sun XF, Southall SM, Wilson JR, Erler JT
Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2011)


2009

Hypoxia-induced lysyl oxidase is a critical mediator of bone marrow cell recruitment to form the premetastatic niche
Erler JT, Bennewith KL, Cox TR, Lang G, Bird D, Koong A, Le QT, Giaccia AJ
Cancer Cell (2009)