Amber Johns

Project Manager - Pancreatic Cancer

Senior Research Officer

Amber’s research experience has focused on establishing and coordinating the development of complex, novel, large-scale research projects. Amber has clinical experience in pathology and cytology, and has been instrumental in building the Australian Pancreatic Genome Initiative (APGI) as part of Australia’s contribution to the International Cancer Genome Consortium.

Through the APGI, Amber developed and coordinated a national pancreatic cancer biobank network, with international linkage. Amber has the unique blend of clinical, community and scientific experience, which she has successfully applied in various settings with a range of stakeholders. Her unique skill set has been pivotal in the success of not only her own local groups, but providing a platform for cancer research groups across the world to thrive, through her ability to be the link between the research team, the clinical team, and patient and community groups.

Amber has extensive experience in ethical, policy and societal issues in research and currently advises the Federal Government in relation to genomic sequencing and the return of research results.

Research Interests

Cancer Molecular Phenotyping
Translational research
Cancer Genomics

Awards and Honours

2012 Recipient of NSW Cancer Institute’s Inaugural Wildfire Award for Outstanding Cancer Research Group


2005 - CT (Australian Society of Cytology)
2001 - BMedSc, Charles Sturt University - Australia

Selected Publications

Nagrial AM, Chang DK, Nguyen NQ, Johns AL et al.  Adjuvant chemotherapy in elderly patients with pancreatic cancer. Br J Cancer. 2013; Nov 21. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.722. [Epub ahead of print].

Kassahn KS, Holmes O, Nones K, Patch AM, Miller DK, Christ AN, Harliwong I, Bruxner TJ, Xu Q, Anderson M, Wood S, Leonard C, Taylor D, Newell F, Song S, Idrisoglu S, Nourse C, Nourbakhsh E, Manning S, Wani S, Steptoe A, Pajic M, Cowley MJ, Pinese M, Chang DK, Gill AJ, Johns AL et al. Somatic Point mutation calling in loe cellularity tumours. PLoS One. 2013; 8(11):e74380.  

Angela Chou, Nicola Waddell, Mark J Cowley, Anthony J Gill, David K Chang, Ann-Marie Patch, Katia Nones, Jianmin Wu, Mark Pinese, Amber L Johns et al. Clinical and molecular characterization of HER2 amplified-pancreatic cancer. Genome Medicine. 2013; 5:78.

Mark J. Cowley, David K. Chang, Marina Pajic, Amber L. Johns et al. Understanding Pancreatic Cancer Genomes. HPB Sciences. 2013; [epub ahead of print].

David K. Chang, Nigel B. Jamieson, Amber L. Johns, Christopher J. Scarlett et al. Histomolecular Phenotypes and Outcome in Adenocarcinoma of the Ampulla of Vater. J Clin Oncol. 2013; [epub ahead of print].

Song S, Nones K, Miller D, Harliwong I, Kassahn KS, Pinese M, Pajic M, Gill AJ, Johns AL et al. qpure: A Tool to Estimate Tumor Cellularity from Genome-Wide Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism Profiles. PLoS One. 2012; 7(9).

Biankin AV, Waddell N, Kassahn KS, Gingras MC, Muthuswamy LB, Johns AL, Miller DK, Wilson PJ et al. Pancreatic cancer genomes reveal aberrations in axon guidance pathway genes. Nature. 2012; 491:399-405.

Zhang J, Gill A, Atmore B, Johns A, Delbridge L, Lai R, McMullen T. Upregulation of the signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) pathway in lymphatic metastasis of papillary thyroid cancer. Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2011; 4(4):356-62.

Zhang J, Gill AJ, Issacs, JD, Atmore B,  Johns AL, Delbridge LW,  McMulen TP. The Wnt/β-Catenin pathway drives increased cyclin D1 levels in lymph node metastasis in papillary thyroid cancer. Hum Pathol. 2011; Dec 26.

Humphris JL, Chang DK, Johns AL, Scarlett CJ, Pajic M, Jones MD, Colvin EK, Nagrial A, Chin VT, Chantrill LA, Samra JS, Gill AJ, Kench JG, Merrett ND, Das A, Musgrove EA, Sutherland RL, Biankin AV; for the NSW Pancreatic Cancer Network. The prognostic and predictive value of serum CA19.9 in pancreatic cancer. Ann Oncol. 2012; Jan 11.

TJ Hudson, AL Johns  et al. International network of cancer genome projects. Nature. 2010; 464(7291):993-8.

Nguyen NQ, Johns AL, Gill AJ, Ring N, Chang DK, Clarkson A, Merrett ND, Kench JG, Colvin EK, Scarlett CJ, Biankin AV. Clinical and immunohistochemical features of 34 solid pseudopapillary tumors of the pancreas. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011; 26(2):267-74.

Chang DK, Johns AL, Merrett ND, Gill AJ, Colvin EK, Scarlett CJ, Nguyen NQ, Leong RWL, Kelly MI, Sutherland RL, Henshall SM, Kench JG, Biankin AV. Margin Clearance and Outcome in Resected Pancreatic Cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2009; 27(17):2855-62.

Gill AJ, Johns AL, Eckstein R, Samra JS, Kaufman A, Chang DK, Merrett ND, Cosman PH, Smith RC, Biankin AV, Kench JG. Synoptic Reporting Improves Histopathological Assessment of Pancreatic Resection Specimens.  Pathology. 2008; Sep 6:1-7.

Amber Johns