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Robin Anderson: Metastasis Research Laboratory

In the Anderson Laboratory, researchers aim to understand the molecular events underlying the process of metastasis (the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body), focusing primarily on breast and colon cancer, with the aim of developing new approaches to treat cancer that has metastasised.

Research team

Head: Associate Professor Robin Anderson

Phone: +61 3 9656 1284


Peter Mac Research Fellow: Dr Normand Pouliot; Postdoctoral researchers: Dr Richard Redvers, Dr Cameron Johnstone, Dr Kara Britt, Dr Yuan Cao, Dr. Agnieszka Swierczak, Dr Allan Burrows; Research assistants: Judy Doherty, Alexandra Rizzitelli, Kathryn Visser, Phoebe Ling, Jessica Vieusseux; PhD students: Anannya Chakrabarti, Kim Soo, Lara Jupp, Selda Onturk, Genevieve Dall, Ashley Unsworth.

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Research focus

  • Developing animal models of metastatic disease, focusing on breast and colon cancer.
  • Identifying genes that control the process of metastasis.
  • Examining of the molecular interactions between tumour cells and surrounding host cells.
  • Developing molecular targeted therapies to prevent or treat metastatic disease.


Mouse lung bearing spontaneous metastases from breast tumours expressing green or red fluorescent reporter proteins


Tumour cells switched into a vimentin expressing (green fluorescence) migratory phenotype by the metastasis promoting factor, TGFb. revealed with a blue fluorescent dye.


Lung and brain metastases from a tumour grown in the mammary gland

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Key publications

  • Eckhardt, Parker et al (2005).  Genomic analysis of a spontaneous model of breast cancer metastasis to bone reveals a role for the extracellular matrix.  Molecular Cancer Research 3: 1-13.​ View in PubMed >
  • Sloan, Ciocca et al (2009) Stromal cell expression of caveolin-1 predicts outcome in breast cancer. Am. J. Pathology 174: 2035-2043. View in PubMed >
  • Eckhardt, Francis et al (2012). Strategies to consider during the discovery and development of therapies for metastatic breast cancer.  Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 11(6): 479-497. View in PubMed >
  • Bidwell, Slaney et al (2012).  Silencing of Irf7 pathways in breast cancer cells promotes bone metastasis through immune escape mechanisms. Nature Medicine 18: 1224-1231. View in PubMed >
  • Yu Miao, Eckhardt et al (2013). Inhibition of Established Metastases by Targeted Drug Delivery via Cell Surface Associated GRP78. Clinical Cancer Research 19: 2107–2116. View in PubMed​ >

View Associate Professor Robin Anderson's publication history.

Opportunities for students

Download a copy of the laboratory’s available projects for Honours and Postgraduate students.

In the news

Enabling and translating research

Research in the Metastasis Research (Anderson) Laboratory is enabled by the expertise and resources of Peter Mac’s Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics, Bioinformatics facility, Flow Cytometry facility, Microscopy and Histology facility, Molecular Genomics facility, Pre-clinical research models and Tissue Bank.

For information on potential collaborative or contract research agreements, or material transfer agreements with this laboratory, contact Peter Mac’s Technology Transfer Office.

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