Melissa Pitman

Dr Melissa Pitman

Senior Lecturer

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Dr Melissa Pitman is the head of the newly established Ovarian Cancer and Drug Discovery Laboratory at the University of Adelaide. She gained her research training in enzymology, protein biochemistry and in silico-based drug discovery during her PhD at Flinders University. With a keen interest in cancer, Dr Pitman moved to the Centre for Cancer Biology to study the role of the sphingolipid pathway with the Molecular Therapeutics Laboratory. During her post-doctoral work she studied links between sphingolipid regulation and ovarian cancer, identifying key targets for therapeutic intervention. She utilised her skills in drug discovery to identify and validate small-molecule inhibitors that target sphingolipid signalling. Her work has led to the development of a spin-off company, Cincera Therapeutics, that is focussed on the development of anti-fibrotic agents. Dr Pitman’s work is focussed on the identification and testing of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of ovarian cancer and includes the development and use of powerful preclinical models of this disease.


  • RAH Research Fund 2019 Florey Fellowship


  • RAH Research Fund 2013 Early Career Fellowship







Research Grants:


  • Ray and Shirl Norman Trust                                                               

“Assessing novel therapeutics for the treatment of chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancer”

CIA Pitman MR, Oehler MK, Flynn B, Pitson SM


  • UniSA RTIS funding                                                    

"Nanomedicine to enhance sphingosine kinase 1 targeting in acute myeloid leukaemia and improve patient outcomes​"

Nguyen T, Prestidge C, CIC Pitman MR, Pitson SM


  • Neurosurgical Research Foundation                                                  

Evaluating the use of FTY720 to permeabilise the blood-brain barrier to anti-neoplastic drugs for brain tumour therapy​"

Gliddon B, CIB Pitman MR, Pitson SM


  • RAH Clinical Research Grant                                                              

Harnessing sphingosine kinase regulation of Mcl-1 to re-sensitise chemoresistant ovarian cancer”

CIA Pitman MR, Oehler M, Pitson SM


  • Neurosurgical Research Foundation                                      

“Targeting sphingosine kinases to improve glioblastoma therapy”

Pitson SM, Powell JA, CIC Pitman MR


  • RAH Clinical Research Grant                                                 

 “Defining the CIB2/SK1 axis as a prognostic indicator and chemosensitizing agent in ovarian cancer”

Oehler M, Pitson SM, CIC Pitman MR


  • RAH Clinical Research Grant

"CIB2 as a potential tumour suppressor with prognostic significance in ovarian cancer”

CIA Pitman MR, Oehler M, Pitson SM


$49, 975
  • Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation                                       

“Targeting sphingosine kinase as a therapy for a childhood leukemia”

Pitson SM, CIB Pitman MR, Powell JA, D’Andrea R




  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2023 Co-Supervisor Revealing the role metabolite solute carriers in AML stem cells Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Mahta Moraghebi
    2023 Principal Supervisor Investigation of transcriptional regulators as a novel approach to treat ovarian cancer Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Suet Yee Too
    2022 Principal Supervisor New treatments to overcome chemoresistant ovarian cancer Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Nicola Sian Louisa Jones
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2012 - 2018 External Supervisor Regulation of Sphingosine Kinase 1 Oncogenic Signalling by Calcium and Integrin Binding Proteins Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Wenying Zhu
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83135980
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Molecular Life Sciences, floor 3
  • Org Unit: Molecular and Biomedical Science

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