Philip Gregory

Philip Gregory

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

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

Dr Philip Gregory
Head, Gene Regulation in Cancer Laboratory
Centre for Cancer Biology
SA Pathology.

Dr Philip Gregory is researching the new and exciting area of ‘microRNAs’. These are tiny particles of genetic material that exist inside cells and regulate how our genes are switched on and off. MicroRNAs were only discovered relatively recently and their role in the development of breast cancer is just beginning to be explored.

Dr Gregory is interested in how microRNAs may cause breast cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body – a process known as metastasis. Metastatic (or secondary) breast cancer is currently very difficult to treat effectively, so understanding how metastasis occurs could lead to the development of more effective treatments and improved prevention strategies.

Research over the last ten years has provided us with a much greater understanding of breast cancer. This has led to remarkable developments in more ‘targeted’ therapies. These new treatments (e.g. Herceptin) have been very effective in treating certain types of breast cancer.

Another major advance has been in our understanding of how breast cancers spread to other parts of the body. Until recently, little was known about how the cells were able to break away from the primary tumour, survive in the blood circulation and then grow in different organs or tissues. We now have a much better understanding of the processes that determine if, and where, breast cancer will spread.

With the emergence of new technologies that examine individual breast cancer cells in patients, it has become clear that breast cancer is a very diverse disease. Not every cell may be contributing to the progression of the disease. This makes designing new treatments challenging. There may need to be a range of treatment options for different patients and for different stages of the disease. Our current ability to effectively identify the best treatments is better than it has ever been and will continue to improve.

Other researchers in the international community have recently shown that inhibiting the action of microRNAs, when combined with chemotherapy, is effective in eradicating aggressive breast cancer cells. As we learn more about these microRNAs, we hope to develop safe and effective treatments that will lead to improved patient outcomes.

I am inspired by the many stories I hear from people who have been impacted by breast cancer and also the community’s support for research into this disease. Breast cancer is the most common cancer to affect women. It is also indiscriminate by nature. I consider it a privilege to be a breast cancer researcher and receive support from NBCF.

I value the community’s support and encouragement to keep on striving to find better breast cancer treatments. I believe the community plays a vital role in supporting research through fundraising, their generous donations and by sharing their stories. It is through the community’s support of NBCF, which funds critical research, that we will find better treatments for breast cancer.

Gene Regulation in Cancer Laboratory

The Gene Regulation in Cancer Laboratory within the Centre for Cancer Biology  investigates the molecular mechanisms controlling tumour cell plasticity in breast and prostate cancer, with a specific focus on the role of microRNAs and alternative splicing in this process. Dr. Gregory's groundbreaking research identified the miR-200 family as central regulators of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (Nature Cell Biology, >3000 citations). His lab uses the latest advances in transcriptomics coupled with in vitro and in vivo cancer models to investigate how cancer cells progress towards a metastatic state.

Project 1

Title: Function of alternative splice variants in cancer cell plasticity

Description: Using CRISPR gene editing, this project will uncover the function of alternatively spliced variants which are strongly induced in invasive cancer cells but whose function has not yet been investigated.

Projects available for: Honours and HDR

Location: Centre for Cancer Biology

Research Project Start: Semester 1 and 2


Project 2

Title: How microRNAs regulate breast cancer metastasis

Description: Using molecular techniques, this project will determine the target genes of miRNAs which are specifically repressed in metastatic breast cancers and function in breast cancer progression using cell culture and animal models.

Projects available for: Honours and HDR

Location: Centre for Cancer Biology

Research Project Start: Semester 1 and 2

1. GREGORY PA (CIA) Discovery of optimal targets to better diagnose and treat metastatic cancer. Beat Cancer Principal Research Fellowship. Funding for 2019-2021.

2. GREGORY PA (CIA), Goodall GJ, Hollier BG Characterising an RNA splicing pathway driving prostate cancer metastasis and therapy resistance. NHMRC Project Grant APP1164669. Funding for 2019-2021.

3. GREGORY PA (CIA), Anderson RL, Goodall GJ miR-342 – a novel suppressor of a pro-metastatic gene network in triple-negative breast cancer. National Breast Cancer Foundation IIRS-18-147. Funding for 2018-2020.

4. GREGORY PA (CIA), Goodall GJ Characterising novel alternative splicing networks that promote tumour cell plasticity. NHMRC Project Grant APP1128479. Funding for 2017-2019.

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

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2014 - 2016 Co-Supervisor The Role of microRNA-194 and microRNA-375 in Prostate Cancer Metastasis Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Rajdeep Das
    2013 - 2014 Co-Supervisor Novel Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor Signalling Pathways Regulating Neuronal Differentiation Master of Philosophy (Medical Science) Master Full Time Dr Yang Kong
    2012 - 2017 Co-Supervisor A Role for Bivalent Genes in Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Francisco Sadras
    2010 - 2012 Co-Supervisor The miR 200 Family is Controlled by Epigenetic based Mechanisms and Mediates Transition Between Non Stem and Stem like Cell Phenotypes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Yat Yuen Lim
    2008 - 2013 Co-Supervisor Regulation of the microRNA-200 family during epithelial to mesenchymal transition Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Natasha Kolesnikoff

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