Our people

Group photo of Tumour Microenvironment Lab

Dr. Zaklina Kovacevic

Senior Lecturer, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine & Health

Research has been recognised by numerous awards and involvement in local and international conferences.

Experience in mentoring Honours, Masters, PhD and visiting students investigating pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancer. 

  • Dr. Kovacevic completed her PhD in 2011 at the University of Sydney, where she also undertook her post-doctoral studies, being supported by joint NHMRC and CINSW Early Career and Career Development Fellowships. Her PhD studies focused on developing a new class of metal-binding thiosemicarbazones as anti-cancer agents and elucidating their molecular mechanisms in numerous cancer types including pancreatic, prostate and breast cancers. This work facilitated the entry of lead agent, DpC, into Australian multi-centre clinical trials in 2016. She also made significant contributions to understanding the function of the iron-regulated metastasis suppressor N-myc down-stream regulated gene 1 (NDRG1), identifying the important role of this protein in cancer progression, development of resistance to chemotherapies and cross-talk with the tumour microenvironment.

    In 2020, Dr. Kovacevic established her independent research group at the University of Sydney, and in 2023 she relocated to UNSW where she now leads the Tumour Microenvironment group within the School of Biomedical Sciences. Her research is focused on understanding the cross-talk between cancer cells and the tumour microenvironment, with a particular interest in pancreatic cancer.

    She has published 83 research outputs (>5800 citations) and attracted >$8.5 million in research grants/fellowships ($3 million as lead investigator). Her research achievements were recognized by the 2016 Premier's Award for Outstanding Cancer Research Fellow of the Year and the 2016 Sydney Medical School Award for Excellence for Outstanding Early Career Researcher.

    Over her career, Dr. Kovacevic has co-supervised and mentored 11 Honours, 2 Masters and 10 PhD students to successful completion, with a further 10 international visiting PhD students mentored to completion as part of extensive international collaborations with China, Pakistan, Hong Kong and Germany. At UNSW, her team currently consists of 3 PhD students, 1 visiting PhD student, 1 research assistant and 1 post-doc. She is also co-supervisor to a further 2 PhD students at USYD and UNSW.

    Dr. Kovacevic is also actively involved in peer review, being an Editorial Board Member for 9 international journals (i.e. Biochem. J, BBA Gen Subjects, Pharmacol. Res, etc.) and is regularly involved in grant assessment for national and international funding bodies (i.e. NHMRC, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Cancer Australia, Cancer Council). As a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physiology, Dr. Kovacevic is also integrally involved in teaching into undergraduate Medicine and Physiology units at UNSW.

    1. Faten Shehadeh-Tout, Heloisa H Milioli, Suraya Roslan, Patric J Jansson, Mahendiran Dharmasivam, Dinny Graham, Robin Anderson, Tharushi Wijesinghe, Mahan Gholam Azad, Des R Richardson, Zaklina Kovacevic (2023) An Innovative Non-Hormonal Strategy Targeting Redox Active Metals to Down-Regulate Estrogen-, Progesterone-, Androgen- and Prolactin-Receptors in Breast Cancer. Pharmacol. Res. 193:106806.
    2. Jiawei Chang, Zoe H. Y. Lo, Shafi Alenizi and Zaklina Kovacevic (2023) Re-shaping the pancreatic cancer tumor microenvironment: A new role for the metastasis suppressor NDRG1. Cancers 15 (10), 2779 (doi: 10.3390/cancers15102779).
    3. Paluncic, J., Gholam Azad, M., Lane, D.J., Skoda, J., Park, K.C., Chiang, S., Bae, D.H.1, Scolyer, R., Afroz, R., Babu, G., Wilmott, J., Loh, K, Jansson P.J., Dharmasivam, M., Huang M.L., Zhao, X., Kovacevic, Z. and Richardson, D.R. (2022) Melanotransferrin Functions as a Pro-Oncogenic WNT Agonist: A Yin-Yang Relationship in Melanoma with the WNT Antagonist and Metastasis Suppressor, NDRG1. bioRxiv https://biorxiv.org/cgi/content/short/2023.02.27.530353v1
    4. Bekesho Geleta, Faten S. Tout, Syer Choon Lim, Sumit Sahni, Patric J. Jansson, Minoti V. Apte, Des R. Richardson, and Žaklina Kovačević (2022) The Mechanism of Targeting Wnt/Tenascin C-Mediated Cross-Talk between Pancreatic Cancer Cells and Stellate Cells via the Metastasis Suppressor, NDRG1. JBC 298(3):101608.
    5. Syer C. Lim, Bekesho Geleta, Sanaz Maleki, Des R. Richardson and Zaklina Kovacevic (2021) The Metastasis Suppressor, NDRG1, Directly Regulates Androgen Receptor Signaling in Prostate Cancer. JBC 297(6):101414.
    6. Bekesho Geleta, Kyung Chan Park, Patric J. Jansson, Sumit Sahni, Sanaz Maleki, Zhihong Xu, Takashi Murakami, Marina Pajic, Minoti V. Apte, Des R. Richardson and Zaklina Kovacevic (2021) Breaking the cycle: Targeting NDRG1 to inhibit bi-directional oncogenic cross-talk between pancreatic cancer and stroma. FASEB J 35(2):e21347.
    7. Syer C. Lim, Patric J. Jansson, Stephen Assinder, Sanaz Maleki, Des R. Richardson and Zaklina Kovacevic (2020) Unique targeting of androgen-dependent and independent AR signaling in prostate cancer to overcome androgen resistance. FASEB J 34(9):11511-11528.
    8. Marina Ludescher, Vanessa Stahlhut, Nina Kessler, Nadia Stamm, Berthold Gierke, Michael Pawlak, Annamaria Marton, Robert L. Katona, Andrea Buhala, Csaba Vizler, Zaklina Kovacevic, Des Richardson, Eugen Ruckhäberle, Dieter Niederacher, Tanja Fehm, Hans Neubauer (2020) PGRMC1 Promotes Tumour Progression of Breast Cancer via Upregulation of ERα Expression and EGFR Signalling. Breast Cancer Research 22(1):75.
    9. Fouani, L. Huang, M.L.H., Cole, L., Jansson, P.J., Kovacevic, Z., and Richardson, D.R. (2020) During mitosis ZEB1 switches from being a chromatin-bound epithelial gene repressor, to become a microtubule-associated protein. BBA Mol Cell Res 1867(7):118673.
    10. Sundus N. Maqbool, Syer C. Lim, Rumeza Hanif, Des R. Richardson, Patric J. Jansson and Zaklina Kovacevic (2020) Overcoming tamoxifen resistance in estrogen receptor positive breast cancer using a novel class of thiosemicarbazone anti-cancer agents. British J. Pharmacology 177(10):2365-2380.
    11. Kyung Chan Park, Bekesho Geleta, Lionel Yi Wen Leck, Patric J. Jansson, Zaklina Kovacevic* and Des R. Richardson (2019) Thiosemicarbazones Suppress Expression of the c-Met Oncogene by Mechanisms Involving Lysosomal Degradation and Intracellular Shedding JBC (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR). 295(2):481-503.
    12. Cristina Gamell, Ivona Bandilovska, Twishi Gulati, Syer Choon Lim, Zaklina Kovacevic, Simon Keam, Elena Takano, Giovanni Blandino, Lisa G Horvath, Stephen B Fox, Scott Williams, Andrea Russo, Catherine Mitchell, Shahneen Sandhu, Sue Haupt, Des R. Richardson, Ygal Haupt (2019) E6AP promotes metastasis in prostate cancer. iScience 22:1-15.
    13. Anjum R, Palanimuthu D, Kalinowski DS, Lewis W, Park KC, Kovacevic Z, Khan IU, Richardson DR. (2019) Synthesis, Characterization, and in Vitro Anticancer Activity of Copper and Zinc Bis(Thiosemicarbazone) Complexes. Inorg Chem. 58(20):13709-13723.
    14. Kyung C. Park, Jasmina Paluncic, Zaklina Kovacevic* and Des R. Richardson* (2019) Pharmacological Targeting and the diverse functions of the metastasis suppressor, NDRG1, in cancer. Free Radic. Biol. Med. (Invited Review) – 5849(19)30256-4. (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR)
    15. Madiha Yunus, Patric J Jansson, Zaklina Kovacevic, Danuta S Kalinowski, Des R Richardson (2019) Tumor-Induced Neoangiogenesis and Receptor Tyrosine Kinases - Mechanisms and Strategies for Acquired Resistance. BBA – General Subjects 1863(7):1217-1225.
    16. Sumit Sahni, Kyung C Park, Zaklina Kovacevic, Des Richardson (2019) Two Mechanisms Involving the Autophagic and Proteasomal Pathways Process the Metastasis Suppressor Protein, N-myc Downstream Regulated Gene 1. BBA Molecular Basis of Disease 1865(6):1361-1378.
    17. Sharleen V. Menezes, Zaklina Kovacevic*, and Des R. Richardson* (2019) The metastasis suppressor, NDRG1, promotes down-regulation of the epidermal growth factor receptor via a lysosomal mechanism by up-regulation of MIG6. JBC 294(11):4045-4064. (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR).
    18. Sharleen V. Menezes, Leyla Fouani, Michael L. H. Huang, Bekesho G. Wendimu, Sanaz Maleki, Alexander Richardson, Des R. Richardson and Zaklina Kovacevic (2019) The Metastasis Suppressor, NDRG1, Attenuates Oncogenic TGF-β and NF-ĸB Signaling to Enhance Membrane E-Cadherin Expression in Pancreatic Cancer Cells. Carcinogenesis 40(6):805-818.
    19. Kyung Chan Park, Sharleen V Menezes, Danuta S Kalinowski, Sumit Sahni, Patric J Jansson, Zaklina Kovacevic* and Des R. Richardson* (2018) Identification of Differential Phosphorylation and Sub-cellular Localization of The Metastasis Suppressor, NDRG1. BBA - Molecular Basis of Disease 1864(8):2644-2663. (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR).
    20. Moussa, R., Park, K.C., Kovacevic, Z. and Richardson, D.R. (2018) Ironing out the role of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, p21 in cancer: Novel iron chelating agents to target p21 expression and activity. Free Rad. Biol Med. 133:276-294.
    21. Ruxing Xi, Ho Yuen Pun, Sharleen V. Menezes, Michael L.H. Huang, Xiaozhi Zhang, Des R. Richardson and Zaklina Kovacevic (2017) Novel Thiosemicarbazones Inhibit Lysine-Rich CEACAM1 Co-isolated (LYRIC) and LYRIC-Induced Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition via Up-Regulation of N-Myc Downstream-Regulated Gene 1 (NDRG1). Mol Pharmacol. 91(5):499-517. Selected as front page cover of the May 2017 issue.
    22. Leyla Fouani, Zaklina Kovacevic,* and Des R. Richardson* (2017) Targeting Oncogenic NF-κB Signaling with Redox-Active Agents for Cancer Treatment. Antioxidants and Redox Signaling. 30(8):1096-1123. (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR).
    23. Kovacevic, Z.*, Sahni, S., Lok, H., Davies, M.J., Wink D.A., and Richardson, D.R. (2017) Regulation and Control of Nitric Oxide (NO) in Macrophages: Protecting the “Professional Killer Cell” from its Own Cytotoxic Arsenal via MRP1 and GSTP1. BBA General Subjects. 1861(5 Pt A):995-999. (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR).
    24. Sharleen V. Menezes, Sumit Sahni, Zaklina Kovacevic* and Des R. Richardson* (2017) Interplay of the Iron-Regulated Metastasis Suppressor, NDRG1, with EGFR and Oncogenic Signaling. JBC 292(31):12772-12782. Invited JBC Mini-Review. (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR).
    25. Moussa RS, Kovacevic Z, Bae DH, Lane DJR, Richardson DR. (2017) Transcriptional regulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, p21CIP1/WAF1, by the chelator, Dp44mT. BBA General Subjects 1862(3):761-774.
    26.  Angelica M. Merlot, Danuta S. Kalinowski, Zaklina Kovacevic, Patric J. Jansson, Sumit Sahni, Michael L.-H.. Huang, Darius J.R. Lane, Hiu Lok and Des R. Richardson (2017) Exploiting Cancer Metal Metabolism using Anti-Cancer Metal-Binding Agents. Curr Med Chem. 26(2):302-322
    27. Kovacevic Z.*, Menezes S.V., Sahni S., Kalinowski D.S., Bae D.H., Lane D.J. and Richardson D.R. (2016) The Metastasis Suppressor, N-myc Downstream Regulated Gene-1 (NDRG1), Down-Regulates the ErbB Family of Receptors to Inhibit Downstream Oncogenic Signaling Pathways. J Biol Chem. 291(3):1029-52. 35 Citations. (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR). Selected to appear in a special virtual issue at JBC called ‘Focus on Australasia’.
    28. Kovacevic, Z., Sahni, S. and Richardson, D.R. (2016) Copper that cancer via lysosomal love! Aging. 8(2):210-1. Invited Editorial.
    29. Sahni, S., Kovacevic, Z, Kalinowski, D.S., Huang, M., Menezes, S., Krishan, S., Lane, D.J.R., Jansson, P.J. and Richardson, D.R. (2016) Targeting autophagy in anti-tumor agent design: Furthering the “lysosomal love” strategy! Future Med Chem. 8:727-729. Invited Editorial.
    30. Michael A Cahill; Jalal A Jazayeri; Susan  M Catalano; Shinya  Toyokuni; Zaklina Kovacevic; Des R Richardson (2016) The Emerging Role of Progesterone Receptor Membrane Component 1 (PGRMC1) in Cancer. BBA Reviews on Cancer. 1866(2):339-349.
    31. Leyla Fouani, Sharleen V. Menezes, Mellow Paulson, Des R. Richardson and Zaklina Kovacevic (2016) Metals and metastasis: Exploiting the role of metals in cancer metastasis to develop novel anti-metastatic agents. Pharm. Res. 115:275-287. Invited Review.
    32. Wangpu X., Lu J., Park K.C., Xi R., Sahni S., Menezes S., Huang M.L.H., Yue F., Zheng M.*, Kovacevic Z.* and Richardson D.R.* (2016) Targeting the Metastasis Suppressor, N-Myc Downstream Regulated Gene-1, with Novel Di-2-Pyridylketone Thiosemicarbazones: Suppression of Tumor Cell Migration and Cell-Collagen Adhesion by Inhibiting Focal Adhesion Kinase/Paxillin Signaling. Molecular Pharmacology 89(5):521-40. (*CO-SENIOR OFFICER)
    33. Danuta S. Kalinowski, Christian Stefani, Shinya Toyokuni, Tomas Ganz, Nathan V. Subramaniam, Debbie Trinder, John K. Olynyk, Anita Chua, Patric J. Jansson, Sumit Sahni, Darius J.R. Lane, Angelica M. Merlot, Zaklina Kovacevic, Michael L.H. Huang, Lee, C.S. and Des R. Richardson (2016) Redox cycling metals: Pedaling their roles in metabolism and their use in the development of novel therapeutics. BBA Mol. Cell. Res. 1863(4):727-48.
    34. Elaine Gutierrez, Nicole Seebacher, Zaklina Kovacevic, Darius J Lane, Vera Richardson, Angelica M Merlot, Hiu Lok, Danuta S Kalinowski, Sumit Sahni, Patric J Jansson, Des R. Richardson (2016) Lysosomal membrane stability plays a major role in the cytotoxic activity of the anti-proliferative agent, di-2-pyridylketone 4,4-dimethyl-3-thiosemicarbazone (Dp44mT) BBA - Mol Cell Res. 1863: 1665-81.
    35. Merlot AM, Shafie NH, Yu Y, Richardson V, Jansson PJ, Sahni S, Lane DJ, Kovacevic Z, Kalinowski DS, Richardson DR. Mechanism of the induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress by the anti-cancer agent, di-2-pyridylketone 4,4-dimethyl-3-thiosemicarbazone (Dp44mT): Activation of PERK/eIF2α, IRE1α, ATF6 and calmodulin kinase. Biochem Pharmacol. 2016 Jun 1; 109:27-47.
    36. Zhu-Ling Guo, Des R. Richardson, Danuta S. Kalinowski, Zaklina Kovacevic, Kian Cheng Tan-Un and Godfrey Chi-Fung Chan (2016) The Novel Thiosemicarbazone, Di-2-pyridylketone 4-Cyclohexyl-4-methyl-3-thiosemicarbazone (DpC), Inhibits Neuroblastoma Growth In Vitro and In Vivo via Multiple Mechanisms. J. Hematol. Oncol. 27;9(1):98.
    37. Hiu Chuen Lok, Sumit Sahni, Patric J. Jansson, Zaklina Kovacevic, Clare L. Hawkins and Des R. Richardson (2016) A Nitric Oxide Storage and Transport System that Protects Macrophages from Endogenous Nitric Oxide Cytotoxicity. J Biol Chem 291(53):27042-27061.
    38. Jasmina Paluncic, Zaklina Kovacevic, Patric J. Jansson, Danuta Kalinowski, Angelica Merlot, Michael L.-H. Huang, Hiu Lok, Sumit Sahni, Darius J. R. Lane and Des R. Richardson (2016) Roads to Melanoma: Key Pathways and Emerging Players in Melanoma Progression and Oncogenic Signaling. BBA Mol. Cell. Res. 1863(4):770-84.
    39. Shannon Chiang, Darius J.R. Lane, Zaklina Kovacevic, Michael L.-H. Huang and Des R. Richardson (2016) Frataxin and the molecular mechanism of mitochondrial iron-loading in Friedreich's ataxia. Clin Sci. 130(11):852-70.
    40. Kyung Chan Park, Leyla Fouani, Patric J. Jansson, Sumit Sahni, Darius J.R. Lane, Danson Wooi, Duraippandi Palanimuthu, Hiu Chuen Lok, Zaklina Kovačević, Danuta S. Kalinowski, Michael L.H. Huang and Des R. Richardson (2016). Copper and conquer: Copper complexes of di-2-pyridylketone thiosemicarbazones as novel anti-cancer therapeutics. Metallomics. 8(9):874-86. Invited Review.
    41. Michael A. Cahill, Jalal A. Jazayeri, Zaklina Kovacevic, Des R. Richardson (2016) PGRMC1 regulation by phosphorylation: Potential new insights in controlling biological activity! Oncotarget. 7(32):50822-50827. Research Perspective.
    42. Lui GY, Kovacevic Z, V Menezes S, Kalinowski DS, Merlot AM, Sahni S, Richardson DR. (2015) Novel Thiosemicarbazones Regulate the Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3) Pathway: Inhibition of Constitutive and Interleukin 6-Induced Activation by Iron Depletion. Mol Pharmacol. 2015 Mar; 87(3):543-60.
    43. Liu, W., Yue, F., Zheng, M., Kovacevic, Z*. and Richardson, D.R. (2015) The proto-oncogene c-Src and its down-stream signaling pathways are inhibited by the metastasis suppressor, NDRG1. Oncotarget. Apr 20;6(11):8851-74. (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR).
    44. Moussa, R.S., Kovacevic, Z.* and Richardson D.R. (2015) Differential Targeting of the Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor, p21CIP1/WAF1, by Chelators with Anti-Proliferative Activity in a Range of Tumor Cell-Types. Oncotarget. 6(30):29694-711. (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR).
    45. Wangpu X, Yang X, Zhao J, Lu J, Guan S, Lu J, Kovacevic Z, Liu W, Mi L, Jin R, Sun J, Yue F, Ma J, Lu A, Richardson DR, Wang L, Zheng M. (2015) The metastasis suppressor, NDRG1, inhibits "stemness" of colorectal cancer via down-regulation of nuclear β-catenin and CD44. Oncotarget. 6(32):33893-911.
    46. Merlot AM, Kalinowski DS, Kovacevic Z, Jansson PJ, Lane DJ, Huang ML, Sahni S, Richardson DR. (2015) Making a case for albumin – a highly promising drug-delivery system. Future Med Chem. 2015;7(5):553-6.
    47. Lui GY, Kovacevic Z, Richardson V, Merlot AM, Kalinowski DS, Richardson DR. (2015) Targeting cancer by binding iron: Dissecting cellular signaling pathways. Oncotarget. 6(22):18748-79.
    48. Jansson PJ, Kalinowski DS, Lane DJ, Kovacevic Z, Seebacher NA, Fouani L, Sahni S, Merlot AM, Richardson DR. (2015) The renaissance of polypharmacology in the development of anti-cancer therapeutics: Inhibition of the "Triad of Death" in cancer by Di-2-pyridylketone thiosemicarbazones. Pharmacol Res.100:255-60.
    49. Liu W, Kovacevic Z, Peng Z, Jin R, Wang P, Yue F, Zheng M, Huang ML, Jansson PJ, Richardson V, Kalinowski DS, Lane DJ, Merlot AM, Sahni S, Richardson DR. (2015) The molecular effect of metastasis suppressors on Src signaling and tumorigenesis: new therapeutic targets. Oncotarget. 6(34):35522-41.
    50. Al-Eisawi, Zaynab; Stefani, Christian; Jansson, Patric; Arvind, Akanksha; Sharpe, Philip; Basha, Maram; Iskander, George; Kumar, Naresh; Kovacevic, Zaklina; Lane, Darius; Sahni, Sumit; Bernhardt, Paul; Richardson, Des; Kalinowski, Danuta (2015) Novel Mechanism of Cytotoxicity for the Selective Selenosemicarbazone, 2-Acetylpyridine 4,4-Dimethyl-3-Selenosemicarbazone (Ap44mSe): Lysosomal Membrane Permeabilization. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 59(1):294-312.
    51. Bernard A. Fang, Zaklina Kovačević, Kyung Chan Park, Danuta S. Kalinowski, Patric J. Jansson, Darius J. R. Lane, Sumit Sahni and Des R. Richardson (2014). Molecular Functions of the Iron-Regulated Metastasis Suppressor, NDRG1, and its Potential as a Molecular Target for Cancer Therapy. BBA - Reviews on Cancer 1845(1):1-19
    52. Darius J.R. Lane, Thomas M. Mills, Rayan Moussa, Danuta S. Kalinowski, Zaklina Kovacevic,  Angelica M. Merlot, Nurul H. Shafie and Des R. Richardson (2014) Expanding horizons in iron chelation and the treatment of cancer: Role of iron in the regulation of ER stress and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition. BBA- Reviews on Cancer 1845(2):166-81.
    53. Lok HC, Sahni S, Richardson V, Kalinowski DS, Kovacevic Z, Lane DJ, Richardson DR. (2014) Glutathione S-transferase and MRP1 form an integrated system involved in the storage and transport of dinitrosyl-dithiolato iron complexes in cells. Free Radic Biol Med. 2014 Jul 15; 75C:14-29.
    54. Sahni S, Bae DH, Lane DJ, Kovacevic Z, Kalinowski DS, Jansson PJ, Richardson DR. (2014) The Metastasis Suppressor, N-myc Downstream Regulated Gene 1 (NDRG1), Inhibits Stress-Induced Autophagy in Cancer Cells. J Biol Chem. 289(14):9692-709.
    55. Jin R, Liu W, Menezes S, Yue F, Zheng M, Kovacevic Z*, Richardson DR. (2014) The metastasis suppressor, NDRG1, modulates β-Catenin phosphorylation and nuclear translocation by mechanisms involving FRAT1 and PAK4. J Cell Sci. 127(Pt 14):3116-30. (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR).
    56. Kovacevic Z., Chikhani S., Lui G.Y.L, Sivagurunathan S. and Richardson D.R. (2013). The Iron-Regulated Metastasis Suppressor N-Myc Downstream Regulated Gene 1 (NDRG1) Targets Nedd4L, PTEN and Smad4 and Inhibits the PI3K and Ras Signaling Pathways. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 18(8):874-87.
    57. Sun, J. Zhang, D., Zheng, Y., Zhao, Q., Zheng, M., Kovacevic, Z.* and Richardson, D.R. (2013) Targeting the Metastasis Suppressor, NDRG1, Using Novel Iron Chelators: Regulation of Stress Fiber-Mediated Tumor Cell Migration via Modulation of the ROCK1/pMLC2 Signaling Pathway. Molecular Pharmacology 83(2):454-69. (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR).
    58. Dixon, K.M., Lui, G.Y.L., Kovacevic, Z., Zhang, D., Yao, M., Chen, Z., Dong, Q., Assinder, S.J. and Richardson, D.R. (2013) Dp44mT targets the AKT, TGF-β and ERK pathways via the metastasis suppressor NDRG1 in normal prostate epithelial cells and prostate cancer cells. BJC 108 (2): 409-19.
    59. Lane, D.J.R., Saletta, F., Rahmanto, Y.S., Kovacevic, Z. and Richardson, D.R. (2013) N-myc downstream regulated 1 (NDRG1) is regulated by eukaryotic initiation factor 3a (eIF3a) during cellular stress caused by iron depletion. PLoS ONE 8(2): e57273.
    60. #Richardson, A., #Kovacevic, Z. and Richardson, D.R. (2013) Iron Chelation and NDRG1: Inhibition of Key Signaling Pathways in the Induction of the Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition in Pancreatic Cancer and Other Tumors. Critical Reviews in Oncogenesis 18(5):409-34. (# EQUAL FIRST AUTHOR).
    61. Sun, J., Zhang, D., Zheng, Y., Zhao, Q., Zheng, M., Kovacevic, Z.* and Richardson D.R. (2013) The Metastasis Suppressor, NDRG1: Signaling Pathways and Molecular Motors. Carcinogenesis 34(9):1943-54. (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR).
    62. Dong-Hun Bae, Patric J. Jansson, Michael L. Huang, Zaklina Kovacevic, Soon C. Lee, Sumit Sahni, Des R. Richardson (2013). The Role of NDRG1 in the Pathology and Potential Treatment of Human Cancers. J. Clin. Pathology 66(11):911-7.
    63. Kalinowski, D.S., Jansson, P.J., Kovacevic, Z. and Richardson, D.R. (2013) The redox-active, anti-cancer drug Dp44mT inhibits T-cell activation and CD25 through a copper-dependent mechanism. Redox Report. 18(2):48-50. Commentary.
    64. Kovacevic Z. and Richardson D.R. (2012). Targeting Iron in Cancer Cells: A New Strategy to Inhibit Metastatic Progression. Vitamins and Minerals. 1:e114. doi: 10.4172/2167-0390.1000e114. Invited Editorial.
    65. Yu Y., Guetterez E., Kovacevic Z., Saletta F., Obeidy P., Suryo Rahmanto Y. & Richardson D.R. (2012) Iron Chelators for the Treatment of Cancer. Curr Med Chem 19(17):2689-702.
    66. Chen, Z., Zhang, D., Yue, F., Zheng, M., Kovacevic, Z. and Richardson, D.R. (2012) The iron chelators Dp44mT and DFO inhibit TGFβ-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition via up-regulation of N-myc downstream-regulated gene 1 (NDRG1) J Biol Chem 287:17016-28.
    67. Serda M, Kalinowski DS, Mrozek-Wilczkiewicz A, Musiol R, Szurko A, Ratuszna A, Pantarat N, Kovacevic Z, Merlot AM, Richardson DR, Polanski J. (2012). Synthesis and characterization of quinoline-based thiosemicarbazones and correlation of cellular iron-binding efficacy to anti-tumor efficacy. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 22(17):5527-31.
    68. Correnti C., Richardson V., Sia A.K, Bandaranayake A.D., Ruiz M., Rahmanto Y.S., Kovacevic Z., Clifton M.C., Holmes M.A, Barasch J., Raymond K.N., Richardson D.R. and Strong R.K. (2012) Siderocalin/Lcn2/NGAL/23p3 Does Not Drive Apoptosis Through Gentisic Acid Mediated Iron Withdrawal in Hematopoietic Cell Lines. PLoS ONE 7(8):e43696.
    69. Lui GY, Obeidy P, Ford SJ, Tselepis C, Sharp DM, Jansson PJ, Kalinowski DS, Kovacevic Z*, Lovejoy DB, Richardson DR. (2012) The Iron Chelator, Deferasirox, as a Novel Strategy for Cancer Treatment: Oral Activity Against Human Lung Tumor Xenografts and Molecular Mechanism of Action. Molecular Pharmacology 83(1):179-90. (*CO-SENIOR AUTHOR).
    70. Kovacevic Z., Sivagurunathan S., Mangs, H., Chikhani S., Zhang, D. and Richardson D.R. (2011). The metastasis suppressor, N-myc downstream regulated gene 1 (NDRG1), up-regulates p21 via p53-independent mechanisms. Carcinogenesis. 32(5):732-40.
    71. Kovacevic, Z., Chikhani, S., Lovejoy D.B. and Richardson, D.R. (2011) Novel Thiosemicarbazone Iron Chelators Induce Up-Regulation and Phosphorylation Of The Metastasis Suppressor, NDRG1: A New Strategy For The Treatment Of Pancreatic Cancer. Molecular Pharmacology. 80(4):598-609.
    72. Kovacevic, Z., Kalinowski, D.S., Lovejoy, D.B., Yu, Y., Rahmanto, Y.S., Sharpe, P.C., Bernhardt, P.V., and Richardson, D.R. (2011). The Medicinal Chemistry of Novel Iron Chelators for the Treatment of Cancer. Curr Top Med Chem. 11(5):483-99.
    73. Saletta, F., Kovacevic, Z. and Richardson, D.R. (2011) Iron Chelation: Deciphering Novel Molecular Targets for Cancer Therapy – The Tip of the Iceberg of a Web of Iron-Regulated Molecules! Future Medicinal Chemistry 3(16):1983-6.
    74. Kovacevic, Z., Yu, Y. and Richardson, D.R. (2011). Chelators to the rescue: different horses for different courses! Chem. Res. Toxicol. 24(3):279-82. Invited Editorial.
    75. Kovacevic, Z., Kalinowski D.S., Lovejoy, D.B., Quach P., Wong, J., and Richardson, D.R. (2010). Iron Chelators: Development of Novel Compounds with High and Selective Anti-Tumour Activity. Current Drug Delivery. 7(3):194-207. Invited Review.
    76. Finster, J., Kalinowski, D.S., Musiol, R., Mrozek, A., Szurko, A., Serafin, K., Kamalapuram, S.K., Kovacevic, Z., Jampilek, J., Ratuszna, A., Rzeszowska-Wolny, J., Richardson, D.R., Polanski, J. (2010). Investigating anti-proliferative activity of styrylazanaphthalenes and azanaphthalenediones. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry.
    77. Otevrel, J., Mandelova, Z., Pesko, M., Guo, J., Kralova, K., Sersen, F., Vejsova, M., Kalinowski, DS., Kovacevic, Z., Coffey, A., Csollei, J., Richardson, D.R., Jampilek, J. (2010). Investigating the spectrum of biological activity of ring-substituted salicylanilides and carbamoylphenylcarbamates. Molecules.
    78. Yu, Y., Kalinowski, D.S., Kovacevic, Z., Siafakas, R.A., Jansson, P., Stefani, C., Lovejoy, D.B., Sharpe, P.C., Bernhardt, P.V., Richardson, D.R. (2009). Thiosemicarbazones from the Old to New: Iron Chelators which are more than just Ribonucleotide Reductase Inhibitors. J. Med. Chem. 52:5271-94. Invited Perspective.
    79. Assinder, S.J, Dong, Q., Kovacevic, Z. and Richardson, D.R. (2009) The TGF-β, PI3/Akt and PTEN pathways: Established and proposed biochemical integration in prostate cancer. Biochem J. 417:411-21.
    80. Kovacevic, Z., Fu, D. and Richardson, D.R. (2008) The Iron-Regulated Metastasis Suppressor, Ndrg-1: Identification of Novel Molecular Targets. BBA-Mol Cell Res. 1783:1981-92.
    81. Yu Y, #Kovacevic Z, Richardson DR (2007) Tuning Cell Cycle Regulation with an Iron Key. Cell Cycle. 6: 1982-94. Invited Review. (# EQUAL FIRST AUTHOR).
    82. Kovacevic, Z. and Richardson, D.R. (2006) The Metastasis Suppressor, Ndrg-1: a New Ally in the Fight Against Cancer. Carcinogenesis. 27:2355-66.


    1. Zaklina Kovacevic and Des R. Richardson (2009). The metastasis suppressor:  Ndrg-1. Examining the molecular function and iron regulation of NDRG1 in cancer. VDM Verlag, Dr. Muller, Saarbrücken, Germany, pp1-121. ISSN: 9783639148190.
    2. Zaklina Kovacevic and Des R. Richardson (2012). Molecular functions of the iron-regulated metastasis suppressor NDRG1 and its potential role in the treatment of cancer. Lap Lambert Academic Pub. ISSN: 3848489244.

Jiawei (Kevin) Chang

Honours Class I (Dean’s List of Achievement), 2022, University of Sydney

Research focus: Extracellular vesicle biogenesis and crosstalk pathways in pancreatic cancer.

PhD Student

Shafi Alenizi

Masters of Science in Medicine (Infection and Immunity), 2017, University of Sydney

Research focus: Effect of the metastasis suppressor NDRG1 in pancreatic cancer metabolism and cross-talk with the immune tumour microenvironment. 

PhD Student

Zoe Lo

Honours Class I, 2023, University of Sydney

Research focus: Metabolic crosstalk between pancreatic cancer cells and cancer associated fibroblasts. 

Research Assistant

Balquees Kanwal

Masters of Biosciences (Gold Medallist), 2019, University of Wah

Research focus: Role of Vitamin D and E in regulating the breast cancer microenvironment. 

Visiting PhD Student