The Molecular Oncology Research Group aims to improve ovarian cancer risk prediction and prognosis, by using large international consortia that are adequately powered to have an impact for patients.

Our goals

Development of clinical tests to improve treatment for ovarian cancer patients

As part of two NHMRC funded grants, we are developing molecular tests on ovarian tumour samples to improve treatment for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. These tests will determine if a woman should have surgery or chemotherapy first, how they will respond to the current treatment and predict their response to new treatments. These studies are performed through the Ovarian Tumour Tissue Analysis (OTTA) Consortium. Predicting how well a woman may respond to the current treatment may identify a group of women who should be included in clinical trials of new treatments. Together with our team of consumers and clinical colleagues, we are determining how women with ovarian cancer feel about the potential new test in a patient acceptability study.

Improving risk prediction for ovarian cancer

We aim to identify the changes that will help clinicians recognise women at increased risk of ovarian cancer before they develop the disease by studying inherited changes in their DNA. We’re identifying two types of changes. Firstly, large numbers of common variants, each with a very small increased risk. These variants can be combined into a polygenic risk score. Secondly, rare variants with a high or moderate risk of ovarian cancer. Identification of these variants have implications for the treatment of the patient and risk for other family members. These studies are performed through The Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC) and Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA).

Research strengths

  •  Co-leading the Ovarian Tumour Tissue Analysis (OTTA) Consortium
  • Steering committee of the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC)
  • Consumer engagement
  • Large scale genomic analysis of formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tumours using the latest technologies, such as NanoString RNA expression, somatic mutations using TamSeq and DNA copy number using shallow whole genome sequencing (sWGS)
  • Identification of prognostic markers and signatures
  • Validation of prognostic markers by immunohistochemistry (IHC) on tissue microarrays (TMA)
  • Germline whole exome sequencing (WES) and large-scale validation by targeted sequencing in large numbers of cases and controls
  • Genome wide association studies (GWAS).

Our experts

Professor Molecular Oncology Susan Ramus
Professor Molecular Oncology

Merridee Wouters

Senior Research Associate (Bioinformatics)


Brittney Harrington

Senior Research Associate


Gordana Popovic

Senior Lecturer (Statistician)


Adelyn Bolithon

Research Officer


Annie Bui

Research Assistant


Christine McCaffrey

Research Assistant


Ashley Weir

PhD student

Our affiliated partners

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