Scientia Professor Vlado Perkovic, Dean of UNSW Medicine & Health and Acting Provost – Faculties, has announced Professor David Thomas as the inaugural director of the Centre for Molecular Oncology, a new research centre dedicated to advancing the understanding and treatment of cancer.

Prof. Thomas is currently Head of the Genomic Cancer Medicine Laboratory at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, a Conjoint Professor at UNSW Medicine & Health, and CEO of Omico, a non-profit nationwide network of genomic cancer research and treatment centres.

The new role will see Prof. Thomas leading and fostering excellence in research and using molecular and genomic approaches to gain a deeper understanding of cancer biology. The aim is to develop more effective treatments and improve patient outcomes for those living with cancer. 

“The Centre for Molecular Oncology is set to become a major player in the global fight against cancer,” said Prof. Vlado Perkovic.

“As an internationally renowned cancer researcher, the appointment of Professor Thomas is a significant step by UNSW Medicine & Health towards achieving this goal. We look forward to working with him to build research capacity and strengthen connections to ultimately improve outcomes for Australians with cancer.”

Professor Thomas said he was delighted to be joining UNSW Medicine & Health. “The Centre for Molecular Oncology is a bold initiative that demonstrates UNSW Medicine & Health's commitment to tackling one of the greatest challenges facing modern medicine,” said Prof. Thomas. “This is an incredible opportunity to bring together some of the brightest minds in cancer research to develop new treatments and therapies for cancer patients and advance our understanding of cancer biology."

Prof. Thomas undertook his medical training at the University of Melbourne, followed by a PhD at the same university and obtained his Fellowship in Medical Oncology from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He did his post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School, before moving back to Melbourne to set up his own laboratory, initially at St Vincent’s Hospital, then at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He joined the Garvan Institute in 2014, taking up Directorship of the Kinghorn Cancer Centre and Head of the Cancer Division of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

The new UNSW research centre will be established within the School of Biomedical Sciences.  

Prof. Thomas starts his new role on 11 April 2023. He maintains a fractional appointment at the Garvan Institute.