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Helen Rizos

Head of Department & Professor Cancer Cell Biology

Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Contact Details

Tel: (02) 9850 2762


Level 1, 75 Talavera Road, Macquarie University

Professor Rizos is a cancer cell biologist with an international reputation in the field of melanoma senescence, tumour suppressor proteins and oncoproteins. Her work combines genetic analyses of melanoma tumours with functional molecular and cell biology in order to understand the role and regulation of genes and cellular pathways that influence the development and therapeutic response of melanoma. This work will define the targetable mechanisms of sensitivity and response to selective oncogene inhibitors and immunotherapies in melanoma.


BSc (Hon I), PhD

Research Interest

  • Role of oncogenic signalling pathways in enhancing the survival and proliferation of cancer cells
  • Genetic effectors of melanoma resistance to cancer therapies
  • Impact of MAPK inhibitors on immune regulatory pathways in melanoma
  • Utility of circulating tumour DNA and RNA as prognostic tool

Select Publications

  1. Carlino, M. S., Todd, J. R., Gowrishankar, K., Mijatov, B., Pupo, G. M., Fung, C., Snoyman, S., Hersey, P., Long, G. V., Kefford, R. F., and Rizos, H. (2014) Differential activity of MEK and ERK inhibitors in BRAF inhibitor resistant melanoma. Mol Oncol 8, 544-554
  2. Gray, E. S., Rizos, H., Reid, A. L., Boyd, S. C., Pereira, M. R., Lo, J., Tembe, V., Freeman, J., Lee, J. H., Scolyer, R. A., Siew, K., Lomma, C., Cooper, A., Khattak, M. A., Meniawy, T. M., Long, G. V., Carlino, M. S., Millward, M., and Ziman, M. (2015) Circulating tumour DNA to monitor treatment response and detect acquired resistance in patients with metastatic melanoma. Oncotarget (in press)
  3. Long, G. V., Fung, C., Menzies, A. M., Pupo, G. M., Carlino, M. S., Hyman, J., Shahheydari, H., Tembe, V., Thompson, J. F., Saw, R. P., Howle, J., Hayward, N. K., Johansson, P., Scolyer, R. A., Kefford, R. F., and Rizos, H. (2014) Increased MAPK reactivation in early resistance to dabrafenib/trametinib combination therapy of BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma. Nat Commun 5, 5694
  4. Rizos, H., Menzies, A. M., Pupo, G. M., Carlino, M. S., Fung, C., Hyman, J., Haydu, L. E., Mijatov, B., Becker, T. M., Boyd, S. C., Howle, J., Saw, R., Thompson, J. F., Kefford, R. F., Scolyer, R. A., and Long, G. V. (2014) BRAF inhibitor resistance mechanisms in metastatic melanoma: spectrum and clinical impact. Clinical Cancer Res 20, 1965-1977

Grant Success

  • 2014-2016 NHMRC Project Grant (CIA), MAPK reactivation drives melanoma resistance to MAPK inhibition - $720,558
  • 2016-2020 NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship, Manipulating oncogene addiction and immunity in the treatment of melanoma - $687,975
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