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Professor Rik Thompson

Faculty of Health,
School - Biomedical Sciences,
Research - Biomedical Sciences


Professor Rik Thompson
Associate Director (TRI)
Faculty of Health,
School - Biomedical Sciences,
Research - Biomedical Sciences
Professor of Breast Cancer Research
Faculty of Health,
School - Biomedical Sciences,
Research - Biomedical Sciences
IHBI Membership
Institute of Health Biomedical Innovation (IHBI),
IHBI Health Projects,
IHBI Biomedical Sciences - CDA
Discipline *
Medical Biochemistry and Metabolomics, Medical Microbiology
+61 7 3443 7365
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Identifiers and profiles

PhD (Griffith University)

Professional memberships
and associations


  • 04/2014-    Honorary Professor, Department of Surgery, The University of Melbourne (tenured 14/10/2004)
  • 04/2014-    Adjunct Group Leader, Invasion and Metastasis Unit, St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia


  • 2010-         Clinical Oncology Societies of Australia
  • 2009-         Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group
  • 2008-12     International Society for Matrix Biology
  • 2005-10     British Association for Cancer Research
  • 2000-12     International Protease Society
  • 1996-         Matrix Biology Society of Australia and New Zealand
  • 1994-         Australasian Microarry and Associated Technologies Association (AMATA); now the Australian Genomic Technologies Association (AGTA)
  • 1993-         The EMT International Association (TEMTIA)
  • 1991-         Australian Society for Medical Research
  • 1990-         Metastasis Research Society (International)
  • 1986-         American Association for Cancer Research (incl. Tumour Microenvironment Working Group)
  • 1983-         Australia & New Zealand Society for Cell Biology

Breast Cancer, Mammographic Density, Invasion and Metastasis, Matrix Metalloproteinases, Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition, Extracellular Matrix, Transcriptomics

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


SPECIFIC FIELD OF EXPERTISE: Cancer Biology, Breast Cancer, Invasion and Metastasis, Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition, Matrix Metalloproteinases

SHORT BIO: Prof Erik (Rik) Thompson studied extracellular matrix for his PhD and has been active in breast cancer research since the late 1980s, when he initiated postdoctoral studies on breast cancer invasion and metastasis at NIH, USA and the Lombardi Cancer Research Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, USA. He established his own breast cancer invasion and metastasis laboratory at Georgetown before returning to St. Vincent’s Institute, Melbourne in 1997 as Group Leader for Invasion and Metastasis in the Victorian Breast Cancer Research Consortium. He was appointed Associate Professor in the University of Melbourne Department of Surgery at St. Vincent’s Hospital at that time and promoted to Professor in 2010. He served as Associate Director of St. Vincent’s Institute (1999-2002), Director of Research of the O’Brien Institute (2002-206) and Director of Basic Science Studies at the University of Melbourne Department of Surgery at St. Vincent’s Hospital (2012-2014). In 2014, he was appointed Professor in Breast Cancer Research and Theme Leader for ‘Chronic Disease and Ageing’ at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at QUT, and remains an honorary professor in the Department of Surgery at The University of Melbourne and an Adjunct Group Leader of the Invasion and Metastasis Unit at St Vincent’s Institute in Melbourne. He has pursued epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) research since the late 1980s, and has further research interests in matrix metalloproteinases, especially MMP13 and MMP14; and the pathobiology of mammography density as a risk factor for breast cancer. He created the EMPathy Breast Cancer Network in 2008 with National Collaborative Research Program support from the National Breast Cancer Foundation (Australia). EMPathy links 28 investigators across 20 Australian Institutions, seeking to exploit epithelial mesenchymal plasticity (EMP) for new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic opportunities in breast cancer, especially metastatic disease. EMPathy has a focus on circulating tumour cells (CTCs) as a window into the metastatic process.  He co-founded The International EMT Association (TEMTIA) in 2003 and was elected President in 2013. He will convene the 2015 TEMTIA meeting in Melbourne, Australia. He was also the founding President of AMATA in 2004 (now the Australasian Genomic Technologies Association) and has served as President of the Matrix Biology Society of Australia and New Zealand (2003) and the Metastasis Research Society (MRS, International, 2010-2012). In 2012, he convened the 12th International Congress of MRS in Brisbane, Australia, and created OzMRS – An Australasian Chapter of MRS.

This information has been contributed by Professor Rik Thompson.



2012, 2013      Casual Lecturer, EMT and stem cells (in CED830004 Stem cells in Development & Regeneration),
The University of Melbourne

1995-1997       Facilitator, Problem Based Learning, Georgetown University Medical Centre

1992-1997       Assistant Professor, Histology Teaching, Dept. Anatomy and Cell Biology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA

1985                Casual Lecturer, School of Science, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

1980-1984       Casual Demonstrator and Teaching Fellow, School of Science, Griffith University, Brisbane

This information has been contributed by Professor Rik Thompson.



  • 2011-         Editorial Board Member, Cancer Microenvironment
  • 2011-         Co-Guest Editor (with Dr. Don Newgreen, Dr. Carol La Bonne, Dr. Angels Fabra Fres), Cells Tissues Organs Special Issue on the 5th International EMT Meeting, TEMTIA 2011
  • 2010-         Co-Guest Editor (with Dr. Heide Ford), the Journal of Mammary Gland Biology Special Issue on Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition in Mammary Development and Cancer Principal Guest Editor, Cells Tissues Organs Issue ‘Epithelial Mesenchymal Transitions: New Advances in Development, Fibrosis and Cancer’ Co-Guest Editor (with Dr. Izhak Haviv), Cancer Microenvironment Special Issue on Microenvironment and Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition
  • 2010-         Associate Editor, Cells Tissues Organs
  • 2008-10-    Editorial Board Member, Cells Tissues Organs
  • 2007-08-    Guest Editor, Clinical Experimental Metastasis Special Issue on Epithelial Mesenchymal Transitions in Cancer, 25 (6), October 2008
  • 2006-07-    Guest Editor, Cells Tissues Organs Special Issue on the 2nd International EMT Conference, 2007
  • 1995-         Editorial Board Member, the Breast Journal Editorial Board Member, Clinical and Experimental Metastasis
This information has been contributed by Professor Rik Thompson.


For publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.