Personal details

Professor Rik Thompson
Professor of Breast Cancer Research
Faculty of Health,
School of 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
View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
Identifiers and profiles

PhD (Griffith University)

Professional memberships
and associations


  • Associate Director, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, at the Translational Research Institute, Brisbane.
  • 07/2014 –    Member, Translational Research Institute, Brisbane.
  • 04/2014-    Professor of Breast Cancer Research, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.
  • 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


  • 2012 –        Australian Genomic Technologies Association (AGTA) – Honorary Lifetime Member from 2012
  • 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 in the rat testis for his PhD and undertook postdoctoral training in breast cancer invasion and metastasis at NIH, USA and the Lombardi Cancer Research Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, USA. He established a 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. In 2014, he joined IHBI QUT as Professor in Breast Cancer Research and Theme Leader for ‘Chronic Disease and Ageing’. In 2016, he took up the role of Associate Director of IHBI at the Translational Research Institute.

Rik has maintained a strong interest in epithelial mesenchymal plasticity (EMP) research since the late 1980s. 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 EMP for new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic opportunities in breast cancer, especially metastatic recurrence. EMPathy has a focus on EMP exhibited by circulating tumour cells (CTCs), as a window into the metastatic process and therapy resistance.

Rik has also developed research interests in the pathobiology of mammographic density as a risk factor for breast cancer over the past decade, based on his long standing interest in extracellular matrix. He developed a model of pairwise comparison of high and low MD material in terms of histological, biological and molecular analyses, both in vitro and in vivo. He is also active in advocacy around MD in Australia, as a founding member of the inforMD Alliance, and head of a working group of the Clinical Oncology Societies of Australia to develop a Consensus Statenent on MD.

Rik is very active in the society of science. He co-founded The International EMT Association (TEMTIA) in 2003, was elected President in 2013, and convened 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.



2017                LQB601 – Cancer Biology, Research Seminar, “Unravelling the Pathobiology of Mammographic Density as a Breast Cancer Risk Factor”, QUT (22 August 2017)

2016                  LQB601 – Cancer Biology, Research Seminar, “Tumour Microenvironment & Epithelial Mesenchymal Plasticity in Human Breast Cancer”, QUT (9 August 2016)

2015                   LQB601 – Cancer Biology, Research Seminar, “Tumour microenvironment and metastasis”

2015-2017        Honours Seminar Assessment

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.



  • 2015 –        Co-Guest Editor (with Dr Don Newgreen), Cells Tissues Organs Special Issue on the 7th International EMT Meeting, TEMTIA 2015
  • 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.


Current supervisions