Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre

Translational Therapeutics Team

Group leader



"Dr. Paul Janssen never started a project without a conception in his head, a conception that not only specified a starting place.... but also embodied foresight of how his invention would deliver clinical utility...." Drug Discovery Today, 2007; 12 (3-4): 105-107.

Senior scientists


We are committed to pursuing experimental research with clear clinical outcomes. We focus on the discovery and development of novel anticancer therapies including small molecules and biological agents. By seeking novel therapeutic solutions we aim to make anticancer treatments more specific for cancer tissues whilst sparing vital normal tissues (thereby limiting side effects).

One major area of interest is the development of prodrug technologies to release chemotherapy drugs selectively within solid tumours due to their inherent lack of oxygen (hypoxia).

Another active research area is the use of cancer-tropic biological agents, such as viruses and bacteria that can only colonise and propagate in tumour tissues. These 'conditionally replicating vectors' are engineered to express highly efficient drug-metabolising enzymes. We design and develop small molecules to partner with these biological agents. Our prodrug discovery projects are conducted in collaboration with the Medicinal Chemistry Group.

Staff and students


Current students:

Shevan Silva (PhD)

Regan Fu (PhD)

Victoria Jackson (PhD)


Past students:

Alex Mowday (PhD, 2016)

Jiechuang Su* (PhD, 2014)

Matthew Bull (PhD, 2014)

Susan Richter* (PhD, 2012)

Ritu Mittra (MHSc, 2012)

Shevan Silva* (MSc, 2012)

Sophie Syddall* (PhD, 2010)

Smitha Tipparaju* (MSc, 2010)

Dean Singleton (PhD, 2009)

Rachelle Singleton* (PhD, 2009)

Joanna Connolly (PGDipSci, 2008)

Samuel Holford* (PGDipSci, 2008)

Anderson Wang* (BSc Hons, 2006)

Angela Tsai (BSc Hons, 2005)

Su Jung lee (BSc Hons, 2003)