Dr Susan Woods

Dr Susan Woods

Susan is a biomedical scientist with three first author Nature publications to her credit. She trained with Nobel Laureate J. Michael Bishop (UCSF) and Prof Nick Hayward (QIMR-B). Her lab focuses on gut cancer: the subject of her NHMRC New Investigator funding and Beat Cancer SA Fellowship. She uses both patient samples and sophisticated preclinical models. Her research integrates state-of-the-art approaches to address clinical needs for worst prognosis bowel cancers.

Bowel cancer is a preventable disease, if early bowel cancers are detected they can be removed and >95% of patients are cured. Yet over 4000 Australians still die from this cancer each year. We need to do better to prevent, find and treat these cancers. Projects in the lab focus on finding the hidden, early cancers that are not found by current population bowel cancer screening tests. We combine recent technological advances to develop new tests to better detect these lesions and predict which will become killers. We will rapidly move our best candidates to existing clinical cohorts for evaluation, to expedite translation to the clinic.

Together with our Australian research and US-based corporate partners, we also assess personalised treatment regimes for advanced disease using patient samples grown in a dish. If this works, it will guide therapy choice for patients, reducing unwarranted side-effects and picking the treatment that will work most effectively for each patient.

Projects in the lab also investigate how the bacterial community in our gut is changed in cancer, and the role this plays in promoting this disease. This may lead to a probiotic supplement for high risk people to assist with bowel cancer detection or prevention in the future.

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Find out more about Susan's research outputs, qualifications and affiliations on the SAHMRI Researcher portal