The main focus of our research is:

  • understanding the immune response to cancers of epithelial surfaces
  • developing novel therapies that enhance those immune responses
  • studying  the impact of the host microbiome on cancer development.

We are defining the mechanisms by which cervical and oropharyngeal cancer, while expressing viral antigens, still evade the host immune system.

Our goal is to use this information to develop effective immunotherapies for HPV associated squamous cancers.

We also aim to develop new approaches to skin cancer prevention based on altering the bacteria colonizing sundamaged skin.

We use genomics, proteomics, and single cell analysis of RNA to analyse human and animal skin samples, with work funded by program and project grants from the NHMRC, The Garnet Passe foundation, the Merchant Foundation, and various other charities.

Group Leader

Postdoctoral Researchers

Research Assistants


  • Huang Wang
  • James Gotley
  • Jerry Tay
  • Kiran Asplett
  • Quentin Wright
  • Thi Dang
  • Jacoba Bromfield

Joint appointees

The Frazer lab is focused on skin immunology. More specifically, we study the impact of the skin microbiome and virome, and of epithelial hyperplasia, on the antigen presenting cells of the epithelial immune system, and on the immune effector cells that they program. The lab also has a program developing  immunotherapy for human epithelial cancer based on this work.  

Professor Ian Frazer

My research is focused on developing effective immunotherapy for oropharyngeal cancer. Using information from animal models, we have defined some of the effects of epithelial hyperproliferation on the ability of cancer cells to present tumour specific antigens to the host immune system, and are applying these data to testing immunotherapies in novel animal models of HPV associated precancer, and in patients, in collaboration with clinicians at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Dr Kevin Gillinder

My research aims to discover and develop new approaches to treating epithelial cancer. Harnessing the power of genomics, we aim to interrogate the cellular communication events that coordinate the ability of immune cells to receive, process and transmit signals. Importantly, this will provide a molecular understanding of ‘how things go wrong’ and lead to the development of improved vaccines and co-therapies.

Dr Janin Chandra

My research aims to decipher mechanisms of immune modulation that occur in epithelial cancers, with a focus on the antigen-presenting myeloid immune compartment that is essential to initiate and shape effector T cell responses. Understanding the roadblocks that hinder immune elimination of transformed epithelial cells will lead to the identification of new therapeutic strategies. Future therapies will require a personalized approach where the therapy strategy is supported by the individual disease presentation, and we work with clinicians at the Princess Alexandra Hospital to define individual hallmarks that correlate with response to cancer therapy. 

Dr Jazmina Gonzalez Cruz

Immunotherapies herald a new era for management and treatment of solid tumours. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) are now in use to treat radio-resistant and recurrent Oropharyngeal Squamous cell Carcinomas (OPSCC). Unfortunately, only 20% of these patients benefit from ICI therapy. My research aims to answer 3 questions: why 80% of OPSCC patients failed ICI therapy? Which factors define and contribute to the success of 20% of those patients? And can we use these findings to stratify and select better treatments for OPSCC patients? To do so, my team is profiling the blood and tumours of OPSCC patients with high-throughput technologies, such as 10X Genomics Spatial Visium, Nanostring DSP GeoMX, CODEX and multiparametric flow cytometry. The correlation of each patient’s disease profile with their clinical history will help us to predict the likelihood of future patients to respond to treatment and will assist in the selection of tailored approaches based on each patient’s own disease characteristics.  

  • The Garnett Passe and Rodney Williams Memorial Foundation
  • Merchant Charitable Foundation
  • Australian Society of Colposcopy & Cervical Pathology Incorporated