Research Team

Professor George Kannourakis

MB, BS, B(Med)Sc, PhD, FRACP - Honorary

Honorary Director

George oversees all research and administration at the Institute. He has a wealth of experience in cancer cell biology, having obtained his PhD from The University of Melbourne for his research at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. George is Adjunct Professor of Cancer Biology at Federation University and has been a practising oncologist and clinician haematologist in the Ballarat community for many years. George has worked at the Dana Faber Cancer Institute in Boston and as a Research Fellow at Harvard University, and he headed the Cancer Research Unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.


Professor Stuart Berzins

BSc (Hons) PhD GCUT

Dorevitch Principal Research Fellow

Stuart has previously conducted research at Monash University, the Harvard Medical School and University of Melbourne. He now leads a research group at the Institute, investigating human immune responses to cancer. He collaborates with national and international research groups and is working with Professor George Kannourakis and other researchers at the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute and Federation University to establish a regional hub of biomedical research. His research group studies specialised cells and molecules that regulate immune responses against cancer. Higher research goals are to determine if there are defects in immune regulation that contribute to different forms of cancer, and to identify immune cells and molecules that could become targets for new immune-based therapies.


Professor Nuzhat Ahmed

BSc Hons (DU), MSc (KUL), PhD (ANU

John Turner Professorial Fellow

Nuzhat joined the Institute in April 2015 and is the John Turner Professorial Fellow. She holds an adjunct professorial position with the Federation University, Ballarat which strengthens links between the Institute and the University. Professor Ahmed is an experienced cell and molecular biologist and brings a wealth of experience to Institute, particularly in cancer biology. She has a long-standing interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms of ovarian cancer spread. She did her postdoctoral research training in Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, New Zealand, University of Newcastle, Australia, Kanagawa Cancer Centre, Japan and BC Cancer Agency, University of British Columbia in Canada. From 2002-2014 Nuzhat led the Cancer Metastasis Group in Women’s Cancer Research Centre, Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne. Her significant contribution has been in establishing novel interactions of cell adhesion molecules with the signalling pathways in cancer, identifying early stage biomarkers for ovarian cancer screening and understanding the mechanisms of chemoresistance in ovarian cancer patients. These studies have led to several international patents, competitive international and national grants and publications (>70) in reputable cancer journals. Nuzhat has a long-standing interest in understanding the immune cell irregularities in ovarian cancer patients.


Dr Monirul Islam

BSc (Hons), MSc (PhD)​

Laboratory Manager & Post Doctorate Researcher

Test Researcher