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The Surgical Science Research Group is led by Professor Guy Maddern, the RP Jepson Professor of Surgery at the University of Adelaide and the Director of Research at the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research (BHI), The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH).

Our group are always looking for enthusiastic students who wish to challenge themselves and further their education through our Honours or higher degrees programs.




Student Alumni (since 2016)

NameDegreeYear AwardedThesis titleSupervisorsScholarship
Dr Hannah GostlowMPhil (Surgery), The University of Adelaide2018Simulation in surgical education: lessons learned from a multi-site randomised cohort studyMaddern GJ, Babidge WRoyal Australasian College of Surgeons Scholarship
Joseph SmithPhD, The University of Adelaide2018Surgery and climate change: The scientific and public policy implicationsMaddern GJ, Hewett PRoyal Australasian College of Surgeons Scholarship
Helen PalethorpePhD, The University of Adelaide2018, Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis ExcellenceFibroblasts, Androgen Signalling and Oesophageal AdenocarcinomaDrew P & Smith EFaculty of Health Sciences divisional scholarship, University of Adelaide
Kean KuanMResearch, The University of Adelaide2016Factors influencing transplant surgery: ex vivo porcine pancreas normothermic perfusionMaddern G, Trochsler M & Chung W
Protein biomarkers for colorectal cancer liver metastasis
Supervisors: Professor Guy Maddern and Dr Chandra Kirana Please email chandra.kirana@adelaide.edu.au to discuss your options further! Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the Western and developing countries. The incidence and mortality of CRC also increase in young adults. Metastatic dissemination from primary tumour accounts for over 90% of all colorectal cancer death. Adjuvant chemotherapy has been shown to provide a significant improvement in patient survival, however this advantage is not available for all patients who could benefit from it due to inability of current standard method to accurately predict prognosis. Adjuvant chemotherapy for stage II CRC patients is still regarded as controversial. About 25% of stage II CRC patients will develop metastasis after surgical removal of their primary tumour mainly to liver and 50 - 60% of stage III CRC patients will develop metastasis. The overall survival rate for stage II CRC patients five years after surgery is approximately 70 - 80% and that for stage III patients is 30 - 60%. Questions remaining to be answered include which patients will benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy and what chemotherapy to use to give most benefit for the patients. Classic disease staging, which is currently the key prognostic indicator for CRC, includes degree of lymph node involvement. Recovery and evaluation of lymph nodes in the resection specimen are, however, influenced by the method and quality of surgical resection, quality of pathologic evaluation, tumour related factors and patient factors. Variation in the assessment of lymph node status could lead to under-staging and as a result a falsely node-negative patient may not receive the potential benefit of adjuvant therapy. It is well recognised that staging by light microscopy alone is not sufficiently accurate to predict spread as significant variation with respect to clinical outcome exists within currently used stages. Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) has been used to predict CRC recurrence for almost 40 years. However, serum CEA has a poor diagnostic accuracy. There is therefore urgent need for histological staging to be supported by molecular profiling of tumours to provide additional accuracy in stratifying patients for better disease management and ultimately improved survival. We have identified protein candidates using proteomic approaches and currently collaboratively working with Callaghan Innovation New Zealand to generate a prototype diagnostic test. Current projects for Honours degree students include evaluation of protein biomarker candidates on a larger number of clinical samples and to determine the functions of the proteins on cancer progression and development using cell culture techniques. We have fresh frozen normal colon, colon tumour, normal liver and liver metastasis and blood of more than 500 patients and some of them were from matched patients accompanied by complete clinical parameters. In addition we also have tissue microarray of more than 250 samples. This resource is hardly found elsewhere. New projects can be discussed, designed and established to identify additional biomarkers for colorectal cancer for Higher Degree Research Student Projects.
Ameliorating liver ischaemia-reperfusion injury – the role of the innate immune response and Wnt signalling pathway.

Surgery is the best chance to cure cancers in the liver. During surgery blood vessels may be clamped to control bleeding. This can lead to ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury, which increases complications and mortality. There is no effective treatment.

The role of the androgen receptor and androgen responsive genes in the biology of oesophageal cancer and their potential as therapeutic targets

In Australia there has been a recent alarming increase in men of oesophageal cancer. About 50% of patients are unsuitable for surgery at the time of diagnosis, and the five year survival is less than 15%.

The role of fibroblasts in oesophageal and prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia and the 4th leading cause of mortality amongst Australian males. Oesophageal adenocarcinoma is the most rapidly increasing cancer in Australia and has a male: female ratio of around 8:1.

Individualised risk assessment and therapeutic interventional for colorectal cancer in the South Australian population

This initiative sets out to bring together a group of experienced and practising clinicians together with an experienced translational researcher all working within the Central Adelaide Health region including the Royal Adelaide and The Queen Elizabeth Hospitals to direct research scientists working within the scope of colorectal primary and metastatic disease.

Immune Checkpoints in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: Prediction and Prevention

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world, accounting for over 9% of all cancer incidences. The majority of CRC related deaths are attributable to liver metastasis (LM) – the most critical prognostic factor observed in ≈50% of CRC patients.

Anti-adhesion work

An estimated 9 million abdominal surgeries occur each year, with up to a staggering 95% of these resulting in the formation of intra-abdominal adhesions. The presence of adhesions may go unnoticed until clinical manifestations arise such as pain, reduced gastrointestinal function or bowel obstruction leading to the need for repeat surgical intervention.

Various Sponsored Clinical Trials

Chief InvestigatorsGranting bodyProject TitleType of GrantTotal Grant AmountFunding Period
BEAT CancerIndividualised risk assessment and therapeutic interventional for colorectal cancer in the South Australian
Hospital Research Package$1,500,0002014 - 2019
Maddern GJ, Roberts M, Crawford DNHMRCAdvanced imaging to define hepatic and intestinal drug disposition in aging and liver diseaseProject Grant$735,8202013 - 2015
Maddern GJ, Runciman W, Mandel C, Schultz T, Munn ZHCF Health and Medical Research FoundationUse of surgical and radiology checklists in Australian hospitals: uptake, barriers and enablers$311,1952013 - 2015  
Maddern GJ, Wormald PJ, S Moratti S, Robinson B, Robinson SNHMRCIn vivo evaluation of the safety and efficacy of a novel chitosan gel in the reduction of adhesions following abdominal surgery in both animal and human modelsProject Grant$514,9752013 - 2015  
Rogers WA, Johnson AJ, Townley C, Sheridan J, Ballantyune A, Lotz M, Meyerson D, Tomosey GF, Eyers AA, Maddern GJ, Thomson CJARCOn the cutting edge: promoting
best practice in surgical innovation
Linkage Grant$255,0002011 - 2014  
Maddern GJ, Fitridge R, Boult M, Golledge J, Thompson M, Barnes MNHMRCProspective evaluation of a model to predict outcomes following endovascular aortic aneurysm repair Project Grant$1,036,9252009 - 2013  
Maddern GJ, Wormald PJ, Jamieson G, Fitridge R, Hewett PThe Hospital Research Foundation (THRF)Development and assessment of novel surgical technologies and their introduction into the Australian healthcare systemProgram Grant$1,250,0002009 - 2013

Professor Ashley Dennison, MBChB, MD, FRCSConsultant Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgeon

University Hospitals of LeicesterLeicesterUnited Kingdom
Professor Richard Stubbs, MD, FRCS, FRACS

Consultant Surgeon & DirectorThe Wakefield ClinicWellingtonNew Zealand
Professor Jun Feng Liu
Head, Department of Thoracic SurgeryFourth Hospital, Hebei Medical UniversityShijiazhuangChina
Associate Professor Timothy Underwood
Consultant Upper GI surgeonUniversity of Southampton & University Hospital SouthamptonSouthamptonUnited Kingdom