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Joanne Young undertakes research on factors that increase the risk for colorectal cancer. The focus of her work is two groups of patients in whom the risk is under-recognised:

  • patients with multiple or advanced serrated lesions, and

  • a subset of young adults who will develop colorectal cancer in the absence of any known genetic predispositions

Screening for colorectal cancer is the key to prevention and early detection. Two clinical observations have formed the basis for this project. With more people having screening, less colorectal cancers are detected, but more polyps will be diagnosed. In addition, colorectal cancer is increasing among the under 50’s, a group that is not currently undergoing screening.

The long-term objectives of this research are to:

  1. use polyps to identify increased risk of colorectal cancer in both the patients and their relatives, and

  2. identify the risk profile of a young adult who is at increased risk for colorectal cancer so that they may be diagnosed early

Joanne uses a multidisciplinary approach involving genetics, pathology and epidemiology to understand the clinical observations in these two groups of patients under investigation (see About).

She welcomes enquiries from prospective PhD students.


B App Sc (Biol), M App Sc (Med Lab Sc), Grad Dip Biotech, PhD (Pathology)


Professional Associations

Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group


2005 – 2006: Senior Research Officer, QIMR, Brisbane, Queensland

2007 – 2011: Cancer Council Queensland Senior Research Fellow at QIMR

2007 – 2011: Laboratory Head, Familial Cancer Laboratory, QIMR

2007 – 2013: Adjunct Associate Professor UQ School of Medicine

2013 – 2013: Pathophysiology Teacher, School of Nursing, Australian Catholic University

2014 – present: Chief Medical Scientist, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide

2014 – present: Affiliate Associate Professor, University of Adelaide School of Medicine


Paper of the Year Histopathology 2006

Familial Cancer Conference Best Poster Prize 2011

Courier Mail Queensland’s 50 Best and Brightest 2011

Cancer Council Queensland Senior Research Fellowship (2007-2011)

Joanne has been involved in The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) activities including:

Colorectal Cancer in the SA Population: Talks for Fundraising Staff (February 2014)

Colorectal Cancer in Young Adults: Community Awareness Program, Rotary Club of Gawler Light (July 2014)

Young Adults with Colorectal Cancer, Flinders U3A Group (September 2015)

Media availability

Joanne is happy to be contacted for radio interviews or to give lectures for the general public on issues relating to her research.