Prof Erik (Rik) Thompson
Prof Erik (Rik) Thompson studied extracellular matrix in the rat testis for his PhD at Griffith University, and undertook postdoctoral training in breast cancer invasion and metastasis at NIH and the Lombardi Cancer Research Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, USA. He established a breast cancer invasion and metastasis laboratory at Georgetown before transferring it to St. Vincent’s Institute, Melbourne in 1997 as Group Leader for Invasion and Metastasis in the Victorian Breast Cancer Research Consortium. In 2014, he joined IHBI QUT as Professor in Breast Cancer Research and Theme Leader for ‘Chronic Disease and Ageing’ (2014-2016). Rik has had active research into epithelial mesenchymal plasticity (EMP) research since the late 1980s, and more recently into the pathobiology of mammography density as a risk factor for breast cancer, both of which are ongoing. He has also studied matrix metalloproteinases (MMP13 and MMP14) and bone metastasis, and helped establish a program of adipose tissue engineering towards breast replacement following mastectomy at the O’Brien Institute. He created the EMPathy Breast Cancer Network in 2008 with National Collaborative Research Program support from the National Breast Cancer Foundation. EMPathy links 28 investigators across 20 Australian Institutions, seeking to exploit EMP for new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic opportunities in breast cancer, especially metastatic recurrence. EMPathy has a focus on circulating tumour cells (CTCs) as a window into the metastatic process. Rik co-founded The International EMT Association (TEMTIA) in 2003, was President 2013-2015, and convened the 2015 TEMTIA meeting in Melbourne, Australia. He was also the founding President of AMATA in 2004 (now the Australasian Genomic Technologies Association) and has served as President of the Matrix Biology Society of Australia and New Zealand (2000-2003). He has been President Elect (2008-2010) and President (2010-2012) of the international Metastasis Research Society (MRS), and convened the 12th International Congress of MRS in Brisbane, Australia in 2012, at which time he co-created OzMRS – An Australasian Chapter of MRS. He serves as associate editor for Clinical & Experimental Metastasis, The Breast Journal, Cells - Tissues – Organs, and Cancer Microenvironment.