Liver Group

Research Overview

The Research group is focused on hepatobiliary diseases with particular emphasis on liver cancers such as colorectal liver metastases and hepatocellular carcinomas for which resection is the only treatment offering long term survival.

Our projects aim to understand the mechanisms of disease recurrence following curative intent liver resection and treatment with novel chemotherapeutic agents. In addition we also aim to examine the intricate interactions between host response and tumour development.

We utilize a unique orthotopic in vivo mouse colorectal liver metastasis model to investigate the effects liver regeneration following surgery, and the role of the immune response on tumour development/progression and development of drug resistance following novel therapies.

Our unique team of surgeons, clinicians and researchers work closely together to ensure our research remains clinically relevant and closely reflect the challenges faced by patients and their treating physicians.



  • Professor Eric Thompson, School - Biomedical Sciences,
  • Research - Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology
  • Dr Mark Waltham, Breast Cancer Invassion Metastasis Unit, St Vincent's Intistute of Medical Research
  • Professor Mauro Sandrin, Transplantation Immunology Research group
  • Dr Ben Lang, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Biomedical Sciences, Monash University
  • Professor Elizabeth Vincan, Head, Cancer Biology Lab Anatomy and Neuroscience, University of Melbourne


Brian Smith Endownment

Melbourne Research Grant Support Scheme

Austin Medical Research Foundation

Research Publications

  1. Ager, E.I., Christophi, C et al., Regulation of colorectal cancer cell epithelial to mesenchymal transition by the renin angiotensin system. J Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2016.
  2. Koh, S. L., Ager, E. I., Costa, P. L., Malcontenti-Wilson, C., Muralidharan, V. & Christophi, C. Blockade of the renin-angiotensin system inhibits growth of colorectal cancer liver metastases in the regenerating liver. Clin Exp Metastasis. 2014 31(4): 395-405
  3. Harun, N., P. Costa, and C. Christophi, Tumour growth stimulation following partial hepatectomy in mice is associated with increased upregulation of c-Met. Clin Exp Metastasis, 2014. 31(1):1-14.
  4. Wen, S.W., E.I. Ager, and C. Christophi, Bimodal role of Kupffer cells during colorectal cancer liver metastasis. Cancer Biol Ther, 2013. 14(7): 606-13.
  5. Wen, S.W., E.I. Ager, J. Neo, C, Christophi et al., The renin angiotensin system regulates Kupffer cells in colorectal liver metastases. Cancer Biol Ther, 2013. 14(8): 720-7.
  6. Koh SL, Ager E, Malcontenti-Wilson C, Muralidharan V, Christophi C. Blockade of the renin-angiotensin system improves the early stages of liver regeneration and liver function. J Surg Res. 2013 179(1):66–71.
  7. Fifis T, Nguyen, L., Malcontenti-Wilson, C., Chan, LS., Luiza Nunes Costa, P., Daruwalla, J., Nikfarjam, M., Muralidharan, V., Waltham, M., Thompson, EW., Chrisophi,C. Treatment with the vascular disruptive agent OXi4503 induces an immediate and widespread epithelial to mesenchymal transition in the surviving tumor. Cancer medicine. 2013 2(5):595-610.
  8. Nguyen L, Fifis T, Malcontenti-Wilson C, Chan LS, Costa PN, Nikfarjam M, et al. Spatial morphological and molecular differences within solid tumors may contribute to the failure of vascular disruptive agent treatments. BMC Cancer. 2012 12:522.
  9. Lin WX, Fifis T, Malcontenti-Wilson C, Nikfarjam M, Muralidharan V, Nguyen L, et al. Induction of Th1Immune responses following laser ablation in a murine model of colorectal liver metastases. J Transl Med. 2011 9:83.
  10. Ager, E.I., Christophi, C et al., Altered efficacy of AT1R-targeted treatment after spontaneous cancer cell-AT1R upregulation. BMC Cancer, 2011. 11: 274.