Dr Vanessa Bonazzi

Research Fellow

The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
Faculty of Medicine
+61 7 344 38025


Vanessa Bonazzi is a Research Fellow within the Surgical Oncology group headed by Professor Andrew Barbour.

Vanessa is highly experienced in the molecular study of cancer risk factors, cancer genomics and cancer cell biology. She achieved her PhD in Oncogenomics at the Institut Curie in Paris. She moved to the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, where she focused on elucidating the genetic changes driving melanoma progression and resistance to treatment. She specialised in understanding the impact of epigenetics, methylation and miRNA expression during melanomagenesis. In 2015, Vanessa joined the Translational Research Institute where she developed patient derived xenograft mice models of endometrial cancer. She focused on evaluating the efficacy of combination therapies by repurposing approved chemotherapies and targeted therapies for endometrial cancer.

Since 2018, Vanessa has coordinated the Cancer Evolution Biobank which collects samples from patients with melanoma, oesophageal/gastric cancer and pancreatic cancer. Her current research focuses on developing blood biomarkers for predicting therapy response and survival. Overall, she contributes to the development of precision medicine to inform treatment decisions and improve health outcomes for patients with melanoma, oesophago-gastric cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Research Interests

  • Unravelling the molecular mechanisms and genetic aberrations associated with Melanoma, Oesophageao-gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer.
  • Develop National Biobanking
  • Move from a one-treatment-fit-all system to a precision medicine approach
    • Integrate genomics into the clinic
    • Blood biomarker
    • Improve patient outcome


  • PhD, Paris VII


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Book Chapter

Journal Article

  • Oo, Zay Yar, Proctor, Martina, Stevenson, Alexander J., Nazareth, Deborah, Fernando, Madushan, Daignault, Sheena M., Lanagan, Catherine, Walpole, Sebastian, Bonazzi, Vanessa, Škalamera, Dubravka, Snell, Cameron, Haass, Nikolas K., Larsen, Jill E. and Gabrielli, Brian (2019). Combined use of subclinical hydroxyurea and CHK1 inhibitor effectively controls melanoma and lung cancer progression, with reduced normal tissue toxicity compared to gemcitabine. Molecular Oncology, 13 (7) 1878-0261.12497, 1503-1518. doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.12497

  • Newell, Felicity, Patel, Kalpana, Gartside, Michael, Krause, Lutz, Brosda, Sandra, Aoude, Lauren G., Loffler, Kelly A., Bonazzi, Vanessa F., Patch, Ann-Marie, Kazakoff, Stephen H., Holmes, Oliver, Xu, Qinying, Wood, Scott, Leonard, Conrad, Lampe, Guy, Lord, Reginald V., Whiteman, David C., Pearson, John V., Nones, Katia, Waddell, Nicola and Barbour, Andrew P. (2019). Complex structural rearrangements are present in high-grade dysplastic Barrett's oesophagus samples. BMC Medical Genomics, 12 (1) 31, 31. doi: 10.1186/s12920-019-0476-9

  • Packer, Leisl M, Stehbens, Samantha J, Bonazzi, Vanessa F, Gunter, Jennifer H, Ju, Robert J, Ward, Micheal, Gartside, Michael G, Byron, Sara A and Pollock, Pamela M (2018). Bcl-2 inhibitors enhance FGFR inhibitor-induced mitochondrial-dependent cell death in FGFR2-mutant endometrial cancer. Molecular Oncology, 13 (4), 738-756. doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.12422

  • Packer, Leisl M., Geng, Xinyan, Bonazzi, Vanessa F., Ju, Robert J., Mahon, Clare E., Cummings, Margaret C., Stephenson, Sally-Anne and Pollock, Pamela M. (2017). PI3K inhibitors synergize with FGFR inhibitors to enhance antitumor responses in FGFR2mutant endometrial cancers. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 16 (4), 637-648. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-16-0415

  • Stark, Mitchell S., Tom, Lisa N., Boyle, Glen M., Bonazzi, Vanessa F., Soyer, H. Peter, Herington, Adrian C., Pollock, Pamela M. and Hayward, Nicholas K. (2016). The 'Melanoma-enriched' microRNA miR-4731-5p acts as a tumour suppressor. Oncotarget, 7 (31), 49677-49687. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.10109

  • Stark, Mitchell S., Bonazzi, Vanessa F., Boyle, Glen M., Palmer, Jane M., Symmons, Judith, Lanagan, Catherine M., Schmidt, Christopher W., Herington, Adrian C., Ballotti, Robert, Pollock, Pamela M. and Hayward, Nicholas K. (2015). miR-514a regulates the tumour suppressor NF1 and modulates BRAFi sensitivity in melanoma. Oncotarget, 6 (19), 17753-17763. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.3924

  • Aoude, Lauren G., Pritchard, Antonia L., Robles-Espinoza, Carla Daniela, Wadt, Karin, Harland, Mark, Choi, Jiyeon, Gartside, Michael, Quesada, Victor, Johansson, Peter, Palmer, Jane M., Ramsay, Andrew J., Zhang, Xijun, Jones, Kristine, Symmons, Judith, Holland, Elizabeth A., Schmid, Helen, Bonazzi, Vanessa, Woods, Susan, Dutton-Regester, Ken, Stark, Mitchell S., Snowden, Helen, van Doom, Remco, Montgomery, Grant W., Martin, Nicholas G., Keane, Thomas M., Lopez-Otin, Carlos, Gerdes, Anne-Marie, Olsson, Hakan, Ingvar, Christian ... Hayward, Nicholas K. (2015). Nonsense mutations in the shelterin complex genes ACD and TERF2IP in familial melanoma. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 107 (2) dju408, 1-7. doi: 10.1093/jnci/dju408

  • Cheli, Yann, Bonnazi, Vanessa F., Jacquel, Arnaud, Allegra, Maryline, De Donatis, Gian Marco, Bahadoran, Philippe, Bertolotto, Corine and Ballotti, Robert (2014). CD271 is an imperfect marker for melanoma initiating cells. Oncotarget, 5 (14), 5272-5283. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.1967

  • Ohanna, Mickaël, Cheli, Yann, Bonet, Caroline, Bonazzi, Vanessa F, Allegra, Marylin, Giuliano, Sandy, Bille, Karine, Bahadoran, Philippe, Giacchero, Damien, Lacour, Jean Philippe, Boyle, Glen M, Hayward, Nicholas F, Bertolotto, Corine and Ballotti, Robert (2014). Secretome from senescent melanoma engages the STAT3 pathway to favor reprogramming of naive melanoma towards a tumor-initiating cell phenotype. Oncotarget, 4 (12), 2212-2224. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.1143

  • Bonazzi, Vanessa F., Stark, Mitchell S. and Hayward, Nicholas K. (2012). MicroRNA regulation of melanoma progression. Melanoma Research, 22 (2), 101-113. doi: 10.1097/CMR.0b013e32834f6fbb

  • Stark, Mitchell S., Woods, Susan L., Gartside, Michael G., Bonazzi, Vanessa F., Dutton-Regester, Ken, Aoude, Lauren G., Chow, Donald, Sereduk, Chris, Niemi, Natalie M., Tang, Nanyun, Ellis, Jonathan J., Reid, Jeffrey, Zismann, Victoria, Tyagi, Sonika, Muzny, Donna, Newsham, Irene, Wu, YuanQing, Palmer, Jane M., Pollak, Thomas, Youngkin, David, Brooks, Bradford R., Lanagan, Catherine, Schmidt, Christopher W., Kobe, Bostjan, MacKeigan, Jeffrey P., Yin, Hongwei, Brown, Kevin M., Gibbs, Richard, Trent, Jeffrey and Hayward, Nicholas K. (2012). Frequent somatic mutations in MAP3K5 and MAP3K9 in metastatic melanoma identified by exome sequencing. Nature Genetics, 44 (2), 165-169. doi: 10.1038/ng.1041

  • Yokoyama, Satoru, Woods, Susan L., Boyle, Glen M., Aoude, Lauren G., MacGregor, Stuart, Zismann, Victoria, Gartside, Michael, Cust, Anne E., Haq, Rizwan, Harland, Mark, Taylor, John C., Duffy, David L., Holohan, Kelly, Dutton-Regester, Ken, Palmer, Jane M., Bonazzi, Vanessa, Stark, Mitchell S., Symmons, Judith, Law, Matthew H., Schmidt, Christopher, Lanagan, Cathy, O'Connor, Linda, Holland, Elizabeth A., Schmid, Helen, Maskiell, Judith A., Jetann, Jodie, Ferguson, Megan, Jenkins, Mark A., Kefford, Richard F. ... Brown, Kevin M. (2011). A novel recurrent mutation in MITF predisposes to familial and sporadic melanoma. Nature, 480 (7375), 99-103. doi: 10.1038/nature10630

  • Bonazzi, Vanessa F., Nancarrow, Derek J., Stark, Mitchell S., Moser, Ralf J., Boyle, Glen M., Aoude, Lauren G., Schmidt, Christopher and Hayward, Nicholas K. (2011). Cross-platform array screening identifies COL1A2, THBS1, TNFRSF10D and UCHL1 as genes frequently silenced by methylation in melanoma. PLoS One, 6 (10) e26121, 1-9. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026121

  • Boyle, Glen M., Woods, Susan L., Bonazzi, Vanessa F., Stark, Mitchell S., Hacker, Elke, Aoude, Lauren G., Dutton-Regester, Ken, Cook, Anthony L., Sturm, Richard A. and Hayward, Nicholas K. (2011). Melanoma cell invasiveness is regulated by miR-211 suppression of the BRN2 transcription factor. Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research, 24 (3), 525-537. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-148X.2011.00849.x

  • Dry, Jonathan R., Pavey, Sandra, Pratilas, Christine A., Harbron, Chris, Runswick, Sarah, Hodgson, Darren, Chresta, Christine, McCormack, Rose, Byrne, Natalie, Cockerill, Mark, Graham, Alexander, Beran, Garry, Cassidy, Andrew, Haggerty, Carolyn, Brown, Helen, Ellison, Gillian, Dering, Judy, Taylor, Barry S., Stark, Mitchell, Bonazzi, Vanessa, Ravishankar, Sugandha, Packer, Leisl, Xing, Feng, Solit, David B., Finn, Richard S., Rosen, Neal, Hayward, Nicholas K., French, Tim and Smith, Paul D. (2010). Transcriptional pathway signatures predict MEK addiction and response to selumetinib (AZD6244). Cancer Research, 70 (6), 2264-2273. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-1577

  • Kuphal, Silke, Martyn, Adam C., Pedley, Julie, Crowther, Lisa M., Bonazzi, Vanessa F., Parsons, Peter G., Bosserhoff, Anja K., Hayward, Nicholas K. and Boyle, Glen M. (2009). H-Cadherin expression reduces invasion of malignant melanoma. Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research, 22 (3), 296-306. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-148X.2009.00568.x

  • Bonazzi, V.F., Irwin, D.L and Hayward, N (2009). Identification of candidate tumor suppressor genes inactivated by promoter methylation in melanoma. Genes, Chromosomes & Cancer, 48 (1), 10-21. doi: 10.1002/gcc.20615

  • Bonazzi, Vanessa, Medjkane, Souhila, Quignon, Frédérique and Delattre, Olivier (2005). Complementation analyses suggest species-specific functions of the SNF5 homology domain. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 336 (2), 634-638. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2005.08.133

Grants (Administered at UQ)