For 70 years, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has been providing high quality treatment and multidisciplinary care for cancer patients and their families. Importantly, we house Australia’s largest and most progressive cancer research group, one of only a handful of sites outside the United States where scientists and clinicians work side-by-side.

As Australia’s only public hospital solely dedicated to cancer, a national leader in multi-disciplinary cancer care, and a national and international leader in laboratory, clinical and translational research, one of Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre’s core visions is to drive the translation of research into innovative clinical treatment approaches.

The Sir Peter Mac Department brings to the university the strengths of world-class laboratory and clinical research conducted within a public cancer hospital, including:

the largest cancer research group in Australia, with laboratory-based researchers and clinicians working side-by-side;

a strong academic program, driven by internationally renowned laboratory and clinical researchers, with a strong focus on educating future generations of cancer researchers;

highly sophisticated equipment and technology, enabling complex research projects through access to cutting-edge core research technology platforms

a cancer stream-based and holistic model of care where multi-disciplinary experts come together to provide tailored treatment at all stages of a patient’s disease, across all common and rare cancer types.

We invite you to browse our website and welcome inquiries from students interested in pursuing Honours studies and graduate research training.


The Sir Peter Mac department coordinates the University of Melbourne’s Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program. For more information on this program:



‘As Executive Director Cancer Research, it is my mission to strategically drive Peter Mac’s standing as one of the leading cancer centres in the world by enhancing our research outputs, increasing our talent pool and enabling existing and new areas of research excellence. Critical to this aim is our ability to recruit outstanding staff and students to drive our innovative basic and translational research. I firmly believe that our model of research-driven cancer care is the right one and Peter Mac is uniquely positioned to expand this paradigm both internally and with our external partners. Peter Mac is committed to continue to support and build our broad research enterprise including fundamental research, and I am in no doubt that strong discovery-based research labs and programs are essential for us deliver the best care for our patients.’

Head of Department

Professor Ricky Johnstone PhD, FAHMS

Professor Johnstone is a cancer researcher who has utilized genetic mouse models of hemopoietic malignancies and solid tumours to understand the epigenetic changes that underpin tumour onset and progression and to develop new therapies that target epigenetic and transcriptional regulatory proteins. His research group has recently discovered how epigenetic based-agents can engage the host immune system to drive prolonged therapeutic responses.

Professor Johnstone received his PhD from the University of Melbourne in 1993 and after a postdoc at Harvard Medical School returned to Melbourne to establish the Gene Regulation Laboratory at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in 2000.

In 2017, Professor Johnstone was appointed as Executive Director Cancer Research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, overseeing ~700 staff and students and playing a key role in strategic decision making across the organisation. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers, was awarded an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship in 2015 and in 2011 was promoted to Full Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Melbourne.  He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

Contact details

Enquiry contact
A/Prof Caroline Owen, Graduate Research Coordinator



Peter Mac's main campus is located in the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Parkville.