Professor Tony Papenfuss

Professor Tony Papenfuss



Tony Papenfuss



BSc (Hons) Monash PhD Monash

Laboratory Head; Leader, Computational Biology Theme


My research group applies mathematics, statistics and computing to make sense of genomics data from cancer, particularly melanoma and myeloma, and other diseases. We develop novel methods to analyse this data and make sense of the results.

A major focus of our work is cancer evolution, which is critical in understanding how tumours metastasise and develop resistance to therapies.

We are also leading the genome analysis of the scabies mite. We aim to generate information that will accelerate research into scabies mite biology and its health impact in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Research interest

We develop novel bioinformatics methods to analyse and make sense of cancer '-omics' data. A major focus of our work is cancer evolution and intra-tumoral heterogeneity, particularly in melanoma. One of our aims is to develop practical measures of tumour heterogeneity and test if these are predictive of patient outcome.

We are also interested in complex genomic rearrangements and the mechanisms underlying extreme amplification events in genomes. We have developed novel methods to identify these rearrangements and use mathematical models to make sense of them. With this approach we recently discovered the dynamic mechanisms underlying the formation of giant cancer-associated neochromosomes.

Stafford Fox Rare Cancer Research Program

This project is aimed at developing new strategies for diagnosing and treating patients with rare cancers. It is supported by two Centenary Fellowships:

  • Stafford Fox Centenary Fellowship in rare cancer research
  • Stafford Fox Centenary Fellowship in bioinformatics