Developmental and Cancer Biology

Cain group

Jason Cain's Lab

Reasearch group


The Cancer and Developmental Biology Research group’s goal is to study how aberrant activation of embryonic signalling pathways contributes to the initiation, growth, and self-renewal of cancer. This work is based on the idea that a very limited number of signalling pathways, which are highly conserved in evolution, is required for self-renewal in development, organ repair, and cancer.

Associate Professor Jason Cain leads the Developmental and Cancer Biology lab, the Sarcoma program and the My Room Children’s Cancer Charity Research Laboratory at Hudson Institute.

The primary focus of the laboratory is investigating the mechanisms underlying the development and progression of paediatric solid tumours, brain tumours and lung cancer, leading to the development of novel therapies, or repurposing of existing therapies, for maximal anti-tumorigenic effect and minimal associated patient side-effects.

Using a broad range of developmental, molecular and cancer biology techniques in combination with in vivo mouse models, the laboratory is specifically interested in tumours associated with poor outcomes including malignancies of the brain (diffuse midline gliomas and atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour), bone (osteosarcoma) and lung adenocarcinoma.

The Development and Cancer Biology lab has played a part in understanding the significance of normal and abnormal Hedgehog signalling (Hh) and epigenetic regulation in development and cancer.

The clinical focus of the laboratory is the application of Hh pathway inhibitors or pharmacological epigenetic regulators to childhood malignancies and lung cancer.

For information on available projects and positions within the Development and Cancer Biology Research group please contact Associate Professor Jason Cain.

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Diseases we research

Areas of focus

  • Paediatric solid tumours (including brain tumours and sarcomas)
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Hedgehog signalling biology
  • Epigenetics
  • Preclinical models of cancer (including genetic, allograft and xenograft mouse models)

Research Group Head | Associate Professor Jason Cain

Every year, nearly 150,000 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer. My research is focused on investigating the impact of embryonic signalling pathways on cancers such as paediatric solid tumours, brain tumours and lung cancer, with the aim of developing novel therapies and reducing side-effects.
A/ProfJason Cain from the Developmental and Cancer Biology Research Group at Hudson Institute

Student opportunities


Publication highlights

Our research group is keen to discuss funding opportunities

Support our research

VIEW VIDEO | ‘Making Waves’ – a video with Robert Connor Dawes Foundation Founder and CEO Liz Dawes, interviewing Associate Professor Jason Cain about his work and latest developments in paediatric brain cancer research.