Petranel Ferrao


  • Source: Scopus
  • Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

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Dr Petranel Ferrao has extensive experience in the translational research areas of cancer therapies and drug resistance.

She completed her PhD from the University of Adelaide for research on “The individual and co-operative effects of the c-MYB and c-KIT oncogenes in murine haemopietic cells”; conducted at the Division of Haematology, Hanson Centre for Cancer Research, Adelaide. She focussed her early post-doctoral research on translational projects investigating mechanisms of drug resistance to conventional chemotherapeutics and new targeted therapeutics for the treatment of leukaemia. As a Brawn Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle, her team reported on the response and resistance of various KIT mutants to the targeted therapeutic drug Imatinib (Glivec). Their early findings on this work contributed to advancing the clinical development of small molecule targeted inhibitor drugs for the treatment of KIT-driven malignancies such as GIST. She gained additional tertiary teaching and commercial experience with a start-up venture, while on a break from academic research.

Dr Ferrao has built upon her early post-doctoral expertise in drug resistance, targeted therapies, receptor tyrosine kinases and signalling, to establish several translational projects on identifying predictors/biomarkers of treatment response for patient stratification and determining ways to overcome treatment resistance in melanoma, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and various haematological malignancies. She has recently reported some innovative findings on cellular plasticity, and is further exploring the molecular mechanisms and early adaptive processes that confer therapy resistance, drive metastatic spread and underpin immune evasion in cancers.

Her longer term research vision is to improve therapy outcomes and patient survival rates by utilising novel predictors/biomarkers to define the most optimal treatment strategies for use in a personalised and precision manner.

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor's Degree, University of Adelaide

Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Adelaide

PhD, University of Adelaide


  • Cancer Therapies
  • Drug resistance
  • Signalling
  • Stress activated pathways
  • Receptor Tyrosine Kinases (RTKs)
  • Small molecule inhibitors
  • Oncogene
  • DNA damage response (DDR)
  • checkpoints
  • cellular phenotype
  • Cancer plasticity
  • Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition (EMT)
  • Science Outreach/Engagement
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Infection and Immunity
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Immune evasion
  • Tumour Microenvironment (TME)
  • adaptive treatments
  • Personalised therapy
  • Precision Medicine
  • drug synergy
  • Metastasis
  • profiling


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