top of page



About Us

The Tran lab is primarily centered on understanding non-coding RNA expression and function in Head and Neck Cancers (HNC). Within our laboratory, we have two themes that guide our work, with one focused on clinical work related to microRNA biomarkers in oral cancers, and the other examining the regulatory function of microRNAs and other ncRNAs such as long ncRNAs in HNC.

Another key area of interest for the lab is the field of viral oncology, with a particular emphasis on exploring the involvement of HPV16 in oral cancers. Specifically, our research is focused on characterising the mechanisms by which HPV16 is able to move between cells via nanotubes, as well as investigating the role that miRNAs play in viral infection and cancer cell transformation.

The lab is base at UTS Australia and welcomes any students who would like to take on a honours or PhD projects as part of our cancer research program. 


Lab News

We have lab members working on various aspects of head and neck cancers and HPV16 research. Between running gels, performing PCRs and growing cells, we find the time to have fun and enjoy our science! 


Sarah Stapleton

Sarah became a member of the laboratory during her final year of undergraduate studies and earned 1st class honors for her thesis on the regulation of small RNA. She was also awarded the Passe and Williams Scholarship in recognition of her outstanding academic achievement. Currently, Sarah is working tirelessly towards changing the world one gene at a time.


Jess Keatinge

Jess began her journey as an intern and has now progressed to the science honors program. Her current project involves the development of an HPV16 viability assay that can effectively detect the presence of the virus in patients with Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC).


Jess is dedicated to her work and is making significant strides towards achieving her goal.

Current and Previous funding agencies which have supported our work 

ARC Discovery Projects - (DP210101337)

REDI Fellows 20221102_webnews (800 × 450px).png

UTS Chancellors Fellowship Program

Funder: Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). Award Number: W81XWH-11-1-0400 - Proposal Number: PC100037

Cancer In.png

Various Seed and PhD grant funding

MTP Connect REDI Fellowship for 2023

GPRWMF logo with name only PNG.png

Research Scholarship Funding 2023-25

Quantitative PCR Workshop ​- 4 Day Course
Our workshop will be back in Nov 2023

Our workshop caters for beginners and also post-doctoral scientists wishing to further their understanding of qPCR.

​The course will cover experimental design, controls, and how to interpret your data. Hands-on experience will include cDNA preps, Sybr green, Taqman qPCRs, singleplex vs multiplex reactions.

We will also have practicals on designing mRNA and miRNA primer sets. Class size will be limited to 30 participants and includes all materials. 

Further details will be posted on this site by end of June or you can use the contact form at the end of the page.

Our Research Publications in 2022

1. miRNA: miRNA Interactions: A Novel Mode of miRNA Regulation and Its Effect On Disease. M Hill, N Tran. Systems Biology of MicroRNAs in Cancer, 241-257

​2. Current state of play for HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancers. F Deutsch, IR Bullen, K Nguyen, M Elliott, N Tran. Cancer Treatment Reviews, 102439

​3. The dynamic interactome of microRNAs and the human papillomavirus in head and neck cancers. D Mason, K Munger, N Tran. Current Opinion in Virology 51, 87-95

4. Stage-specific miRNAs regulate gene expression associated with growth, development and parasite-host interaction during the intra-mammalian migration of the zoonotic helminth. A Ricafrente, K Cwiklinski, H Nguyen, JP Dalton, N Tran, S Donnelly. BMC genomics 23 (1), 1-19

5. Commandeering the mammalian Ago2 miRNA network: a newly discovered mechanism of helminth immunomodulation. S Donnelly, N Tran. Trends in Parasitology 37 (12), 1031-1033


Read our articles published in The Conversation

Explainer: microRNA, the puppet master of the genome
Screenshot 2023-05-09 at 10.19.47 am
Screenshot 2023-05-09 at 10.19.27 am
bottom of page