Highlights

After finishing his undergraduate degree at the Toulouse III University, Mat Francois undertook a PhD in Paris, studying the role of nuclear receptors in the control of inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, finishing in 2004.

In 2005 he moved to Australia as a postdoctoral scientist in Peter Koopman’s laboratory, and began researching the role of SOX transcription factors in the control of lymphatic vessel development. His research led to the discovery of a molecular switch (SOX18) responsible for triggering the development of the lymphatic vascular system in the embryo. This finding helped him to launch his independent career. He was awarded the ASMR Queensland Premier’s award in 2009 and a UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award in 2011.

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Researcher biography

Dr Mat Francois a molecular geneticist specialised in transcription factor biology in embryonic development and inflammation.

Mat's PhD (awarded in 2004) focused on the role of nuclear receptors PPARs in the control of the inflammatory reaction during osteoarthritis. In 2005, he moved to IMB's Koopman Group to study the role of SOX transcription factor in the control of lymphatic vessel development.

Mat launched his independent research career based on the discovery of the role of the transcription factor SOX18 as a molecular switch to induce the embryonic development of the lymphatic vessels. Following up on that finding, he's been awarded with the ASMR Queensland Premier's award in 2009 and a UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award in 2011.

In September 2011, Mat set up his lab to focus on the initial step of endothelial cell specification and the molecular hierarchy that governs this differentiation program during embryogenesis. Recently he received a CDA (Career Development Award) to elucidate the role of SOX protein in the modulation of the lymphatic and blood vascular growth that control tumour metastasis.

Mat's strategic approach to research is now based on the combination of developmental biology and the use of pathophysiological models (e.g. cancer metastasis and lymphoedema) in combination with a drug discovery pipeline to identify novel therapeutic approaches to block cancer metastasis and manipulate transcription factor activity.