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Westmead Breast Cancer Institute Research Program

The Westmead Breast Cancer Institute (BCI) supports collaborative research and currently has partnerships with clinical and research institutions both nationally and internationally. The BCI maintains close links to Sydney West Translational Cancer Research Centre and the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre, Westmead (http://www.sydneywestcancer.org/research).

The research program at the BCI comprises seven broad research streams investigating the development, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of early stage breast cancer.

Research streams and lead clinicians

Stream Lead clinicians Focus of research
 Breast Surgery  Elisabeth Elder /
 James French
 Outcome after oncoplastic and reconstructive breast surgery, including aesthetic evaluation and patient reported outcome.
Axilla   Elisabeth Elder /
 James French
 Individualised management of the axilla
Behavioural Medicine &
Health Psychology
 Kerry Sherman /
Jemma Gilchrist
 Interventions to improve the psychological and emotional wellbeing of women during and after their breast cancer treatment.
Breast Screening  Nirmala Pathmanathan

/ Natacha Borecky

 Breast screening assessment and diagnosis
 Pathology & Prognostic Factors  Nirmala Pathmanathan  Research relating to the effect of the expression of pathological markers on breast cancer prognosis
 Radiotherapy  Kirsty Stuart  Effect of radiotherapy after treatment for Ductal Carcinoma in  Situ  (DCIS)
 Lymphoedema  Katrina Carvelo  Lymphodema treatment and prevention

Westmead Breast Cancer Institute Research Advisory Committee
All research undertaken at the BCI is governed by the Westmead BCI Research Advisory Committee (RAC). The RAC conduct a clinical review of all proposed research projects undertaken at BCI.

Research Advisory Committee members assist in the review of project proposals and provide comments when relevant to their area of speciality. They are also responsible for overseeing the efficient conduct of each study within their area of speciality, ensuring appropriate milestones are achieved.

Team Members

  • Director of Research (chair) – Dr Elisabeth Elder
  • BCI Service Director – A/Prof Nirmala Pathmanathan
  • Director - Strategic Operations – Susan Hamill
  • Research Manager – Masrura Kabir
  • Research Nurses – Rosemary Winter and Bronwyn Chalmers
  • Research Administrative Assistant- Amanda Robinson
  • Health Psychologist – A/Prof Kerry Sherman
  • Representative from surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology

Researchers interested in undertaking research at the Breast Cancer Institute
If you are interested in undertaking research at the Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, or if you would like to discuss your research project or the approval process with a member of the committee, please email our Research Manager( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). 

Once the RAC approves the project, you must obtain ethics approval from a lead Human Research Ethics committee. We usually use Sydney West Local Health District Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) but researchers are free to choose any lead ethics committee. All research conducted at the BCI must obtain site specific assessment approval (SSA) by Sydney West Local Health District Research Governance Office (RGO) prior to the project commencement. SSA must be obtained for each site.

Useful Links
Full list of Human Research Ethics Committees registered with NHMRC
Western Sydney Local Health Network Human Research Ethics Committee
NSW Health Ethics forms for NEAF and SSA applications
NSW Health Ethics
Office of the Privacy Commissioner