Associate Professor Orazio Vittorio

My Expertise

Cancer research, Nanomedicine, Cellular biology, Apoptosis and Oxidative Stress.

Fields of Research (FoR)

Paediatrics, Cancer Therapy (excl. Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy), Nanomedicine

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Dr Vittorio is a cancer biologist with an international reputation in studying the mechanism of action of anti-cancer therapeutics in paediatric cancers. He is Scientia Associate Prof at the School of Biomedical Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney and Team Leader at the Children’s Cancer Institute. He is the Head of the Metal Targeted Therapy & Immunology lab.  He authored >100 papers in international journals, 6 book chapters and he is inventor on 6 patents.  He has extensive experience in cell biology, molecular biology, immunology, nanomedicine and PET imaging. In the past 10 years Dr Vittorio secured competitive research funding of >$5 million as sole CI and >$10 million as co-CI. His recent investigations are focused on understanding the role of copper metabolism/homeostasis in progression of aggressive childhood cancers (Neuroblastoma, Lower-Grade-Glioma, DIPG and Glioblastoma). A/prof Vittorio was awarded the “Outstanding Career development Fellow” of the year 2020 from the Cancer Institute New South Wales and the Young Tall Poppy Science Award 2021, and Cure Cancer Australia Research of the year 2022 in recognition of his achievements and dedication to childhood cancer research. Dr Vittorio’s discovery that the level of copper in childhood neuroblastoma cells are higher than in normal cells is a world first achievement, and his development of anti-cancer therapeutics for both neuroblastoma and gliomas is internationally recognised. He also developed a PET imaging protocol using radiolabelled Copper to monitor cancer cell response to therapy in Neuroblastoma. Importantly, he was the first to discover that neuroblastoma and gliomas use copper to hide from the immune system attack, opening to the potential clinical use of copper chelation therapy as immunotherapy to boost anti-cancer immune response. Dr Vittorio’s strategic position at UNSW, the Children’s Cancer Institute and the Kids Cancer Alliance has allowed him to expand his research, build capacity in the field of copper targeting anticancer drugs and accelerate the translation of discoveries to the clinic.

My Grants

2013-2015       UNSW Vice Chancellor's Postdoc Research Fellowship 

2014-2016       Cancer Institute NSW Early Career Fellowship 

2016                Australian Institute of Nuclear Science Award 

2017-2018       The Lake Golf Charity Day Grant 

2017-2019       Cancer Institute NSW Career Development Fellowship 

2018-2019       Australia- Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme 

2018-2019       Cancer Australia’s Priority-driven Collab. Cancer Res Sch.

2018-2020       Australian Institute of Nuclear Science Award 

2019-2020       Tour de Cure Australia 

2020                ARC LIEF 

2020-2021       The Zoe fight foundation 

2020-2021       Cancer sphere seed grant 

2021                Tour de Cure Australia 

2020-2022       The Ross Trust Foundation Research grant 

2019-2023       NHMRC Career Development Fellowship 

2020-2025       Cancer Institute Program Grant 

2019-2026       UNSW Scientia Fellowship

My Qualifications

Master Of Science in Biology 2006

PhD in Oncology 2011

My Awards

               2013    Cancer Institute NSW Award: Outstanding Cancer Research of the Year

2015    The SPOT Award – Childrens Cancer Institute

2017    NanoMedicine Elevator Pitches Award, UNSW

2018    UNSW Postgraduate Research Supervisor Award

2018    ESMO Immuno-Oncology Congress Genève Dec 2018 (Best Poster presentation).

2018    Early Career Researcher Best Publication Award 2018 School of Women's and Children's health UNSW.

2020    CINSW Outstanding Cancer Research CDF of the Year 2020.

2021    Young Tall Poppy Science Awards

2022    Cure Cancer Australia Research of the year

My Research Activities

Copper metabolism; Cancer immunology; Single cell transcriptomics; Nanomedicine; Neuroblastoma, Low-Grade Glioma, Diffuse Midline Glioma, Glioblastoma, Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

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Lowy Cancer Research Centre
University of New South Wales
High Street


(02) 9385 2572