Dr Marie-Odile Parat


The possibility that perioperative medications can modulate the risk of tumour recurrence or metastasis is the object of intense research. Opioids have been suspected to play a deleterious role, due to their immune-suppressive effects however opioids have also been documented to prevent tumour growth and metastasis. To this complex field, our laboratory has contributed mostly data indicating that morphine is protective. In a syngeneic mouse experimental metastasis model, morphine short term administration reduced tumour load in the lungs, and prevented the increase in circulating matrix proteases associated with tumour burden. Using co-culture models, we demonstrated that morphine reduces the pro-invasive and pro-angiogenic interaction between cancer cells and stromal cells and prevents macrophage alternate polarization. Lastly, recent data indicate that toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) can respond to opioids and we have demonstrated that after morphine administration, circulating morphine and its metabolites, including the MOR-inactive M3G, are active at TLR4, with potential consequences on the regulation of tumour growth and metastasis in vivo.

Speaker bio:

Dr Marie-Odile ParatDr Marie-Odile Parat joined the School of Pharmacy as Senior Lecturer in December 2007. She obtained her Pharm.D. from University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France, a Masters in Cutaneous Biology from University Claude Bernard in Lyon, France and her Ph.D. in Cell Biology from University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France. She further has post graduate diplomas in the fields of Biomedical and Industrial Pharmacy, Photobiology, Pharmaceutical Management, and Public Health.

MO did her Pharmaceutical Residency at the University Hospitals of Grenoble, France in the Sterile Pharmaceutical Supplies Headquarters, the Department of Nuclear Medicine, and the Laboratory Medicine Department of Biochemistry. Attracted by international working experience, she carried out research within the R&D laboratories of Estee Lauder in Melville, NY. She further worked for the United Nations International Trade center in Geneva, Switzerland, where she was the Product Specialist on market information for pharmaceutical raw materials/essential drugs for three years in collaboration with the World Health Organization.

The long term goal of the Parat laboratory is to provide insight for novel cancer therapies. A basic science team focusses on endothelial and cancer cell migration, invasion, angiogenesis, and specialized plasma membrane subdomains termed caveolae. A translational axis of research evaluates novel mechanisms by which opioids administered to cancer patients modulate the risk of long term tumour recurrence and metastasis.

About Seminar Series

The School of Pharmacy Seminar Series involves regular formal presentations of high-quality scholarly work with broad appeal.

The wider School community is invited to attend, including academic and professional staff, special guests, visitors, as well as HDR, postgraduate, masters and honours students.

Seminars are held on Fridays from 12pm–1pm in room 5034 in the Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence, 20 Cornwall St Woolloongabba (next to TRI and the PA Hospital).

Confirmed 2021 seminars

Date Presenter
12-1pm, Friday 19 March
(PACE R5034 and Zoom)
Professor Paul Clarke, Director Diamantina Institute        
12-1pm, Friday 16 April
(Zoom only)
Associate Professor Francine Marques, Monash University     
12-1pm, Friday 23 April
(Zoom only)
Associate Professor Ben Colagiuri, Sydney University 
12-1pm, Friday 7 May
(Zoom only)
Dr Laurence Cheung, Curtin University
12-1pm, Friday 30 July
(location TBC)
Dr Gary Chan, UQ CYSUR
12-1pm, Friday 13 August
(Zoom only)
Professor Sanjay Garg, University of South Australia
12-1pm, Friday 3 September
(PACE R5034 and Zoom)
Associate Professor Michael Barras, UQ Pharmacy
12-1pm 10 September
(Online via Zoom)

Professor Josephine Forbes, Mater Research


12-1pm, Friday 17 September
(PACE R5034 and Zoom)

Professor Nigel McMillan, Program Director: Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Menzies Health Institute QLD, Griffith University

12-1pm, Friday 24 September
(Location TBC)
Denuja Karunakaran, IMB Fellow, Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), UQ


Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence, 20 Cornwall St, Woolloongabba