Associate Professor Erin Symonds

Academic Status

College of Medicine and Public Health

place Flinders Medical Centre (Level 3)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

A/Prof Erin Symonds is Senior Research Scientist with 20 years of experience in gastroenterology research. Following completion of her PhD through the University of Adelaide and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, she received a NHMRC CJ Martin Postdoctoral fellowship to conduct research in University College Cork, Ireland. Her work there was focussed on researching the maintenance of gastrointestinal health and the immune system with probiotic and nutritional interventions. She furthered this field of research within the Nutrigenomics and Nutrigenetics laboratory at CSIRO, Adelaide, followed by a senior research position on an industry grant within the Nerve Gut Laboratory, Royal Adelaide Hospital to assess how lifestyle changes alter the gastrointestinal tract nutrient sensing receptors.

Since the beginning of 2013 she has been managing the research at Bowel Health Services in the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer. Her research focus is on cancer biomarkers and prevention. She leads her team in developing and optimising non-invasive diagnostic techniques for detection of colorectal cancer. This includes improving screening options for people in the community and monitoring for risk of cancer recurrence after surgery. She also conducts research within a personalised screening program for people at increased risk for bowel cancer (the SCOOP program).


Bachelor of Science with honours: Adelaide University. 1995-1998

PhD: Non-invasive assessment of gastrointestinal function using breath test technology:investigations in health and disease. Adelaide University. 1999-2003

Honours, awards and grants

2019: NHMRC project grant “FIT for purpose: personalised surveillance colonoscopy for people at increased risk of colorectal cancer.” Grant number GNT1160433. Value $880,237.60

2019: Cancer Australia Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme “Personalising treatment and surveillance for colorectal cancer: prognostication with the circulating tumour-derived methylated DNA markers BCAT1 and IKZF1.” Grant number AppID_1161720. Value $553,196

2018: Flinders Foundation Health Seed Research Grant “Evaluation of IKZF1/BCAT1 promoter methylation in blood plasma and exosomes for potential use in clinical management of oesophageal neoplasia”. Value $20,119

2018: Cancer Council SA Beat Cancer grant “Improving gastrointestinal cancer outcomes: prevention, treatment and survivorship”. Value $720,000

2017: NHMRC Translational Research Projects for Improved Health Care Grant “Eradicating preventable deaths from colorectal cancer - the Beat Bowel Cancer Project” Value $100,000

2017: Flinders Foundation FCIC seeding grant “Use of faecal immunochemical tests in people at higher risk for colorectal cancer to determine who is suitable for longer colonoscopy surveillance intervals and so reduce the workload.” Value $18,500

2016: Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Infrastructure Grant “An electronic registry for a colorectal cancer surveillance program”. Value $26,039

2015: NHMRC project grant “A novel multi-gene marker blood test to increase community participation in colorectal cancer screening.” Grant number APP1101837. Value $581,116.40

2015: Flinders Medical Centre Foundation Seeding grant for “A novel methylated DNA blood test to detect adenocarcinoma”. Value $17,000

2014: The Repat Foundation- Prabha Seshadri Research Grant for “Provision of bowel cancer screening for those unsuitable for screening with faecal occult testing”. Value $44,458.88

2014: Flinders Medical Centre Foundation Seeding grant for “Factors that influence uptake of a new screening test for bowel cancer in an above average risk population”. Value $17,000