I lead the Blood Cells and Blood Cancer at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. My research is focused on the role of cell death in the normal immune system, and how defects in apoptosis can cause cancer and autoimmune disease. I was the first to demonstrate that abnormalities in the control of apoptosis can cause autoimmune disease or cancer and can render tumour cells refractory to a diverse range of anti-cancer drugs. I established that there are two distinct signalling pathways leading to cell death, one triggered by ligation of cell surface "death receptors" and the other by cytokine deprivation or stress signals. I was also the first to demonstrate that BH3-only proteins, a pro-apoptotic subgroup of the BCL-2 protein family, are essential for initiation of apoptosis signalling. I showed that PUMA is critical for killing of cells by DNA damage-inducing chemotherapeutics (mediated by p53) and that BIM is essential for the killing of tumour cells by glucocorticoids and inhibitors of oncogenic kinases.
Abstracts this author is presenting: