The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital

  • Research Groups

    Current Projects

    • Elizabeth Vincan Project A

      Infection of liver cells with HBV can ultimately lead to liver cancer. The vast majority of HBV related liver cancers also harbour abnormally active Wnt signalling. However, our understanding of the interplay between these two oncogenic drivers of liver cancer is not well understood. This is primarily because HBV only infects normal human liver cells (hepatocytes). Thus, the study of HBV entry into, and natural infection of, human hepatocytes has been hampered by a lack of suitable models. Elizabeth’s group recently established an in vitro mini-liver organoid culture system that supports HBV infection and investigates the oncogenic interplay with Wnt.

    • Elizabeth Vincan Project B

      Adult stem cells are the cell-of-origin of cancer. Stem cells are absolutely dependent on tightly controlled Wnt signalling, however, these cells initiate cancer if the Wnt pathway is abnormally switched on. Elizabeth’s research shows that the level of Wnt activity in the cancer cells is critical to cancer growth and that this level is modulated by additional signalling from the Wnt receptor complex. Using mini-gut and mini-stomach organoid technology developed by her collaborators, Professors Hans Clevers and Nick Barker, her group demonstrated potent anti-tumour effects by blocking Wnt receptors. This is being developed as targeted therapy for gastrointestinal cancers. 

    Lab Team

    • Dr Dustin Flanagan
      Post-Doctoral Scientist
    • Dr Renate Schwab
      Post-Doctoral Scientist
    • Jean Moselen
      Medical Scientist
    • Bang Tran Manh
      PhD Student
    • Damian Neate
      Technical Assistant