The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: The role of the prion protein in brain cancer

Lawson group

Recent studies have reported that the cellular form of the prion protein is upregulated in several cancer types and has been associated with disease progression and poor treatment response. This project will investigate the role of the prion protein in cancer using a mouse model of glioblastoma in which PrPC expression has been ablated. This project will involve breeding and selection (genotyping) of mice, induction of glioblastoma, monitoring of mice for signs of disease and analysis of tissue for evidence of disease. Adult neural stem cells will be derived from this mouse model to enable in vitro (cell culture) characterisation of the cells that give rise to glioblastoma and the contribution of PrPC expression on cancer specific processes.

Image: Neural spheres growing in vitro from neural stem cells isolated from prion protein knockout mice. Adult neural stem cells will be isolated from mice to enable in vitro (cell culture) characterisation of the contribution of prion protein expression to the hallmarks of cancer in glioblastoma.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Associate Professor Vicki Lawson

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Lawson group

3 vacancies

Host Pathogens Interactions
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research
Public Health
Translational and Clinical Research

The Lawson group is focused on understanding how protein misfolding in the central and enteric nervous system gives rise to diseases such as prion and Parkinson’s diseases, with a focus on diagnosis, treatment and prevention, as well as understanding how the normal function of these proteins may contribute to diseases such as cancer. 

Lawson group Current Projects