WHAT WE DO
We fund cutting edge medical research into finding a cure for Bone Marrow Failure, purposefully identifying and supporting the brightest researchers in Australia. To achieve this vision, our highly reputable and esteemed Scientific Advisory Committee continues to develop national and international research strategy within the Five Pillars of our Centre of Research Excellence. We believe the research projects and people we fund will find the breakthroughs this area of medicine so urgently needs.
The Five Pillars of Research
- Comprehensive clinical data and sample collection on current and newly diagnosed patients with Bone Marrow Failure
- Genomic, epigenomic and proteomic control of Haemopoietic Stem Cell (HSC) survival, growth and differentiation
- The components and control of the HSC niche (microenvironment) within the bone marrow
- Abnormalities of Immune Function
- Monitoring and predictors (biomarkers) of prognosis, response to treatment and disease evolution
What WE HAVE COMMITTED TO FUNDING
- 2015 – 2018: The Australian Aplastic Anaemia Registry as a Means for Advancing Effective Treatment of Aplastic Anaemia (Transfusion Outcomes Research Collaborative (TORC). TORC is a consortium of members of Monash University Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at The Alfred Hospital, along with members of the Red Cross Blood Service)
- 2016-2019 (Fellowship): Part 1 - Prevention and treatment of bone marrow failure in Fanconi anaemia and other inherited disorders (Dr Wayne Crismani, St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research)
2017-2019 (Grant): Part 2 - Prevention and treatment of bone marrow failure in Fanconi anaemia and other inherited disorders (Dr Wayne Crismani, St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research)
- 2016-2018 (Grant): Identification of miRNA biomarkers which play a functional role in disease pathogenesis and are predictive of inferior outcomes in AA/MDS (Dr Lynette Chee, The Royal Melbourne Hospital/Melbourne Health)
- 2017-2020 (Fellowship): Genome editing of haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells to uncover novel therapeutics for aplastic anaemia and other bone marrow failure syndromes (Dr Yih-Chih Chan and Prof Mark Dawson, The University of Melbourne through the Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology)
2017-2019 (Grant): Predicting malignant transformation of bone marrow failure syndromes using longitudinal targeted sequencing of peripheral blood and cell-free DNA (cfDNA) (Dr Piers Blombery, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre)
- 2018-2020 (Grant): Influences of clonal haematopoiesis in allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (Prof Mark Dawson and Dr Paul Yeh, The University of Melbourne)
- 2019-2020 (Doctoral Degree Fellowship): Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes in Australia: improving diagnosis to inform strategies for better care and outcomes (Dr Lucy Fox, The University of Melbourne)
- 2018-2020 (Grant): Identifying therapeutics which can be repurposed for the treatment of Myelodysplastic Syndromes and other Bone Marrow Failure Disorders (Dr Amee George, The Australian National University)
- 2018-2020 (Grant): Using induced pluripotent stem cells to find causes and cures for bone marrow failure in children and young adults (Professor Andrew Elefanty, Murdoch Children's Research Institute)
- 2018-2020 (Grant): Discovering new genes and mutations that cause failure of bone marrow neutrophil production (Professor Graham Lieschke, Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute/Monash University and The Royal Melbourne Hospital)
- 2018-2020 (Co-funded VCA/MRV International Fellowship): International Travelling Fellowship. Novel immunological assessment of Aplastic Anaemia and post transplant Graft Dysfunction for the purposes of targeted therapeutic intervention (Dr Ashvind Prabahran, The Royal Melbourne Hospital/Melbourne Health)
- 2018-2020 (Co-funded Snowdome/MRV Fellowship): The Gunn National Fellowship for Career Development in Research - Women in Haematology. Novel blood biomarkers for predicting bone marrow failure in Myeloproliferative neoplasms (Dr Belinda Guo, University of Western Australia)
- 2019-2021 (Fellowship): The Alex Gadomski Fellowship. Functional Interrogation of Loci associated with the Regulation of Haematopoiesis (Dr Kirsten Fairfax, Menzies Institute for Medical Research and University of Tasmania).
- 2019-2020 (Grant): Extension to The Australian Aplastic Anaemia Registry, including expansion of scope to include all Bone Marrow Failure Syndromes. (Monash University Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine)
- 2019-2021 (Grant): Evaluating Multidisciplinary Bone Marrow Failure Syndrome Care - a prospective observational clinical trial offering comprehensive diagnostic genomic evaluation, multidisciplinary case review and multidisciplinary clinical care (The University of Melbourne and Clinical Haematology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and The Royal Melbourne Hospital)
- 2020 -2022 (Fellowship): Modelling consequences of cell abundance, heterogeneity and origin for autologous cell therapy in genetic bone marrow failure syndromes (Dr Parvathy Venugopal, Centre for Cancer Biology)
- 2020 -2021 (Grant-in-Aid): Establishing an in vivo humanized mouse model for telomere related bone marrow failure syndromes (Associate Professor Tracy Bryan, Children's Medical Research Institute)
- 2020 -2021 (Grant-in-Aid): Microenvironmental determinants of Aplastic Anaemia progression to MDS / AML (Dr Rachel Koldej, ACRF Translational Research Laboratory, Melbourne Health)
Scientific advisory Committee
Professor David Ritchie
Professor David Ritchie is a Haematologist and Bone Marrow transplant specialist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He undertook his medical training and PhD in Immunology at the University of Otago before moving to Melbourne 10 years ago.
He is head of the Bone Marrow Transplant Service of Royal Melbourne Hospital. He runs two research laboratories and is involved in all aspects of research into blood and bone marrow conditions. He is the immediate past president of the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand and is heavily involved in training young haematologists and medical researchers.
Professor David Haylock
Professor David Haylock brings considerable expertise in the isolation, characterization and ex vivo manipulation of human haemopoietic stem and progenitor cells to this initiative. Specifically, Professor Haylock has developed serum-free cytokine dependent culture systems for ex vivo expansion of haemopoietic stem cells (HSC) that enable analysis of the effect of purified recombinant cytokines on the proliferation and differentiation of HSC. Furthermore, he has significant skills in flow cytometric methods for multiparameter immunophenotypic analysis and fluorescent activated sorting of rare cell subsets.
Recently, in collaboration with Professors Elefanty and Stanley (Monash University), this has involved detailed immunophenotypic characterisation of putative haemopoietic stem cells derived from differentiated hESC cultures. In addition, through his direction of the CRC-Polymers biomaterials project Prof Haylock has developed knowledge and expertise on biomaterials and bioreactor based systems for expansion of haemopoietic stem and progenitor cells.
This includes the development of modified polymer surfaces that facilitate immobilisation of biological ligands for cell expansion. These skills and expertise will be utilised in development of novel systems for propagating megakaryocytes and producing platelets from hESC derived precursors.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR RACHEL CONYERS
Dr Rachel Conyers is a paediatric, adolescent and young adult malignant haematologist/oncologist. Dr Conyers completed her medical degree at Monash University in 2003. Completing fellowships in Paediatric Oncology at The Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne), Bone Marrow Transplantation (Great Ormond Street Hospital, London) and Adolescent Young Adult Sarcoma (University College Hospital, London).
Returning to Australia in 2010, Rachel began an Adult and Adolescent fellowship in Haematology at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre whilst completing her PhD in sarcoma pharmacogenomics and genetics. In 2016 Dr Conyers was awarded a Clinician Scientist Fellowship at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (2016-2019). This research fellowship will allow her to continue her research into the genetic predisposition to chemotherapy side effects (mainly anthracycline cardiomyopathy).
In 2016 Dr Conyers also co-founded Treat Unique, an Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology and Haematology service in the private sector. Currently Rachel works as a Bone Marrow Transplant Physician at The Royal Children’s Hospital and in Adult and Young Adult Haematology at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Parkville.
Associate professor steven lane
Steven Lane is a clinical haematologist and translational researcher, based out of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. His clinical work covers all aspects of benign and malignant haematology, with a specific focus on myeloid blood cancers such as AML, MDS and myeloproliferative neoplasm. He is the Director of Clinical Research in Cancer Care at RBWH, and a principal investigator on a number of national cooperative trials.
Steven is the Head of the Cancer Program at QIMR Berghofer, and lab head of the Gordon and Jessie Gilmour Leukaemia Research Lab. His lab researches myeloid blood cancers such as acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and the myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). These are very aggressive and rapidly fatal blood cancers that are among the most common types of cancer affecting Australians.
His efforts are concentrated on understanding how leukaemia stem cells in AML and MPN are able to regenerate leukaemia (or cause relapse in patients), even after cytotoxic chemotherapy. To achieve this, research has focused on generating robust models of leukaemia and dissecting the pathways of self-renewal in leukaemia stem cells and normal blood stem cells.
Steven has been fortunate to be awarded a CSL Centenary Fellowship (2017-21) and has previously received a Fulbright Scholarship and NHMRC Career Development Fellowship. His lab has also received support from NHMRC (continuous 2011-current), Cancer Australia, the Leukaemia Foundation and philanthropic donations. Steven is the Queensland Councillor and Treasurer for the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand.
Associate professor ingrid winkler
Associate Professor Ingrid Winkler is a Senior Research Fellow of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and head of the Stem Cells and Cancer Research Group at Mater Research - University of Queensland in Brisbane. Dr Winkler's basic research program was recognised as among 'Ten of the best research projects in Australia' by NHMRC (2013) and seeks to understand how normal and malignant Haematopoietic Stem Cells are regulated by their local microenvironments (niches) in the bone marrow.
Dr Winkler's innovative research has led to the discovery of novel strategies to protect Haematopoietic Stem Cells from acquired bone marrow failure following chemotherapy or radiation damage, as well as strategies to improve the success of leukaemia therapy by blocking access to protective niches in the bone marrow and are the basis for current clinical trials in progress.
Dr Winkler brings to this position expertise in facilitating the interactions between strong basic research, research funding success and clinical trials. Dr Winkler is also passionate about training the next generation of leaders and has initiated a highly successful mentorship program.
associate Professor Andy Moore
Associate Professor Moore is Senior Staff Specialist in Paediatric Oncology at Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH) where he is also Director, Clinical and Biomedical Research. As part of the Leukaemia, Lymphoma and Bone Marrow Transplant Service at QCH, he is responsible for the care of infants, children and adolescents with haematological malignancies, as well as bone marrow transplant patients with malignant and non-malignant conditions including bone marrow failure syndromes.
Dr Moore is an active researcher, with a particular interest in paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). After completing his clinical training in Brisbane, he undertook at PhD in London, and returned to Australia in 2012 supported by a NHMRC Early Career Fellowship. In addition to leading clinical research for childhood leukaemia, Dr Moore is Director of the Queensland Children's Tumour Bank at The University of Queensland’s Child Health Research Centre.
dr duncan purtill
Dr Duncan Purtill is a clinical and laboratory haematologist at Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA. He trained at Royal Perth Hospital and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and undertook fellowships at Hôpital Saint Louis, Paris, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, New York.
His interests are in stem cell transplantation and cellular therapies, and in promoting the use and application of clinical trials and patient registries in haematological malignancies.
He is Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Fiona Stanley Hospital, a member of the eviQ BMT Reference Committee, and vice-president of Australia and New Zealand Transplantation and Cellular Therapies.