Gordon & Jessie Gilmour Leukaemia Research

Professor Steven Lane

Group Leader

The Gordon and Jessie Gilmour Leukaemia Research Laboratory is researching myeloid blood cancers that include acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) as part of its translational leukaemia research work. These very aggressive and rapidly fatal blood cancers are among the most common types of cancer affecting Australians.

The laboratory’s efforts concentrate on understanding how leukaemia stem cells in AML and MPN are able to regenerate leukaemia (or cause relapse in patients), even after cytotoxic chemotherapy. 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. The group aims to tailor treatments for individual patients, identify new drug pathways and explore repurposing existing drugs to target resistant leukaemia types.


  • Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) – targeting disease-initiating stem cell populations through targeted inhibitors of Jak2 signaling or through inhibition of self-renewal pathways within stem cell populations
  • Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) – examining the effect of inhibitors used alone, or in combination with chemotherapy on the preferential dependency of AML stem cells (compared to normal bone marrow) on pathways regulating DNA damage response and chromosomal stability
  • identifying novel LSC-specific targets that may be of broader interest
  • normal blood development – novel pathways that regulate blood stem cell development and cytokine mobilisation of stem cells for use in transplantation medicine


  • Claudia Bruedigam, Senior Research Officer
  • Megan Bywater, Senior Research Officer
  • Jasmin Straube, Research Officer
  • Victoria Ling, Research Officer
  • Gerlinda Amor, Clinical Trials Project Manager
  • Guidan Cheng, Scientific Technical Officer
  • Leanne Cooper, Research Assistant
  • Amy Porter, Research Assistant
  • Rohit Haldar, Research Assistant
  • Ranran Zhang, PhD Student
  • Dr. Julian Grabek, PhD Student
  • Emily Cooper, Scientific Technical Officer
  • Yashaswini Janardhanan, Research Assistant
  • Paniz Tavakoli, Research Officer

Internal Collaborators

External Collaborators

  • Associate Professor Ann Mullally, Harvard Medical School
  • Professor Ben Ebert, Harvard Medical School
  • Professor David Williams, Harvard Medical School
  • Professor Stefan Froehling, National Center for Tumour Diseases Heidelberg
  • Professor Claudia Scholl, National Center for Tumour Diseases Heidelberg
  • Associate Professor Michael Milsom, German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ)
  • Professor Florian Heidel, Jena University Hospital
  • Professor Geoff Hill, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Centre
  • Professor Lars Bullinger, Charité University Medicine
  • Associate Professor Stephen Sykes, Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Professor Richard D’Andrea, University South Australia
  • Professor Mark Dawson, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
  • Associate Professor Carl Walkley, St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research
  • Associate Professor Louise Purton, St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research
  • Professor Andrew Perkins, Alfred Hospital, Monash Medical School

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the following funding agencies:

  • Leukaemia Foundation Strategic Ecosystem Grant: Myelodysplasia
  • MPN research foundation (USA): Interferon challenge grant
  • Cancer Australia, Priority Driven Research Funding Scheme: Dnmt3a loss contributes to disease progression in myeloproliferative neoplasm
  • NHMRC Project Grant: targeting leukaemia stem cells through inhibition of telomerase.
  • NHMRC project Grant: the evolution of acute myeloid leukaemia through the in situ transformation of haematopoietic stem cells
  • NHMRC Investigator grant
  • CSL Centenary Fellowship
  • Gordon and Jessie Gilmour Trust – charitable donation
  • Herron Family – charitable donation


The laboratory proudly bears the family name of the Gilmour-Peacock family, who have supported medical research over many decades. Rae Peacock, together with her brothers Ian and Grahame, decided to invest in medical research at QIMR Berghofer to continue their parents’ legacy. Rae’s parents were strong supporters of leukaemia research from the early 1970s, and the Gordon and Jessie Gilmour Trust was established through their will.

Researchers congratulate Rae Peacock, recipient of the 2016 Clive Berghofer Humanitarian Award in recognition of outstanding support for research. Rae is pictured with researchers Amy Porter, Axia Song, Joanne Sutton and Emma Dishington of the Gordon and Jessie Gilmour Leukaemia Research laboratory.


What determines leukaemic stem cell maintenance and resistance to chemotherapy?

Can be adapted in scope for Honours, Masters or PhD project with bioinformatics background Acute myeloid leukemia is a highly aggressive disease with the majority of patients still relapsing even after achieving remission from chemotherapy. It is hypothesized that relapse arises from residual leukaemic stem cells that are resistant to chemotherapy. To date transcriptional analysis […]

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Role of MYC in leukaemic cell differentiation

Can be adapted in scope for Honours, Masters or PhD project with bioinformatics background MYC is a pleotropic transcription factor with a key role in controlling cell proliferation. Deregulation of MYC through amplification or genomic rearrangement is the oncogenic driver in many cancers of different tissue origin. Novel therapies that inhibit downstream effects of MYC […]

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The role of the immune system in disease evolution and treatment response in AML

Can be adapted in scope for Honours, Masters or PhD project Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is an aggressive blood cancer characterised by the excessive production of immature myeloid elements. AML is a genetically heterogeneous disease in that it is known to be driven by an extensive list of somatic mutations and chromosomal re-arrangements. We have […]

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The role of additional mutations in treatment response and disease progression in MPN

Can be adapted in scope for Honours, Masters or PhD project MPNs are a group of disorders characterised by the excess production of mature myeloid cells. MPNs are driven by the constitutive activation of the JAK-STAT signalling pathway as a consequence of mutations in either JAK2, MPL or CALR in haematopoietic stem cells (HSC). Pioneering […]

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