Dr Siok Tey graduated from the University of Queensland in 1996 and completed her training in clinical and laboratory haematology in Brisbane in 2005. Her interest in tumour immunotherapy led to a two-year research fellowship at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, USA. She returned to Brisbane in 2007 and undertook a PhD in cytomegalovirus immunology at QIMR Berghofer. This was followed by a post-doctoral fellowship supported by an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship. She was appointed Team Head and Senior Research Fellow at QIMR Berghofer in 2017. Siok maintains active clinical practice as a senior staff specialist in clinical haematology and bone marrow transplantation at the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital.
Current QIMR Berghofer appointment
- Senior research fellow (SRF-A)
Other current appointments
- Senior staff specialist, Department of Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
- Honorary Senior Lecturer , Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland
- Research fellow, Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
Current Area of Research
The Translational Cancer Immunotherapy Laboratory studies the interaction between the immune response and tumour control, with a particular emphasis on translating our ever-expanding basic science knowledge into clinically applicable therapeutic platforms. It has particular interest and expertise in bone marrow transplantation and cell and gene therapy, and is currently one of only a few centres in Australia that are conducting investigator-driven clinical trials using gene-modified T cells. In addition to developing new approaches to target cancer cells, the laboratory is also developing a method to expand donor-derived regulatory T cells to treat graft-versus-host disease, which is a common and life-threatening immune-driven complication of bone marrow transplantation. Using state-of-the-art technology, including gene-marking and single cell transcriptomics, immune reconstitution following bone marrow transplantation can be understood. Basic science research is focussed on the impact of cytomegalovirus reactivation on graft-versus-leukaemia effect. Cytomegalovirus is a common virus that is typically acquired during childhood; it has a marked influence on the immune landscape and, interestingly, has been associated with improved graft-versus-leukaemia effect following bone marrow transplantation. Our laboratory has developed a murine model of cytomegalovirus reactivation to investigate the mechanistic underpinnings of this observation, which may lead to new ways to enhance anti-leukaemic immunity.
- Developed a clinically applicable method to insert a safety switch, inducible caspase 9 (iCasp9), into donor T cells, and initiated the first clinical study in Australia to use this technology to improve the safety of bone marrow transplantation in leukaemia patients. This project established QIMR Berghofer as a site for manufacturing iCasp9-gene-modified T cells in-house for investigator-driven studies.
- Human cytomegalovirus immunity: clinical immune monitoring of cytomegalovirus in patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation and identification of latency-associated transcript, UL138, as a target for T cell immune response.
- Developed a preclinical model of cytomegalovirus latency and post-transplant reactivation to understand the interplay between cytomegalovirus and bone marrow transplant outcome.
- Defined the effect of CD52 monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab, as a salvage treatment for steroid-refractory GVHD.
- American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation
- American Society of Hematology
- Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group
- Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand
- International Society for Cell Therapy
- Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand
- Member of Editorial Board, Clinical and Translational Immunology, an official journal of Australasian Society for Immunology
- 2014: Clinical Researcher Award ‐ Australian Society of Medical Research Queensland
- 2011: Peter Doherty Award, Brisbane Immunology Group
- 2006: Young Investigator Award, Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand
- 1996: University Medal, University of Queensland
- 1996: Lilian Cooper Prize, University of Queensland, for highest grade point average over the six years of the MBBS course
- 2012: PhD, University of Queensland
- 2005: Fellowship of Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia
- 2004: Fellow ship of Royal Australasian College of Physicians
- 1996: MBBS (Hons I), University of Queensland
Selected Key Publications (Dr Tey’s full publication list can be viewed at her PubMed bibliography page):
- Epigenetic programming of T cells impacts immune reconstitution in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients.
Hardy K, Smith C, Tu WJ, McCuaig R, Panikkar A, Dasari V, Wu F, Tey SK, Hill GR, Khanna R, Rao S.
Blood Adv. 2018 Mar 27;2(6):656-668. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2018015909.
- Eomesodermin promotes the development of type 1 regulatory T (T<sub>R</sub>1) cells.
Zhang P, Lee JS, Gartlan KH, Schuster IS, Comerford I, Varelias A, Ullah MA, Vuckovic S, Koyama M, Kuns RD, Locke KR, Beckett KJ, Olver SD, Samson LD, Montes de Oca M, de Labastida Rivera F, Clouston AD, Belz GT, Blazar BR, MacDonald KP, McColl SR, Thomas R, Engwerda CR, Degli-Esposti MA, Kallies A, Tey SK, Hill GR.
Sci Immunol. 2017 Apr 7;2(10). pii: eaah7152. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aah7152.
- GVHD prevents NK-cell-dependent leukemia and virus-specific innate immunity.
Bunting MD, Varelias A, Souza-Fonseca-Guimaraes F, Schuster IS, Lineburg KE, Kuns RD, Fleming P, Locke KR, Huntington ND, Blazar BR, Lane SW, Tey SK, MacDonald KP, Smyth MJ, Degli-Esposti MA, Hill GR.
Blood. 2017 Feb 2;129(5):630-642. doi: 10.1182/blood-2016-08-734020. Epub 2016 Dec 7.
- Pharmacokinetics and immunological outcomes of alemtuzumab-based treatment for steroid-refractory acute GvHD.
Tey SK, Vuckovic S, Varelias A, Martins JP, Olver S, Samson L, Sturgeon E, Leach J, Avery J, Nakagaki M, Butler JP, Curley C, Morton AJ, Durrant ST, Kennedy GA, Hill GR.
Bone Marrow Transplant. 2016 Aug;51(8):1153-5. doi: 10.1038/bmt.2016.83. Epub 2016 Apr 4. No abstract available.
- Acute GVHD results in a severe DC defect that prevents T-cell priming and leads to fulminant cytomegalovirus disease in mice.
Wikstrom ME, Fleming P, Kuns RD, Schuster IS, Voigt V, Miller G, Clouston AD, Tey SK, Andoniou CE, Hill GR, Degli-Esposti MA.
Blood. 2015 Sep 17;126(12):1503-14. doi: 10.1182/blood-2015-01-622837. Epub 2015 Jun 30.
- Addition of interleukin-6 inhibition with tocilizumab to standard graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis after allogeneic stem-cell transplantation: a phase 1/2 trial.
Kennedy GA, Varelias A, Vuckovic S, Le Texier L, Gartlan KH, Zhang P, Thomas G, Anderson L, Boyle G, Cloonan N, Leach J, Sturgeon E, Avery J, Olver SD, Lor M, Misra AK, Hutchins C, Morton AJ, Durrant ST, Subramoniapillai E, Butler JP, Curley CI, MacDonald KP, Tey SK, Hill GR.
Lancet Oncol. 2014 Dec;15(13):1451-9. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(14)71017-4. Epub 2014 Nov 14.
- Post transplant CMV-specific T-cell immune reconstitution in the absence of global T-cell immunity is associated with a high risk of subsequent virus reactivation.
Tey SK, Davenport MP, Hill GR, Kennedy GA, Durrant ST, Khanna R, Cromer D.
Bone Marrow Transplant. 2015 Feb;50(2):315-6. doi: 10.1038/bmt.2014.265. Epub 2014 Nov 17. No abstract available.
- Induced regulatory T cells promote tolerance when stabilized by rapamycin and IL-2 in vivo.
Zhang P, Tey SK, Koyama M, Kuns RD, Olver SD, Lineburg KE, Lor M, Teal BE, Raffelt NC, Raju J, Leveque L, Markey KA, Varelias A, Clouston AD, Lane SW, MacDonald KP, Hill GR.
J Immunol. 2013 Nov 15;191(10):5291-303. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1301181. Epub 2013 Oct 11.
- Autophagy mediates transporter associated with antigen processing-independent presentation of viral epitopes through MHC class I pathway.
Tey SK, Khanna R.
Blood. 2012 Aug 2;120(5):994-1004. doi: 10.1182/blood-2012-01-402404. Epub 2012 Jun 21.
- Inducible apoptosis as a safety switch for adoptive cell therapy.
Di Stasi A, Tey SK, Dotti G, Fujita Y, Kennedy-Nasser A, Martinez C, Straathof K, Liu E, Durett AG, Grilley B, Liu H, Cruz CR, Savoldo B, Gee AP, Schindler J, Krance RA, Heslop HE, Spencer DM, Rooney CM, Brenner MK.
N Engl J Med. 2011 Nov 3;365(18):1673-83. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1106152.