Our People

Siok Tey

Dr | Associate Professor | Team Head | Senior Research Fellow

Translational Cancer Immunotherapy

+61 7 3362 0402

siok.tey@qimrberghofer.edu.au

 

CAREER HISTORY

Dr Siok Tey graduated from the University of Queensland Medical School in 1996 with First Class Honours and a University Medal. She completed her training in clinical and laboratory haematology in Brisbane in 2005, then undertook a two-year research fellowship (2005 – 2007) at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, USA. She returned to Australia in 2007 and completed a PhD in viral T cell immunity (2007 – 11), followed by a post-doctorate in clinical and experimental bone marrow transplant immunology (2012 – 2016), both at QIMR Berghofer.  

In 2014, Dr Tey opened the first clinical trial in Australia using a T cell engineering method that she helped develop while in the USA to make bone marrow transplantation safer.  Dr Tey started her own laboratory in 2017, where she continues to focus on integrating and translating her expertise in immunology, cell therapy and clinical medicine into novel therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and immune complications arising from bone marrow transplantation.

Dr Tey maintains active clinical practice as a senior staff specialist in clinical haematology and bone marrow transplantation at the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital. She was recipient of an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellowship (2013 –2016) and has received continuous NHMRC CIA project grant funding since 2013.  She has published in New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Nature Immunology, Lancet Oncology, amongst others.  Dr Tey serves on the editorial boards of Clinical and Translational Immunology and Blood Advances.

 

CURRENT APPOINTMENTS

  • Team Head and Senior Research Fellow, QIMR Berghofer
  • Senior Staff Specialist, Department of Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
  • Clinician Research Fellow, Metro North Hospital and Health Service
  • Medical Director, Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics, QIMR Berghofer Good Manufacturing Practice facility
  • Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology
  • Member of Expert Advisory Panel, Medical Research Future Fund – Stem Cell Therapies Mission
  • Member of Editorial Board – Clinical & Translational Immunology: An official journal of the Australasian Society for Immunology and Blood Advances: An official journal of the American Society of Hematology

 

PREVIOUS APPOINTMENTS

2012-2016: Post-doctoral Fellow, Bone Marrow Transplant Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer

2007-2011: PhD scholar, Tumour Immunology Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer

2005-2007: Research Fellow, Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, The Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas, USA

1997-2005: Full-time clinician – Medical resident and registrar in internal medicine, clinical haematology and haematopathology at Princess Alexandra Hospital and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital

 

ORCID NUMBER

0000-0001-9567-382X

 

RESEARCHER ID

I-6380-2015

 

CURRENT AREA OF RESEARCH

Dr Tey currently leads the Translational Cancer Immunotherapy Laboratory at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. She is also a practising clinician at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) where she is a clinical haematologist and bone marrow transplant physician. She is QIMR Berghofer / RBWH’s scientific and clinical lead in an NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Blood Transplant and Cell Therapy (2018 – 2022).

Dr Tey’s areas of research are bone marrow transplantation and cellular immunotherapy. Her research in bone marrow transplantation is focused on understanding the interplay between anti-tumour immunity, viral infection and graft-versus-host disease; and the means by which these can be modulated to improve patient outcome.  She currently leads an NHMRC-funded project using gene-modified regulatory T cells to treat Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD).  Siok is also strongly focused on novel gene-modified cellular immunotherapies, especially Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cells, for the treatment of cancer. Her group is conducting pre-clinical research and development in novel CAR T cell therapies.  She also leads a joint effort by QIMR Berghofer / RBWH to manufacture CAR T cells in-house for use in phase I clinical trials.

 

RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

  • 2019–Present: Clinical and scientific lead in a collaborative effort between QIMR Berghofer and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital to generate Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cells in-house for clinical trials in blood cancers
  • 2019: Co-authored paper in Science demonstrating that strain-specific humoral immunity prevents cytomegalovirus reactivation following bone marrow transplantation
  • 2014–2018: Led an NHMRC-funded phase I clinical trial using safety switch gene-modified T cells to mitigate against the risk of Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD) following bone marrow transplantation. Established the capacity to generate gene-modified cells in-house. Senior author publication in Clinical Cancer Research (2019).
  • 2011: Joint first-author in New England Journal of Medicine paper reporting first-in-human proof-of-principle study using the inducible caspase 9 safety switch to enable deletion of T cell therapeutics in the event of unwanted effects
  • Contribution to investigator-led clinical trials in the prevention and treatment of GVHD and leukaemia relapse following bone marrow transplantation. Publications in Lancet Oncology (2014), Bone Marrow Transplantation (first author, 2016), Blood Advances (2019)

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • Australian Association of Health and Medical Sciences, Associate Member and Mentee
  • American Society of Hematology, Member
  • American Society for Transplantation and Cell Therapy, Member
  • International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy, Australia New Zealand Regional Committee Member and Global Meeting Co-Chair for 2019
  • Australian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group, Member
  • Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand, Member

 

AWARDS RECOGNITION

2019: Clinician Researcher Fellowship, Metro North Hospital and Health Service

2014: Clinical Researcher Award (First Prize), Australian Society of Medical Research Queensland

2011: Peter Doherty Award, Brisbane Immunology Group

2008: Clinical Research Fellowship, Leukaemia Foundation of Australia

2006: Young Investigator Award, Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand

1996:

  • University Medal, University of Queensland
  • Lilian Cooper Prize, University of Queensland, for highest grade point average over the six

 

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

2012: Doctor of Philosophy: “Cytomegalovirus T cell immunity in health and disease”. University of Queensland

2005: Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FRCPA)

2004: Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP)

1996: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (Honours Class I), University of Queensland