Associate Professor Colin Robert Dunstan

Principal Research Fellow & Associate Professor
Medicine, Concord Clinical School
ANZAC Research Institute

C22 - Concord Hospital
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

T: 02 97679163
F: 02 97679101

W: Related website

Biographical details

Associate Professor Colin Dunstan is a respected authority on bone metabolism with over 25 years of experience in both clinical and basic research. He was part of the team that identified osteoprotegerin, RANK ligand and RANK as central regulators of bone resorption. He has extensive experience in both academic and industry (Amgen) settings. He currently serves on the editorial boards of Endocrinology and the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. Current research interests are in the local regulation of bone remodelling and in interactions between bone cell activity and cancer cells.

Research interests

Associate Professor Colin Dunstan researches the process of cancer metastasis to bone. Research activities cover establishment of animal models of breast cancer metastasis to bone, evaluating targeting to bone, lytic processes, and tumor growth in the bone environment, and the interactions of bones cells and cancer cells that promote metastasis. He focuses on the interactions between cancer cells and the regulation of bone resorption through the cytokines RANK ligand and osteoprotegerin.

A related area of interest is the evaluation of transgenic and knockout mice to define skeletal phenotypes. Associate Professor Dunstan has extensively studied mice genetically modified to alter the expression of osteocalcin, RANK ligand, its associated receptor RANK, and its decoy receptor osteoprotegerin.

Associate Professor Dunstan has direct experience in the clinical application and commercial translation of discoveries in bone biology. He is experienced in regulatory requirements for preclinical and early clinical studies of new therapeutics, having taken osteoprotegerin from initial in vivo studies through to successful IND filing and completion of a phase 1 trial. He has broad experience in clinical research of metabolic bone diseases as assessed by bone histomorphometry.

Teaching areas

AMME4990 - Biomedical Product Development

AMME5022 - Capstone Project B Extended

AMME5901 - Anatomy and Physiology for Engineers

AMME5990 - Biomedical Engineering Technology 1

ENGG1960 - Introduction to Biomedical Engineering

MECH2901 - Anatomy and Physiology for Engineers

MECH3661 - Engineering Management

Current national competitive grants*


Pharmacological development of synthetic analogues of cytochrome P450-mediated omega-3 fatty acid epoxides as novel anti-metastatic agents
Murray M, Duke C, Cui S, Ching L, Dunstan C
NHMRC Project Grants ($835,860 over 3 years)

* Grants administered through the University of Sydney


2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009


  • Zheng, Y., Basel, D., Chow, S., Fong-Yee, C., Kim, S., Buttgereit, F., Dunstan, C., Zhou, H., Seibel, M. (2014), Targeting IL-6 and RANKL signaling inhibits prostate cancer growth in bone. Clinical & Experimental Metastasis. 31(8), 921-933. [Abstract]
  • Zheng, Y., Chow, S., Boernert, K., Basel, D., Mikuscheva, A., Kim, S., Fong-Yee, C., Trivedi, T., Buttgereit, F., Sutherland, R., Dunstan, C., Zhou, H., Seibel, M. (2014), Direct Cross-Talk between Cancer and Osteoblast Lineage Cells Fuels Metastatic Growth in Bone via Auto-Amplification of IL-6 and RANKL Signaling Pathways. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 29(9), 1938-1949. [Abstract]


  • Zheng, Y., Zhou, H., Dunstan, C., Sutherland, R., Seibel, M. (2013), The role of the bone microenvironment in skeletal metastasis. Journal of Bone Oncology. 2(1), 47-57.


  • Brennan-Speranza, T., Henneicke, H., Gasparini, S., Blankenstein, K., Heinevetter, U., Cogger, V., Svistounov, D., Zhang, Y., Cooney, G., Buttgereit, F., Dunstan, C., Gundberg, C., Zhou, H., Seibel, M. (2012), Osteoblasts mediate the adverse effects of glucocorticoids on fuel metabolism. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 122(11), 4172-4189. [Abstract]
  • Kam, W., Meikle, S., Zhou, H., Zheng, Y., Blair, J., Seibel, M., Dunstan, C., Banati, R. (2012), The 18 kDa translocator protein (peripheral benzodiazepine receptor) expression in the bone of normal, osteoprotegerin or low calcium diet treated mice. PLoS One. 7(1), e30623.


  • Henneicke, H., Herrmann, M., Kalak, R., Brennan-Speranza, T., Heinevetter, U., Bertollo, N., Day, R., Huscher, D., Buttgereit, F., Dunstan, C., Seibel, M., Zhou, H. (2011), Corticosterone selectively targets endo-cortical surfaces by an osteoblast-dependent mechanism. Bone. 49(4), 733-42. [Abstract]
  • Stalgis-Bilinski, K., Boyages, J., Salisbury, E., Dunstan, C., Henderson, S., Talbot, P. (2011), Burning daylight: balancing vitamin D requirements with sensible sun exposure. Medical Journal of Australia. 194(7), 345-348. [Abstract]
  • Ooi, L., Zheng, Y., Stalgis-Bilinski, K., Dunstan, C. (2011), The bone remodelling environment is a factor in breast cancer bone metastasis. Bone. 48(1), 66-70. [Abstract]


  • Allan, C., Kalak, R., Dunstan, C., McTavish, K., Zhou, H., Handelsman, D., Seibel, M. (2010), Follicle-stimulating hormone increases bone mass in female mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 107(52), 22629-34. [Abstract]
  • Zheng, Y., Zhou, H., Ooi, L., Snir, A., Dunstan, C., Seibel, M. (2010), Vitamin D deficiency promotes prostate cancer growth in bone. The Prostate. 0(0), 0. [Abstract]
  • Ooi, L., Zheng, Y., Zhou, H., Trivedi, T., Conigrave, A., Seibel, M., Dunstan, C. (2010), Vitamin D deficiency promotes growth of MCF-7 human breast cancer in a rodent model of osteosclerotic bone metastasis. Bone. 47(4), 795-803. [Abstract]
  • Liu, P., Kalak, R., Lue, Y., Jia, Y., Erkkila, K., Zhou, H., Seibel, M., Wang, C., Swerdloff, R., Dunstan, C. (2010), Genetic and hormonal control of bone volume, architecture, and remodeling in XXY mice. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 25(10), 2148-2154. [Abstract]
  • Zreiqat, H., Ramaswamy, Y., Wu, C., Paschalidis, A., Lu, Z., James, B., Birke, O., McDonald, M., Little, D., Dunstan, C. (2010), The incorporation of strontium and zinc into a calcium-silicon ceramic for bone tissue engineering. Biomaterials. 31(12), 3175-3184. [Abstract]
  • Weber, A., Li, G., Kalak, R., Street, J., Buttgereit, F., Dunstan, C., Seibel, M., Zhou, H. (2010), Osteoblast-targeted disruption of glucocorticoid signalling does not delay intramembranous bone healing. Steroids. 75(3), 282-286. [Abstract]


  • Mak, W., Shao, X., Dunstan, C., Seibel, M., Zhou, H. (2009), Biphasic Glucocorticoid-Dependent Regulation of Wnt Expression and Its Inhibitors in Mature Osteoblastic Cells. Calcified tissue international. 85(6), 538-45. [Abstract]
  • Wang, C., Karlis, G., Anderson, G., Dunstan, C., Carbone, A., Berger, G., Ploska, U., Zreiqat, H. (2009), Bone growth is enhanced by novel bioceramic coatings on Ti alloy implants. Journal of biomedical materials research. Part A. 90(0), 419-28. [Abstract]
  • Kalak, R., Zhou, H., Street, J., Day, R., Modzelewski, J., Spies, C., Liu, P., Li, G., Dunstan, C., Seibel, M. (2009), Endogenous glucocorticoid signaling in osteoblasts is necessary to maintain normal bone structure in mice. Bone. 45(1), 61-7. [Abstract]
  • Buttgereit, F., Zhou, H., Kalak, R., Gaber, T., Spies, C., Huscher, D., Straub, R., Modzelewski, J., Dunstan, C., Seibel, M. (2009), Transgenic disruption of glucocorticoid signaling in mature osteoblasts and osteocytes attenuates K/BxN mouse serum-induced arthritis in vivo. Arthritis and rheumatism. 60(7), 1998-2007. [Abstract]
  • Herrmann, M., Henneicke, H., Street, J., Modzelewski, J., Kalak, R., Buttgereit, F., Dunstan, C., Zhou, H., Seibel, M. (2009), The challenge of continuous exogenous glucocorticoid administration in mice. Steroids. 74(2), 245-9. [Abstract]
  • Zhou, H., Mak, W., Kalak, R., Street, J., Fong-Yee, C., Zheng, Y., Dunstan, C., Seibel, M. (2009), Glucocorticoid-dependent Wnt signaling by mature osteoblasts is a key regulator of cranial skeletal development in mice. Development (Cambridge). 136(3), 427-436. [Abstract]
  • Dunstan, C. (2009), How can periodontal bone loss be stopped?. In: Periodontal Medicine and Systems Biology. (pp.427-437).United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Zhou, H., Chen, D., Dunstan, C., Seibel, M. (2009), Bone Metabolism. In: Encyclopedia of Molecular Pharmacology. (pp.276-282).United States: Springer New York LLC.
  • Blair, J., Modzelewski, J., Perryman, L., Russell, P., Seibel, M., Dunstan, C. (2009), Prolonged Antiresorptive Treatment of Lytic Prostate Cancer Xenografts in Mouse Bone Results in Tumor Necrosis. Journal of Cancer Molecules. 4(6), 175-181.