Liver Cancer Research Group

Lab head: Lionel Hebbard
Location: Westmead Millennium Institute

Successful applicants will receive extensive training in mouse models, informatics, histology, biochemical techniques, signal transduction, tumour biology, isolating primary cells and stem cell assays. The completion of these projects will lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of liver cancer and fatty liver disease.

About the Storr Liver Unit

The Western Clinical School's Storr Liver Unit investigates the pathogenesis of liver disease, and the diverse causes of liver injury, such as drugs and toxins, metabolic factors and viruses. Internationally acclaimed, the Unit has made substantial contributions to defining how the liver responds to injury, and how genes involved in the metabolisms of drugs and toxic products of liver metabolism are regulated.

Liver cancer is Australia's fastest growing cancer, and this is an opportunity to take a role in the research of this emerging health focus. The Unit is well funded and thus there is the opportunity to employed cutting edge techniques and tools to bring each project to fruition. Joining a successful research team with expertise in liver disease and cancer, there will also be opportunity to collaborate with internationally-renowned cancer researchers at the Westmead Millennium Institute. As part of the community of over 400 researchers based on the Westmead campus, there will be the possibility to utilise the Institute's state-of-the-art molecular, translational and cell biological facilities.

Lab members: Badr Alzahrani, Carol Devine, Saeed Esmaili, Tristan Iseli, Mehdi Ramezani-Moghadam, Vikki Ho, Stephanie Obeid, Sarah Walker, Rose White
Funding: NHMRC, Storr Trust, CCNSW
Research approach equipment: Mouse Models, Stem Cell, Cancer Therapeutics, Signal Transduction, Role of obesity, Tissue Cross-Talk

Hebbard L, Cecena G, Golas J, Sawada J, Ellies L, Charbono A, Williams R, Jimenez R, Wankell M, Arndt K, DeJoy S, Rollins R, Diesl V, Follettie M, Chen L, Rosfjord E, Cardiff R, Komatsu M, Boschelli R, and Oshima R. Induction of differentiation of mammary tumors by Bosutinib (SKI-606). In press, Oncogene, 2010. Hebbard L, George J. The chicken or the egg: adipocytes and hepatic insulin resistance. Hepatology. 2010, 51:1076-9. Denzel M, Hebbard L, Shostak G, Shapiro L, Cardiff R, & Ranscht B. Adiponectin-deficiecy limits tumor vascularization in the MMTV-PyV-mT mouse model of mammary cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2009,15:3256-64. Hebbard LW, Garlatti M, Young LJ, Cardiff RD, Oshima RG, & Ranscht B. T-cadherin supports angiogenesis and adiponectin association with the vasculature in a mouse mammary tumor model. Cancer Res., 2008, 68: 1407-1416.

The Role of Liver-Adipose Tissue Cross Talk in Liver Disease

Primary supervisor: Lionel Hebbard

Near 60% of Australians are overweight or obese. This epidemic is one of the factors driving increased rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Interestingly, being overweight or obese also promotes liver diseases, such as fatty liver and liver cancer, which is the focus of our research. We have found that the liver can talk to the fat through specific molecules, and influence the levels of fat-secreted growth factors known as adipokines. We speculate that these adipokines may be important in modulating liver disease and could therefore be targeted for developing a novel therapeutic strategy. Thus, the aim of this project using specific knock-out mice and murine models of liver disease is to test the role of liver-fat cross-talk in hepatic disorders. The successful applicant will work in a well-funded large research group with experienced scientists, work with knock-out mice, and learn cell biology, protein biochemistry, histology and molecular biology.

Discipline: Pathology
Keywords: obesity, Liver Disease