Our Research

Our Research

>> Research Departments
>> Find Clinical Trials
>> Our Publications
>> Our Research Collaborations

Contact Details

  Street address:
Level 11, KGV Building
Missenden Road
Postal address:
Post Office Box M30
Missenden Road NSW 2050

Phone: (02) 9515-6111
Fax: (02) 9515-9610

Online Feedback

Chemical Pathology

Our Research

Our section of the division of pathology is devoted to the measurement of the chemicals, hormones and metabolites that make life possible. Pathology is responsible for the study of all forms of disease, so the activities of our department are extremely broad and diverse. Our research encompasses many disorders which can be classified in terms of the organs or age-groups that they affect, but there is an understandable emphasis on those conditions that cause the greatest amount of death and disability in Australia at the moment.

Key Achievements

The departments main role is in clinical service. The provision of this service enables strong links with other departments in the Hospital and continued involvement with research and development activities as listed below.

  • FAME 1 - Eye.
  • HOPE 3 (Heart Outcomes Prevention evaluation) Define: Now observational study for patients previously treated with anacetrapib.
  • Amgen OSLER 1: A Multi-center , controlled open-label extension (OLE) study to Assess the Long term Safety and Efficacy of AMG 145.
  • Accelerate (EVACETRAPIB): Assessment of clinical effects of cholsteryl ester transfer Protein inhibition with evacetrapib in patients at a high risk for Vascular outcomes.
  • DECLARE -DAPAGLIFLOZIN: Dapagliflozin Effect on CardiovascuLAR Events A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial to Evaluate the Effect of Dapagliflozin 10 mg Once Daily on the Incidence of Cardiovascular Death, Myocardial Infarction or Ischemic Stroke in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

Research Staff

  • A Prof David Sullivan:- Supervisor
  • A Prof Susan McLennan:- Supervisor
  • A Prof Paul Williams:- Supervisor
  • Dr Philip Paul:- Supervisor

Higher Degree Students:


  • Maryam Abdollahi, (PhD, Role of Neutrophil gelatinase associated Lipocalin-2 in poor wound healing in diabetes, University of Sydney) Supervisors: A/Prof S McLennan, Dr D Min.
  • Linda Ban, (PhD, Microvesicles and their role in liver disease in diabetes, University of Sydney) Supervisors: A/Prof S McLennan, A/Prof N Shackel.
  • Albert Hseish, (PhD, Studies in Graves Disease, University of Sydney). Prof S Twigg, A/Prof E Chua, Prof S Adelstein, A/Prof S McLennan, A/Prof P Williams.
  • Sergio Martinez Huenchullan, (PhD, Muscle extracellular matrix, its role in muscle function in obesity, University of Sydney) Supervisors: Prof S Twigg, Dr Charmaine Tam, A/Prof S McLennan.
  • Surya Sutanto, (PhD, Telomere length attrition in diabetes: exploring associations and cellular mechanisms, University of Sydney) Supervisors: Prof S Twigg, A/Prof S McLennan, Prof Anthony Keech.
  • Aimei Lee, (PhD, The glycoprotein Basigin in liver disease, University of Sydney) Supervisors: A/Prof N Shackel , A/Prof S McLennan, Dr T Tu.
  • Babu Maharjan,(PhD, Markers of fat cell browning, University of Sydney) Supervisors: A/Prof P Williams , A/Prof S McLennan, Prof S Twigg.


  • Rebecca Seehoo, (Masters, Inflammation and diabetic kidney disease, University of Sydney) Supervisors: A/Prof S McLennan, Dr D Min.
  • Taria Ng, (Masters, Matrix metalloproteinases and poor wound healing in diabetes, University of Sydney)Supervisors: A/Prof S McLennan, A/Prof N Shackel.
  • Joanne Malek, (Masters, miRNA and Papillary Thyroid Cancer, University of Sydney) Supervisors: A/Prof S McLennan, A/Prof M Elliott, A/Prof E Chua.
  • Chao Wang, (Masters, Simple biometric scaffolds to improve healing in diabetic wounds, University of Sydney) Supervisors: A/Prof S McLennan, Dr Phil Boughton.
  • Luisa Olaya, (Masters, Detection of Circulating Fetal miRNA and their potential use as biomarkers of fetal anomalies) Supervisors: A/Prof J Hyett, A/Prof S McLennan.


  • Anh Duy Tao (Hons, Matrix metalloproteinases and diabetic nephropathy), Supervisors: A/Prof S McLennan, Dr Danqing Min.
  • Brodie Hookins (Hons, miRNA and stratification of Papillary Thyroid Cancer, University of Sydney Supervisors: A/Prof S McLennan, A/Prof M Elliott, A/Prof E Chua.

Publications and Presentations

Publication Details:
  1. Williams KH, Sullivan DR, Nicholson GC, George J, Jenkins AJ, Januszewski AS, Gebski VJ, Manning P, Tan YM, Donoghoe MW, Ehnholm C, Young S, O'Brien R, Buizen L, Twigg SM, Keech AC. Opposite associations between alanine aminotransferase and γ-glutamyl transferase levels and all-cause mortality in type 2 diabetes: Analysis of the Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes (FIELD) study. Metabolism. 2016 May;65(5):783-93.
  2. Sijbrands EJ, Nieman K, Budoff MJ; FH CTA Consortium. Cardiac computed tomography imaging in familial hypercholesterolaemia: implications for therapy and clinical trials. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2015 Dec;26(6):586-92.
  3. Sullivan DR, Slatore CG. Advance Care Planning. Does It Benefit Surrogate Decision Makers in the Intensive Care Unit? Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2015 Oct;12(10):1432-3.
  4. Williams KH, Sullivan DR, Veillard AS, O'Brien R, George J, Jenkins AJ, Young S, Ehnholm C, Duffield A, Twigg SM, Keech AC. Low alanine aminotransferase levels and higher number of cardiovascular events in people with Type 2 diabetes: analysis of the Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes (FIELD) study. Diabet Med. 2016 Mar;33(3):356-64.
  5. Tonkin AM, Blankenberg S, Kirby A, Zeller T, Colquhoun DM, Funke-Kaiser A, Hague W, Hunt D, Keech AC, Nestel P, Stewart R, Sullivan DR, Thompson PL, West M, White HD, Simes J; LIPID study investigators. Biomarkers in stable coronary heart disease, their modulation and cardiovascular risk: The LIPID biomarker study. Int J Cardiol. 2015 Dec 15;201:499-507.
  6. Ong KL, Januszewski AS, O'Connell R, Buizen L, Jenkins AJ, Xu A, Sullivan DR, Barter PJ, Scott RS, Taskinen MR, Rye KA, Keech AC; FIELD study investigators. Relationship of fibroblast growth factor 21 with baseline and new on-study microvascular disease in the Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes study. Diabetologia. 2015 Sep;58(9):2035-44.
  7. Sullivan DR, Golden SE, Ganzini L, Hansen L, Slatore CG. 'I still don't know diddly': a longitudinal qualitative study of patients' knowledge and distress while undergoing evaluation of incidental pulmonary nodules. NPJ Prim Care Respir Med. 2015 Apr 16;25:15028.
  8. Sullivan DR, Watts GF, Nicholls SJ, Barter P, Grenfell R, Chow CK, Tonkin A, Keech A. Clinical guidelines on hyperlipidaemia: recent developments, future challenges and the need for an Australian review. Heart Lung Circ. 2015 May;24(5):495-502.
  9. Pang J, Sullivan DR, Harada-Shiba M, Ding PY, Selvey S, Ali S, Watts GF. Significant gaps in awareness of familial hypercholesterolemia among physicians in selected Asia-Pacific countries: a pilot study. J Clin Lipidol. 2015 Jan-Feb;9(1):42-8.
  10. Herrmann M, Sullivan DR, Veillard AS, McCorquodale T, Straub IR, Scott R, Laakso M, Topliss D, Jenkins AJ, Blankenberg S, Burton A, Keech AC; FIELD Study Investigators. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D: a predictor of macrovascular and microvascular complications in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2015 Mar;38(3):521-8.
  11. Ong KL, Januszewski AS, O'Connell R, Jenkins AJ, Xu A, Sullivan DR, Barter PJ, Hung WT, Scott RS, Taskinen MR, Keech AC, Rye KA. The relationship of fibroblast growth factor 21 with cardiovascular outcome events in the Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes study. Diabetologia. 2015 Mar;58(3):464-73.
  12. Watts GF, Gidding S, Wierzbicki AS, Toth PP, Alonso R, Brown WV, Bruckert E, Defesche J, Lin KK, Livingston M, Mata P, Parhofer KG, Raal FJ, Santos RD, Sijbrands EJ, Simpson WG, Sullivan DR, Susekov AV, Tomlinson B, Wiegman A, Yamashita S, Kastelein JJ; International Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation. Integrated guidance on the care of familial hypercholesterolaemia from the International FH Foundation. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2015 Jul;22(7):849-54.
  13. Nestel, P., Clifton, P., Colquhoun, D., Noakes, M., Mori, T.A., Sullivan, D. et al, Indications for omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Heart Lung Circ. 2015;24:769-779.
  14. Peiris D, Usherwood T, Panaretto K, Harris M, Hunt J, Redfern J et al. ... AU - Sullivan,D. AU - Cass,A. AU - Jackson,R. AU - Patel,A. PY. Effect of a Computer-Guided, Quality Improvement Program for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Management in Primary Health Care The Treatment of Cardiovascular Risk Using Electronic Decision Support Cluster-Randomized Trial.' Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 8(1): 87-95.
  15. Raal, FJ., Stein, EA., Dufour, R., Turner, T., Civeira, F., Burgess, L. et al. PCSK9 inhibition with evolocumab (AMG 145) in heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia (RUTHERFORD-2): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 385(9965): 331-340.
  16. Sullivan DR, Freeman L, Molloy L, Williams G... Di Salvo G, D'Aiello AF, Castaldi B, et al. 'Screening for Familial Hypercholesterolaemia: Universal or Cascade? A Critique of Current FH Recognition Strategies.' Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports 2015; 9(2): 1-9.
  17. Tam CS, Power JE, Markovic TP, Yee C, Morsch M, McLennan SV, Twigg SM. The effects of high-fat feeding on physical function and skeletal muscle extracellular matrix. Nutr Diabetes. 2015 Dec 14;5:e187. PubMed PMID: 26657013;
  18. Tu T, Calabro SR, Lee A, Maczurek AE, Budzinska MA, Warner FJ, McLennan SV, Shackel NA. Hepatocytes in liver injury: Victim, bystander, or accomplice in progressive fibrosis? J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Dec;30(12):1696-704. PubMed PMID: 26239824
  19. Duly AM, Alani B, Huang EY, Yee C, Haber PS, McLennan SV, Seth D. Effect of multiple binge alcohol on diet-induced liver injury in a mouse model of obesity. Nutr Diabetes. 2015 Apr 27;5:e154. PubMed PMID:25915743.
  20. Williams KH, Viera de Ribeiro AJ, Prakoso E, Veillard AS, Shackel NA, Bu Y, Brooks B, Cavanagh E, Raleigh J, McLennan SV, McCaughan GW, Bachovchin WW, Keane FM, Zekry A, Twigg SM, Gorrell MD. Lower serum fibroblast activation protein shows promise in the exclusion of clinically significant liver fibrosis due to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in diabetes and obesity. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2015 Jun;108(3):466-72. PubMed PMID: 25836944
  21. Henshaw FR, Boughton P, Lo L, McLennan SV, Twigg SM. Topically applied connective tissue growth factor/CCN2 improves diabetic preclinical cutaneous wound healing: potential role for CTGF in human diabetic foot ulcer healing. J Diabetes Res. 2015;2015:236238. PubMed PMID: 25789327;
  22. Song WW, McLennan SV, Tam C, Williams PF, Baxter RC, Twigg SM. CCN2 requires TGF-β signalling to regulate CCAAT/enhancer binding proteins and inhibit fat cell differentiation. J Cell Commun Signal. 2015 Mar;9(1):27-36. PubMed PMID: 25354561
  23. Williams KH, Vieira De Ribeiro AJ, Prakoso E, Veillard AS, Shackel NA, Brooks B, Bu Y, Cavanagh E, Raleigh J, McLennan SV, McCaughan GW, Keane FM, Zekry A, Gorrell MD, Twigg SM. Circulating dipeptidyl peptidase-4 activity correlates with measures of hepatocyte apoptosis and fibrosis in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity: A dual cohort cross-sectional study. J Diabetes. 2015 Nov;7(6):809-19. PubMed PMID: 25350950.
  24. Lawandi J, Tao C, Ren B, Williams P, Ling D, Swan MA, Nassif NT, Torpy FR, O'Brien BA, Simpson AM. Reversal of diabetes following transplantation of an insulin-secreting human liver cell line: Melligen cells. Mol Ther Methods Clin.Dev. 2015 Apr 8;2:15011. PubMed PMID:26029722
  25. Richards A, Herbst U, Manalang J, Pather S, Saidi S, Tejada-Berges T, Tan K, Williams P, Carter J. HE4, CA125, the Risk of Malignancy Algorithm and the Risk of Malignancy Index and complex pelvic masses - a prospective comparison in the pre-operative evaluation of pelvic masses in an Australian population. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2015 Oct;55(5):493-7. PubMed PMID: 26172511.
  26. Park F, Russo K, Williams P, Pelosi M, Puddephatt R, Walter M, Leung C, Saaid R, Rawashdeh H, Ogle R, Hyett J. Prediction and prevention of early-onset pre-eclampsia: impact of aspirin after first-trimester screening. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Oct;46(4):419-23. PubMed PMID: 25678383.


Abstracts and Presentations at International Meetings

  1. Huaikai Shi, Robert Mc Quilty, Rachael Gray. Toxicant concentrations in Australian sea lion, Neophoca cincerea, pups as a proxy for maternal concentrations. 64th International Conference of Wildlife Disease 2015
  2. Alex Pan, Michael Lynch, Robert McQuilty, Rachael Gray. Spatial and temporal variation in trace element and heavy metal concentrations in the Australian fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferous). 64th International Conference of Wildlife Disease 2015
  3. BR Maharjan, SM Twigg, C Yee, SV McLennan, PF Williams. Investigating the effect of high fat diet on different fat depot gene expression: is there A stable reference gene? Sergio F Martinez-Huenchullan, Joseph E Power, Christine Yee, Marco Morsch, Susan V McLennan, Stephen M Twigg, Charmaine S Tam. Assessment of neuro-muscular function tests in mouse models of obesity and diabetes. XXII World Congress of Neurology, Santiago, 2015

Abstracts and Presentations at National Meetings

  1. Danqing Min, Jencia Wong, Belinda Brooks, Alireza Rezaeizadeh, Jack Chen, Sarah Aamidor, Christine Yee, Brian Harrisberg, Stephen M. Twigg, Dennis K. Yue and Susan V. McLennan. Monocyte Surface and soluble levels of the Hemoglobin Scavenger Receptor CD163: Possible Role in the Development of Diabetes Complications. Australian Diabetes Society ASM Adelaide 2015.
  2. Anh Tao, Linda Ban, Rebecca Seehoo, Surya Sutanto, Babu Maharjan, Danqing Min, Stephen M Twigg, Susan McLennan. Increased matrix metalloproteinase expression in kidney tissue from prediabetic but not diabetic mice: possible role in protection from matrix accumulation. Australian Diabetes Society ASM Adelaide 2015.
  3. Babu Raja Maharjan, Stephen M. Twigg, Christine Yee, Susan V. McLennan, Paul F. Williams. Subcutaneous adipose tissue is designed to deposit fats safely but its ability is impaired with excessive fat flux. Australian Diabetes Society ASM Adelaide 2015.
  4. Neutrophil activation is induced by wounding in diabetes Abdollahi M, Aamidor S, Ng T, Rezaeizadeh A, Twigg SM , Min D, McLennan SV. Australian Diabetes Society ASM Adelaide 2015.
  5. Rebecca Seehoo, Christine Yee, Surya Sutanto, Babu Maharjan, Alireza Rezaeizadeh, Danqing Min, Susan McLennan. Macrophage Polarisation Markers in the Development of Diabetic Kidney Disease. Australian Diabetes Society ASM Adelaide 2015.
  6. Yee C. Tu T. Lee A. Maczurek A. Budzinska M. McLennan S. and Shackel N. A novel conditional knockout mouse model reveals the role of CD147 in the immune response seen in both acute and chronic liver injury. Australian Liver Association, Bowral 2015.
  7. Cheng R, Ban L, Tu T, McCaughan G, McLennan S, Shackel N Utility of Microvesicles as Plasma Biomarkers in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Australian Liver Association, Bowral 2015.
  8. Luisa Olaya, Veronica Dy, Puja Motwani, Catherine Woolnough, Jessie Tubb, Domique Dubourdieu, Viviene Damiens, Susan McLennan and Elizabeth L Chua. The Prevalence of BRAF V600 Mutations and its Associated Histopathology Features in Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma in New Caledonia and Australia, Endocrinology Association of Australia, Adelaide 2015.

Research Grants

Sydney Medical Foundation  PF Williams    $   25,000 2015
Sydney Medical Foundation SV McLennan Investigating the Adverse Effects of Matrix Metalloproteinases in Diabetic Wound Healing  $   15,000 2015
NH&MRC APP1063515 N Shackel, SV McLennan, G McCaughen The Role of the Hepatocyte and EMMPRIN in Liver Injury  $587,562 2014-16
Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation  SV McLennan Digital Droplet PCR machine for quantitation of mRNA  $   22,000 2015

Contact details for department

Head of Department: A/Professor David Sullivan

Department/Unit: Chemical Pathology
RPA Hospital
Missenden Road
Camperdown NSW 2050
Telephone: (02) 9515 5246
Facsimile: (02) 9515 6186
Web: http://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/research/
Email: stella.vlahos@sswahs.nsw.gov.au