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


Our Research

Professor Wolfgang Weninger studies the mechanisms underlying skin Inflammation immune responses in allergic conditions, infections and tumorigenesis. His laboratory makes use of advanced microscopy to follow the behaviour of immune cells within intact skin in real time. This research is instrumental for the discovery of novel therapeutic targets in a variety of skin diseases.

Professor Diona Damian's group continues its work on skin cancer chemoprevention in high risk patients. Current projects include a Phase 3 randomised controlled trial of oral nicotinamide (vitamin B3) for skin cancer prevention in organ transplant recipients, whose ongoing immune suppression dramatically increases their skin cancer risk. The Department of Dermatology at RPAH is the lead study site for this multicentre trial which is recruiting patients in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. The mechanisms of nicotinamide chemoprevention are also being investigated by examining nicotinamide's effects on the types and numbers of immune cells found in and around skin cancers.

Clinical Associate Professor Guy Lyons' research group uses a combination of mathematical modelling and novel animal models to follow the fate of cells during carcinogenesis. We have found that the location of stem cells for the cornea at its perimeter, together with the limited lifespan of the cells that they give rise to, causes a flux of cells towards the centre of the cornea, and that UV radiation increases this. We have also used an animal model of oral carcinogenesis, together with advanced image analysis techniques, to examine the evolution of clones of cells during the development of squamous cell carcinomas of the tongue. We have shown that tongue cells exposed to a chemical carcinogen used as a surrogate for tobacco evolve much faster than those from untreated tongues. Cell lines have been established from the tumours that arise so that the gene mutations that underly malignant behaviour can be understood, and new strategies for treating oral cancer devised and tested.

Professor Gary Halliday's research focuses on:

  • Role of the chromatin remodelling complex SWI/SNF in skin cancer Vitamin D regulation of DNA repair in photoprotection and photocarcinogenesis.
  • Pheomelanin and Eumelanin effects on UV-induced mutagenesis.
  • Chemokines in UV regulation of photoimmunology Regulation of multiple sclerosis by ultraviolet radiation.

Clinical Associate Professor Patricia Lowe - Transplant Dermatology Database. The electronic Transplant Dermatology Database was developed in 2011 in order to document the baseline history of each consenting solid organ (renal and hepatic) transplant recipient attending the dedicated dermatology transplant clinic at RPAH. At subsequent visits, we document the ongoing development of clinical and pathologically confirmed skin cancers, along with other skin conditions commonly found in transplant patients eg. warts, other skin infections, eczema, psoriasis, acne. Participants are recruited by RPAH Dermatology Registrars and Dr Patricia Lowe (dermatologist) in the weekly transplant dermatology outpatient clinic. Inclusion criteria for the database is any individual who has undergone at least one organ transplant. The aim of the database is to collect data on the development of skin cancers, warts and other skin conditions demonstrated in immunosuppressed transplant patients over time, with the aim of evaluating their care and improving management. Observational data is collected at the time of consultation and entered into the database by the co-ordinating registrar. All data is stored securely. To date ~ 300 patients have consented and entered into the database.

Clinical Associate Professor Patricia Lowe, PI Dr Ludi Ge, AI AMGEN Clinical trial: AMAGINE-3 Protocol 20120104 RPAH - Site 11004 A Phase 3 Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Induction and Maintenance Regimens of Brodalumab Compared With Placebo and Ustekinumab in Subjects With Moderate to Severe Plaque Psoriasis. This international multi-centre clinical trial looked at the effect and safety of a novel biologic agent, Brodalumab, in the treatment of psoriasis, a common skin disease. This agent is an inhibitor of an interleukin-17 receptor (IL-17R) and is given as a subcutaneous injection. Additionally, the trial compared the efficacy of this agent to a currently PBS listed biologic agent of another class, Ustekinumab (an IL-12/23 inhibitor). The trial was double blind, placebo controlled. Seven patients were enrolled in the trial. Dr Patricia Lowe, PI Dr Ludi Ge, AI.

Key Achievements

  • Professor Damian lead Investigator of the multicentre ONTRANS (Oral Nicotinamide after TRANSplant) Phase 3 randomised trial.
  • Professor Halliday discovery of novel mechanisms by which defects in chromatin remodelling contributes to ultraviolet radiation induced skin cancer.
  • Clinical A/Professor Guy Lyons In collaboration with Assoc. Prof Di Girolamo (Uni NSW) developed a model for the long-term tracking of corneal epithelial cells in live animals.
  • Professor Weninger discovery of a novel mechanisms leading to type 2 lung inflammation via interleukin-2 production and description of a novel differentiation pathway of T cells leading to T cell memory formationdrug resistance mechanism of melanoma cells and a new pathway of monocyte release from the bone marrow during inflammatory conditions.


  • Dr Andrew Chen, Cancer Institute NSW Premier's Award 'PhD Rising Star' for work on nicotinamide chemoprevention.
  • Prof Diona Damian, F&E Bauer Prize for best presentation Australasian College of Dermatologists 49th Annual Scientific Meeting, 2016 (Perth) Nicotinamide for skin cancer chemoprevention: the ONTRAC study and clinical practice.
  • Clinical A/Professor Patricia Lowe, Certificate of Meritorious Service' - May 2016 - awarded for contribution to the Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD) and to the dermatology profession at large. Presented at ACD Annual Scientific Meeting, Perth, WA.

Research Staff

  • Dr Kimberley Beaumont, Senior research fellow
  • Dr Lois L Cavanagh, Senior research fellow
  • Dr Chris Jolly, Senior research fellow
  • Dr Mainthan Palendira, Senior research fellow
  • Dr Gyohei Egawa, Postdoctoral fellow
  • Dr Ben Roediger, Postdoctoral fellow
  • Ms Lisa Shaw, Research assistant
  • Ms Danae Sharp, Research assistant
  • Ms Rain Kwan, Research assistant
  • Ms Kate Bremer, Research assistant
  • Dr Sioh-Yang Tan, Postdoctoral fellow
  • Dr Shweta Tikoo, Postdoctoral fellow
  • Dr Rohit Jain, Postdoctoral fellow
  • Dr Peyman Obeidy, Postdoctoral fellow
  • Dr Philip Tong, Visiting scientist
  • Dr Nicole Byce, Postdoctoral scientist
  • Dr Cathy Payne, Postdoctoral scientist
  • Dr Vanisri Raviraj, Postdoctoral scientist
  • Dr Rumana Khanom, Postdoctoral scientist
  • Dr Robyn Dalziell, Clinical Trials Coordinator
  • Dr Victoria Snaidr, Dermatology research fellow
  • Dr Ludi Ge, Dermatology Research fellow

Higher Degree Students:


  • Ms Naomi Delic
  • Ms Ritika Dubey
  • Mr Andrew Farrell
  • Ms Jacqueline Marshall
  • Mr Felix Marsh-Wakefield
  • Ms Kathy On
  • Dr Philip Tong
  • Ms Benita Chi Yin Tse

Masters of Philosophy:

  • Dr Deanne Choi
  • Dr J L Galeano Niño
  • Dr Rashi Minocha

Publications and Presentations

Publication Details:
  1. McKenzie CA, Chen AC, Choy B, Fernandez-Penas P, Damian DL, Scolyer RA. Classification of high risk basal cell carcinoma subtypes: experience of the ONTRAC study with proposed definitions and guidelines for pathological reporting. Pathology 48(5):395-7, 2016
  2. Chen AC, Martin AJ, Dalziell RA,McKenzie CA, Lowe PM, Eris JM, Scolyer RA, Dhillon HM, Vardy JL, Bielski VA, Halliday GM, Damian DL. A Phase 2 randomised controlled trial of nicotinamide for skin cancer chemoprevention in renal transplant recipients. British Journal of Dermatology 175(5):1073-1075, 2016
  3. Chen AC, Martin AJ, Dalziell RA, Halliday GM, Damian DL. Oral nicotinamide reduces transepidermal water loss: a randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Dermatology 175(6):1363-1365, 2016
  4. Damian, D.L., Martin, A.J. and Halliday, G.M. (2016). Nicotinamide for skin cancer chemoprevention. The Melanoma Letter 34: 1-5
  5. Byrne, S.N. and Halliday, G.M. (2016). UV-Induced Chemokines as Emerging Targets for Skin Cancer Photochemoprevention. In 'Skin Stress Response Pathways: Environmental Factors and Molecular Opportunities'. Ed. Georg Thomas Wondrak. Springer Science. ISBN 978-3-319-43155-0
  6. Chen, A.C., Martin, A.J., Dalziell, R.A., Halliday, G.M. and Damian, D.L. Oral nicotinamide reduces transepidermal water loss: a randomized controlled trial. (2016). British Journal of Dermatology (Accepted 23 March 2016)
  7. Chen, A.C., Martin, A.J., Dalziell, R.A., McKenzie, C.A., Lowe, P.M., Eris, J., Scolyer, R.A., Dhillon, H.M., Vardy, J.L, Bielski, V., Halliday, G.M. and Damian, D.L. (2016). A Phase 2 Randomized Controlled Trial of Nicotinamide for Skin Cancer Chemoprevention in Renal Transplant Recipients. British Journal of Dermatology (Accepted 29 March 2016)
  8. Kok, L.F., Marsh-Wakefield, F., Marshall, J.E., Gillis, C., Halliday, G.M. and Byrne, S.N. (2016). B cells are required for sunlight protection of mice from a CNS-targeted autoimmune attack. Journal of Autoimmunity 73: 10-23
  9. Lobo, E.P., Delic, N.C., Richardson, A., Raviraj, V., Halliday, G.M., Di Girolamo, N., Myerscough, M.R. and Lyons, J.G. (2016). Self-organized centripetal movement of corneal epithelium in the absence of external cues. Nature Communications 7 (12388): 1-8
  10. Chen, A., Martin, A., Dalziell, R., McKenzie, C., Lowe, P., Eris, J., Scolyer, R., Dhillon, H., Vardy, J., Bielski, V., Halliday, G., Damian, D. (2016). A Phase II Randomised Controlled Trial of Nicotinamide for Skin Cancer Chemoprevention in Renal Transplant Recipients. British Journal of Dermatology, 175(5), 1073-1075.
  11. Lomax, A., Ge, L., Anand, S., McNeil, C., Lowe, P. (2016). Bullous pemphigoid-like reaction in a patient with metastatic melanoma receiving pembrolizumab and previously treated with ipilimumab. Australasian Journal of Dermatology, 57(4), 333-335.
  12. Sebaratnam, D., Lowe, P. (2016). Crazy in Love. JAMA Dermatology, 152(2), 230-230
  13. Ge, L., Lowe, P. (2016). Not just a cosmetic problem: Facial papules in Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome. Medical Journal of Australia, 204(1), 28-29
  14. Hong A, Zhang X, Jones D, Veillard AS, Zhang M, Martin A, Lyons JG, Lee CS and Rose B Relationships between p53 mutation, HPV status and outcome in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Radiother. Oncol. 2016: 118:342-349
  15. Hong A, Zhang X, Jones D, Zhang M, Lee CS, Lyons JG, Veillard AS and Rose B E6 viral protein ratio correlates with outcomes in human papillomavirus related oropharyngeal cancer. Cancer Biol. Ther. 2016: 17:181-187
  16. Lobo EP, Delic NC, Richardson A, Raviraj V, Halliday GM, Di Girolamo N, Myerscough MR and Lyons JG Self-organized centripetal movement of corneal epithelium in the absence of external cues. Nat. Commun. 2016: 7:12388
  17. Lord MS, Cheng B, Tang F, Lyons JG, Rnjak-Kovacina J and Whitelock JM Bioengineered human heparin with anticoagulant activity. Metabol. Eng. 2016: 38:105-114
  18. Parfitt GJ, Lewis PN, Young RD, Richardson A, Lyons JG, Di Girolamo N and Jester JV Renewal of the holocrine meibomian glands by label-retaining, unipotent epithelial progenitors. Stem Cell Rep. 2016: 7:399-410
  19. Zheng G, Zhang J, Zhao H, Wang H, Pang M, Qiao X, Lee SR, Hsu TT, Tan TK, Lyons JG, Zhao Y, Tian X, Loebel DA, Rubera I, Tauc M, Wang Y, Wang Y, Wang YM, Cao Q, Wang C, Lee VW, Alexander SI, Tam PP and Harris DC alpha3 Integrin of Cell-Cell Contact Mediates Kidney Fibrosis by Integrin-Linked Kinase in Proximal Tubular E-Cadherin Deficient Mice. Am. J. Pathol. 2016: 186:1847-1860
  20. Vennin, C.; Venessa, T.C.; Warren, S.C.; et al., Jain, R.; Weninger, W.; McGhee, E.J.; Whan, R.; Johns, A.L.; Samra, J.S.; Chantrill, C.; Gill, A.J.; Kohonen-Coris, M.; et al., Pajic, M.; Timpson, P. Transient tissue priming via ROCK inhibition uncouples pancreatic cancer progression, sensitivity to chemotherapy and the onset of the metastatic niche. Sci Transl Med
  21. Tan SY, Chowdhury S, Polak N, Gorrell MD , Weninger W. Fibroblast activation protein is dispensable in the anti-influenza immune response in mice. PLoS One
  22. Thientosapol ES, Sharbeen G, Lau KKE, Bosnjak D, Durack T, Stevanoski I, Weninger W, Jolly CJ. Proximity to AGCT sequences dictates MMR-independent versus MMR-dependent mechanisms for AID-induced mutation via UNG2. Nucl Acid Res, epub ahead of print 2016
  23. Goh CC, Li JL, Becker D, Weninger W, Angeli V, Ng LG. Inducing ischemia-reperfusion injury in the mouse ear skin for intravital multiphoton imaging of immune responses. J Visualized Exp, epub ahead of print 2016
  24. Chong SZ, Evrard M, Devi S, Chen J, Lim JY, See P, Zhang Y, Adrover JM, Lee B, Tan L, Li JL, Liong KH, Phua C, Balachander A, Boey A, Liebl D, Tan SM, Chan JK, Balabanian K, Harris JE, Bianchini M, Weber C, Duchene J, Lum J, Poidinger M, Chen Q, Rénia L, Wang CI, Larbi A, Randolph GJ, Weninger W, Looney MR, Krummel MF, Biswas SK, Ginhoux F, Hidalgo A, Bachelerie F, Ng LG. CXR4 identifies transitional bone marrow premonocytes that replenish the mature monocyte pool for peripheral responses. J Exp Med 213:2293-2314, 2016
  25. Beaumont KA, Hill DS, Daignault SM, Lui GY, Sharp DM, Gabrielli B, Weninger W*, Haass NK*. Cell-cycle phase-specific drug resistance as an escape mechanism of melanoma cells. J Invest Dermatol, 136:1479-89, 2016 (*equal contribution)
  26. Li JL, Lim CH, Tay FW, Goh CC, Devi S, Malleret B, Lee B, Bakocevic N, Chong SZ, Evrard M, Tanizaki H, Lim HY, Russell B, Renia L, Zolezzi F, Poidinger M, Angeli V, St John AL, Harris JE, Tey HL, Tan SM, Kabashima K, Weninger W, Larbi A, Ng LG. Neutrophils self regulate immune complex-mediated cutaneous inflammation through CXCL2. J Invest Dermatol, 136:416-24, 2016
  27. Beaumont KA, Anfosso A, Ahmed, Farzana, Weninger W*, Haass NK*. Imaging- and flow cytometry-based analysis of cell position and the cell cycle in 3D melanoma spheroids. J of Visualized Exp, 106:e53486, 2016 (*equal contribution)
  28. Galeano Niño JL, Kwan RY, Weninger W, Biro M. Antigen-specific T cells fully conserve anti-tumour function after cryopreservation. Immunol Cell Biol, 94:411-8, 2016
  29. Tan SY and Weninger W. Phagocyte MayHEME caused by severe hemolysis. News and Views. Nat Immunol, 17:1335-37, 2016
  30. Tan SY, Weninger W. Neutrophil migration in inflammation: intercellular signal relay and. Curr Opin Immunol; Jain R, Tikoo S, Weninger W. Recent advances in microscopic techniques for visualising leukocytes in vivo. F1000Res. May 2016


Professor Diona Damian:

  1. Combined Meeting of the Australasian Society for Dermatology Research and the Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology, 2016 (Noosa) Invited speaker: 'Nicotinamide for skin cancer chemoprevention'
  2. Australian Dermatology Nurses Association Meeting, within the Australasian College of Dermatologists 49th Annual Scientific Meeting, 2016 (Perth) Invited speaker: 'Nicotinamide for skin cancer prevention'
  3. Australasian College of Dermatologists 49th Annual Scientific Meeting, 2016 (Perth) Nicotinamide for skin cancer chemoprevention: the ONTRAC study and clinical practice
  4. Australasian College of Dermatologists 49th Annual Scientific Meeting, 2016 (Perth) Oral nicotinamide reduces transepidermal water loss: a randomised controlled trial
  5. Australasian College of Dermatologists 49th Annual Scientific Meeting, 2016 (Perth) Nicotinamide for skin cancer chemoprevention after renal transplant Clinical

A/Professor Guy Lyons:

  1. Molecular and Experimental Pathology Society of Australasia Annual Scientific meeting, 7-9 November, Melbourne, Vic. Invited oral presentation: 'The importance of stem cell location to the maintenance of corneal epithelial homeostasis, UV radiation responses and transplantation.' E.P. Lobo, N.C. Delic, A. Richardson, V. Raviraj, G.M. Halliday, N. Di Girolamo, M.R. Myerscough, J.G. Lyons
  2. Matrix Biology Society of Australia and New Zealand Annual Scientific Conference, 20-23 November, Camden, NSW. Oral presentation: 'Reelin suppresses TGFbeta-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition in squamous cell carcinoma cells.' V. Raviraj, G.M. Halliday, J.G. Lyons International
  3. Gordon Research Conference on Tissue Niches & Resident Stem Cells in Adult Epithelia, 7-12 August, Hong Kong. Chaired Session on Transitional Zones. Poster presentation. 'The importance of stem cell location to the maintenance of corneal epithelial homeostasis, UV radiation responses and transplantation.'

Professor Wolfgang Weninger:

  1. Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dermatology Forschung Annual Meeting, Vienna, Austria
  2. Seminar Series, Institute of Immunology, Bonn University, Bonn Germany
  3. Infection and Immunity Seminar Series, Sydney Medical School, Sydney, Australia
  4. Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University of Mainz Medical Centre, Mainz, Germany
  5. 16th World Congress on Cancers of the Skin, Vienna, Austria
  6. Asia Pacific Combined Dermatology Research Conference, Noosa, Australia
  7. 25th EADV Congress, Vienna, Austria
  8. Annual Molecular and Experimental Pathology Society of Australasia Meeting, Melbourne, Australia Conference organisation
  9. 2016 Future of Experimental Medicine: Inflammation in Disease and Cancer (Scientific Organiser)Second Centenary Inflammation Conference, Sydney, Australia
  10. 2016 COMPASS Meeting, organised by Abbvie, Sydney Australia (Program Organiser)

Research Grants

Granting body Project title Principal Investigators Funded Amount Period funded
Worldwide Cancer Research Genetic changes during oral carcinogenesis Guy Lyons, Gary Halliday  $ 505,011 2016-2018
Cancer Institute NSW Research Equipment Grant Fast Linear Laser Scanning Technology: The ZEISS LSM 800 Confocal Microscope for the Open Access, Bosch Institute Advanced Microscopy Facility Des Richardson, Richard Scolyer, Filip Braet, Tailoi Chan-Ling, Rebecca Mason, Gary Halliday, Scott Byrne, Roger Bourne, Guy Lyons, Kellie Charles  $ 300,000 2016
NHMRC Equipment Grant X-CLARITY Tissue Clearing System Dan Johnstone, Jonathan Stone, Guy Lyons  $  74,457 2016
NHMRC Project Grant 1108328 NHMRC Oral nicotinamide for skin cancer chemoprevention after transplant CIA: D. Damian  $ 624,823 2016-2018
Cancer Council NSW Project Grant 1065535 Skin cancer prevention and treatment by targeting sunlight-activated regulatory B cells S. Byrne, G.M. Halliday and D. Damian.  $ 360,000 2014-2016
NHMRC Project Grant 1070688 Is CYP11A1 critical for the vitamin D photoprotective system in skin?  R. Mason, G.M. Halliday, R. Tuckey, K. Dixon, and V.E. Reeve.  $ 500,745 2014-2016
NHMRC Project Grant 1102398 Mast cell precursors and skin disease PI: Weninger Co-PIs: Roediger, Maurer  $ 787,600 2016–2019
NHMRC Project Grant 1106439 Dynamics and mechanisms of immune complex-mediated skin inflammation PI: Weninger, Co-PI: Ng  $ 526,466 2016-2018
NHMRC Project Grant 1104876 The role of the actomyosin cytoskeleton in T cell-mediated anti-tumour immunity PI: Weninger, Co-PI: Biro  $ 616,950 2016-2018
NHMRC Project Grant 1081564 The role of perivascular macrophages in   the regulation of CNS inflammation PI: Weninger  $ 583,813 2015-2017
NHMRC Project Grant 1085981 Mechanisms of immune-evasion of group   A streptococcus during skin infection PI: Weninger, Co-PI: Sanderson-Smith  $ 583,813 2015-2017
National Institutes of Health (USA). BAA-NIAID-DAIT- HHSN272201100018C. Defining defects in antiviral immunity in the aged. PIs: Ertl, Fazekas, Freeman, Higis, Sharpe, Schmader, Weninger, Wherry.  US$440,000 (award to W. Weninger is depicted)  2011-2016
AUSTRALIAN CANCER RESEARCH FOUNDATION: Cancer Metabolomics Equipment Grant PIs: Hogg, James, Weninger, Holst, Jormakka, Don, Reutens  $2,500,000 2016
LEO Foundation Three-Dimensional reconstruction of serial histology and computational image analysis of dermal immune populations in normal and diseased skin PI: Philip Tong  $ 145,000 2016
Australasian College of Dermatologists The Human Skin Immune Atlas Philip Tong  $  25,000 2016

Contact details for department

Head of Department: Professor Wolfgang Weninger

Department/Unit: Dermatology
RPA Hospital
Missenden Road
Camperdown NSW 2050
Telephone: (02) 9515 6862
Facsimile: (02) 9565 1048
Web: www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/research/
Email: anne.milianmunoz@sydney.edu.au