About the lab

Our laboratory studies how blood cells are produced. Blood cells are required for the body’s defence against infection, oxygen transport around the body and blood clotting to prevent bleeding. Reductions in numbers of blood cells, such as during chemotherapy for cancer treatment, increase the risk of severe infection or bleeding. Conversely, when the production or function of white blood cells occurs unchecked, diseases such as leukaemia or autoimmunity can arise.

Our research aims to understand the molecules and processes governing blood cell production in health and disease. This knowledge allows development of new strategies for treatment of diseases of the blood.


Our laboratory has made discoveries in two major areas. We have identified and defined the roles of molecular regulators of hematopoiesis, the process by which the body generates new blood cells, with particular emphasis on the roles of hematopoietic stem cells and the production of blood platelets. We have also explored the roles of cytokines, or blood cell hormones, with a particular emphasis on thrombopoietin, the major regulator of platelet production, and the study of novel negative regulators of cellular responses to cytokines, defining the importance of these regulatory systems in preventing unhealthy excess responses.

Lab research projects

Lab team

8 members
Emeritus Professor Nicos Nicola
Honorary Distinguished Research Fellow
Dr Kira Behrens
Senior Research Officer
Dr Maria Kauppi
Senior Research Officer
Research Assistant
Craig Hyland
Research Assistant
Sandra Mifsud
Research Assistant
Elizabeth Viney
Research Assistant
Interested in supporting our research?

Your support will help WEHI’s researchers make discoveries and find treatments to ensure healthier, longer lives for you and your loved ones.

Contact our friendly team to find out how you can help.