Associate Professor Edwin Hawkins

Associate Professor Edwin Hawkins



Associate Professor Edwin Hawkins profile photo


Associate Professor

BSc Otago, BSc (Hons) ANU, PhD Melbourne

Laboratory Head


My work is focused on understanding how immune cells that protect us from infection function efficiently and keep us healthy. By studying this process, we also aim to understand the development of diseases related to the function of immune cells such as autoimmunity (lupus, diabetes, coeliac disease) and cancer (leukaemia and lymphoma). With this knowledge we aim to:

  • Develop diagnostic tools for early detection of autoimmunity and immunodeficiency
  • Development of personalised medicine
  • Identify new therapies for the treatment of immune disorders and blood cancers
  • Develop new imaging technology for visualising immune cells in action

Research interest

The focus of my lab is to understand how immune signals are interpreted by lymphocytes to generate protective immunity. To investigate this problem we take a quantitative approach, using computer models to describe and measure individual components of the immune response. This allows us to accurately measure the contribution of immune signals, or genetic variation on the effectiveness of the lymphocyte function. Conversely, we can use the same theory to investigate how therapeutic interventions can be applied to target individual pathways, or components of the model, that are defective in immune disorders.

Therefore, my laboratory has two arms. One is to apply models to study lymphocyte function as described above, while the second is to construct and test new models. We do this through a combination of quantitative in vitro analysis integrated with single cell imaging techniques both in vitro and in vivo.

Associate Professor Edwin Hawkins with imaging equipment

Associate Professor Edwin Hawkins and his team have answered the longstanding question of how leukaemia survives chemotherapy, bringing the world closer to more effective blood cancer treatments.​