Associate Professor Marie-Liesse Asselin-Labat

Associate Professor Marie-Liesse Asselin-Labat



Associate Professor Marie-Liesse Asselin-Labat in the lab


Associate Professor

PharmaD Nantes DEA PhD Paris XI

Joint Division Head

My laboratory is studying mechanisms controlling lung health and how those mechanisms are altered in respiratory disorders. 

We are studying the cellular interactions and molecular pathways controlling lung health, from lung development through adulthood, and how these mechanisms go awry in lung diseases. The goal of our research is to understand how lung diseases occur to identify novel therapeutic targets. 

Our research focuses on studying the lung epithelium and the role of surrounding immune cells in maintaining lung health and controlling lung cancer formation. We work with preclinical models as well as clinical samples to assess the role of immune cells in maintaining lung homeostasis. We investigate mechanisms developed by tumour cells to escape immune surveillance. Our aim is to identify ways to reactivate immune activity against cancer cells with the ultimate goal to improve outcomes for people with lung cancer.

3D OPT imaging showing Keratin 5 expression in Ezh2 cKO embryonic lung


Research interest

Flu infection in preclinical model
A preclinical model infected with Flu
Image: Claire Marceaux

We study mechanisms controlling lung health and how those mechanisms are altered in respiratory disorders. Specific research interests include: 

Evaluating the contribution of epigenetic mechanisms in modulating the plasticity and specificity of early lung progenitor cells, adult lung stem cells and cancer cells. 

We are specifically interested in understanding how chromatin remodelling factors control cell fate maintenance and participate in antigen presentation and immune cells recognition in lung cancer. This research will provide insights into how lung diseases develop and will identify potential new therapeutic targets. 

Lung organoids
Human lung organoids
Image: Clare Weeden and Daniel Batey

Studying molecular and cellular events driving lung cancer formation. 

We have shown that different lung cell types possess distinct capacities to repair their DNA. The lung is a first site of exposure to DNA damaging agents through environmental exposure such as pollution, chemical and tobacco smoking. We are interested in determining how perturbation in DNA damage responses can participate in lung cancer formation by affecting lung epithelial cells as well as the immune cells residing in the lung. By analysing healthy, precancerous and cancerous lesions in never smoker and smoker patients, we aim to identify pathways that can be targeted to prevent cancer formation or treat malignant lesions. 

Using clinically-relevant models to evaluate response to therapy. 

We have developed preclinical models of lung cancer that are used to study the mechanisms of drug response and resistance to therapy. We use these models to identify novel biomarkers predictive of drug response and to evaluate novel therapeutic approaches. 




Dr Kate Sutherland in the lab

Lung Foundation Australia's Shine a Light on Lung Cancer raises awareness of the challenges and inequities faced daily by people living with lung cancer.

An annual exhibition showcasing the amazing images created and captured by WEHI scientists.