Dr Mary Ann Anderson

Senior Clinical Research Officer


I am a clinician scientist focusing on new treatments for leukaemia and lymphoma. I study potential anti-cancer agents that target proteins keep cancer cells alive. The long term goal is to develop better treatments for people with cancer, without the serious side effects of chemotherapy.

Research interest

Together with a wider team from WEHI and affiliated hospitals my work has pioneered the development of the drug venetoclax for the treatment of leukaemia and lymphoma.

My current research focus is understanding why some patients do not respond as well or develop resistance to this drug. By identifying the reasons for ventoclax resistance I hope to be able to develop new techniques to prevent this occurring and facilitate better disease control for patients.


Selected publications from Dr Mary Ann Anderson

Agarwal R, Chan YC, Tam CS, Hunter T, Vassiliadis D, The CE, Thijssen R, Yeh P, Wong SQ, Ftouni S, Lam EYN, Anderson MA, Pott C, Gilan O, Bell CC, Knezevic K, Blombery P, Rayeroux K, Zordan A, Li J, Huang DSC, Wall M, Seymour JF, Gray DHD, Roberts AW, Dawson MA, Dawson SJ. Dynamic molecular monitoring reveals that SWI-SNF mutations mediate resistance to ibrutinib plus venetoclax in mantle cell lymphoma. Nat Med 2019 Jan;25(1):119-129 PMID: 30455436

Blombery P, Anderson MA, Gong JN, Thijssen R, Birkinshaw RW, Thompson E, The CE, Nguyen T, Xu Z, Flensburg C, Lew TE, Majewski IJ, Gray DHD, Westerman DA, Tam CS, Seymour JF, Czabotar PE, Huang DSC, Roberts AW. Acquisition of the recurrent GLY101VAL mutation in BCL2 confers resistance to venetoclax in patients with progressive chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Cancer Discov. 2019 Mar;9(3):342-353. PMID: 30514704

Tam CS, Anderson MA, Pott C, Agarwal R, Handunnetti S, Hicks RJ, Burbury K, Turner G, Di Iulio J, Bressel M, Westerman D, Lade S, Dreyling M, Dawson SJ, Dawson MA, Seymour JF, Roberts AW. Ibrutinib plus venetoclax for the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma. N Engl J Med. 2018 Mar 29;378(13):1211-1223. PMID: 29590547

Anderson MA, Tam C, Lew TE, Juneja S, Juneja M, Westerman D, Wall M, Lade S, Gorelik A, Huang DCS, Seymour JF, Roberts AW. Clincopathological features and outcome of progression of CLL on the BCL2 inhibitor venetoclax. Blood. 2017 Jun 22;129(25):3362-3370 PMID: 28473407

Davids MS, Roberts AW, Seymour JF, Pagel JM, Kahl BS, Wierda WG, Puvvada S, Kipps TJ, Anderson MA, Salem AH, Dunbar M, Zhu M, Peale F, Ross JA, Gressick L, Desai M, Kim SY, Verdugo M, Humerickhouse RA, Gordon GB, Gerecitano JF. A phase I first-in-human study of venetoclax in patients with relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma. J Clin Oncol. 2017 Mar 10;35(8):826-833. PMID: 28095146

Seymour JF, Ma S, Brander DM, Choi MY, Barrientos J, Davids MS, Anderson MA, Beaven AW, Rosen ST, Tam CS, Prine B, Agarwal SK, Munasinghe W, Zhu M, Lash LL, Desai M, Cerri E, Verdugo M, Kim SY Humerickhouse RA, Gordon GB, Kipps TJ, Roberts AW. Venetoclax plus rituximab in relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; a phase 1b study. Lancet Oncol. 2017 Feb;18(2):230-240. PMID: 28089635

Anderson MA, Deng J, Seymour JF, Tam C, Kim SY, Fein J, Yu L, Brown JR, Westerman D, Si EG, Majewski IJ, Segal D, Heitner Enschede SL, Huang DCS, Davids MS, Letai A, Roberts AW. The BCL2 selective inhibitor venetoclax induces rapid onset apoptosis of CLL cells in patients via a TP53 independent mechanism. Blood. 2016 Jun 23;127(25):3215-24. PMID: 27069256

Roberts AW, Davids MS, Pagel JM, Kahl BS, Puvvada SD, Gerecitano JF, Kipps TJ, Anderson MA,Brown JR, Gressick L, Wong S, Dunbar M, Zhu M, Desai MB, Cerri E, Enschede SH, Humerickhouse RA, Wierda WG, Seymour JF. Targeting BCL2 with venetoclax in relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia. N Engl J Med. 2016 Jan 28;374(4):311-22. PMID: 26639348

Khaw SL, Merino D, Anderson MA,Glaser SP, Bouillet P, Roberts AW, Huang DSC. Both leukemic and normal peripheral B lymphoid cells are highly sensitive to the selective pharmacological inhibition of prosurivial BCL2 with ABT-199. Leukemia 28: 1207 – 1215, 2014

Lindqvist LM, Vikstrom I, Chambers JM, McArthur K, Anderson MA,Henley KJ, Happo L, Cluse L, Johnstone RW, Roberts AW, Kile BT, Croker BA, Burns CJ, Rizzacasa MA, Strasser A, Huang DSC. Translation inhibitors induce cell death by multiple mechanisms and MCL1 reduction is only a minor contributor. Cell Death Dis. 2012 Oct 11;3:e409. PMID: 23059828

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.