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Associate Professor Paul Ekert


Associate Professor Paul Ekert is Laboratory Head at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, studying cytokine signaling in haematopoietic cells and leukaemia. Paul graduated in medicine, University of Melbourne and specialized in Paediatrics. In 2010, he began training in Molecular Pathology.

Cytokines are molecules that allow cells to communicate with one another.When cytokines bind to receptors on the cell surface, they trigger a cascade of molecular signals that activate a range of responses. Cytokines may stimulate cell division, or block it, or cause stem cells to increase in number or differentiate. Cytokines tell cells to stay alive, and prevent them activating an intrinsic cellular self-destruct process called “apoptosis”. His laboratory’s interest is in the way the cytokine survival messages control the apoptosis machinery. The goal of his research is to understand how aberrations in these pathways lead to the development of malignancies such as leukaemia.

Professor Ekert’s research has been supported by the NHMRC, the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia and the Cancer Council of Victoria. In 2008, he was awarded the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Senior Medical Fellowship. He has been a member of the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia MSAC since 2010