Director's Seminar Series - Associate Professor Ingrid Winkler, Mater Research

Endothelial niche regulation of normal and malignant stem cells

Host: Prof. Liz Gardiner


In her presentation Dr Winkler will describe a novel role for vascular cell adhesion molecules in promoting the awakening of dormant Haematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) in the bone marrow (BM) regulated by cell surface glycosylation. These newly identified roles open new avenues to rejuvenate stem cells, understand haematopoietic ageing and to tailor immune response and recovery during stress.

Malignant cells take advantage of these same pathways. In malignant cells, aberrant glycosylation associated with oncogenic transformation promotes the expression of surface ligands that utilise these newly discovered pro-survival pathways. The discovery of how cellular adhesion acts to prime leukocytes for appropriate inflammatory response and how this evolutionary-ancient signalling network is hijacked by malignant cells for growth and survival, are the subject of this talk. These preclinical studies are the basis for current Phase III clinical trials in USA and Australia.


Associate Professor Ingrid Winkler is a Senior Research Fellow and leads the Stem Cells and Cancer Research Group at Mater Research – University of Queensland (TRI building, Brisbane). Dr Winkler’s research seeks to understand how normal and malignant Stem Cells are regulated by their local microenvironments (niches).