About

I completed my PhD in Germany in 1999 and my postdoctoral time was at the University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland and the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, La Jolla, USA.

In 2008 I returned from the USA to establish the" Cancer and Metabolism" research group at the Westmead  Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. In 2015 I moved to James Cook University to a tenured position, where I lecture on metabolic biochemistry in the medical school and lead a research group in the Discipline of Molecular and Cell Biology. The lab is situated in the Science Place and has excellent facilities.

The lab's current research focuses on two themes:

1. Genes regulating liver cancer progression and metabolism.

2. Genes regulating muscle growth and repair.

The laboratory utilises mouse and cellular models for our studies and we are always looking for motivated students who wish to run with a project. PhD students can apply for a JCU domestic or International MPhil/PhD Scholarship, or alternatively a scholarship from their home country to support their stay.  Applications for Internships and Masters Degrees are encouraged to enquire. Science Honours and Medical Honours students should approach me about their studies. We collaborate extensively with Clinicians in the Townsville University Hospital and pursue industry based collaborations.

We have published in Journals that include: Journal of Cell Science, Cancer Research, Oncogene, Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Hepatology,  Journal of Biological Chemistry, PLoS One, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Molecular Basis of Disease, BBA-Reviews on Cancer, Biomolecules and Scientific Reports - Nature.

Current Honours/Masters/PhD projects:

1. Understanding new regulators of liver cancer progression.

2. The role of novel genes in muscle growth.

For MPhil and PhD scholarships see:

https://www.jcu.edu.au/courses/master-of-philosophy

https://www.jcu.edu.au/courses/doctor-of-philosophy

I have supervised seven PhD, two Masters and five Honours students to completion. These students have received competitive PhD scholarships (e.g. Australian Postgraduate Award, NSW Cancer Institute, Saudi PhD scholarships), and won scientific awards (e.g. GESA Student Prizes and Tour De Cure Scholarships). Four of the Honours students have completed their Honours with first class. I have also had a number of Interns, Summer students, and European Masters students whom have performed their projects in my lab, from Iran, Denmark, China,  Netherlands and Switzerland.

Current group

Postdoc: Dr Miriam Wankell MSc PhD

Adjunct Postdoc: Dr Kylie Lopas BSc Hons PhD MBBS (Townsville University Hospital)

PhD Student: Lauren Taylor BSc Hons Ist Class

PhD Student: Rhys Gillman BSc MPhil

PhD Student: Dr Eun Jin Sun BA MBBS Hons 1st class

Former students at JCU:

Brittany Dewdney, Casey Toft, Maxine Smith, Skye McGregor, Cong Chen, Berenice Charrez, Jade Sternberg, Roxanne Kreuter, Kaltrina Paloja, Cypriane Dormenval.

Former students at WIMR/USyd/Westmead:

Sarah Walker (PhD), Stephanie Obeid (PhD), Saeed Esmaili (PhD), Badr Alzahrani (PhD), Mohammed Alanazy (PhD), Medhi Ramezani-Moghadam (MPhil), Nikita Deo (Hons 1st Class), James Hendersen (Hons), Kristen Piper (Hons 1st Class), Lewis Tsang (Hons 1st Class).

Current Funding

Bridge and BridgeTech Industry Fellowship, Chief Investigator,  2021-23.

Gastroenterological Society of Australia Grant, Chief Investigator, 2021-22.

SERTA Grant Townsville University  Hospital, The North Queeensland liver cancer library,  2020-22.

SERTA Grant Townsville University Hospital, Establishing the North Queensland Diabetic muscle stem cell library, 2021-23.

JCU Sandpit to Seed (S2S), New ways to make new muscle. Chief Investigator, 2020-21.

SERTA Grant  Townsville University  Hospital, Oropharyngeal Cancer and Stem Cells, 2019-21.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists Research Grant, 2019-21.

Precision Medicine for North Queensland Liver Patients. Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre. Chief Investigator, 2022-23.

SERTA Grant Townsville University Hospital, Establishing the North Queensland Liver Tumour Library: improving detection and treatment, 2023-25.

SERTA Grant Townsville University Hospital, Improving outcomes for patients with muscle wasting disease and liver cancer, 2023-24.

JCU Sandpit to Seed (S2S), Growing Clean Meat at Scale. Chief Investigator, 2023-24.

 

Teaching
  • BC2013: Principles of Biochemistry (Level 2; TSV)
  • BC3102: Molecular Basis of Disease (Level 3; TSV)
  • BC5102: Advanced Molecular Basis of Disease (Level 5; TSV)
  • BM4000: Biomedical Science Honours Part 1 of 2 (Level 4; CNS & TSV)
  • BM4001: Biomedical Science Honours Part 2 of 2 (Level 4; TSV & CNS)
  • BM4010: Biomedical Science Honours (Part-Time) Part 1 of 4 (Level 4; TSV & CNS)
  • BM4011: Biomedical Science Honours (Part-Time) Part 2 of 4 (Level 4; CNS & TSV)
  • BM4012: Biomedical Science Honours (Part-Time) Part 3 of 4 (Level 4; TSV & CNS)
  • BM4013: Biomedical Science Honours (Part-Time) Part 4 of 4 (Level 4; CNS & TSV)
  • MD1010: Introduction to Integrated Medical Studies Part 1 of 2 (Level 1; TSV & CNS)
  • MD1020: Introduction to Integrated Medical Studies Part 2 of 2 (Level 1; TSV)
  • MD3011: Introduction to Clinical Healthcare Part 1 of 2 (Level 3; TSV)
  • MD3012: Introduction to Clinical Healthcare Part 2 of 2 (Level 3; TSV)
Interests
Professional
  • Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA)
  • European Society for the Study of the Liver
  • Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research
  • Role of metabolism in liver cancer progression
  • Muscle development and disease
  • Cancer Stem Cells
Experience
  • 2020 to present - Associate Professor, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2018 to present - Associate Dean, Research, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2015 to 2019 - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2008 to 2015 - Group Leader, University of Sydney, Westmead Institute of Medical Research (Westmead, Sydney, Australia)
  • 2006 to 2008 - Staff Investigator, Burnham Institute (La Jolla, USA)
  • 2002 to 2006 - Postdoc, Burnham Institute (La Jolla, USA)
  • 1999 to 2002 - Postdoc, University Hospital, Zurich (Switzerland)
  • 1995 to 1998 - PhD, Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (Karlrsuhe, Germany)
  • 1991 to 1993 - MPhil, Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia)
  • 1985 to 1991 - Undergrad Science/Economics/Biochemistry, Griffith University and the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Awards
  • 2017 to 2019 - QLD Cancer Council Project Grant
  • 2016 to 2017 - JCU Development Grant
  • 2013 to 2017 - NSW Cancer Council Project Grant
  • 2016 - 3 Minute Thesis Winner Established Researcher Category
  • 2013 - WMI Science prize
  • 2011 - NSW Cancer Council Innovation Grant
  • 2005 - Career Development Award from the Fishman Fund
Fellowships
  • 2020 to 2021 - Bridge and BridgeTech Industry Fellowship
  • 2004 - Travel fellowship from the Keystone Conference Foundation
  • 1995 to 1999 - PhD Fellowship for Doctoral work from the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 1992 to 1993 - Fellowship from the Royal Australian College of Physicians for MPhil studies
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU.

Journal Articles
More

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 58+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Lionel Hebbard from 2000 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Townsville Hospital and Health Service - SERTA Research Capacity Grant

Improving outcomes for patients with muscle wasting disease and liver cancer - SERTA Capacity Research Grant.

Indicative Funding
$140,000 over 2 years
Summary
The funding of a Research Assistant and the performance of work by the Research Assistant in connection with a program of work undertaken by the Cancer and Metabolism Group within the College of Public Health, Medicine and Veterinary Science aimed at improving outcomes for patients with muscle wasting disease and liver cancer.
Investigators
Pankaj Saxena, Lionel Hebbard, Jaishankar Raman, Rozemary Karamatic, Matan Ben David, Craig McFarlane, Ulf Schmitz, Matt Field and Miriam Wankell in collaboration with Shaurya Jhamb, Eun Jin Sun, Zaeem Ahmed, Rhys Gillman and Ryley Dorney (Townsville Hospital and Health Service, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences and College of Medicine & Dentistry)
Keywords
Sarcopenia; Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Liver Cancer

Townsville Hospital and Health Service - Study Education Research Trust Account (SERTA)

Establishing the North Queensland Liver Tumour Library: Improving HCC detection and treatment.

Indicative Funding
$50,000 over 2 years (administered by Townsville Hospital and Health Service)
Summary
The project will provide certain data on the usefulness of using liquid biopsy to diagnose HCC in Rural, regional and Remote patients, identify new liquid biopsy targets and test a new therapeutic approach to treat HCC.
Investigators
Rozemary Karamatic, Matan Ben David, Pankaj Saxena, Lionel Hebbard, Craig McFarlane, Ulf Schmitz, Matt Field and Miriam Wankell in collaboration with Shaurya Jhamb, Eun Jin Sun, Zaaem Ahmed, Rhys Gillman and Ryley Dorney (Townsville Hospital and Health Service, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Liquid biopsy; Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Liver Cancer

Tour de Cure - PhD Scholarship

Precision Hepatocellular Carcinoma Treatment Using Synthetic Lethality

Indicative Funding
$10,000 over 1 year
Summary
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a major cause of cancer-related mortality. Current therapies for HCC show little efficacy due to extensive heterogeneity in the disease and a lack of corresponding patient-tailored treatment options. The purpose of this project is to validate various bioinformatic approaches to identifying personalised cancer driver genes and methods of targeting them through synthetic lethality. An integrated pipeline will be developed for the simple identification of therapeutics from sequencing of tissue biopsies. Finally, patient-derived organoids matched with patient-specific sequencing information will be used to validate this pipeline, building an important foundation for the future of personalised treatment.
Investigators
Rhys Gillman, Lionel Hebbard, Matt Field and Ulf Schmitz (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Liver Cancer; Genetics; Synthetic Lethality; Bioinformatics; Precision Medicine

Townsville Hospital and Health Service - SERTA Research Capacity Grant

Improving outcomes for patients with muscle wasting disease and liver cancer

Indicative Funding
$135,439 over 2 years
Summary
This application is to provide support for an experienced research assistant to perform laboratory work with human tissues. The interdisciplinary project involves TUH surgeons, junior medical staff, JCU/AITHM researchers, medical and HDR students; and pursues two themes to develop better diagnostics and treatments for patients with (i) the muscle wasting disease sarcopenia, and (ii) hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Human ethics for the collection and culturing of human muscle cells and HCCs has been approved by THHS and JCU committees. The Research Program focus is to sequence DNA of the primary muscle cells and HCCs, and use state of the art bioinformatics to identify and characterise novel biomarkers and molecular targets that drive sarcopenia and HCC progression. This will support the development of patient-focussed therapeutic approaches and provide better health care outcomes for North Queenslanders.
Investigators
Pankaj Saxena, Jaishankar Raman, Rozemary Karamatic, Matan Ben David, Lionel Hebbard, Craig McFarlane, Ulf Schmitz, Matt Field and Miriam Wankell (Townsville Hospital and Health Service, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Sarcopenia; Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Liver Cancer

Townsville Hospital and Health Service - Study Education Research Trust Account (SERTA)

Establishing the North Queensland Diabetic muscle stem cell library.

Indicative Funding
$50,000 over 3 years (administered by Townsville Hospital and Health Service)
Summary
This project will develop a North Queensland Diabetic Muscle Library. Muscle tissue will be resected from patients and fixed and frozen. The tissues will also be dissociated and cultured to make primary myoblast cultures that will be used in future experiments in drug trials, sequencing and biochemical assays.
Investigators
Pankaj Saxena, Craig McFarlane, Lionel Hebbard, Lisa Chilton, Zaaem Ahmed and Jaishankar Raman (Townsville Hospital and Health Service, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Diabetes; metabolism; myogenesis

Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre Limited - Research Seed Grants

Precision medicine for North Queensland Liver Cancer Patients.

Indicative Funding
$50,000 over 2 years
Summary
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an aggressive and poorly treated liver cancer that is rapidly increasing in incidence in North Queensland. Most patients are ineligible to have their cancer surgically removed, and new systemic therapeutics only extend patient lives by six to eight months. Thus, new treatment approaches are urgently required. Through the collaboration of surgeons, scientists and bioinformaticians we are developing Precision Medicine for North Queensland Liver Cancer Patients. Using bioinformatics and three dimensional culture models we will trial novel therapeutic approaches. This research will rapidly lead to new therapeutic approaches to treat HCC.
Investigators
Lionel Hebbard, Pranavan Palamuthusingam, Craig McFarlane and Matt Field (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Townsville Hospital and Health Service and Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Keywords
Cancer; Cancer Stem Cell; Organoids

Townsville Hospital and Health Service - Study Education Research Trust Account (SERTA)

Establishing the North Queensland Liver Cancer Library

Indicative Funding
$50,000 over 2 years (administered by Townsville Hospital and Health Service)
Summary
This project will develop a North Queensland Liver Cancer Library. Liver tumours and non-tumour tissues will be resected from patients and fixed and frozen. The tissues will also be dissociated and cultured in three dimensions to make tumour organoids that will be used in future in vivo experiments in mice, drug trials and biochemical assays.
Investigators
Pranavan Palamuthusingam, Lionel Hebbard, Craig McFarlane and Avjit Singh in collaboration with Miriam Wankell (Townsville Hospital and Health Service, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Cancer; Cancer stem cells; Organoids

Gastroenterological Society of Australia - Project Grant

Determining the role of a novel gene in liver cancer.

Indicative Funding
$22,727 over 1 year
Summary
Liver cancer incidence is increasing dramatically in Australia. Through a genetic screen we have found a novel gene that associates with liver cancer cell DNA damage and metabolism. To investigate its function, we will perform cellular assays and tumour experiments to test how this gene regulates liver cancer growth. The proposed research will provide a better understanding of the factors that promote liver cancer and allow the development of new therapies to treat this devastating disease.
Investigators
Lionel Hebbard in collaboration with Jacob George, Andreas Lopata and Malcolm McConville (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, The University of Sydney and University of Melbourne)
Keywords
Cancer; Cancer stem cells; Liver Cancer
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

Current
  • Analysing the role of chimeric transcripts in human cancers (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Tropical plant-derived drug lead molecules for treating liver cancer (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Sarcopenia in patient undergoing cardiac surgery (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Targeting DNA Repair in HCC through Synthetic Lethality (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Developing a new treatment regime for hepatocellular carcinoma (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
Completed
Collaboration

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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jcu.me/lionel.hebbard

Email
Phone
Location
  • 142.308, The Science Place (Townsville campus)
Advisory Accreditation
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