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 and my current research focuses on the role of adiponectin and its receptors in cancer, liver injury and fibrosis, and metabolism.

My laboratory utilises mouse and cellular models for our studies and I am 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. Honours students should approach me about their studies.

I have published in Journals that include: Journal of Cell Science, Cancer Research, Oncogene, Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Hepatology,  Journal of Biological Chemistry, PLoS One and BBA.

Current Honours/Masters/PhD projects:

1. Understanding new regulators of liver cancer progression.

2. The role of novel genes in muscle function and development.

For MPhil and PhD scholarships see:



I have supervised six PhD, one 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). 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 Hospital)

PhD Student: Brittany Dewdney BSc MSc

PhD Student: Lauren Taylor BSc Hons Ist Class

MPhil Student: Rhys Gillman BSc

Medical Student: Eun Jin Sun (3rd Year) BA

Medical Student: Ravi Marwah (6th Year)

 Former students at JCU:

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

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

SERTA Grant Townsville University  Hospital, The North Queeensland liver cancer library, $50,000, 2020-22.

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

SERTA Grant  Townsville University  Hospital, Oropharyngeal Cancer and Stem Cells, $50,000, 2019-21.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists Research Grant, $20,000, 2019-20.

Cancer Council Queensland Project Grant, Clarifying the role of fructose in liver cancer:  $200,000; 2017-9.

  • BC2013: Principles of Biochemistry (Level 2; TSV)
  • BC2014: Principles of Biochemistry for Pharmacy Students (Level 2; TSV)
  • BC3102: Molecular Basis of Disease (Level 3; TSV)
  • BC5102: Advanced Molecular Basis of Disease (Level 5; TSV)
  • MD1010: Introduction to Integrated Medical Studies Part 1 of 2 (Level 1; TSV)
  • MD1020: Introduction to Integrated Medical Studies Part 2 of 2 (Level 1; TSV)
  • Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA)
  • European Society for the Study of the Liver
  • Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Role of metabolism in liver cancer progression
  • Targeting liver fibrosis
  • Muscle development and disease
  • Mouse models of cancer
  • Cancer Stem Cells
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 50+ 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.

Cancer Council Qld - Research Grant

Clarifying the controversial role of fructose in liver cancer

Indicative Funding
$200,000 over 2 years
One of the diseases associated with obesity is liver cancer. It is believed that elevated sugar intake is a major factor in promoting this disease. Here, we will evaluate the role of the sugar fructose in liver cancer. Through cellular assays and mouse models we will test how fructose can promote tumour cell growth. By identifying these changes we will use specific inhibitors to reduce tumour growth and allow the development of new therapies to treat this devastating disease.
Lionel Hebbard (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Liver Cancer; Fructose; Adiponectin

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.

  • The Function and Ligands of G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) in Coral Larvae Settlement (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • A new target mediating cell death in liver cancer. (Masters , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Understanding a new regulator of skeletal muscle myogenesis (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • The Role of Fructose in Liver Cancer (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)

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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