Professor Nicos Nicola

Professor Nicos Nicola



Professor Nicos Nicola in his office



AO BSc (Hons) PhD Melbourne FAA

Laboratory Head

My lab is interested in how white blood cell production and function is regulated at the molecular level.

White blood cells are central components of our immune system. Defects in these cells can lead to blood cancers, such as leukaemia, or inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. A goal of our research is to devise therapeutic strategies to treat these blood diseases.

Research interest

Our work in cytokine biology has spanned over 35 years and has included:

  • The discovery and purification of cytokines (granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, G-CSF and leukemia inhibitory factor, LIF).
  • The cloning of cytokine receptors (for GM-CSF and interleukin 13).
  • The discovery and elucidation of the roles of the intracellular signalling molecules, the suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins.

Our current work involves determining the molecular mechanism of action of SOCS proteins at the structural level and their roles in myeloproliferative neoplasms. We are also defining the roles of a new family of cytokine signalling inhibitors, the MARCH proteins.

Dr Jeff Babon and Professor Nick Nicola in the lab

Cell signalling discovery provides new hope for blood disorders

Colony stimulating factors - WEHI.TV animation

Since their discovery by Professor Donald Metcalf and his colleagues, CSFs have helped millions of cancer patients to survive the damage to bone marrow caused by high-dose chemotherapy.