Associate Professor Shalin Naik

Associate Professor Shalin Naik



A/Prof Shalin Naik in the laboratory


Associate Professor

BSc (Hons) Qld PhD Melbourne

Laboratory Head


Lab focus: single cell systems biology

Our lab studies how the cells of the immune system are formed from blood stem cells. 

Stem and progenitor cells make ‘decisions’ in order to generate our various tissues and organs. Without these decisions, we would be undifferentiated blobs without eyes and ears, livers and hearts, skin and bone. 

To discover the steps of how a stem cell divides and ultimately turns into an organ, we utilise new technologies that interrogate the individual cells, rather than the population as a whole. This is akin to understanding the role of each player in a football team – not only the team’s result. Our ultimate goal is to advance strategies for manipulating blood stem cells that may have future applications for stem cell therapy or immune therapy, and provide insights into cancer formation.

Research interest

Our laboratory takes a single cell systems biology approach to studying how haematopoietic stem cells ultimately generate all of the red and white blood cells of the immune system. 

We are a very technology-driven lab with the philosophy that studying single cells at different functional and molecular levels, and integrating this information, will reveal the mechanisms behind their fate specification in health and disease. To this purpose, we perform single cell analysis in vivo using: 

  • Cellular barcoding
  • Cell division tracking in vitro using long-term imaging for family tree construction
  • Single cell RNA-sequencing for lineage priming program identification. 

Combined, we anticipate this suite of tools will allow us to gain a high-resolution understanding into the principles and molecular mechanism governing development and the establishment of lineage fate in normal and cancerous tissues, with view to therapeutic interventions.

Ask the Doctor promotion graphic

Dr Shalin Naik co-hosts a new ABC TV health and medical science series, Ask the Doctor. 

Four researchers smiling at camera

A cutting-edge technique called cellular barcoding has been used to tag, track and pinpoint cells responsible for the spread of breast cancer from the main tumour into the blood and other organs.

Photo of four researchers outside WEHI

Using a new single-cell technique, WEHI researchers have uncovered a way to understand the programming behind how stem cells make particular cell types.