Professor Warren Alexander

Professor Warren Alexander



Professor Warren Alexander photographed at the Institute



BSc (Hons) PhD Melbourne

Laboratory Head; Joint Leader, Cancer Research and Treatments Theme

My laboratory studies how blood cells are produced. Blood cells are crucial for the body’s defence against infection, oxygen transport around the body and blood clotting to prevent bleeding. Reductions in numbers of blood cells, such as during chemotherapy for cancer treatment, increases the risk of severe infection or bleeding. Conversely, when the production or function of white blood cells occurs unchecked, diseases such as leukaemia or autoimmunity can arise.

Our research aims to understand the molecules and processes governing blood cell production in health and disease. This knowledge allows development of new strategies for treatment of diseases of the blood.

Research interest

We use genetics and genomics tools to probe physiological gene function and to discover genes controlling blood cell production and activity. Through strong collaborations with other laboratories, we apply a multidisciplinary approach to dissect the biology, biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics of regulators of blood cells.

Major areas of interest include:

  • Cytokine control of blood cell production and function, particularly the roles of the thrombopoietin (TPO).

  • Molecular regulation of platelet production and haematopoietic stem cells.

  • Genetics and genomics of leukaemia.

Diagram of a megakaryocyte releasing platelets

Our researchers have discovered how an essential blood-making hormone stimulates platelet production