profile icon
Dr

Elizabeth Vincan

Nhmrc Senior Research Fellow
Doherty Institute
science & technology
life sciences & biomedicine
humans
animals
mice
beta-catenin
colorectal-cancer
oncology
cell biology
Elizabeth Vincan's Profile Picture
Dr

Elizabeth Vincan

 
Division
Medicine, Dentistry And Health Sciences
Elizabeth Vincan's Profile Picture
Dr

Elizabeth Vincan

 

Professor Elizabeth Vincan is a Senior Medical Scientist and Researcher at the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, with joint appointments at the University of Melbourne’s Doherty Department and the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL, Melbourne Health). Her role as Medical Scientist is Deputy Section Head of the Molecular Hepatitis Laboratory, a routine diagnostic laboratory at VIDRL.

Elizabeth also heads an independent research lab. Her dual role in diagnostics and research has enabled seamless adoption of research discoveries into a clinical setting. She is internationally recognised in the Wnt signalling field; has published two books and several highly cited reviews on Wnt signalling, and was the convenor of the first international Wnt meeting, and the first EMBO workshop, held in Australia (Cable Beach, Broome, 2014). Elizabeth is an adjunct Professor at the Curtin University, Perth, WA and a founding member of the Australian Living Organoid Alliance (ALOA), a non-profit initiative to establish organoid Biobanks nationally as a research and diagnostic resource.

Research
At the heart of our research projects is the Wnt signal transduction pathway. The Wnt pathway is an ancient form of cell-cell communication that is highly conserved through evolution from simple organisms to man. Wnt proteins bind to Frizzled, their cell surface receptors, to regulate embryonic development, but also homeostasis, repair and regeneration of adult tissues. Deregulated Wnt signaling impacts on many human diseases, including cancer.

In the Vincan lab, we incorporate biochemical, genetic and cell biological approaches to investigate how Wnt and Frizzled regulate these processes. As model systems, we use transgenic mice and three-dimensional organoids (means “organ-like”) established from mouse and human tissues. Tissue-restricted stem cell-derived organoids faithfully recapitulate in a culture dish the architecture, cell composition and function of a tissue. We focus on the gastrointestinal tract - stomach, bowel and liver – as Wnt signalling is critical for normal stem cell function in these tissues and is hyperactive in cancers that arise in these tissues. Using mini-gut and mini-stomach organoids, we identified Frizzled7 as the key Wnt receptor in stem cells that maintain the epithelium lining of the bowel and stomach. Furthermore, we demonstrated that this requirement for Frizzled7-mediated Wnt signalling is hijacked by cancer cells to maintain tumour growth. Blocking Frizzled7 has potent anti-tumour effects. This is now being developed as targeted therapy for gastrointestinal cancers.

More recently, we are using organoids for viral and bacterial infection. Some human pathogens only infect adult human cells, which has hampered the study of natural infection and the investigation of how to prevent or control infection. Organoids established from human tissues support infection and allow the study of natural infection in a tissue culture dish for the first time.

Collaborators
Dr Toby Phesse, Cardiff University, Wales, UK
Professor Nick Barker, Singapore
Professor Hans Clevers, The Netherlands

Scholarly Works

Displaying the 51 most recent scholarly works by Elizabeth Vincan.

Credentials

Positions

Positions


Nhmrc Senior Research Fellow

Doherty Institute

Member

International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR)

Member

Australian Society for Stem Cell Research (ASSCR)

Member

Aus&NZ Soc Cell Dev Biol (ANZSCDB)

Member

Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR)

Member

The International EMT Association (TEMTIA)

Education

Education


Doctor of Philosophy

University of Melbourne

Bachelor of Science (Honours)

University of Melbourne

Links

Links