Blood cell development and function, with focus on leukocytes (neutrophils and macrophages), primarily using zebrafish tools and models. 

Particular focus includes:

  1. developmental haematology, particularly genetic causes of neutropenia and leukocyte dysfunction
  2. leukocyte functional biology in inflammation and infection

In addition, through clinical roles, involvement in multiple phase 1-3 clinical studies in the treatment and supportive care of leukaemia and lymphoma patients.

Professor Graham Lieschke is a clinical and research haematologist. He is internationally recognised for his research into blood disorders and cancer using zebrafish and mice. He is also a clinical haematologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where he treats people with leukaemia and lymphoma.

Prof Lieschke received his medical science and medical degrees from the University of Melbourne in 1983. He undertook his specialist clinical training in medical oncology at the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH), obtaining his FRACP in 1991.

His undergraduate laboratory and clinical research cultivated his interest in haematology, and as the first Ludwig Institute/RMH Clinical Fellow, he was part of the team that introduced the white blood cell growth factors into clinical practice.  In his PhD project at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (Melbourne Branch), he undertook one of Australia’s first gene knockout projects, proving that G-CSF was a key physiological regulator of granulocyte production. 

His postdoctoral training was at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, in tumour immunology.  He returned to Australia in 1997 as an independent investigator. He established his zebrafish-based research program while at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, and continued this as a Laboratory Head in the Cancer and Haematology Division of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. 

His work seeks to exploit the unique strengths of the zebrafish model in genetics, embryology, and for visualizing cell behaviour in vivo to understand blood cell development and diseases.

His awards include: the John Maynard Hedstrom Research Fellowship of the Cancer Council of Victoria, a Howard Hughes Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for Physicians, a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship, and an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship. The Ludwig Institute awarded him its inaugural George Hodgson Medal for Medical Science.

He has published over 100 scientific papers and co-edited 2 books. Prof. Lieschke is also passionate about the organ and choral music of J.S. Bach, an interest for which he was awarded the 2004 Dame Roma Mitchell Churchill Fellowship.


Keightley MC, Markmiller S, Love GC, Rasko JEJ, *Lieschke GJ, *Heath JK (*equal contributors). Experimental approaches to studying the nature and impact of splicing variation in zebrafish. Methods in Cell Biology (in press, accepted 10/Feb/16)

Keightley MC, Wang C-H, Pazhakh V, Lieschke GJ. Delineating the roles of neutrophils and macrophages in zebrafish regeneration models. International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. 56C:92-106. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2014.07.010. Epub 2014 Jul 21, 2014.

Lieschke GJ, Currie PD.  Animal models of human disease – zebrafish swim into view.  Nature Reviews – Genetics 8(5):353-67, 2007.

Carradice D, Lieschke GJ.  Zebrafish hematology – sushi or science?  Blood 111(7):3331-42, 2008.

Lieschke GJ, Trede NS.  Fish immunology.  Current Biology 19(16):R678-82, 2009.

Ellett F, Lieschke GJ. The use of zebrafish models in hematology research. Current Opinions in Pharmacology 10(5):563-70, 2010.

Pase L, Lieschke GJ.  Discerning different in vivo roles of microRNAs by experimental approaches in zebrafish.  Methods in Cell Biology. 104:353-378, 2011.

Wittmann C, Chockley P, Singh S, Pase L, Lieschke GJ, Grabher C. Hydrogen peroxide in inflammation – messenger, guide assassinAdvances in Hematology. 2012;2012:541471. Epub 2012 Jun 12.


A list of Prof Lieschke's publications appears on the NCBI website.


Lieschke GJ, Oates AC, Kawakami K (eds).  Zebrafish: Methods and Protocols. Humana Press, Totowa NJ USA, 2009.

Current Memberships


  • Australian Medical Association (AMA)
  • Medical Oncology Group of Australia (MOGA)
  • Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA)
  • Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand (HSANZ)
  • Australia  and New Zealand Society of Cell and Developmental Biology (ANZSCDB)
  • National Association of Research Fellows (NARF)
  • Melbourne Health Expert Scientific Review Panel


  • American Society of Hematology (ASH)
  • International Society of Experimental Hematology (ISEH)
  • Society for Developmental Biology (SDB)
  • EuFishBioMed
  • Scientific Committee on Myeloid Biology (ASH)
  • College of Experts (NRCNZ)
  • Zebrafish Disease Models Society (ZDMS) Founding International Expert Board member
Published In

Schmitz U, Pinello N, Jia F, Alasmari S, Ritchie W, Keightley MC, Shini S, Lieschke GJ, Wong JJ, Rasko JEJ.

Intron retention enhances gene regulatory complexity in vertebrates.

Genome Biol. 2017 Nov 16;18(1):216. doi: 10.1186/s13059-017-1339-3.

Keightley MC, Carradice DP, Layton JE, Pase L, Bertrand JY, Wittig JG, Dakic A, Badrock AP, Cole NJ, Traver D, Nutt SL, McCoey J, Buckle AM, Heath JK, Lieschke GJ.

The Pu.1 target gene Zbtb11 regulates neutrophil development through its integrase-like HHCC zinc finger.

Nat Commun. 2017 Apr 6;8:14911. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14911.

Witzel M, Petersheim D, Fan Y, Bahrami E, Racek T, Rohlfs M, Puchalka J, Mertes C, Gagneur J, Ziegenheim C, Enard W, Stray-Pederson A, Arkwright P, Abboud M, Pazhakh V, Lieschke GJ, Mundlos S, Krawitz, Dahlhoff M, Schneider M, Wolf E, Horny H-P, Schmidt H, Schaffer A, Klein C.

Chromatin remodeling factor SMARCD2 regulates transcriptional networks controlling differentiation of neutrophil granulocytes.

Nat Genet. 2017 May;49(5):742-752. doi: 10.1038/ng.3833. Epub 2017 Apr 3.

Pazhakh V, Clark S, Keightley MC, Lieschke GJ.

A GCSFR/CSF3R zebrafish mutant models the persistent basal neutrophil deficiency of severe congenital neutropenia.


Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 10;7:44455. doi: 10.1038/srep44455.

Alifui-Segbaya F, Varma S, Lieschke GJ, George R.

Biocompatibility of photopolymers in 3D printing.

3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing 2017;4(3):185–191. doi:

Keightley M-C, Nilsson SK, Lieschke GJ.

MED12 in hematopoietic stem cells – cell specific function despite ubiquitous expression.

Stem Cell Investigation 2017;4:3. DOI: 10.21037/sci.2016.12.04.

Keightley M-C, Carradice DP, Layton JE, Pase L, Bertrand JY, Wittig JG, Dakic A, Badrock AP, Cole NJ, Traver D, Nutt SL, McCoey J, Buckle AM, Heath JK, Lieschke GJ.

The Pu.1 target gene Zbtb11 regulates neutrophil development through its integrase-like HHCC zinc finger.

Nature Communications 2017;8:14911. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14911.

Bhuiyan MS, Ellett F, Murray GL, Kostoulias X, Cerqueira GM, Schulze KE, Mahamad Maifiah MH, Li J, Creek DJ, Lieschke GJ, Peleg AY.

Acinetobacter baumannii phenylacetic acid metabolism influences infection outcome through a direct effect on neutrophil chemotaxis.


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Aug 23;113(34):9599-604. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1523116113. Epub 2016 Aug 9.

Pase L, Layton JE, Kloosterman WP, Carradice D, Waterhouse PM, Lieschke GJ.

miR-451 regulates zebrafish erythroid maturation in vivo via its target gata2.

Blood. 2009 Feb 19;113(8):1794-804. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-05-155812. Epub 2008 Oct 10.

Ellett F1, Pase L, Hayman JW, Andrianopoulos A, Lieschke GJ.

mpeg1 promoter transgenes direct macrophage-lineage expression in zebrafish.

Blood. 2011 Jan 27;117(4):e49-56. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-10-314120. Epub 2010 Nov 17.

Pase L, Layton JE, Wittmann C, Ellett F, Nowell CJ, Reyes-Aldasoro CC, Varma S, Rogers KL, Hall CJ, Keightley MC, Crosier PS, Grabher C, Heath JK, Renshaw SA, Lieschke GJ.

Neutrophil-delivered myeloperoxidase dampens the hydrogen peroxide burst after tissue wounding in zebrafish.

Curr Biol. 2012 Oct 9;22(19):1818-24. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.07.060. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Keightley MC, Crowhurst MO, Layton JE, Beilharz T, Markmiller S, Varma S, Hogan BM, de Jong-Curtain TA, Heath JK, Lieschke GJ.

In vivo mutation of pre-mRNA processing factor 8 (Prpf8) affects transcript splicing, cell survival and myeloid differentiation.

FEBS Lett. 2013 Jul 11;587(14):2150-7. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2013.05.030. Epub 2013 May 25.

Nguyen PD, Hollway GE, Sonntag C, Miles LB, Hall TE, Berger S, Fernandez KJ, Gurevich DB, Cole NJ, Alaei S, Ramialison M, Sutherland RL, Polo JM, Lieschke GJ, Currie PD.

Haematopoietic stem cell induction by somite-derived endothelial cells controlled by meox1.

Nature. 2014 Aug 21;512(7514):314-8. doi: 10.1038/nature13678. Epub 2014 Aug 13.