Graham Lieschke


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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 130 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.


Pazhakh V, Lieschke GJ. Hematopoietic growth factors: the scenario in zebrafish. Growth Factors 2018 Dec;36(5-6):196-212. doi: 10.1080/08977194.2019.1567506. Epub 2019 Feb 15.

Manley HR, Keightley MC, Lieschke GJ. The Neutrophil Nucleus: An Important Influence on Neutrophil Migration and Function. Frontiers in Immunology 2018 Dec 4;9:2867. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.02867. eCollection 2018.

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 2016;135:259-88. doi: 10.1016/bs.mcb.2016.02.006. Epub 2016 Mar 9.

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.


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

Click here for full list of publications on ORCID


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

Current Memberships


  • Australian Medical Association (AMA)
  • Australia and New Zealand Society of Cell and Developmental Biology (ANZSCDB)
  • Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA)
  • Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand (HSANZ)
  • Medical Oncology Group of Australia (MOGA)
  • Melbourne Health Expert Scientific Review Panel
  • Royal Australasian College of Physicians Foundation Grant Advisory Committee (Chair)


Research interests

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.

Featured Publications

Authors Title Published In

Pazhakh V, Ellett F, Croker BA, O’Donnell JA, Pase L, Schulze KE, Greulich RS, Gupta A, Reyes-Aldasoro CC, Andrianopoulos A, Lieschke GJ.

β-glucan-dependent shuttling of conidia from neutrophils to macrophages occurs during fungal infection establishment.

PLoS Biol. 2019 Sep 4;17(9):e3000113. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000113. eCollection 2019 Sep.

Jiang JH, Bhuiyan MS, Shen HH, Cameron DR, Rupasinghe TWT, Wu CM, Le Brun AP, Kostoulias X, Domene C, Fulcher AJ, McConville MJ, Howden BP, Lieschke GJ, Peleg AY.

Antibiotic resistance and host immune evasion in Staphylococcus aureus mediated by a metabolic adaptation.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Feb 26;116(9):3722-3727. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1812066116. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

Ellett F, Pazhakh V, Pase L, Benard EL, Weerasinghe H, Azabdaftari D, Alasmari S, Andrianopoulos A, Lieschke GJ.

Macrophages protect Talaromyces marneffei conidia from myeloperoxidase-dependent neutrophil fungicidal activity during infection establishment in vivo.

PLoS Pathog. 2018 Jun 8;14(6):e1007063. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007063. eCollection 2018 Jun.

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.

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 F, 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.

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.