A/Prof Luke Hesson

Luke is a Clinical Scientist with expertise in genetics, epigenetics and cancer. He holds a PhD in Clinical Genetics and is a Fellow of the Faculty of Science of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FFScRCPA(Genetics)). Luke is based at Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology and is a Visiting Sc

Research Level

Visiting Scientist


Luke is a Clinical Scientist with expertise in genetics, epigenetics and cancer. He holds a PhD in Clinical Genetics and is a Fellow of the Faculty of Science of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FFScRCPA(Genetics)).

Luke is based at Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology and is a Visiting Scientist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. His work focuses on the use of genetics in healthcare, as well as science communication through published works, lectures and mentoring scientists and students.


Luke is a Clinical Scientist with expertise in genetics, epigenetics and cancer. He holds a PhD in Clinical Genetics and is a Fellow of the Faculty of Science of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FFScRCPA(Genetics)).

Luke is based at Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology and is a Visiting Scientist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. His work focuses on the use of genetics in healthcare, as well as science communication through published works, lectures and mentoring scientists and students.


Awards and Honours

2020 - Co-Chief Investigator, Harnessing the power from within: Neoantigen immunopeptidomics for the development of immunotherapies for the treatment of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)
2018 - Project Lead, MTPConnect, BioMedTech Horizons Project, A clinically-accredited and commercial-ready genome profiling platform to enable precision cancer medicine
2018 - Consortium Lead, MTPConnect, Enabling Precision Cancer Clinical Trials
2017 – Fellow of the Faculty of Science, RCPA
2016 – Chief Investigator, Anthony Rothe Memorial Trust project grant
2013 – Chief Investigator, Big Data Big Impact Grant, Cancer Institute New South Wales
2012-2015 – Director for the Australian Society for Medical Research
2010 – Cancer Institute New South Wales Fellow
2005 – MRC Career Development Fellow, University of Dundee, UK
2004 – Breast Cancer Campaign UK, Team of the Year Prize


2005 - PhD in Clinical Genetics, University of Birmingham, UK
2001 - BMedSc (Hons), University of Birmingham, UK

Selected Publications

Van Ly D, Wang D, Conway R, Giblin M, Liang S, Lukeis R, Lim L, Hesson LB, Cherepanoff S. Novel Insights from Clinical Practice: Lipid producing ciliochoroidal melanoma with expression of HMG-CoA reductase. Ocular Oncology and Pathology. In press.

Yeola A, Subramanian S, Oliver RA, Lucas CA, Thoms JAI, Yan F, Olivier J, Chacon D, Tursky ML, Hung T, Power C, Hardy P, Ma DD, McCarroll J, Kavallaris M, Hesson LB, Beck D, Curtis DJ, Wong JWH, Hardeman EC, Walsh WR, Mobbs R, Chandrakanthan V and Pimanda JE (2020). Induction of Muscle Regenerative Multipotent Stem Cells from Human Adipocytes by PDGF-AB and 5-Azacytidine Induced multipotent stem cells from human adipocytes. Science Advances. In press.

Morris MJ, Hesson LB, Youngson NA (2020). Non-CpG methylation biases bisulphite PCR towards low or unmethylated mitochondrial DNA: recommendations for the field. Environmental Epigenetics. I6(1):dvaa001.

Hesson LB, Pritchard AL (2019). Genetics and epigenetics: a historical overview. Clinical Epigenetics. Springer Nature Singapore Pte. Ltd. ISBN 978-981-13-8958-0.

Hesson LB, Pritchard AL (2019). The clinical utility of epigenetics. Clinical Epigenetics. Springer Nature Singapore Pte. Ltd. ISBN 978-981-13-8958-0.

Editors: Hesson LB, Pritchard AL (2019). Clinical Epigenetics. Springer Nature Singapore Pte. Ltd. ISBN 978-981-13-8958-0. URL: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789811389573 

Poulos RC, Perera D, Packham D, Shah A, Janitz C, Pimanda JE, Hawkins N, Ward RL, Hesson LB, Wong JWH (2019).  Scarcity of Recurrent Regulatory Driver Mutations in Colorectal Cancer Revealed by Targeted Deep Sequencing. JNCI Cancer Spectr. 3(2):pkz012.

Morris MJ, Hesson LB, Poulos RC, Ward RL, Wong JWH, Youngson NA (2018). Reduced nuclear DNA methylation and mitochondrial transcript changes in adenomas do not associate with mtDNA methylation. Biomarker Research. 6:37.

Jacquelin S, Straube J, Cooper L, Vu T, Song A, Bywater M, Baxter E, Heidecker M, Wackrow B, Porte A, Ling V, Green J, Austin R, Kazakoff S, Waddell N, Hesson LB, Pimanda JE, Stegelmann F, Bullinger L, Döhner K, Rampal RK, Heckl D, Hill GR, Lane SW (2018). Jak2V617F and Dnmt3a loss cooperate to induce myelofibrosis through activated enhancer-driven inflammation. Blood. 132(26):2707-2721.

Liu Q, Thoms JAI, Huang Y, Nunez AC, Knezevic K, Packham D, Poulos RC, Williams R, Beck D, Hawkins NJ, Ward RL, Wong JWH, Hesson LB, Sloane MA, Pimanda JE (2018). Disruption of a -35kb enhancer impairs CTCF binding and MLH1 expression in colorectal cells. Clinical Cancer Research. 24(18):4602-11.

Unnikrishnan A, Vo A, Pickford R, Raftery M, Nunez A, Verma A, Hesson LB, Pimanda J (2018). AZA-MS: a novel multiparameter mass spectrometry method to determine the intracellular dynamics of Azacitidine therapy in vivo. Leukemia. 32(4):900-910.

Luo A, Leach ST, Barres R, Hesson LB, Grimm MC, Simar D (2017). The Microbiota and Epigenetic Regulation of T Helper 17/Regulatory T Cells: In Search of a Balanced Immune System. Frontiers in Immunology. 8:417.

Hesson LB, Ng B, Zarzour P, Srivastava S, Kwok C-T, Packham D, Nunez AC, Beck D, Ryan R, Dower A, Ford CE, Pimanda JE, Sloane MA, Hawkins NJ, Bourke MJ, Wong JWH, Ward RL (2016). Integrated Genetic, Epigenetic and Transcriptional Profiling Identifies Molecular Pathways in the Development of Laterally Spreading Tumours. Molecular Cancer Research. 14(12):1217-1228.

Liu Q, Hesson LB, Nunez AC, Packham D, Hawkins NJ, Ward RL, Sloane MA (2016). Pathogenic germline MCM9 variants are rare in Australian Lynch-like syndrome patients. Cancer Genetics. 209(11):497-500.

Ma SS, Henry CE, Llamosas E, Higgins R, Daniels B, Hesson LB, Hawkins NJ, Ward RL, Ford CE (2016). A validation of ROR2 antibodies for immunohistochemistry. Virchows Archiv. 470(1):99-108

Ma SS, Srivastava S, Llamosas E, Hawkins NJ, Hesson LB, Ward RL, Ford CE (2016). ROR2 is epigenetically inactivated in the early stages of colorectal neoplasia and is associated with proliferation and migration. BMC Cancer. 16:508.

Sloane MA, Ward RL, Hesson LB (2016). Defining the criteria for identifying constitutional epimutations. Clinical Epigenetics. 8:39. 

Chandrakanthan V, Yeola A, Kwan J, Oliver RA, Qiao Q, Kang YC, Zarzour P, Beck D, Boelen L, Unnikrishnan A, Villanueva J, Nunez A, Knezevic K, Palu C, Nasrallah R, Carnell M, MacMillan A, Whan R, Yu Y, Hardy P, Grey S, Gladbach A, Delerue F, Ittner LM, Mobbs R, Walkley C, Purton LE, Ward RL, Wong JWH, Hesson LB, Walsh WR, Pimanda JE (2016). PDGF-AB and 5-Azacytidine Induced Conversion of Somatic Cells into Tissue Regenerative Multipotent Stem Cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). 113(16):E2306-15.

Srivastava S, Ludwig AK, Wong JW, Hesson LB. An investigation of the potential for epigenetic inactivation by transcription read-through in a sporadic colorectal cancer. Gene. 585(1):154-8.

Thoms JA, Knezevic K, Liu JJ, Glaros EN, Thai T, Qiao Q, Campbell H, Packham D, Huang Y, Papathanasiou P, Tunningley R, Whittle B, Yeung AW, Chandrakanthan V, Hesson L, Chen V, Wong JW, Purton LE, Ward RL, Thomas SR, Pimanda JE (2016). Arrested Hematopoiesis and Vascular Relaxation Defects in Mice with a Mutation in Dhfr. Molecular Cellular Biology. 36(8):1222-36.

Liu Q, Thompson BA, Ward RL, Hesson LB and Sloane MA (2016). Understanding the pathogenicity of non-coding mismatch repair gene promoter variants in Lynch syndrome. Human Mutation. 37(5):417-26.

Kuroiwa-Trzmielina J, Hesson LB (2016). Epigenetic effects of gut microbiota on obesity and gastrointestinal cancers. Epigenetics, Energy Balance and Cancer. Edited by Professor Nathan A Berger. Springer publishing.

Liu Q, Hesson LB, Nunez AC, Packham D, Williams R, Ward RL, Sloane MA (2016). A cryptic paracentric inversion of MSH2 exons 2-6 causes Lynch syndrome. Carcinogenesis. 37(1):10-7.

Youngson NA, Lecomte V, Maloney CA, Leung P, Liu J, Hesson LB, Luciani F, Krause L, Morris MJ (2016). Obesity-induced sperm DNA methylation changes at satellite repeats are reprogrammed in rat offspring. Asian Journal of Andrology. 18(6):930-936.

Poulos R, Sloane MA, Hesson LB, Wong JWH (2015). The search for somatic driver mutations in cis-regulatory regions of cancer genomes. Oncotarget. 6(32):32509-25.

Sloane MA, Nunez AC, Packham D,  Kwok CT, Suthers G, Hesson LB, Ward RL (2015). Mosaic Epigenetic Inheritance as a Cause of Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer. JAMA Oncology. 1(7):953-7.

Hesson LB, Packham D, Kwok, C-T, Nunez AC, Ng B, Schmidt C, Fields M, Wong JWH, Sloane MA, Ward RL (2015). Lynch syndrome associated with two MLH1 promoter variants and allelic imbalance of MLH1 expression. Human Mutation. 36(6):622-30.

Zarzour P, Boelen L, Luciani F, Beck D, Sakthianandeswaren A, Mouradov D, Sieber OM, Hawkins NJ, Hesson LB, Ward RL, Wong JWH (2015). SNP array profiling identifies distinct chromosomal aberration patterns across colorectal adenomas and carcinomas. Genes Chromosomes and Cancer. 54(5):303-14.

Hesson LB and Ward RL (2014). Letter to the Editor: The importance of distinguishing pseudogenes from parental genes. Clinical Epigenetics. 6(1):90.

Sloane MA, Hesson LB, Nunez AC, Thompson BA, Ward RL (2014). Nucleosome positioning is unaltered at MLH1 splice site mutations in cells derived from Lynch syndrome patients. Clinical Epigenetics. 6(1):32

Hesson LB, Sloane MA, Wong JW, Nunez AC, Srivastava S, Ng B, Hawkins NJ, Bourke MJ, Ward RL (2014). Alterations in nucleosome positioning is an early event in gene silencing. Epigenetics. 9(10):1422-30.

Simar D, Versteyhe S, Donkin I, Liu J, Hesson L, Nylander V, Fossum A, Barres R (2014) DNA Methylation Is Altered In B And NK Lymphocytes In Obese And Type 2 Diabetic Human. Metabolism: clinical and experimental, 63(9):1188-97

Sloane MA, Wong JW, Perera D, Nunez AC, Pimanda JE, Hawkins NJ, Sieber OM, Bourke MJ, Hesson LB, & Ward RL (2014) Epigenetic inactivation of the candidate tumor suppressor USP44 is a frequent and early event in colorectal neoplasia. Epigenetics 9(8):1092-100.

Patil V, Ward RL, Hesson LB (2014). The evidence for functional non-CpG methylation in mammalian cells. Epigenetics. 9(6):823-8.

Hesson LB, Ward RL (2014). Discrimination of pseudogene and parental gene DNA methylation using allelic bisulphite sequencing. Methods in Molecular Biology. 1167:265-274.

Sloane MS, Hesson LB, Ward RL (2014). Epimutations and Cancer Susceptibility. eLifeSciences. DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0024615

Hesson LB (2013). Gut microbiota and obesity-related gastrointestinal cancer: a focus on epigenetics. Translational Gastrointestinal Cancer. 2(4):204-210.

Liu J, Hesson LB, Ward RL (2013). Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry for the measurement of global DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation. Journal of Proteomics and Bioinformatics. S2:005.

Hesson LB, Patil V, Sloane AS, Nunez AC, Liu J, Pimanda JP, Ward RL (2013). Reassembly of nucleosomes at the MLH1 promoter initiates resilencing following decitabine exposure. PLoS Genetics. 9(7):e1003636.

Zarzour P, Hesson LB, Ward RL (2013). Establishing the clinical utility of epigenetic markers in cancer – many challenges ahead. Epigenomics. 5(5):513-23.

Metz AJ, Bourke MJ, Moss A, Dower A, Zarzour P, Hawkins NJ, Ward RL, Hesson LB (2013). A correlation of the endoscopic characteristics of colonic laterally spreading tumours (LSTs) with genetic alterations. European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 25(3):319-26.

Lau DT, Hesson LB, Norris MD, Marshall GM, Haber M, Ashton LJ (2012). Prognostic significance of promoter DNA methylation in patients with childhood neuroblastoma. Clinical Cancer Research. 18(20):5690-700.

Liu J, Hesson LB, Meagher AP, Bourke MJ, Hawkins NJ, Rand KN, Molloy PL, Pimanda JE, Ward RL (2012). Relative distribution of folate species is associated with global DNA methylation in human colorectal mucosa. Cancer Prevention Research (Phila). 5(7):921-9

Hesson LB, Packham D, Pontzer E, Funchain P, Eng C, Ward RL (2012). A reinvestigation of somatic hypermethylation at the PTEN CpG island in cancer cell lines. Biological Procedures Online. 10;14(1):5.

Hesson LB, Latif F (2011). RASSF6 (Ras association (RalGDS/AF-6) domain family member 6). Atlas of Genetics and Cytogenetics in Oncology and Haematology. 15(1):47-54.

Hesson LB, Latif F (2010). RASSF2 (Ras association (RalGDS/AF-6) domain family member 2). Atlas of Genetics and Cytogenetics in Oncology and Haematology. 14(7):652-661.

Lock FE, Underhill-Day N, Dunwell T, Matallanas D, Cooper W, Hesson L, Recino A, Ward A, Pavlova T, Zabarovsky E, Grant MM, Maher ER, Chalmers AD, Kolch W and Latif F (2010). The RASSF8 candidate tumor suppressor inhibits cell growth and regulates the Wnt and NF-κB signaling pathways. Oncogene. 29(30):4307-16.

Donninger H, Hesson L, Vos M, Beebe K, Gordon L, Sidransky D, Liu JW, Schlegel T, Payne S, Hartmann A, Latif F, Clark GJ (2010). The Ras effector RASSF2 controls the PAR-4 tumor suppressor. Molecular Cellular Biology. 30(11):2608-20.

Hesson LB, Hitchins MP, Ward RL (2010). Epimutations and cancer predisposition: importance and mechanisms. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development. 20(3):290-8.

Dunwell T, Hesson L, Rauch TA, Wang L, Clark RE, Dallol A, Gentle D, Catchpoole D, Maher ER, Pfeifer GP, Latif F (2010). A Genome-wide screen identifies frequently methylated genes in haematological and epithelial cancers. Molecular Cancer. 25;9:44.

Hill V, Hesson LB, Dansranjavin T, Dallol A, Bieche I, Vacher S, Tommasi S, Dobbins T, Gentle D, Euhus D, Lewis C, Dammann R, Ward RL, Minna J, Maher ER, Pfeifer GP, Latif F (2010). Identification of 5 novel genes methylated in breast and other epithelial cancers. Molecular Cancer. 5;9:51.

Hesson LB, Dunwell TL, Cooper WN, Catchpoole D, Brini AT, Chiaramonte R, Griffiths M, Chalmers AD, Maher ER, Latif F (2009). The novel RASSF6 and RASSF10 candidate tumour suppressor genes are frequently epigenetically inactivated in childhood leukaemias. Molecular Cancer. 8(1):42.

Dallol A, Hesson LB, Matallanas D, Cooper WN, O’Neill E, Maher ER, Kolch W, Latif F (2009). Ran GTPase is a RASSF1A effector involved in controlling microtubule organisation. Current Biology. 19(14):1227-32.

Cooper WN, Hesson LB, Matallanas D, Dallol A, von Kriegsheim A, Ward R, Kolch W, Latif F (2009). RASSF2 associates with and stabilises the proapoptotic kinase MST2. Oncogene. 28(33):2988-98.

Dunwell TL, Hesson LB, Pavlova T, Zabarovska V, Kashuba V, Catchpoole D, Chiaramonte R, Brini AT, Griffiths M, Maher ER, Zabarovsky E and Latif F (2009). Epigenetic analysis of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Epigenetics. 4(3):185-93.

Hesson LB, Krex D, Latif F (2008). Epigenetic markers of human gliomas – prospects for therapeutic intervention. Expert Review in Neurotherapeutics. 8(10):1475-96.

Morton S, Hesson L, Peggie M, Cohen P (2008). Enhanced binding of TBK1 by an optineurin mutant that causes a familial form of primary open angle glaucoma. FEBS Letters. 582(6):997-1002.

Cooper WN, Dickinson RE, Dallol A, Grigorieva EV, Pavlova TV, Hesson LB, Bieche I, Broggini M, Maher ER, Zabarovsky ER, Clark GJ, Latif F. (2007). Epigenetic regulation of the ras effector/tumour suppressor RASSF2 in breast and lung cancer. Oncogene. 27(12):1805-11.

Hesson LB, Cooper WN, Latif F (2007). Evaluation of the 3p21.3 Tumour-suppressor Gene Cluster. Oncogene. 26(52):7283-301.

Allen NPC, Donninger H, Vos MD, Eckfeld K, Hesson L, Gordon L, Birrer MJ, Latif F, Clark GJ (2007). RASSF6 is a novel member of the RASSF family of tumor suppressors. Oncogene. 26(42):6203-11.

Hesson LB, Cooper WN, Latif F (2007). The role of RASSF1A methylation in cancer. Disease Markers. 23(1-2):73-87.

Vos MD, Dallol A, Eckfeld K, Allen NP, Donninger H, Hesson LB, Calvisi D, Latif F, Clark GJ (2006). The RASSF1A tumor suppressor activates Bax via MOAP-1. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 281(8):4557-63.

Elam C, Hesson L, Vos MD, Eckfeld K, Ellis CA, Bell A, Krex D, Birrer MJ, Latif F, Clark GJ (2005). RRP22 is a farnesylated, nucleolar, Ras-related protein with tumor suppressor potential. Cancer Research. 65(8):3117-25.

Hesson LB, Wilson R, Morton D, Adams C, Walker M, Maher ER, Latif F (2005). CpG island promoter hypermethylation of a novel Ras-effector gene RASSF2A is an early event in colon carcinogenesis and correlates inversely with K-ras mutations. Oncogene. 24(24):3987-94.

Caren H, Ejeskar K, Fransson S, Hesson L, Latif F, Sjoberg RM, Krona C, Martinsson T (2005). A cluster of genes located in 1p36 are down-regulated in neuroblastomas with poor prognosis, but not due to CpG island methylation. Molecular Cancer. 4(1):10.

Eckfeld K, Hesson L, Vos MD, Bieche I, Latif F, Clark GJ (2004). RASSF4/AD037 is a potential ras effector/tumor suppressor of the RASSF family. Cancer Research. 64(23):8688-93.

Dallol A, Agathanggelou A, Fenton SL, Hesson L, Ahmed-Choudhury J, Vos MD, Clark GJ, Downward J, Maher ER, Latif F (2004). RASSF1A interacts with microtubule-associated proteins and modulates microtubule dynamics. Cancer Research. 64(12):4112-4116.

Hesson L, Bieche I, Krex D, Criniere E, Hoang-Xuan K, Maher ER, Latif F (2004). Frequent epigenetic inactivation of RASSF1A and BLU genes located within the critical 3p21.3 region in gliomas. Oncogene. 23(13):2408-19.

Fenton SL, Dallol A, Agathanggelou A, Hesson L, Ahmed-Choudhury J, Baksh S, Sardet C, Dammann R, Minna JD, Downward J, Maher ER, Latif F (2004). Identification of the E1A-regulated transcription factor p120 E4F as an interacting partner of the RASSF1A candidate tumor suppressor gene. Cancer Research. 64(1):102-7.

da Silva NF, Gentle D, Hesson LB, Morton DG, Latif F, Maher ER (2003). Analysis of the Birt-Hogg-Dube (BHD) tumour suppressor gene in sporadic renal cell carcinoma and colorectal cancer. Journal of Medical Genetics. 40(11):820-4.

Morris MR, Hesson LB, Wagner KJ, Morgan NV, Astuti D, Lees RD, Cooper WN, Lee J, Gentle D, Macdonald F, Kishida T, Grundy R, Yao M, Latif F, Maher ER (2003). Multigene methylation analysis of Wilms' tumour and adult renal cell carcinoma. Oncogene. 22(43):6794-801.

Dallol A, Krex D, Hesson L, Eng C, Maher ER, Latif F (2003). Frequent epigenetic inactivation of the SLIT2 gene in gliomas. Oncogene. 22(29):4611-6.

Agathanggelou A, Dallol A, Zochbauer-Muller S, Morrissey C, Honorio S, Hesson L, Martinsson T, Fong KM, Kuo MJ, Yuen PW, Maher ER, Minna JD, Latif F (2003). Epigenetic inactivation of the candidate 3p21.3 suppressor gene BLU in human cancers. Oncogene. 22(10):1580-8.

Hesson L, Dallol A, Minna JD, Maher ER, Latif F (2003). NORE1A, a homologue of RASSF1A tumour suppressor gene is inactivated in human cancers. Oncogene. 22(6):947-54.