Dr Maya Kansara

Group Leader - Immunobiology of Cancer

Maya undertook her PhD in the laboratory of Prof Michael Berridge at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research affiliated with Otago University, Wellington, New Zealand. She investigated the regulation of glucose transporters in cancer. Following her PhD she was recruited to the Genomics and Genetics of Sarcoma group headed by Prof David Thomas at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, in Melbourne, Australia.

She was responsible for establishing and characterising preclinical models of osteosarcoma in the laboratory. These models have been used to investigate the role of WIF1 and RB1 genes, as well as to identify the components of the immune system, including IL-6, type 1 interferons, IL-23 and NKT cells that sculpt the growth osteosarcoma in vivo.

In mid 2015 she moved to Sydney to work at the Kinghorn Cancer Institute where she is currently a Group Leader in the Cancer Research Division. Here she has continued her interests in identifying new treatment strategies in osteosarcoma.

Research Interests

Development and implementation of murine model systems to recapitulate osteosarcoma and its treatment
Improve our understanding of how the immune system sculpts the tumours in vivo using genomic approaches
Investigate the role of inflammatory cytokines in osteosarcoma development and as targets for treatment
Gain a better understanding of immune tolerance mechanisms active in solid tumours
Identify Better approaches to maximize the use of chemotherapies in combination with immunotherapies

Awards and Honours

2015 - NHMRC Project grant -Targeting the PD-1 pathway in osteosarcoma
2013 - NHMRC Project grant - Translational immunobiology of osteosarcoma
2011 - NHMRC Project grant - Molecular pathways mediating the anti-tumour activity of WIF1
2008 - NHMRC Project grant - Role of WIF1 in osteosarcoma CIB
2009 - Best of Best Research Poster


PhD, Malaghan Institute of Medical Research/Otago University, Wellington - New Zealand
BSc (Hons) Biochemistry and Immunology, Victoria University, Wellington - New Zealand

Selected Publications

Kansara M, Teng M, Smyth MJ, Thomas DM. (2014) Translational biology of osteosarcoma Nature Reviews Cancer, 14,722-735.

Kansara M & Thomas DM (2014) RB1-mediated cell-autonomous and host-dependent oncosuppressor mechanisms in radiation-induced osteosarcoma. Oncoimmunology Jan 1, 2014,3(1):e27569.

Kansara M, Leong HS, Lin DM, Popkiss S, Pang P, Garsed DW, Walkley CR, Cullinane C, Ellul J, Haynes NM, Hicks R, Kuijjer ML, Cleton-Jansen AM, Hinds PW, Smyth MJ, Thomas DM Immune response to RB1-regulated senescence limits radiation induced osteosarcoma formation. J Clinical Investigation 2013, Dec 2013, 123(12);5351.

Etemadmoghadam D, Au-Yeung G, Wall M, Mitchell C, Kansara M, Loehrer E, Batzios C, George J, Ftouni S, Weir BA, Carter SL, Gresshoff I, Mileshkin L, Rischin D, Hahn WC, Waring PM, Getz G, Cullinane C, Campbell LJ, Bowtell DD Clinical Cancer Research 2013 Sep 4, 1:19(21)5960-71.

Cain JE, McCaw A, Jayasekara WS, Rossello FJ, Marini KD, Irving AT, Kansara M, Thomas DM, Ashley DM, Watkins DN Sustained low-dose treatment with Histone deacetylase inhibitor LBH589 induces terminal differentiation of osteosarcoma cells, Sarcoma. 2013:608964.

Paget C, Duret H, Ngiow SF, Kansara M, Thomas DM, Smyth MJ Studying the role of the immune system on the antitumor activity of a Hedgehog inhibitor against murine osteosarcoma Oncoimmunology. 2012 Nov 1;1(8):1313-1322.

Etemadmoghadam D, George J, Cowin PA, Cullinane C, Kansara M; Australian Ovarian Cancer Study Group, Gorringe KL, Smyth GK, Bowtell DD Amplicon-dependent CCNE1 expression is critical for clonogenic survival after cisplatin treatment and is correlated with 20q11 gain in ovarian cancer. PLoS One. 2010 Nov 12;5(11):e15498.

Kansara M, Tsang M, Kodjabachian L, Sims NA, Trivett MK, Ehrich M, Dobrovic A, Slavin J, Choong PF, Simmons PJ, Dawid IB, Thomas DM. Wnt inhibitory factor 1 is epigenetically silenced in human osteosarcoma, and targeted disruption accelerates osteosarcomagenesis in mice. J Clinical Investigation.2009 Apr;119(4):837-51.

Kansara M, Thomas DM. Molecular pathogenesis of osteosarcoma. DNA and Cell Biology 2007 2Jan;26(1):1-18. (I.P 2.3) Review.

Thomas D, Kansara M.Epigenetic modifications in osteogenic differentiation and transformation. J Cell Biochem. 2006 Jul 1;98(4):757-69.

Cullinane C, Dorow DS, Kansara M, Conus N, Binns D, Hicks RJ, Ashman LK, McArthur GA, Thomas DM An in vivo tumor model exploiting metabolic response as a biomarker for targeted drug development. Cancer Research. 2005 Nov 1;65(21):9633-6.

Morgan T, Atkins GJ, Trivett MK, Johnson SA, Kansara M, Schlicht, SL, Slavin JL, Simmons P, Dickinson I, Powell G, Choong PF, Holloway AJ, Thomas DM Molecular profiling of giant cell tumor of bone and the osteoclastic localization of ligand for receptor activator of nuclear factor kappaBAm J Pathol. 2005 Jul;167(1):117-28.

Kansara M, Berridge MV Oncogenes modulate cell sensitivity to apoptosis induced by glucose deprivation. Anticancer Res 2004, 24(4):2503-10.

Kansara M, Berridge MV. Hemopoietic cell transformation is associated with failure to downregulate glucose uptake during the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. Exp Cell Res. 2004, 293(2):321-30.

Dr Maya Kansara