Professor Brandon Wainwright


Institute for Molecular Bioscience
+61 7 334 62115


Professor Wainwright is Director of UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience, which is recognised nationally and internationally as one of Australia's leading life sciences research institutes. As Director, Professor Wainwright is responsible for advancing the institute’s research initiatives, strengthening the institute’s global connections, and leading IMB’s 500 scientists, postgraduate students and support staff with an annual budget of $60 million. The institute's mission is to advance scientific knowledge and deliver new health and industry applications.

Professor Wainwright completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at The University of Adelaide, after which he secured a postdoctoral fellowship with St Mary’s Hospital at Imperial College London. During his six years at Imperial he worked on the first human genome project and also became a Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellow. He returned to Australia in 1990 to join UQ’s Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology (now IMB).

Professor Wainwright leads his own IMB laboratory, is chair of the Queensland Institutes of Health, and serves on the boards of the Australian Genome Research Facility and Life Sciences Queensland, and a number of national and international scientific review committees.

Research Interests

  • Cancer and cell signalling
    Skin cancer is a major public health issue in Australia, with the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer costing our community more than $264 million each year. Moreover, brain tumours remain the most common cause of cancer-related death in children and of these, medulloblastoma is the most commonly diagnosed. Our laboratory has made great progress in understanding the genetic pathways behind the most common form of skin cancer in Australia, Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), and medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumour that occurs predominantly in children. Having mapped and isolated the Naevoid Basel Cell Carcinoma Syndrome (NBCCS) gene called Patched, which is the driver for a medical condition where affected individuals have a predisposition for developing BCC and medulloblastoma, we were able to identify the Patched gene as a controller of a molecular signalling pathway called the Hedgehog pathway. The Hedgehog pathway is a set of genetic mutations that contribute to the development of a wide range of tumour types, including lung, pancreatic and ovarian cancer. By examining this pathway and how it interacts with other genetic pathways, our scientists have gained a better understanding of the normal development of the skin and cerebellum, a part of the brain that controls motor functions. By manipulating the strength of the Hedgehog pathway we believe stem cell populations can be expanded or can be induced to become cancerous. Our lab has identified the core genetic components that lead to the development of medulloblastoma. This work will enable the therapeutic targeting of every medulloblastoma, not just a subset, leading to more powerful clinical trials and ultimately more effective treatment options.


  • PhD, The University of Adelaide
  • BSc(Hons), The University of Adelaide


  • Robson, Jonathan P., Remke, Marc, Kool, Marcel, Julian, Elaine, Korshunov, Andrey, Pfister, Stefan M., Osborne, Geoffrey W., Taylor, Michael D., Wainwright, Brandon and Reynolds, Brent A. (2019) Identification of CD24 as a marker of Patched1 deleted medulloblastoma-initiating neural progenitor cells. PLoS ONE, 14 1: e0210665. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0210665

  • Fraser, James, Essebier, Alexandra, Brown, Alexander S., Davila, Raul Ayala, Sengar, Ameet S., Tu, YuShan, Ensbey, Kathleen S., Day, Bryan W., Scott, Matthew P., Gronostajski, Richard M., Wainwright, Brandon J., Boden, Mikael, Harvey, Tracey J. and Piper, Michael (2018) Granule neuron precursor cell proliferation is regulated by NFIX and intersectin 1 during postnatal cerebellar development. Brain Structure and Function, 224 2: 811-827. doi:10.1007/s00429-018-1801-3

  • Kojic, Marija, Gaik, Monika, Kiska, Bence, Salerno-Kochan, Anna, Hunt, Sarah, Tedoldi, Angelo, Mureev, Sergey, Jones, Alun, Whittle, Belinda, Genovesi, Laura A., Adolphe, Christelle, Brown, Darren L., Stow, Jennifer L., Alexandrov, Kirill, Sah, Pankaj, Glatt, Sebastian and Wainwright, Brandon J. (2018) Elongator mutation in mice induces neurodegeneration and ataxia-like behavior. Nature Communications, 9 1: . doi:10.1038/s41467-018-05765-6

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Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Villani, R., Sim, S. L., Greaney, J., Wainwright, B. and Khosrotehrani, K. (2016). Basal cell carcinoma development is promoted by ablation of the dermal papilla mesenchymal niche. In: Asia-Pacific Combined Dermatology Research Conference 2016, Noosa, QLD, Australia, (6-6). 25–28 August 2016. doi:10.1111/ajd.12584

  • Ji, Pengxiang, Genovesi, Laura, He, Yaowu, Hooper, John and Wainwright, Brandon (2016). Targeting Apoptosis as a Novel Therapy for Myc-Driven Medulloblastoma. In: 17th International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology (ISPNO), Liverpool England, (110-110). 12-15 June 2016.

  • Villani, R. M., Hodgson, S., Legrand, J., Greaney, J., Wong, H., Pichol-Thievend, C., Adolphe, C., Wainwright, B., Francois, M. and Khosrotehrani, K. (2015). Dominant negative mutation of Sox18 inhibits normal dermal papilla development during embryogenesis and regeneration. In: 45th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Dermatological Research, Rotterdam, Netherlands, (S65-S65). 9-12 September 2015. doi:10.1038/jid.2015.272

  • Genovesi, Laura, Ji, Pengxiang, Davis, Melissa, Ching Ging Ng, Remke, Marc, Taylor, Michael, Cho, Yoon-Jae, Jenkins, Nancy, Copeland, Neil and Wainwright, Brandon (2014). Mouse Functional Genomics to Predict Novel Drug Targets for All Subgroups of Medulloblastoma. In: Abstracts from the 16th International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology in conjunction with the 8th St. Jude-VIVA Forum. 16th International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology (ISPNO), Singapore, Singapore, (81-81). 28 June - 02 July 2014. doi:10.1093/neuonc/nou074

  • Gottardo, Nicholas G., Hansford, Jordan R., McGlade, Jacqueline P., Alvaro, Frank, Ashley, David M., Bailey, Simon, Baker, David L., Bourdeaut, Franck, Cho, Yoon‑Jae, Clay, Moira, Clifford, Steven C., Cohn, Richard J., Cole, Catherine H., Dallas, Peter B., Downie, Peter, Doz, François, Ellison, David W., Endersby, Raelene, Fisher, Paul G., Hassall, Timothy, Heath, John A., Hii, Hilary L., Jones, David T. W., Junckerstorff, Reimar, Kellie, Stewart, Kool, Marcel, Kotecha, Rishi S., Lichter, Peter, Laughton, Stephen J., Lee, Sharon, McCowage, Geoff, Northcott, Paul A., Olson, James M., Packer, Roger J., Pfister, Stefan M., Pietsch, Torsten, Pizer, Barry, Pomeroy, Scott L., Remke, Marc, Robinson, Giles W., Rutkowski, Stefan, Schoep, Tobias, Shelat, Anang A., Stewart, Clinton F., Sullivan, Michael, Taylor, Michael D., Wainwright, Brandon, Walwyn, Thomas, Weiss, William A., Williamson, Dan and Gajjar, Amar (2013) Medulloblastoma Down Under 2013: a report from the third annual meeting of the International Medulloblastoma Working Group. Acta Neuropathologica, 127 2: 189-201. doi:10.1007/s00401-013-1213-7

  • Adolphe, C., Villani, R., Niewenhuis, E., Li, S., Kaur, P., Hui, C. and Wainwright, B. (2012). Hedgehog pathway regulation of basal cell carcinoma and epidermal differentiation. In: Conjoint 3rd Australasian Wound & Tissue Repair Society and 9th Australasian Society for Dermatology Research Conference, Sydney, NSW, Australia, (A68-A68). 22-24 May 2012. doi:10.1111/j.1524-475X.2012.00835.x

  • Metzis, Vicki, Courtney, Andrew, Ferguson, Charles, Cooper, Ashley, Wainwright, Brandon and Wicking, Carol (2011). Patched1 is essential for nasal pit invagination in mouse. In: Society for Developmental Biology 70th Annual Meeting Program. Society for Developmental Biology 70th Annual Meeting, Chicago IL, United States, (148-148). 21-25 July 2011. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.05.164

  • Haase, E, Hallahan, A and Wainwright, B (2009). The interaction of Sonic Hedgehog and Notch signalling in medulloblastoma. In: Mechanisms of Development. 16th Annual Conference of the International-Society-of-Development-Biologists, Edinburgh Scotland, (S201-S202). Sep 06-10, 2009. doi:10.1016/j.mod.2009.06.496

  • Brewster, Brooke, Brooks, Kelly, Brown, Melissa Anne, Clarke, C., Fleming, J. S., French, J. D., Hetherington, Rehan, Lakhani, Sunil, Raghavendra, Ashwini, Rothnagel, Joseph, Smart, Chanel and Wainwright, Brandon (2007). Targeted disruption of Brca1 in restricted compartments of the mouse mammary epithelia. In: Mammary Gland Biology. Gordon Research Conference: Mammary Gland Biology, Newport, RI, (). 10-15 June 2007.

  • Brewster, Brooke, Brooke, Kelly, Brown, Melissa Anne, Clarke, C., Fleming, J. S., French, J. D., Hetherington, Rehan, Lakhani, Sunil, Raghavendra, Ashwini, Rothnagel, Joseph, Smart, Chanel and Wainwright, Brandon (2007). Targeted disruption of Brca1 in restricted compartments of the mouse mammary epithelia. In: kConFab Familial Breast Cancer Conference. kConFab Familial Breast Cancer Conference, Couran Cove, Queensland, (). 21-24 August 2007.

  • Smart, C. E., Clarke, C., Brooks, K. M., Raghavendra, A., Brewster, B. L., French, J. D., Hetherington, R., Fleming, J. S., Rothnagel, J. A., Wainwright, B., Lakhani, S. R. and Brown, M. A. (2007). Targeted disruption of Brca1 in restricted compartments of the mouse mammary epithelia. In: Australian Breast Cancer Conference. Australian Breast Cancer Conference, Melbourne, Australia, (). 2007.

  • Smid, J. R., Young, W. G., McMorran, B. J. and Wainwright, B. J. (2006). Iron metabolism in G551D cystic fibrosis mouse incisor ameloblasts. In: Journal of Dental Research: Abstracts of the 38th Annual Scientific Meeting of ANZ Division of IADR. IADR ANZ Division 38th Annual Scientific Meeting, Brisbane, Qld, Australia, (). 28 June - 1 July, 2006.

  • Ellis, T., Bourboulas, M., Bull, N. D., Bartlett, P. F. and Wainwright, B. J. (2005). Patched ablation in neuronal precursors leads to defects in CNS patterning and abnormal regulation of the neuronal stem cell population. In: 15th International Society of Developmental Biologists Congress, Sydney, NSW, Australia, (S73-S74). 3-7 September 2005. doi:10.1016/j.mod.2005.06.010

  • Armstrong, D., Byrnes, C., Carlin, J., Cooper, P., Francis, P., Grimwood, K., Jones, A., McMorran, B., Robertson, C., Wainwright, B. and Wainwright, C. (2005). Proteomic investigations in the young CF lung: new insights into the inflammatory disorder. In: CF: People and Science - 6th Australian and New Zealand Cystic Fibrosis Conference. 6th Australian and New Zealand Cystic Fibrosis Conference 2005, Adelaide, South Australia, (). 20-23 August, 2005.

  • Wicking, C. A., Evans, T., Wainwright, B. and Parton, R. (2001). Insights into the regulation of hedgehog signalling from subcellular localisation studies. In: -, -, (341-341). -.

  • Shaw, JTE, Lovelock, PK, Duffy, D, Cardinal, J, Berkholz, JR, Kesting, JB and Wainwright, B (1998). Novel susceptibility gene for NIDDM is localised to human chromosome 12q. In: , , (A32-A32). .

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision