Associate Professor Ben Hogan

Principal Research Fellow

Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Affiliated Senior Research Fellow

School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
+61 7 334 62105


A/Prof Ben Hogan completed his Honours year in Genetics in 2000 and PhD in 2004 at the University of Melbourne. During his PhD studies and as a Cancer Council postdoctoral fellow at the Ludwig Institute in Melbourne, Ben utilised the zebrafish model to study the development of the early haematopoietic lineages in the embryo. In 2006, Ben moved to the Hubrecht Institute in the Netherlands and applied large-scale zebrafish forward genetic screening to study vascular development. In the first vertebrate mutagenesis screen for lymphatic vascular deficient mutants, several new molecular regulators of lymphatic development were identified, including Ccbe1, later found to be responsible for lymphatic dysplasia and lymphoedema in Hennekam syndrome patients. In 2010, Ben returned to Australia as a group leader at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience. A/Prof Hogan's research has since led to the discovery of a number of unexpected new molecular regulators of vascular development, defined the mechanism of Ccbe1 function in vascular signaling and delved into the cellular behaviours that control vessel morphogenesis during embryonic development. The Hogan lab remains focused on understanding the process of vascular development in the vertebrate embryo with an emphasis on the developmental biology of understudied lineages including perivascular lineages and the lymphatic vasculature.

Research Interests

  • Vascular biology and development
    The distribution of blood cells, hormones and essential nutrients throughout our bodies is dependent on the function of a healthy circulatory system. The formation of the fascinating network of vessels that permeate our major organs is of fundamental interest in biology. The vasculature is also centrally important in cardiovascular diseases and in cancer progression. We aim to better understand how the vasculature forms during development and to translate our findings into a deeper understanding of disease. The Hogan laboratory studies several aspects of vascular development and biology. Broadly, we investigate vertebrate vascular system development using high-throughput genetic approaches for gene discovery and live-imaging to visualise developmental processes at cellular and individual protein resolutions. Our research findings have led to the discovery of gene which are mutated in inherited forms of lymphoedema and promote pathological lymphangiogenesis in cancer. In recent years, we have published in high impact journals including Nature Genetics, Genes and Development, Cell Reports, Current Biology, Blood, Development, Physiology, Developmental Biology and Human Molecular Genetics. Current research questions are summarised below.
  • Gene Discovery: What are the genetic networks, signalling proteins and transcription factors that control the development of our vasculature?
    We use forward genetic screens in the zebrafish as our primary tool to discover new genes and molecular mechanisms that are essential for the formation of different vascular lineages. This approach allows the unbiased discovery of genes and mechanisms and allows us to discover the unexpected. We have recently completed a screen for zebrafish mutants that fail to form lymphatic vessels but form relatively normal blood vasculature. In this IMB screen, we identified more than 30 mutants and simultaneously mapped them using our integrated whole genome sequencing and bioinformatics pipeline. This has led to the discovery of more than 12 new molecular regulators of lymphatic vessel formation, new models of disease and unexpected molecular mechanisms of development. Current work is dissecting new mechanisms and gene functions arising from our mutant analyses in-depth in zebrafish and mice.
  • In Vivo Cell Biology: How do physical forces during morphogenesis control vascular development and endothelial cell signalling?
    We use transgenic approaches in zebrafish and live 4D imaging to study different vascular lineages, report gene expression changes and study the consequences of morphogenesis and specific signalling events in developing cells. We have begun to generate imaging-based biosensors that report changes in the mechanical state of different proteins and are working towards sensors that report active signalling in vivo during development. In the future, we hope to understand how changes in forces that act during morphogenesis influences key signalling events, downstream cell identity decisions and modify gene expression in development and disease models.
  • Vegfc/Vegfr3 Signalling and Disease Models
    We use mutants, genome editing and transgenesis to generate new models for the study of mechanisms that influence Vegfc/Vegfr3 signalling in developing vessels. These studies utilise zebrafish and mouse embryo models and aim to identify and understand new targets in this central pathway in lymphangiogenesis and angiogenesis. In addition, current work includes using innovative new models of pathological lymphangiogenesis to screen for small molecule inhibitors acting in this pathway. These studies will screen large chemical libraries and aim to precede pre-clinical research into specific lead compounds.

Research Impacts

A/Prof Hogan is currently the Co-Head of the Division of Genomics of Development and Disease at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience and Co-Director of the University of Queensland's Centre for Cardiac and Vascualr Biology. He has published in numerous leading journals that include Nature Genetics, Genes and Development, Cell Reports, Current Biology, Blood, Development, Physiology, Developmental Biology and Human Molecular Genetics. He has written recent invited reviews and commentaries for Nature, Development and Physiology. A/Prof Hogan is currently an NHMRC and National Heart Foundation Co-funded Career Development Fellow and has previously held fellowship funding from the ARC, EMBO, Cancer Council of Victoria and was an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow. His research has expanded our knowledge in the formation of lymphatic vasculature and identified new mechanisms of vessel development of relevance in cancer, cardiovascular disease and inherited lymphoedema. A/Prof Hogan's achievements have recently been recognised by the award of the Queensland Heart Foundations Reseracher of the year award (2014) and the Emerging Leader Award of the Australia New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology (2016). He holds current research funding from the NHMRC, ARC, Cancer Council and Heart Foundation.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Melbourne
  • Bachelor of Science (Honors), University of Melbourne


  • Lagendijk, Anne Karine, Gomez, Guillermo A, Baek, Sungmin, Hesselson, Daniel, Hughes, William E, Paterson, Scott, Conway, Daniel E, Belting, Heinz-Georg, Affolter, Markus, Smith, Kelly A, Schwartz, Martin A, Yap, Alpha S and Hogan, Benjamin M (2017) Live imaging molecular changes in junctional tension upon VE-cadherin in zebrafish.. Nature communications, 8 1: 1402. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01325-6

  • Hogan, Benjamin M. and Schulte-Merker, Stefan (2017) How to Plumb a Pisces: Understanding Vascular Development and Disease Using Zebrafish Embryos. Developmental Cell, 42 6: 567-583. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2017.08.015

  • Chiang, Ivy Kim-Ni, Fritzsche, Martin, Pichol-Thievend, Cathy, Neal, Alice, Holmes, Kelly, Lagendijk, Anne, Overman, Jeroen, D'Angelo, Donatella, Omini, Alice, Hermkens, Dorien, Lesieur, Emmanuelle, Liu, Ke, Ratnayaka, Indrika, Corada, Monica, Bou-Gharios, George, Carroll, Jason, Dejana, Elisabetta, Schulte-Merker, Stefan, Hogan, Benjamin, Beltrame, Monica, De Val, Sarah and Francois, Mathias (2017) SoxF factors induce Notch1 expression via direct transcriptional regulation during early arterial development. Development, 144 14: 2629-2639. doi:10.1242/dev.146241

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Book Chapter

  • Lagendijk, Anne Karine and Hogan, Benjamin M. (2015). VE-cadherin in Vascular Development: A Coordinator of Cell Signaling and Tissue Morphogenesis. In Alpha S. Yap (Ed.), Cellular Adhesion in Development and Disease (pp. 325-352) Maryland Heights, MO United States: Academic Press. doi:10.1016/bs.ctdb.2014.11.024

  • Hogan, Benjamin M. and Schulte-Merker, Stefan (2009). New animal models of lymphangiogenesis. In Steven A. Stacker and Marc G. Achen (Ed.), Lymphangiogenesis in cancer metastasis (pp. 27-54) Dordrecht Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-2247-9_3

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision