Dr James Wells

Senior Research Fellow

The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
Faculty of Medicine
+61 7 344 36983


James Wells is a Senior Research Fellow at The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in Brisbane, Australia, where he heads the Skin Cancer Immunology Group. He studies the adaptive immune system, which plays a key role in both the immediate response to infection and malignancy as well as in the provision of long-term protection against disease re-emergence. James’s research team is focused on uncovering novel mechanisms that ‘switch off’ CD8 T-cell function, the cell type known to seek out and destroy cancer cells. The primary goal of his research is to discover new therapeutic interventions that will ‘switch on’ CD8 T-cell function within cancer, resulting in both the destruction of disease and the long-term prevention of disease recurrence. The Wells lab has a particular interest in squamous cell carcinoma, conducts basic research using in vivo and in vitro model systems, and validates findings against clinical samples to create the best possible environment to drive successful translational outcomes. The Wells lab collaborates with immunologists, cell biologists, imaging specialists, clinical research teams and industry partners.


Dr Wells undertook his undergraduate degree in immunology at The University of Edinburgh, and then received his PhD from King’s College London in 2004, working with Dr Joanna Galea-Lauri and Professor Farzin Farzaneh on DC-based vaccines for cancer therapy. He then under took two postdoctoral positions: firstly with Dr Alistair Noble at the MRC & Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma in London (UK) where he studied vaccine-induced modulation of allergic airway inflammation, and then with Professor Chris Evans at Harvard Medical School, Boston (USA), where he studied the discovery of tumour-rejection antigens for Ewing’s Sarcoma Family of Tumours. James was awarded a prestigious 5-year Perpetual Trustees Fellowship in Skin Cancer and was appointed as a Group Leader at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in 2011.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of London
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Edinburgh


View all Publications


  • (2017) Doctor Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision