Dr Hana Starobova

Research Officer

Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Overview

Hana Starobova is an early career research fellow at the Sensory Neuropharmacology Group at the University of Queensland (UQ). Her research focuses on the understanding of chemotherapy-induced side effects and the development of mechanism-based prevention strategies. Hana’s long-term goal is to become a leading scientist conducting transformative science with translational potential and to create a research program bringing together researchers, clinicians, physiotherapists, and psychologists who will work together towards innovative mechanism-based treatment strategies to improve the outcomes and the long-term impacts for cancer patients. This multidisciplinary collaborative research program will focus on preventing or treating chemotherapy induced-side effects in cancer patients with the long-term view to improve treatment outcomes and quality-of-life. Hana was the first to discover that the Nod-like receptor 3 (NLRP3) activation and release of interleukin one beta drives the development of vincristine-induced peripheral neuropathy and the inhibition of those pathways effectively prevents the development of this debilitating side effect (JEM, 2021). Hana is an internationally recognised expert, and she has extensive experience in pharmacology, innate immunology, transcriptomics, peripheral pain mechanisms, rodent behavioural studies, target identification, development of new in vivo models and in vitro techniques and high throughput imaging. Moreover, her expertise includes the isolation and state of the art imaging of neuronal tissues. The quality of her research is evidenced by her track record, that is extraordinary for an early career researcher (PhD award July 2020), with a total of 15 publications (all Q1 journals) in the last 5 years which have attracted more than 600 citations (h-index 10, i-index 11).

Research Interests

  • Development of mechanism based treatments of chemotherapy induced side effects
  • NLRP3 Inflammasome and Immunology
  • Spatial transcriptome
  • High-throughput Fluorescence Imaging

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland

Publications

  • Stables, Jennifer, Green, Emma K., Sehgal, Anuj, Patkar, Omkar L., Keshvari, Sahar, Taylor, Isis, Ashcroft, Maisie E., Grabert, Kathleen, Wollscheid-Lengeling, Evi, Szymkowiak, Stefan, McColl, Barry W., Adamson, Antony, Humphreys, Neil E., Mueller, Werner, Starobova, Hana, Vetter, Irina, Shabestari, Sepideh Kiani, Blurton-Jones, Matthew M., Summers, Kim M., Irvine, Katharine M., Pridans, Clare and Hume, David A. (2022). A kinase-dead Csf1r mutation associated with adult-onset leukoencephalopathy has a dominant inhibitory impact on CSF1R signalling. Development, 149 (8). doi: 10.1242/dev.200237

  • Eagles, David A., Saez, Natalie J., Krishnarjuna, Bankala, Bradford, Julia J., Chin, Yanni K.-Y., Starobova, Hana, Mueller, Alexander, Reichelt, Melissa E., Undheim, Eivind A. B., Norton, Raymond S., Thomas, Walter G., Vetter, Irina, King, Glenn F. and Robinson, Samuel D. (2022). A peptide toxin in ant venom mimics vertebrate EGF-like hormones to cause long-lasting hypersensitivity in mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119 (7) e2112630119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2112630119

  • Finol-Urdaneta, Rocio K., Ziegman, Rebekah, Dekan, Zoltan, McArthur, Jeffrey R., Heitmann, Stewart, Luna-Ramirez, Karen, Tae, Han-Shen, Mueller, Alexander, Starobova, Hana, Chin, Yanni K.-Y., Wingerd, Joshua S., Undheim, Eivind A. B., Cristofori-Armstrong, Ben, Hill, Adam P., Herzig, Volker, King, Glenn F., Vetter, Irina, Rash, Lachlan D., Adams, David J. and Alewood, Paul F. (2022). Multitarget nociceptor sensitization by a promiscuous peptide from the venom of the King Baboon spider. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119 (5) e2110932119. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2110932119

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Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • The overarching aim of this project is to understand how interactions between cancer treatments and different cell types lead to development of cancer therapy induced neuropathy. This will lead to development of individualised mechanism-based therapeutic approaches for the treatment or prevention of cancer therapy induced side effects, improving therapy outcome and the quality of life of cancer patients and cancer survivors

  • Innate Immune cells such as macrophages, express a cellular machinery, so called inflammasomes, that are activated in response to danger signals and injury and provide the first defence of the organism. The interactions between epithelial cells expressing adhesion molecules and macrophages are important for activation of the inflammasomes and are involved in pathophysiology of chronic inflammatory diseases. However, the mechanism of inflammasomes activation by adhesion molecules is not understood. This project aims to delineate those inflammatory processes and to investigate the interactions between macrophages and adhesion molecules leading to chronic inflammation.

  • Neuropathic pain associated with anti-cancer therapy develops in up to 90% of cancer patients and significantly decreases quality of life. The mechanisms involved in development of anti-cancer treatment induced neuropathy are unknown hampering the development of effective treatment strategies. Animal models have proven to be an experimental tool that provides a platform for the testing of new treatment strategies. However often it is difficult to assess pain in animals using behavioral studies and the interpretation of data is often challenging. This project aims to explore the c-fos proto-oncogene expressed in different cell types including neuronal cells and immune cells as potential marker for painful neuropathies using a variety of methods including microscopy, tissue preparation and assessment of protein expression. This will allow for an additional tool for assessment of painful neuropathies in vivo.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • The overarching aim of this project is to understand how interactions between cancer treatments and different cell types lead to development of cancer therapy induced neuropathy. This will lead to development of individualised mechanism-based therapeutic approaches for the treatment or prevention of cancer therapy induced side effects, improving therapy outcome and the quality of life of cancer patients and cancer survivors

  • Innate Immune cells such as macrophages, express a cellular machinery, so called inflammasomes, that are activated in response to danger signals and injury and provide the first defence of the organism. The interactions between epithelial cells expressing adhesion molecules and macrophages are important for activation of the inflammasomes and are involved in pathophysiology of chronic inflammatory diseases. However, the mechanism of inflammasomes activation by adhesion molecules is not understood. This project aims to delineate those inflammatory processes and to investigate the interactions between macrophages and adhesion molecules leading to chronic inflammation.

  • Neuropathic pain associated with anti-cancer therapy develops in up to 90% of cancer patients and significantly decreases quality of life. The mechanisms involved in development of anti-cancer treatment induced neuropathy are unknown hampering the development of effective treatment strategies. Animal models have proven to be an experimental tool that provides a platform for the testing of new treatment strategies. However often it is difficult to assess pain in animals using behavioral studies and the interpretation of data is often challenging. This project aims to explore the c-fos proto-oncogene expressed in different cell types including neuronal cells and immune cells as potential marker for painful neuropathies using a variety of methods including microscopy, tissue preparation and assessment of protein expression. This will allow for an additional tool for assessment of painful neuropathies in vivo.