Associate Professor Michelle Hill

Principal Research Fellow

The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
Faculty of Medicine

Affiliated Senior Lecturer

School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
Faculty of Science
+61 7 344 37049


With her experience in cell biology, biochemistry, proteomics and mass spectrometry, Associate Professor Michelle Hill is leading her team in two areas of translational cancer research. The clinical diagnostics team aims to develop new clinical tests for the management of cancer, including early detection, prognosis and personalized therapy selection. The cancer mechanisms team is dissecting the link between metabolism (obesity) and cancer, with current focus on the role of cholesterol-rich membrane microdomains in cancer spreading (metastasis).

A/Prof Hill obtained her PhD investigating insulin signalling using phosphoproteomics with Prof David James at the University of Queensland. She undertook two postdoctoral positions in Switzerland (Dr Brian Hemmings) and Ireland (Prof Seamus Martin) before returning Brisbane where she worked with Prof Rob Parton and Prof John Hancock on signalling from lipid rafts and caveolae. In 2009, Michelle established the Cancer Proteomics Group at UQ Diamantina Institute, Princess Alexandra Hospital, supported by an National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship. Her novel approach to understanding cellular lipid raft function was recognised by award of a prestigious Australian Research Council Future Fellowship in 2012.

A/Prof Hill is an elected member of the international Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO) Council (2016-2018) and recently completed her service on the Australasian Proteomics Society Executive Committee.

Research Interests

  • Molecular diagnostics
    Multi-disciplinary collaborations including clinical, biostatistics and nanotechnology have been established to facilitate new marker discovery, validation and translation. Molecular target discovery techniques include our novel lectin-magnetic bead array (LeMBA) for glycosylation changes on glycoproteins, and extracellular vesicle (exosomes and microvesicles) as biomarkers. An exemplar of translational implementation is our work with the Princess Alexandra Hospital Amyloidosis Centre to provide accurate amyloidosis subtyping using mass spectrometry.
  • Lipid raft function in health and disease
    Cholesterol is an essential membrane lipid in mammalian cells, and regulates cell function through formation of specialized membrane domains termed lipid rafts. Cavoelae is an invaginated type of lipid raft, defined by the membrane protein caveolin-1, assisted by the cavin family of co-factors. Dysregulation of caveolin-1 and cavins have been implicated in cancer, however, the mechanism is unknown. Our work revealed a potentially universal mechanism involving dysregulation of lipid rafts, leading to cellular and secretory changes in the cancer cell. An extension of this work has led us to investigate the mechanism of selective miRNA release visa extracellular vesicles (ARC Discovery Project).
  • Proteomics technical & methodological development
    To facilitate proteomics work, our group has established several semi-automated pipelines using a liquid handler, including in-gel tryptic digest procedure which has been applied to both SILAC and label free samples. We recently published a novel statistical analysis method for analysis of quantitative proteomics experiments, and provided a web interface ( Ongoing work include multiplex cytokine MRM-MS assays and microbial quorum sensing molecule analysis.

Research Impacts

My research group has developed a series of novel techniques and analytical tools that have already provided clinical benefits within Australasia and advanced the fields of proteomics and diagnostics at an international level. Examples include:

1. Clinical amyloidosis subtyping using mass spectrometry with the Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) Amyloidosis Centre performed for 150+ patients since establishing the method in 2010. The mass spectrometry diagnosis altered the clinical management decisions for ~20% of the patients. Referrals for this service are received from across Australasia.

2. Web-enabled proteomic analytical tool, quantitative proteomics p-value calculator (

3. Publically accessible lipid raft proteome database (

4. Novel glycoproteomics biomarker discovery and validation workflow, the application of which has led to a patent application. We are currently working on independent cohort validation and clinical evaluation of the diagnostic accuracy.


  • Bachelor of Science/Arts, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland


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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Book Chapter

  • Lane, Rebecca E., Korbie, Darren, Trau, Matt and Hill, Michelle M. (2017). Purification protocols for extracellular vesicles. In Winston Patrick Kuo and Shidong Jia (Ed.), Extracellular vesicles: methods and protocols (pp. 111-130) New York, United States: Humana Press. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-7253-1_10

  • Nguyen, Hien D., McLachlan, Geoffrey J. and Hill, Michelle M. (2017). Statistical evaluation of labeled comparative profiling proteomics experiments using permutation test. In Shivakumar Keerthikumar and Suresh Mathivanan (Ed.), Proteome bioinformatics (pp. 109-117) New York, NY, United States: Humana Press. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-6740-7_9

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Ahmed, F., Tonnessen, C., Spoerri, L., Daignault, S., Stark, M., Schaider, H., Hill, M. and Haass, N. (2016). Identification of unique molecular signatures of differentially cycling tumour cell subpopulations in a 3D melanoma model. In: Australasian Journal of Dermatology. Asia-Pacific Combined Dermatology Research Conference 2016, Noosa, QLD Australia, (19-19). 25–28 August 2016.

  • Soekmadji, Carolina, Ruelcke, Jayde, Wang, Chenwei, Riches, James D., McPherson, Stephen, Russell, Pamela J., Hill, Michelle M., Jenster, Guido W. and Nelson, Colleen C. (2015). Extracellular vesicles mediate paracrine signalling in androgen deprived prostate cancer. In: 2nd Prostate Cancer World Congress (PCWC), Cairns, Australia, (37-37). 17-21 August 2015.

  • Shah, Alok K., Chen, David, Le Cao, Kim-Anh, Choi, Eunju, Nancarrow, Derek, Whiteman, David, Saunders, Nicholas A., Barbour, Andrew P. and Hill, Michelle M. (2014). Discovery and validation of novel serum glycoprotein biomarkers for Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. In: Proceedings: AACR Annual Meeting 2014. 105th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), San Diego, CA United States, (). 05-09 April 2014. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2014-2492

  • Moon, Hyeongsun, Sharpe, Laura, Choi, Eunju, Bielefeldt-Ohmann, Helle, Nassar, Zeyad, Parat, Marie-Odile, Francois, Mathias, Lee, C. Soon, Brown, Andrew, Russell, Pamela, Inder, Kerry and Hill, Michelle (2014). Hypercholesterolemia promotes prostate cancer PC-3 metastases in orthotopic xenograft mice. In: Proceedings: AACR Annual Meeting 2014. 105th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), San Diego, CA United States, (). 05-09 April 2014. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2014-4950

  • Endo-Munoz, Liliana B., Cai, Na, Cumming, Andrew, Loo, Dorothy, Hill, Michelle, Mukhopadhyay, Pamela and Saunders, Nicholas A. (2013). An inhibitor of uPA reduces osteosarcoma metastasis by blocking signaling in tumour cells and the bone marrow microenvironment. In: Proceedings: AACR 104th Annual Meeting 2013. 104th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-for-Cancer-Research (AACR), Washington Dc, (). 6 - 10 April 2013. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2013-3948

  • Soekmadji, Carolina, Russell, Pamela J., Hill, Michelle, Dunne, Jonathan C., Jordan, T. William and Nelson, Colleen C. (2013). Androgen influence on prostate cancer exosomes production and content. In: Special Issue: Abstracts of the Prostate Cancer World Congress & 14th Australasian Prostate Cancer Conferenc. The Prostate Cancer World Congress and 14th Australasian Prostate Cancer Conference, Melbourme, VIC Australia, (36-37). 6 -10 August 2013. doi:10.1111/bju.12293

  • Campbell, B., Gilding, E., Lomas, V., Guru, P., Loo, D., Solley, G., Mari, A., Hill, M., Godwin, I. and Davies, J. M. (2013). The allergome, proteome and transcriptome of pollen from the prominent subtropical Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense). In: Special Issue: Abstracts from the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and World Allergy Organization World Allergy and Asthma Congress. World Allergy and Asthma Congress of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and World Allergy Organization, Milan, Italy, (89-90). 22 - 26 June 2013. doi:10.1111/all.12247

  • Lomas, Victoria, Guru, Preethi, Campbell, Bradley, Loo, Dorothy, Hill, Michelle, Godwin, Ian and Davies, Janet (2012). Novel pollen allergens of the subtropical Johnson grass (sorghum Halepense) that are important for allergic respiratory disease. In: Special Issue: Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) 23rd Annual Scientific Meeting. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) 23rd Annual Scientific Meeting, Wellington, New Zealand, (7-8). 5–8 September 2012.

  • Endo-Munoz, L. B., Cumming, A., Loo, D., Duan, R., Thang, S., Mukhopadhyay, P., Hill, M., Sommerville, S., Evdokiou, A. and Saunders, N. A. (2011). The bone marrow microenvironment increases osteosarcoma tumour cell migration by signaling through uPA/uPAR. In: AACR 102nd Annual Meeting. American Association for Cancer Research 102nd Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida, United States, (). 2-6 April 2011.

  • Hill, MM and Hemmings, BA (2002). Inhibition of protein kinase B/Akt: implications for cancer therapy. In: Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2nd International Confernce on Inhbitors of Protein Kinases, Warsaw Poland, (243-251). Sep 09-15, 2001. doi:10.1016/S0163-7258(02)00193-6

  • Carozzi, A. J., Clark, S. F., Hill, M. M., James, D. E. and Martin, S. (1998). The intracellular locality of insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1): Putting PI 3-kinase in its place. In: Australian Diabetes Educators Association and Australian Diabetes Society, Annual Scientific Meetings 1998. ADEA/ADS Annual Scientific Meetings 1998, Burwood Convention Centre, Perth, (not available-not available). 26-28 August 1998.

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision