Lung Disease Research Laboratory

Project Details

Our research is focused on understanding the molecular basis of chronic degenerative lung diseases, in particular severe refractory asthma, Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD), Asthma-COPD Overlap, the COPD-lung cancer interface and fibrotic lung diseases. These diseases affect well over 600 Million people worldwide. We are especially interested in understanding the reasons why lung disease becomes chronic and resists the normal processes that help resolve tissue damage, as well as why the damaged lung is so susceptible to subsequent infections. This is achieved through the understanding of disease endotypes, which represent subgroups of complex diseases distinguished by having an identified causative mechanism that can be specifically targeted for more appropriate new therapies. Our research is conducted in collaborations with leading experts in molecular and mouse model systems. We work extensively with leading clinicians at the Royal Melbourne Hospital to translate our basic findings into useful medicines. Our research has led to the development of several new experimental medicines now in advanced clinical trials.

Current research themes include:

  • Understanding the role of Src family kinases and their key regulators: As overactivation of the enzymes results in very severe lung disease, we are probing ways to safely reverse these severe pathologies.
  • Determining why the immune system in COPD fails, which leads to the weakening of the protection normally provided by vaccination, as well as causing life-threatening infections.
  • Identifying pathogenic biomarkers: We have linked over production of the lung biomarker SAA to chronic inflammation, cancer and failure to heal.
  • Role of the gp130 system: Signalling by IL-6 family cytokines is essential to health but when unbalanced results in fibrotic and destructive lung disease.


Dr Andrew Jarnicki, Research Officer
Dr Maverick Lau, Postdoctoral Researcher
Ms Lovisa Dousha, Research Assistant
Ms Milly Yim, Research Assistant

anderson lab group


A/Prof Steve Bozinovski, RMIT
Prof Mathias Ernst, Olivier Newton-John Cancer Research
Prof John Hamilton, University of Melbourne
Dr Michelle Hansen, University of Melbourne
A/Prof Margaret Hibbs, Monash University
A/Prof Louis Irving, Royal Melbourne Hospital
Prof Bruce Levy, Harvard University, USA
Prof Patrick Reading, University of Melbourne
Prof John Upham, University of Queensland
Prof Ian Van Driel, University of Melbourne
A/Prof Dr Ross Vlahos, RMIT



Research Publications

  • Pavord ID, Beasley R, Agusti A, Anderson GP, et al. After asthma - redefining airways diseases. A Lancet commissioned paper. The Lancet 2017
  • Vannitamby A, Seow HJ, Anderson GP, Vlahos R, Thompson M, Steinfort D, Irving LB3, Bozinovski S.   Tumour-associated neutrophils and loss of epithelial PTEN can promote corticosteroid-insensitive MMP-9 expression in the chronically inflamed lung microenvironment. Thorax 2017; doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2016-209389.
  • Ruwanpura SM, McLeod L, Lilja AR, Dousha LF, Seow HJ, Deswaerte V, Alhayyani S, Brooks GD, Bozinovski S, McDonald M, King PT, Bardin PG, Anderson GP, Vlahos R, Stefan Rose-John, Jenkins BJ.  Therapeutic targeting of the IL-6 trans-signalling/mTORC1 axis in pulmonary emphysema. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2016 online 02 Jul 2016 as DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201512-2368OC.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Anderson GP (contributing author). The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.
  • Hansen MJ She Chan SP, Langenbach SY, Dousha LF, Jones JE, Seow HJ, Vlahos R, Anderson GP, Bozinovski B.  IL-17A and Serum Amyloid A are persistently elevated in a cigarette smoking post-cessation chronic airway inflammation model.  PLoS1 2014; 10(1): e0114975. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114975.
  • O'Donoghue RJJ, DA Knight CD, Richards CM, Prêle HL, Lau AG, Jarnicki J, Anderson GP, Ernst, ME. Genetic partitioning of interleukin‐6 signalling in mice dissociates Stat3 from Smad3‐mediated lung fibrosis. EMBO Molecular Medicine 2012; 4(9): 939-51. doi: 10.1002/emmm.201100604. Epub 2012 Jun 8.
  • Anderson GP. Endotyping asthma: new insights into key pathogenic mechanisms in a complex, heterogeneous disease". The Lancet 2008; 372 (9643): 1107–19.

Research Group

Lung Health Research Centre

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Cardio-Respiratory, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Biochemistry and Pharmacology

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