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Personal profile


Industry experience promotes collaborative approach

Professor Mark Sleeman brings a unique wealth of experience to Monash. Mark arrived in July 2011 after 18 years in the United States, including 13 at the US biotechnology company, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. As Head of Metabolic Research, Mark oversaw discovery research and therapeutic development for a variety of metabolic diseases. One of his former team's lead therapeutics is now in Phase-III clinical trials, and Mark says it could be a breakthrough for the treatment of high cholesterol in humans. Having returned to where he did his PhD, and is currently assembling the Physiological Genomics Group to research metabolic disease. 

Mark says his work at Regeneron gave him the opportunity to generate clinically relevant models, do discovery research and quickly make therapeutics to treat associated human diseases. He hopes to bring this approach to his new team.

'The goal is to bring my expertise in the translation of basic science to therapeutic development and put it into the clinic,' Mark says. 'We're starting to initiate some work on the regulation of food intake, body weight, obesity and lipid disorders, but it's still in very early stages.

'One of the biggest issues facing the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology is that they don't have enough validated targets. Academics have a greater understanding of the specific disease mechanisms, but few pathways for development of therapeutics and commercialisation. There is a big disconnect. I hope that we can speed the development process up.

'I want to bridge that gap and bring technology from the US to Australia. One example would be to integrate the existing monoclonal antibodies facilities at Monash, with new mouse models for producing fully human antibodies. Mark applies two common ideas in his studies. He first aligns his work with clinical groups that are doing relevant research into disease areas of interest, and then uses genetics and genomics to help understand the molecular basis of a disease. One of Mark's main interests is type 2 diabetes.

'The development of insulin resistance is one of the biggest problems facing type 2 diabetes, and the therapeutic options for combating that problem are limited. We've done a lot on the discovery side of things, looking at proteins within the insulin receptor signalling pathways that potentially mediate insulin resistance. We've identified intra-cellular proteins that may be targets for therapeutics, but developing therapies and specific molecules to those targets has been very difficult. So it's still basic research, but it fits nicely with what a lot of other people are doing at Monash,' Mark says.

Mark's obesity research has also led him to examine non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an inflammatory disease of the liver.

'I am very interested in NASH. It ranges from simple fatty liver... to more severe fibrosis and cirrhosis. It's associated with obesity, as increased adipose mass leads to inappropriate lipid stores in the liver. We're looking at the inflammation side of this because it appears to be a significant problem. It's developing as the population becomes more obese.'

External positions

Adjunct Professor, Murdoch University

2012 → …

Adjunct Professor, Yale University

2008 → …


  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Lipid Disorders
  • Therapeutic Antibodies
  • Thrombosis
  • Biotechnology
  • immuno-oncology

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2012 2020

Research Output 2006 2017

Deletion of hepatic carbohydrate response element binding protein (ChREBP) impairs glucose homeostasis and hepatic insulin sensitivity in mice

Jois, T., Chen, W., Howard, V., Harvey, R., Youngs, K., Thalmann, C., Saha, P., Chan, L., Cowley, M. A. & Sleeman, M. W., Nov 2017, In : Molecular Metabolism. 6, 11, p. 1381-1394 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Monoclonal antibodies that bind to the Ly6 domain of GPIHBP1 abolish the binding of LPL

Hu, X., Sleeman, M. W., Miyashita, K., Linton, M. F., Allan, C. M., He, C., Larsson, M., Tu, Y., Sandoval, N. P., Jung, R. S., Mapar, A., Machida, T., Murakami, M., Nakajima, K., Ploug, M., Fong, L. G., Young, S. G. & Beigneux, A. P., 1 Jan 2017, In : Journal of Lipid Research. 58, 1, p. 208-215 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

The ghrelin/GOAT system regulates obesity-induced inflammation in male mice

Harvey, R. E., Howard, V. G., Lemus, M. B., Jois, T., Andrews, Z. B. & Sleeman, M. W., 1 Jul 2017, In : Endocrinology. 158, 7, p. 2179-2189 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Dietary macronutrient composition directs ChREBP isoform expression and glucose metabolism in mice

Jois, T., Howard, V., Youngs, K., Cowley, M. A. & Sleeman, M. W., 19 Dec 2016, In : PLoS ONE. 11, 12, 19 p., 0168797.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Exploring Appetite and Hypothalamic Circuitry through Manipulating Gene Expression

Jois, T. & Sleeman, M. W., 10 Aug 2016, Neuroendocrinology of Appetite. Dickson, S. L. & Mercer, J. G. (eds.). United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell, p. 134-150 17 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review