Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects


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Personal profile


Associate Professor Tracy Heng is a Laboratory Head in the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, and Deputy Head of the Immunity Program, Biomedicine Discovery Institute. Tracy obtained her PhD at Monash University, developing strategies to improve immune function in ageing and disease. She undertook postdoctoral training with Profs Harald von Boehmer, Christophe Benoist and Diane Mathis at Harvard Medical School in Boston to establish the Immunological Genome Project (, a widely utilised resource for immunological gene expression profiling. Tracy is a recipient of the 2015 Young Tall Poppy Science Award (Australian Institute of Policy and Science), the 2016 Metcalf Prize for Stem Cell Research (National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia), an ARC Postdoctoral (Industry) Fellowship and an NHMRC R.D. Wright Biomedical Career Development Fellowship. She currently leads a research program focussed on overcoming immunological barriers to stem cell therapies.

Research interests

Our research aims to understand the immune response to stem cell transplantation and cell therapy, with a view to overcome immunological barriers and other challenges for effective translation of such treatments.

Supervision interests

PhD Supervision:

PhD project available: Investigating the apoptotic cell secretome in mesenchymal stromal cell therapy.

Tejasvini Bhuvan (PhD Candidate): Investigating the role of the spleen in MSC-mediated immunosuppression of lung inflammation.

Di Zheng (Phd Candidate): Uncovering the immunoregulatory mechanisms of extravascular mesenchymal stromal cell treatment.

Joshua D'Rozario (PhD 2018): The regulation of the innate immune system by fibroblastic reticular cells.

Jessica Morison (PhD 2014): Low-intensity conditioning for the induction of allogeneic tolerance in aged recipients.

Honours/Master Supervision:

Dulakara Kannangara (MSc Candidate): Immunoregulatory effects of mesenchymal stromal cells – is there a role for apoptosis?

Assifa Hisana (MSc 2019): The role of apoptosis and efferocytosis in mesenchymal stromal cell therapy.

Georgia Wallis (First Class Honours 2018): Role of apoptosis in mesenchymal stromal cell therapy.

Darshana Cherian (First Class Honours 2018): Comparison of microcarriers for scale-up manufacture of mesenchymal stem cells.

Cara Anticevic (First Class Honours 2015): Improving donor stem cell engraftment in aged recipients with minimal conditioning.

Senora Mendonca (First Class Honours 2015): Investigating the role of mesenchymal stromal cells in allergic asthma.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research area keywords

  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • stromal cells
  • T cells
  • thymus
  • immune ageing
  • cell therapy
  • immunomodulation
  • haematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • bone marrow transplantation
  • immune tolerance
  • stem cells
  • stem cell therapy
  • immune function
  • apoptosis
  • cell death
  • macrophages


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