Associate Professor Qihan Dong
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Associate Professor Qihan Dong

Honorary Associate Professor
Department of Endocrinology, Central Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health
+61 2 86271714
Associate Professor Qihan Dong

Associate Professor Dong was trained as a Physician but pursued a full time research career after being awarded PhD in 1992 from The University of Sydney. He then continued as a Fogarty Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, USA. On returning to Sydney in 1996, he was appointed as the Head of the Cancer Biology Group. Dong was awarded one of the 12 inaugural Career Development & Support NSW Cancer Institute Fellowships in 2005. He has been the Director of anti-cancer Chinese Medicine evaluation programe establisehd in 2016. He has published 73 papers (total citations of 3,028), with an average Impact factor of 4.1. He is the first or senior/corresponding author on 70% of them.

In a multicenter study, he was involved in cloning the gene for multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN-1), which was published in the Science. He also cloned the gene encoding the α-subunit of the G protein. His research team first proposed an increase in phospholipase A2 gene expression and activity but a decrease in native phospholipase A2 inhibitor gene expression in prostate cancer. The content has been included in the second edition of "Encyclopedia of Cancer." His phospholipase A2 inhibitor treatment of prostate cancer has entered the international patent approval phase.

Currently, his team has established a platform to model quiescent tumour cells and cell cycle re-entry. Various drugs, including traditional Chinese medicine active ingredients, are tested on the platform to determine if they can prevent quiescent tumour cells from re-entering cell cycle, as this is a mechanism for tumour progression and recurrence.

Professor Dong's work also attracted the attention in China. In November 2016 and 2017, the World Federation of Chinese Medicine held Australia-China Forum on globalization of traditional Chinese medicine in Sydney. Professor Dong co-chaired the meeting and made a keynote speech. He is Adjunct Professor of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and affiliated Yue-Yang Hospital.

Dong has taken 16 students (10 PhD and 6 Master) since his appointment as Group leader in 1996. Ten of them have completed and now work in biomedical field. Dong also takes responsibility to teach Senior Registrar from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Two Gordon Craig Fellows have spent one year (full time) in Dong’s laboratory to conduct basic research on prostate cancer. He is the overseas supervisor for Chinese students sponsored by National China Scholar Council (6 have completed their studies and returned to China).

Dong's team is investigating the mechanism of, and the way to prevent, cancer recurrence. Cancers are made up of both actively dividing and "resting" cancer cells. These “resting” (quiescent) cancer cells are thought to be central to recurrence, after actively dividing cancer cells are eliminated by chemo- or radio-therapy. This is important as the regulatory signals required for quiescent cancer cells to re-enter the cell cycle have not been fully elucidated. Identification of these signals will provide needed molecular targets for preventing cancer recurrence. In addition, the team has made progress in designing prevention strategies with the ultimate goal of providing cancer survivors with these interventions when the disease is in remission. Based on the principal of efficacy and no toxicity, the team has determined the potential of compounds isolated from edible plant and herbal medicine in blocking the transition from the quiescent to actively dividing state of cancer cells, or sensitising cancer cells to radiation therapy.


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Selected Grants


  • CLARIOstar Multifunctional Microplate Reader for Shared Used at the Open Access, Multi-User Molecular Biology Core Facility, Huang M, Scolyer R, Fraser S, Sahni S, Brennan-Speranza T, Owens T, Barrs V, Ju Y, Kovacevic Z, Lu Z, Camp A, Slobedman B, Morris B, Oliver B, Dos Remedios C, Kalinowski D, Fu D, Lai D, Lovicu F, Allbutt H, Triccas J, Burgess J, Kril J, Dixon K, Rendina L, Byrne M, King N, Groundwater P, Williamson P, Ho P, Dong Q, Bao B, Assinder S, McLennan S, Richardson D, Ammit A, Sharland A, Hardikar A, Hong A, Hambly B, Lee C, Murphy C, Goldsbury C, Johnstone D, Lane D, Hibbs D, Joshua D, Huq F, Halliday G, Sutherland G, Zreiqat H, Lok H, Lyons G, Jansson P, Black J, Zhu L, Sunde M, Day M, Naylor M, Buckland M, Murray M, Shafie N, Lay P, Poronnik P, Codd R, Mason R, Ryan R, Christopherson R, de Graaf S, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Equipment Grant


  • QX100 Droplet Digital PCR system for Shared Used at the Open Access, Multi-User Molecular Biology Core Facility, Richardson D, Kril J, Murphy C, Vandenberg R, Rendina L, Dos Remedios C, Ju Y, Kovacevic Z, Lyons G, Sutherland G, Lay P, Ammit A, Lai D, Morris B, Day M, Dong Q, Bao B, Huang M, Camp A, Boyer M, Whittington R, Byrne M, Hanrahan J, Fu D, Jansson P, Lane D, Bagley E, Hibbs D, Zhang D, Fraser S, Scolyer R, Black J, Halliday G, Christie M, Zreiqat H, Murray M, Slobedman B, Naylor M, Burgess J, Triccas J, Mason R, Chadban S, Combes V, Lovicu F, McLennan S, Kalinowski D, Sharland A, Johnstone D, Groundwater P, Dixon K, Zhou F, Lovejoy D, Lu Z, Zhu L, Goldsbury C, Witting P, Buckland M, Assinder S, Purdie (Williams) A, Codd R, Owens T, Hambly B, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Equipment Grant
  • Robotic High Throughput Western Analysis for the Open Access, Multi-User Sydney Cancer Research Core Facility, Richardson D, Scolyer R, Boyer M, Halliday G, Damian D, Christopherson R, Joshua D, Kench J, Hong A, Murray M, Lee C, Kalinowski D, Naylor M, Lay P, Lyons G, Kovacevic Z, Mason R, Dixon K, Chan-Ling T, Hawkins C, Sunde M, Lovejoy D, Owens T, Rendina L, Jansson P, Dos Remedios C, Charles (nee Slaviero) K, Lane D, Witting P, Dong Q, Ammit A, Groundwater P, Assinder S, Bao B, Byrne S, Zhou F, Buckland M, Grewal T, Huq F, Lai D, Codd R, Zhang D, Fu D, de Graaf S, Huang M, Payne R, Slobedman B, Barrs V, Ho P, Williamson P, Murphy C, DVC Research/Equipment Grant