Mr Joshua Tay

BSc Hons

PhD Student


Niche Factor Regulation of Haematopoietic Stem Cell (HSC) Function


to investigate the biology of normal bone marrow to understand how to a) protect normal haematopoietic stem cells(HSCs) from chemotherapy and radiotherapy-induced damage; b) improve mobilisation of bone marrow HSCs out of thebone marrow; and c) expand HSCs in culture for more efficient bone marrow transplantation

Overview of Experimental Approach:

1) Treat mice with agents to enhance HSC potential to reconstitute blood and immune system (steady state).2) Treat mice with cancer therapy regimes plus agents that potentially enhance a) protection of normal HSCs againstcancer therapies, and b) accelerate blood and immune system recovery after cancer therapy regimes (stressed state).


Roughly 1/3 of cancer patients will suffer side-effects from cancer therapy. Cancer therapy works by killing all dividingcells, which include cancer/leukaemia cells (the intended target), but also normal HSCs responsible for generatingthe blood and immune system. Chemotherapy damage to these normal HSCs cause short term but severe immunesuppression, deadly infections, ulceration, pain, diarrhoea, swallowing difficulties and rapid weightloss. Furthermore, HSCs transplanted in current bone marrow transplantation methods are low, lengthening recovery &exacerbating these symptoms. This project hopes to 1. alleviate these side-effects, plus 2. improve the killing of cancercells and 3. find better ways to improve transplantation (currently our best treatment for some leukaemias).


About me

Joshua Tay is a 3rd year PhD student from Mater Research-UQ, Brisbane. He completed his Bachelor of Science at the University of Queensland with First Class Honours in 2012 and proceeded with his PhD. His research interest in stem cells has led him to explore the role of the bone marrow microenvironment in regulating haematopoietic stem cells both in homeostasis and regeneration following stress.

Research fields

Stem Cell and Cancer Group