The Northern Blood Research Centre is the research division of Royal North Shore Hospital’s Department of Haematology and Transfusion Medicine.

Our projects focus on improving patient care through a better understanding of clinical disorders. We run trials of new anti-cancer agents and immunotherapy to overcome drug resistance. We also examine cellular systems to model disease states.

Our group of clinicians, scientists and nurses run research programs in thrombosis and haemostasis, lymphoproliferative disorders, stem cell biology and transplant outcomes.

Our laboratory is an international reference centre for platelet disorders, and provides training for young clinicians and scientists establishing careers in haematology.

Eosinophilic leukaemia in a patient

Structure of the P2Y12 receptor


Professor Christopher Ward Professor Christopher Ward

Professor of Medicine, University of Sydney
Senior Staff Specialist and Director of Research,
Department of Haematology, RNSH

Professor William Stevenson Associate Professor William Stevenson, MB BSc (Med) PhD

Clinical Associate Professor
Medicine, Northern Clinical School

Dr Stephen Mulligan Professor Stephen Mulligan, MBBS (Hons) PhD

Senior Staff Specialist, Royal North Shore Hospital

Dr Marie-Christine Morel-Kopp Dr Marie-Christine Morel-Kopp PhD

Senior Staff Specialist, Royal North Shore Hospital
Medicine, Northern Clinical School

Dr Chris WeirDr Chris Weir PhD

Post-doctoral Scientist

Dr Daivd Rabbolini Dr David Rabbolini (Affiliate) MBBCh PhD

Haematologist, Lismore Base Hospital,
Clinical Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney

Dr Grace Gifford

Postdoctoral Scientist

Dr Wei Xia

Hospital scientist

Dr Li Jun Bai

Hospital scientist

The Department of Haematology and Transfusion Medicine is linked to the Northern Sydney Cancer Network. It provides patient care including stem cell transplants.

The Northern Blood Research Centre has joined with three other teaching hospitals in NSW to form the Sydney Platelet Group, providing an integrated diagnostic pathway for inherited platelet disorders.

Our laboratory performs targeted gene sequencing and protein analyses, run by Dr Marie-Christine Morel-Kopp. The Northern Blood Research Centre also provides platelet genotyping for referring clinicians throughout Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.

Leukaemia and lymphoma studies at the Northern Blood Research Centre, led by Professors Stephen Mulligan and William Stevenson focus on the development of new therapeutics, as part of the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Australian Research Consortium.

The Cancer Vaccine programme led by Dr Chris Weir involves collaborations with the University of Sydney Veterinary School, Flinders University, Vaxine, University of Queensland Veterinary School and veterinary hospitals throughout Australia.

Clinical trials conducted by the Department of Haematology and Transfusion Medicine include international and national multicentre trials via the Australian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Study Group and Australian Myeloma Research Consortium.

Molecular diagnosis of inherited platelet disorders – genotyping and laboratory validation of suspected pathogenic variants

Targeted therapy of lymphoproliferative disorders (CLL and lymphoma) – biological risk factors and screening of new therapeutics

Cancer vaccines in veterinary medicine – leading to early phase clinical trials in human patients

Stem cell biology in transplant medicine, long-term outcomes in transplant survivors

Nguyen TN, Morel-Kopp MC, Pepperell D, Cumming RG, Hilmer SN, Ward CM: The impact of frailty on coagulation and responses to warfarin in acute older hospitalised patients with atrial fibrillation: a pilot study. Aging Clin Exp Res 2017 Mar 2. doi: 10.1007/s40520-017-0733-8.

DJ Rabbolini, Y Chun, M Latimer, S Kunishima, K Fixter, B Valecha, P Tan, LP Chew, BT Kile, R Burt, K Radhakrishnan, R Bird, P Ockelford, S Gabrielli, Q Chen, WS. Stevenson , CM. Ward and M-C Morel-Kopp: Diagnosis and treatment of MYH9-RD in an Australasian cohort with thrombocytopenia, Platelets. 2017 Nov 1:1-8. doi: 10.1080/09537104.2017.1356920.

D. J. Rabbolini, M-C. Morel-Kopp, Q. Chen, S. Gabrielli, L. Dunlop, T. Brighton, C. M. Ward and W. S. Stevenson: Thrombocytopenia and CD34 expression is decoupled from α-granule deficiency with mutation of the first GFI1B zinc finger. J Thromb Haemost. 2017 15(11):2245-2258. doi: 10.1111/jth.13843.

SJ Mundell, DJ Rabbolini, S Gabrielli, Q Chen, R Aungraheeta, T Kilo, J Mackay, CM Ward, WS Stevenson and M-C Morel-Kopp: Receptor homodimerization plays a critical role in a novel dominant negative P2RY12 variant identified in a family with severe bleeding. J Thromb Haemost. 2018 16(1):44-53. doi: 10.1111/jth.13900.

Shen Y, Crassini K, Sandhu S, et al. . Dual inhibition of MEK1/2 and AKT by binimetinib and MK2206 induces apoptosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells under conditions that mimic the tumor microenvironment. Leuk Lymphoma 2019 ;60:1632-1643.

Shen Y, Best OG, Mulligan SP, Christopherson RI. Ibrutinib and idelalisib block immunophenotypic changes associated with the adhesion and activation of CLL cells in the tumor microenvironment. Leuk Lymphoma 2018;59:1927-1937.

Weir CJ Oska et al (2018) The safety of an adjuvanted autologous cancer vaccine platform in canine cancer patients. Vet Sci. 2018 5(4) pii: E87. doi: 10.3390/vetsci5040087.

Joanne Joseph, David Rabbolini, Anoop K Enjeti, Emmanuel Favaloro, Marie-Christine Kopp, Simon McRae, Leonardo Pasalic, Tan Chee Wee, Christopher M Ward, Beng H Chong: Diagnosis and management of heparin induced thrombocytopenia: a consensus statement document from THANZ HIT Writing Group. Med J Aus 2019 Epub 2019 June 02


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