Associate Professor Dan Thomas

Associate Professor Dan Thomas

With unique training experience at the Stanford School of Medicine, including mentoring from Professors Ravindra Majeti, Irving Weissman, Hiro Nakauchi and Craig Jordan (UC Denver), Daniel Thomas is a clinical haematologist and pathologist whose goals in research are to develop new drugs for the treatment of cancer and lead a productive cutting-edge cancer research group in Australia.

The Myeloid Metabolism Lab led by Dan Thomas is located on Level 5 of the main SAHMRI building (Precision Medicine, Cancer Theme, adjacent to the Royal Adelaide Hospital and 10 minutes from Adelaide International airport) is focused on interplay between cancer, metabolism and epigenetics. Dr Daniel Thomas is a clinical haematologist and pathologist whose goals in research are to develop new drugs for the treatment of cancer using expanded human myeloid progenitors, mass spectromety and computational tools. He has had unique post-doctoral training experience at the Stanford School of Medicine led by Irving Weissman and direct mentoring from Professor Ravindra Majeti (CD47 and TIM3 leukemic stem cell markers). Other inspiring thought leaders in Dan's research include Hiro Nakauchi, Philip Beachey, John E. Dick, Matthew Porteus, Craig Thompson and Craig Jordan. If you are passionate about thinking outside the square to improve the treatment of cancer, please contact Dr Thomas about potential student internships.

The Thomas Lab has a strong track record in finding new druggable targets in cancer and predicting mutations that respond to specific targeted therapies as well as repurposing old drugs for new uses in cancer. Some of the discoveries that Dr Thomas has contributed to are already in the clinic or are under clinical investigation. These include (i) discovery mutation-specific drug targets for acute myeloid leukaemia (EZH2 for AML with WT1 mutation, Blood 2015; Bcl2 for AML with IDH1 mutation, Nature Med 2016; ROS activation for AML with NPM1 mutation, Leukemia 2014; ACC1 for AML with IDH1 mutation, Nature Com, 2017), (ii) prediction of 145,891 synthetic partners for 3,120 recurrent mutations for 12 cancer types (Leukemia 2019, first author and co-inventor Nature Com, 2017, (iii) pre-clinical development of a biological therapy (humanized monoclonal antibody directed against CD123 Cell Stem Cell, 2009, Leukemia 2014) and (iv) comprehensive translational experience in the Stanford Alliance for Innovative Medicines program.

Dr Thomas has been awarded a number of prizes for his work including the CSL Centenary Fellowship ($1.25M), K99-R00 Pathway to Independence award by the National Cancer Institute, NHMRC PhD award, Albert Bakie Medal, Douglas Hardy Prize, Nimmo Prize and CJ Martin Biomedical Fellowship, The Hospital Research Foundation 2020, 2 Ideas grants NHMRC 2020, MRFF funding 2020.

The over-arching goal of Dan’s research is to find novel mutation-specific drug targets for somatic mutations, especially in poor prognosis and difficult to treat cancer types, using leukemia as a test bed. The lab has unique skills in developing humanized in vivo models for AML, isolation and testing of pre-leukemia stem cells and bioinformatic algorithms together with key academic and industry networks.

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Find out more about Dan's research outputs, qualifications and affiliations on the SAHMRI Researcher portal