As a Senior Scientist and Project Leader, Dr Michelle Henderson leads research into paediatric leukaemia, neuroblastoma and ovarian cancer. Her research is part of the Experimental Therapeutics and Molecular Diagnostics Programs, led by Prof Michelle Haber and Prof Murray Norris.
Dr Henderson joined the Children’s Cancer Institute in 2006, holds a conjoint Senior Lecturer position with UNSW and has published over 35 research articles. Her major research focus is to discover and develop more effective and selective therapies for infant leukaemia. Unlike other types of leukaemia in children, infant leukaemia is a particularly aggressive sub-type with very poor prognosis. The survival rates have not improved over several decades, despite intensification of treatment regimens.
Dr Henderson’s group focuses on identifying new compounds with the ability to selectively kill the infant leukaemia cells, as opposed to other cells, in an effort to devise more effective and less toxic therapies for this devastating disease. They use approaches such as high-throughput screening, cell biology and patient-derived xenograft models of leukaemia.
Dr Henderson’s other research areas involve studying the importance of genes belonging to two families of cancer-associated genes, the Myc oncogene family and the ABC transporter family, as potential therapeutic targets in neuroblastoma and other cancers.