Professor Nikolas Haass leads the Experimental melanoma therapy group.

Nikolas Haass is a Professor at The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute/Translational Research Institute, Honorary Associate Professor at The University of Sydney and Adjunct Associate faculty member at the Centenary Institute.

After obtaining his PhD at the German Cancer Research Center/ Heidelberg University, he trained as a dermatologist with a focus on cutaneous oncology at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany. He then spent five years at the Wistar Institute (University of Pennsylvania) in Philadelphia, as a post-doctoral fellow funded by the German Research Foundation. As a Cameron Melanoma Research Fellow from October 2007 to February 2013, he headed the group, ‘Experimental Melanoma Therapy’ at the Centenary Institute.

In March 2013 he commenced his current position at UQDI. Using cutting-edge technology, such as real-time imaging of melanoma cells in 3D culture and in vivo, he and his team investigate the biology of tumour heterogeneity and the role of differential subpopulations of melanoma cells in melanomagenesis with the goal to develop novel therapeutic approaches by simultaneously targeting these differential subpopulations. 

Research projects

  • Targeting the actin cytoskeleton as a strategy for melanoma therapy
  • Disarming Tumor Escape Mechanisms in Human Melanoma With Epigenetic Modifiers
  • Real-time cell cycle imaging of melanoma cells in vitro and in vivo
  • Defining the role of Microphthalmia-associated Transcription Factor (MITF) in melanoma growth by real-time cell cycle imaging
  • Targeting the intrinsic apoptosis pathway as a strategy for melanoma therapy
  • Characterization of the intrinsic, non-phototoxic, effects of Rose Bengal on melanoma
  • Induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress as a strategy for melanoma therapy
  • Cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions between melanoma and its tumour microenvironment

Researcher biography

I am a clinician scientist and academic leader with research in melanoma cell biology and experimental melanoma therapy. I received my degree in medicine from the University of Heidelberg, Germany (1990-1998). I graduated summa cum laude with a PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Heidelberg (1993-1999) and trained in clinical dermatology at the University of Hamburg, Germany (1999-2003). In 2003 I moved to Philadelphia, PA, to work as a post-doctoral fellow in Meenhard Herlyn's lab at The Wistar Institute (2003-2007). From there I was recruited as an associate faculty member to the Centenary Institute/University of Sydney (2007-2013). In 2013 I commenced a position as Associate Professor for Cutaneous Oncology at University of Queensland Diamantina Institute (now Frazer Institute) and was promoted to full Professor in April 2016.

Areas of research