Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR)


Professor Peter Leedman

Peter Leedman

Phone: +61 8 9224 0323
Email: peter.leedman@waimr.uwa.edu.au

Professor Peter Leedman completed medicine at the University of Western Australia (UWA), then trained in endocrinology at Royal Melbourne Hospital in the mid-1980s. He completed his PhD at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne with Len Harrison on autoimmune thyroid disease from 1987-1991. From 1991-1994 he was a Lucille P Markey Fellow with Bill Chin, a Howard Hughes Investigator in the Division of Genetics, Brigham and Women's hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston where he worked on the molecular mechanisms of thyroid hormone action.

He returned to Perth in 1994 as a Senior Lecturer in Medicine at UWA and became a Professor in 2003. Professor Leedman is Head of the Laboratory for Cancer Medicine and Deputy Director of WAIMR. He is also an endocrinologist and Director of Research at Royal Perth Hospital.

He has had a long-term interest in understanding how hormones act at the molecular level, with a focus on RNA biology and interactions between RNA and proteins, and how this information can be harnessed to personalise cancer therapy. His laboratory has focused on the mechanisms regulating expression of key therapeutic targets in hormone-dependent cancers (breast and prostate cancer) and more recently in poor prognostic tumors, including head and neck cancer and colon cancer. His team has identified key functional roles for a number of miRNAs in these tumors and uncovered several new membersof a complex network of RNA-binding nuclear receptor hormone coregulators. His laboratory is focused on applying advances in understanding these molecular mechanisms to the development of novel therapeutics.


1981MBBS - University of Western Australia, Australia
1988FRACP - Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians
1991PhD - Medicine, University of Melbourne, Australia
Thesis Title: "Structural characterization of the thyrotropin receptor and molecular cloning of a novel thyroid truncated actin-binding protein"

Research Interests

  • Molecular mechanisms controlling the regulation of gene expression in hormone-dependent cancer.
  • Functional biology of nuclear receptor coregulators in hormone action, including mechanisms of oestrogen/steroid/androgen hormone action in breast and prostate cancer cells, as well as nuclear receptor signaling in adipose and muscle cells.
  • microRNAs (miRNAs) and the biology and treatment of cancer, with particular focus on head and neck cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, glioma and melanoma.
  • Using small animal imaging (MRI, PET,SPECT) in translational studies of cancer models.
  • Mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies in cancer.
  • Laboratory diagnosis, investigation and treatment of thyroid disease.

Research Projects Available

  1. Investigation of the role of specific microRNAs (eg miR-7, miR-331) in human cancers (head and neck and prostate cancer).
  2. Investigation of the mechanisms underlying therapeutic resistance in human cancer.
  3. Investigation of the role of nuclear receptor coregulators that target long non-coding RNAs in hormone action, and hormone-dependent and colon cancer.

Scientific and Committee Involvement

  • "Endocrinology" - Member of Editorial Board 2012 onwards.
  • "Endocrine Reviews" - Member of Editorial Board 2005 to 2008.
  • Linear Clinical Research Ltd - Chairman 2010 onwards.
  • Kolling Institute of Medical Research - Member of Scientific Advisory Committee 2003 onwards.
  • Viertel Trust Medical and Scientific Advisory Panel - Member 2003 to 2009, Chair 2010 onwards.
  • Pfizer Senior Fellowship Awards Panel - Member 2005 to 2010.
  • US Endocrine Society - Membership Committee - Member 2006 to 2008.
  • State Health Research Advisory Committee (SHRAC) - Member 2005 onwards.
  • NHMRC Research Committee - Member 2001 to 2003.
  • NHMRC Grant Review Panel - Member for many years and Chair Endocrinology 2007.
  • NHMRC Academy - Member 2012.
  • EMBL Australia Council - Member 2009 onwards.
  • Australian Academy of Science (AAS), National Committee for Medicine - Member 2011 to 2014.

Top 12 Publications

  1. Redfern AD, Colley SM, Beveridge D, Ikeda N, Epis M, Li X, FouldsC, Stuart LM, Barker A, Russell VJ, Ramsay K, Kobelke SJ, Li X, Hatchell EC, Payne C, Giles KM, Messineo A, Gatignol A, Lanz RB, O'Malley BW, Leedman PJ. 2013. RISC Proteins PACT, TRBP, and Dicer are SRA-binding nuclear receptor coregulators. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110:6536-6541. [NCBI PubMed Entry]
  2. Kalinowski F, Giles KM, Candy PA, Ali A, Ganda C, Epis MR, Webster RJ, Leedman PJ. 2012. microRNA-7 regulates EGFR signaling and sensitivity of head and neck cancer cells to erlotinib. PLoS One 7(10):e47067. [NCBI PubMed Entry]
  3. Epis M, Giles KM, Candy PA, Barker A, Cohen RJ, Leedman PJ. 2012. Regulation of expression of deoxyhypusine hydroxylase (DOHH), the enzyme that catalyzes the activation of eIF5A, by miR-331-3p and miR-642-5p in prostate cancer cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry 287:35251-35259. [NCBI PubMed Entry]
  4. Epis MR, Barker A, Giles KM, Beveridge D, Leedman PJ. 2011. The RNA-binding protein HuR opposes the repression of ERBB-2 expression by miR-331-3p in prostate cancer cells. The Journal of Biological Chemistry 286:41442-41454. [NCBI PubMed Entry]
  5. Webster RJ, Giles KM, Price KJ, Zhang PM, Mattick JS, Leedman PJ. 2009. Regulation of epidermal growth factor receptor signaling in human cancer cells by microRNA-7. The Journal of Biological Chemistry 284(9):5731-5741. [NCBI PubMed Entry]
  6. Yu D, Tan AH, Hu X, Athanasopoulos V, Simpson N, Silva DG, Hutloff A, Giles KM, Leedman PJ, Lam KP, Goodnow CC, Vinuesa CG. 2007. Roquin represses autoimmunity by limiting inducible T-cell co-stimulator messenger RNA. Nature 450(7167):299-303. [NCBI PubMed Entry]
  7. Hatchell EM, Colley S, Beveridge DJ, Epis MR, Stuart LM, Giles KM, Redfern AD, Miles LEC, Barker A, MacDonald L, Arthur PG, Lui JCK, Golding J, McCulloch RK, Metcalf C, Wilce JA, Wilce MCJ, Lanz RB, O'Malley BW, Leedman PJ. 2006. SLIRP, a small SRA-binding protein, is a nuclear receptor co-repressor. Molecular Cell 22:657-68. [NCBI PubMed Entry]
  8. Giles KM, Daly JM, Beveridge DJ, Thomson AM, Voon D, Furneaux HM, Jazayeri JA, Leedman PJ. 2003. The 3'-Untranslated Region of p21WAF1 mRNA is a complex cis-acting element bound by multiple RNA-binding proteins from breast cancer cells, including HuR and poly(C)-binding protein (CP1). The Journal of Biological Chemistry 278:2937-46. [NCBI PubMed Entry]
  9. Yeap BB, Voon D, Vivian J, McCulloch, Thomson AM, Furneaux H, Wilce MJ, Wilce JA, Leedman PJ. 2002. Novel binding of HuR and poly(C)-binding protein to a conserved UC-rich motif within the 3'-untranslated region of the androgen receptor messenger RNA. The Journal of Biological Chemistry 277:27183-92. [NCBI PubMed Entry]
  10. Balmer L, Beveridge DJ, Jazayeri J, Thomson AM, Walker CE, Leedman PJ. 2001. Identification of a novel AU-Rich element in the 3' untranslated region of epidermal growth factor receptor mRNA that is the target for regulated RNA-binding proteins. Molecular and Cellular Biology 21:2070-84. [NCBI PubMed Entry]
  11. Leedman PJ, Faulkner-Jones B, Cram D, Harrison P, West J, Simpson R, Coppel R, Harrison LC. 1993. Cloning from the thyroid of a protein related to actin-binding protein that is recognized by Graves' disease immunoglobulins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 90:5994-8. [NCBI PubMed Entry]
  12. Kielczynski W, Harrison LC, Leedman PJ. 1991. Direct evidence that ganglioside is an integral component of the thyrotropin receptor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 88:1991-5. [NCBI PubMed Entry]