Dr Alla Dolnikov
Conjoint Senior Lecturer

Dr Alla Dolnikov

Dr Dolnikov has done her PhD in Histology and Embryology. For the last 20 years Dr Dolnikov is developing gene therapy for leukaemia and solid tumours.

Medicine & Health
School of Clinical Medicine

Alla Dolnikov, PhD, is Principal Hospital Scientist and project leader in the Blood and Marrow Transplant Research Laboratory at Sydney Children’s Hospital.  She also teaches post-graduate students at the UNSW as a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine supervising post-graduate students conducting their Honour, Master’s and PhD projects. Dr Dolnikov has done her PhD in Histology and Embryology. For the last 20 years Dr Dolnikov is developing gene therapy for leukaemia and solid tumours. In 2012 her groups has started the new project developing novel experimental immunotherapy that employs patient’s own immune cells genetically modified in laboratory with the chimeric molecules allowing them recognise tumour cells.

Dr Dolnikov has strong expertise in gene and cellular therapy obtained while performing her research in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Research developing the new gene therapy technology targeting haematopoietic stem cells. This collaboration was extremely productive and resulted in several important publications in high profile journals in the areas of stem cell biology, cancer research and gene therapy including Blood, Leukaemia, Cancer Research, Oncogene, Stem Cells etc.  Dr Dolnikov continued her research at Children’s Cancer Institute Australia for Medical Research as Senior Scientist leading Leukaemia Gene Therapy group. She continues her affiliation with the industry, her recent proposal was approved by the research committee of Novartis.


02 9382 1879
Level 1 Sydney Children's Hospital
  • Book Chapters | 2022
    Xu N; Tse B; Yang L; Tang TCY; Haber M; Micklethwaite K; Dolnikov A, 2022, 'Priming Leukemia with 5-Azacytidine Enhances CAR T Cell Therapy: A Recent Study', in Current Innovations in Medicine and Medical Science Vol. 3, Book Publisher International (a part of SCIENCEDOMAIN International), pp. 61 - 87, http://dx.doi.org/10.9734/bpi/cimms/v3/7736f
  • Journal articles | 2022
    Tang TCY; Xu N; Nordon R; Haber M; Micklethwaite K; Dolnikov A, 2022, 'Donor T cells for CAR T cell therapy', Biomarker Research, vol. 10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40364-022-00359-3
    Journal articles | 2021
    Chen J; Nelson C; Wong M; Tee AE; Liu PY; La T; Fletcher JI; Kamili A; Mayoh C; Bartenhagen C; Trahair TN; Xu N; Jayatilleke N; Wong M; Peng H; Atmadibrata B; Cheung BB; Lan Q; Bryan TM; Mestdagh P; Vandesompele J; Combaret V; Boeva V; Wang JY; Janoueix-Lerosey I; Cowley MJ; MacKenzie KL; Dolnikov A; Li J; Polly P; Marshall GM; Reddel RR; Norris MD; Haber M; Fischer M; Zhang XD; Pickett HA; Liu T, 2021, 'Targeted therapy of TERT-rearranged neuroblastoma with BET bromodomain inhibitor and proteasome inhibitor combination therapy', Clinical Cancer Research, vol. 27, pp. 1438 - 1451, http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-3044
    Journal articles | 2021
    Xu N; Tse B; Yang L; Tang TC; Haber M; Micklethwaite K; Dolnikov A, 2021, 'Priming Leukemia with 5-Azacytidine Enhances CAR T Cell Therapy', IMMUNOTARGETS AND THERAPY, vol. 10, pp. 123 - 140, http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/ITT.S296161
    Journal articles | 2014
    Kim PY; Tan O; Diakiw SM; Carter D; Sekerye EO; Wasinger VC; Liu T; Kavallaris M; Norris MD; Haber M; Chesler L; Dolnikov A; Trahair TN; Cheung NK; Marshall GM; Cheung BB, 2014, 'Identification of plasma Complement C3 as a potential biomarker for neuroblastoma using a quantitative proteomic approach', Journal of Proteomics, vol. 96, pp. 1 - 12, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jprot.2013.10.032
    Journal articles | 2008
    Choo A; Palladinetti P; Holmes TA; Basu S; Shen S; Lock RB; O Brien T; Symonds GP; Dolnikov A, 2008, 'siRNA targeting the IRF2 transcription factor inhibits leukaemic cell growth.', International Journal of Oncology, vol. 33, pp. 175 - 183
    Journal articles | 2006
    Choo A; Palladinetti P; Passioura TJ; Shen S; Symonds GP; Dolnikov A, 2006, 'The role of IRF1 and IRF2 transcription factors in leukaemogenesis', Current Gene Therapy, vol. 6, pp. 543 - 550, http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/156652306778520683
  • Conference Abstracts | 2014
    Dolnikov A; Klamer G; Chitranjan A; Xu N; Shen S; Micklethwaite KP; Lock RB; O'Brien T, 2014, 'Identifying the Factors Modulating the Efficacy of CAR-T Cell Therapy', in BLOOD, AMER SOC HEMATOLOGY, Vol. 124, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000349242706217&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Conference Abstracts | 2014
    Dolnikov A; Klamer G; Shen S; Chitranjan A; Carol H; Lock R; O'Brien T, 2014, 'IDENTIFYING THE FACTORS MODULATING THE EFFICACY OF CAR-T CELL THERAPY', in CYTOTHERAPY, ELSEVIER SCI LTD, Vol. 16, pp. S7 - S7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcyt.2014.01.015
    Conference Papers | 2014
    Dolnikov A; Rossi S; Xu N; Klamer G; Shen S; Micklethwaite KP; Lock RB; O'Brien T, 2014, '5-Aza-2 '-Deoxycytidine Promotes Cytotoxic Effect of CART-Cells on Leukaemia Cells', in BLOOD, AMER SOC HEMATOLOGY, CA, San Francisco, presented at 56th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-of-Hematology, CA, San Francisco, 06 December 2014 - 09 December 2014, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000349233806021&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1

Dr Dolnikov has demonstrated productivity in attracting independent grants including 10 project grants as a CIA, 2 grants as CIB and 3-year Project Grant from the Cancer Council NSW as a single CI. During the last 10 years Dr Dolnikov alone or in the partnership with Dr O’Brien has attracted more than $1,250,000 of external funding for group’s research.  

Current grants:

  • Kids Cancer Project Grant (2016-2019)
  • Inner Wheel Foundation Project Grant (2017)


Dr Dolnikov’s team is involved in the pre-clinical development of the novel immune therapies for cancer including adoptive T cell therapy and checkpoint inhibitors.  Dr Dolnikov’s team is conducting the collaborative research with the clinicians from SCH and Westmead hospitals.  Additionally, Dr Dolnikov collaborates with the scientists from CCIA developing novel mouse models for the testing of novel experimental immunotherapies and small molecule drugs.  These “humanised” immune competent mice are generated using human stem cells reconstituting fully functional human immune system in immune compromised mice. Dr Dolnikov’s team is also testing the combinations of targeted therapies and immune therapies to prolong anti-tumour responses.

Dr Dolnikov has established collaboration with Dr Kenneth Micklethwaite and Dr David Gottlieb, both from Westmead Hospital, Sydney, who are the experts in adoptive T cell therapy. Established collaborations with Prof Luca Dotti and Prof Malcolm Brenner from Baylor College of Medicine both of whom are internationally recognised experts in genetic modification of haematopoietic stem cells and T cells and pioneers in immunotherapy for cancer using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells.  In addition, I established novel collaboration with Dr Clemenceau from INSERM CRCNA, France, known for her expertise in genetic modification of human leukocytes.

Publications: Over 47 publications in international peer reviewed journals including Blood, Stem Cells, Cancer Research, Leukaemia, Oncogene, Current Medicinal Chemistry, Experimental haematology, Stem Cells & Development.  
Published 4 invited review articles and 3 book chapters.
H-index 18


My Research Supervision

At the moment, Dr Dolnikov supervises 2 PhD students.