Dr Dannielle Upton
Conjoint Lecturer

Dr Dannielle Upton

  • Bachelor of Science (Biomedical) 2008-2010, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
  • Honours 2011, University of Technology and Kolling Institute for Medical Research, Sydney, Australia
  • PhD (Sydney Medical School) 2013-2016, University of Sydney and ANZAC Research Institute, Sydney Australia
Medicine & Health
School of Clinical Medicine

Dr Dannielle Upton is an early career research scientist. She is a cancer biologist with a research focus on paediatric brain tumours, working primarily on DIPG. She is a full time Senior Post-doctoral researcher at the Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) and a conjoint lecturer at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Dannielle completed a Biomedical Science degree with Honours through the University of Technology Sydney in 2011. Her honours research project was undertaken at the Kolling Institute for Medical Research, in the Perinatal Research Laboratory, and focused on determining the role of Thromboxane receptor beta in preeclampsia. Following this she took on a research assistant position in 2012 at the ANZAC Research Institute in the Andrology Research Laboratory. She subsequently completed a PhD in the same laboratory, focused on examining the role of Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in ovarian reproductive health, function and aging. In 2016, during the last year of her PhD, she was selected as 1 of 20 students to attend the highly competitive and prestigious Frontiers in Reproductive Biology Program.

Once completing her PhD, she commenced a graduate research assistant position at the Brain and Mind Centre (BMC). Here she was responsible for the planning and execution of an ARC funded research project examining the effect of anaesthesia on brain biochemistry. She then commenced her first postdoctoral research position in 2018 at the Children’s Cancer Institute with the Brain Tumour Research Program. Her current project involves undertaking a variety of cellular, molecular biology and in vivo experiments to develop and improve treatments for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (DIPG). Her research focuses on understanding the cytotoxic effects of drugs identified from HTS and their effectiveness in patient derived animal models of DIPGs. She is also focusing on the development of novel therapeutic strategies such as combinations with irradiation and other chemotherapeutic agents with a particular emphasis on the translation of laboratory findings to clinical trials. She is also currently leading a Mark Hughes Foundation, DIPG collaborative and Accendatech funded project on a novel compound ACT001 and evaluating its efficacy in treating DIPG as a single agent and in combination. She is also leading a project investigating the repurposing of Auranofin as an anti-DIPG therapeutic funded through the Kid’s Cancer Project. She is also developing single cell RNA sequencing for analysis of DIPG samples and has a lead role in “Levi’s Project” which is examining the use of sequential therapies in the treatment of DIPG.

Location
Children's Cancer Institute at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre
  • Journal articles | 2023
    Hayden E; Franshaw L; Upton D; Liu J; Nguyen H; Joshi S; Tsoli M; Dolman E; Rayner B; Ziegler D, 2023, 'Abstract 1561: Preclinical examination of PLK1 inhibitors for the treatment of diffuse midline gliomas', Cancer Research, 83, pp. 1561 - 1561, http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1538-7445.am2023-1561
    Journal articles | 2022
    Upton DH; Ung C; George SM; Tsoli M; Kavallaris M; Ziegler DS, 2022, 'Challenges and opportunities to penetrate the blood-brain barrier for brain cancer therapy', Theranostics, 12, pp. 4734 - 4752, http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/THNO.69682
    Journal articles | 2021
    Khan A; Gamble LD; Upton DH; Ung C; Yu DMT; Ehteda A; Pandher R; Mayoh C; Hébert S; Jabado N; Kleinman CL; Burns MR; Norris MD; Haber M; Tsoli M; Ziegler DS, 2021, 'Dual targeting of polyamine synthesis and uptake in diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas', Nature Communications, 12, pp. 971, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-20896-z
    Journal articles | 2021
    Ung C; Tsoli M; Liu J; Cassano D; Pocoví-Martínez S; Upton DH; Ehteda A; Mansfeld FM; Failes TW; Farfalla A; Katsinas C; Kavallaris M; Arndt GM; Vittorio O; Cirillo G; Voliani V; Ziegler DS, 2021, 'Doxorubicin-loaded gold nanoarchitectures as a therapeutic strategy against diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma', Cancers, 13, pp. 1 - 20, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13061278
    Journal articles | 2020
    Upton DH; Popovic K; Fulton R; Kassiou M, 2020, 'Anaesthetic-dependent changes in gene expression following acute and chronic exposure in the rodent brain', Scientific Reports, 10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-66122-6
    Journal articles | 2019
    Tsoli M; Shen H; Mayoh C; Franshaw L; Ehteda A; Upton D; Carvalho D; Vinci M; Meel MH; van Vuurden D; Plessier A; Castel D; Drissi R; Farrell M; Cryan J; Crimmins D; Caird J; Pears J; Francis S; Ludlow LEA; Carai A; Mastronuzzi A; Liu B; Hansford J; Gottardo N; Hassall T; Kirby M; Fouladi M; Hawkins C; Monje M; Grill J; Jones C; Hulleman E; Ziegler DS, 2019, 'International experience in the development of patient-derived xenograft models of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma', Journal of Neuro-Oncology, 141, pp. 253 - 263, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-018-03038-2
    Journal articles | 2019
    Tsoli M; Shen H; Mayoh C; Franshaw L; Ehteda A; Upton D; Carvalho D; Vinci M; Meel MH; van Vuurden D; Plessier A; Castel D; Drissi R; Farrell M; Cryan J; Crimmins D; Caird J; Pears J; Francis S; Ludlow LEA; Carai A; Mastronuzzi A; Liu B; Hansford J; Gottardo NG; Hassall T; Kirby M; Fouladi M; Hawkins C; Monje M; Grill J; Jones C; Hulleman E; Ziegler DS, 2019, 'Correction to: International experience in the development of patient-derived xenograft models of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (Journal of Neuro-Oncology, (2019), 141, 2, (253-263), 10.1007/s11060-018-03038-2)', Journal of Neuro-Oncology, 141, pp. 265, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-018-03060-4
    Journal articles | 2018
    Upton DH; Walters KA; McTavish KJ; Holt J; Handelsman DJ; Allan CM, 2018, 'Reproductive failure in mice expressing transgenic follicle-stimulating hormone is not caused by loss of oocyte quality', Biology of Reproduction, 98, pp. 491 - 500, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/biolre/ioy015
    Journal articles | 2016
    Hazra R; Upton D; Desai R; Noori O; Jimenez M; Handelsman DJ; Allan CM, 2016, 'Elevated expression of the sertoli cell androgen receptor disrupts male fertility', American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism, 311, pp. E396 - E404, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00159.2016
    Journal articles | 2016
    Powell KL; Stevens V; Upton DH; McCracken SA; Simpson AM; Cheng Y; Tasevski V; Morris JM; Ashton AW, 2016, 'Role for the thromboxane A 2 receptor β-isoform in the pathogenesis of intrauterine growth restriction', Scientific Reports, 6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep28811
    Journal articles | 2016
    Upton DH; Walters KA; Allavena RE; Jimenez M; Desai R; Handelsman DJ; Allan CM, 2016, 'Global or Granulosa Cell-Specific Pten Mutations in Combination with Elevated FSH Levels Fail to Cause Ovarian Tumours in Mice', Hormones and Cancer, 7, pp. 316 - 326, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12672-016-0272-3
    Journal articles | 2015
    Upton DH; Fuller ES; Colvin EK; Walters KA; Jimenez M; Desai R; Handelsman DJ; Howell VM; Allan CM, 2015, 'Granulosa Cell-Specific Brca1 Loss Alone or Combined with Trp53 Haploinsufficiency and Transgenic FSH Expression Fails to Induce Ovarian Tumors', Hormones and Cancer, 6, pp. 142 - 152, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12672-015-0222-5
    Journal articles | 2014
    Hazra R; Upton D; Jimenez M; Desai R; Handelsman DJ; Allan CM, 2014, 'In vivo actions of the sertoli cell glucocorticoid receptor', Endocrinology, 155, pp. 1120 - 1130, http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2013-1940
    Journal articles | 2013
    Hazra R; Corcoran L; Robson M; McTavish KJ; Upton D; Handelsman DJ; Allan CM, 2013, 'Temporal role of sertoli cell androgen receptor expression in spermatogenic development', Molecular Endocrinology, 27, pp. 12 - 24, http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/me.2012-1219
  • Conference Abstracts | 2022
    Ung C; Upton DH; Venkat P; Pandher R; Curnis F; Corti A; Nicolazzo J; Mayoh C; Tsoli M; Ziegler DS, 2022, 'DIPG CELLS ALTER THE PERMEABILITY OF THE BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER IN THE BRAINSTEM LEADING TO TREATMENT FAILURE', in NEURO-ONCOLOGY, OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, GERMANY, Hamburg, Vol. 24, pp. 22 - 22, presented at 20th International Symposium on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology (ISPNO) / Annual Meeting of the Brain-Tumor-Group-of-SIOP-Europe (SIOPE-BTG), GERMANY, Hamburg, 11 June 2022 - 15 June 2022, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noac079.078
    Conference Abstracts | 2022
    Upton D; George S; Liu J; Cai DD; Su SY-C; Rayner B; Tsoli M; Ziegler D, 2022, 'DIPG-08. The development of ACT001 as a novel therapeutic for diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas', in Neuro-Oncology, Oxford University Press (OUP), Vol. 24, pp. i19 - i19, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noac079.065
    Conference Abstracts | 2022
    Upton D; George S; Liu J; Cai DD; Su SY-C; Rayner B; Tsoli M; Ziegler D, 2022, 'THE DEVELOPMENT OF ACT001 AS A NOVEL THERAPEUTIC FOR DIFFUSE INTRINSIC PONTINE GLIOMAS', in NEURO-ONCOLOGY, OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, Vol. 24, pp. 19 - 19, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000840122400067&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Conference Abstracts | 2021
    Khan A; Gamble L; Upton D; Yu D; Pandher R; Mayoh C; Burns MR; Norris MD; Haber M; Tsoli M; Ziegler DS, 2021, 'POLYAMINE PATHWAY INHIBITION IS A POTENT NOVEL THERAPEUTIC STRATEGY AGAINST DIFFUSE INTRINSIC PONTINE GLIOMA', in NEURO-ONCOLOGY, OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, Vol. 23, pp. 40 - 41, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab090.163
    Conference Abstracts | 2021
    Ung C; Upton D; Tsoli M; Ziegler D, 2021, 'HGG-10. THE BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER IN DIPG: INVESTIGATING REGION-SPECIFIC DIFFERENCES IN PERMEABILITY', in Neuro-Oncology, Oxford University Press (OUP), Vol. 23, pp. i19 - i19, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab090.076
    Conference Abstracts | 2021
    Upton D; George S; Liu J; Cai D; Su SY-C; Manoharan N; Foresto S; Hassall T; Tsoli M; Ziegler D, 2021, 'ACT001-A PROMISING THERAPEUTIC FOR DIFFUSE INTRINSIC PONTINE GLIOMAS', in NEURO-ONCOLOGY, OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, Vol. 23, pp. 20 - 20, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab090.080
    Conference Abstracts | 2021
    Upton D; Valvi S; Liu J; Yeung N; George S; Ung C; Khan A; Franshaw L; Ehteda A; Shen H; Orienti I; Farruggia G; Reynolds P; Tsoli M; Ziegler D, 2021, 'POTENTIAL NEW THERAPIES FOR DIFFUSE INTRINSIC PONTINE GLIOMAS IDENTIFIED THROUGH HIGH THROUGHPUT DRUG SCREENING', in NEURO-ONCOLOGY, OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, Vol. 23, pp. 42 - 42, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab090.169
    Conference Abstracts | 2020
    Ehteda A; Franshaw L; Liu J; Joshi S; Simon S; Pang CNI; Giorgi F; Pandher R; Ung C; Tolhurst O; Mayoh C; Khan A; Hayden E; Gopalakrishnan A; Trebilcock P; Upton D; Lehmann R; George S; Vittorio O; Tsoli M; Gurova K; Gudkov AG; Norris MD; Haber M; Ziegler DS, 2020, 'DIPG-27. TARGETING FACILITATES CHROMATIN TRANSCRIPTION (FACT) AS A NOVEL STRATEGY FOR DIFFUSE INTRINSIC PONTINE GLIOMA (DIPG) THAT ENHANCES RESPONSE TO HISTONE DEACETYLASE (HDAC) INHIBITION', in Neuro-Oncology, Oxford University Press (OUP), Vol. 22, pp. iii292 - iii292, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noaa222.076
    Conference Papers | 2020
    Ehteda A; Franshaw L; Liu J; Joshi S; Simon S; Pang CNI; Giorgi F; Pandher R; Ung C; Tolhurst O; Mayoh C; Khan A; Hayden E; Gopalakrishnan A; Trebilcock P; Upton D; Lehmann R; George S; Vittorio O; Tsoli M; Gurova K; Gudkov AG; Norris MD; Haber M; Ziegler DS, 2020, 'TARGETING FACILITATES CHROMATIN TRANSCRIPTION (FACT) AS A NOVEL STRATEGY FOR DIFFUSE INTRINSIC PONTINE GLIOMA (DIPG) THAT ENHANCES RESPONSE TO HISTONE DEACETYLASE (HDAC) INHIBITION', in NEURO-ONCOLOGY, OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, pp. 292 - 292, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000606080100077&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Conference Abstracts | 2020
    Khan A; Gamble L; Upton D; Yu D; Ehteda A; Pandher R; Mayoh C; Burns M; Norris M; Haber M; Tsoli M; Ziegler D, 2020, 'DIPG-15. POLYAMINE PATHWAY INHIBITION IS A POTENT NOVEL THERAPEUTIC STRATEGY AGAINST DIFFUSE INTRINSIC PONTINE GLIOMA', in Neuro-Oncology, Oxford University Press (OUP), Vol. 22, pp. iii289 - iii290, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noaa222.065
    Conference Papers | 2020
    Khan A; Gamble L; Upton D; Yu D; Ehteda A; Pandher R; Mayoh C; Burns M; Norris M; Haber M; Tsoli M; Ziegler D, 2020, 'POLYAMINE PATHWAY INHIBITION IS A POTENT NOVEL THERAPEUTIC STRATEGY AGAINST DIFFUSE INTRINSIC PONTINE GLIOMA', in NEURO-ONCOLOGY, OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, pp. 289 - 290, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000606080100066&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Conference Abstracts | 2020
    Ung C; Tsoli M; Liu J; Cassano D; Upton D; Ehteda A; Mansfield F; Failes T; Kavallaris M; Arndt G; Vittorio O; Voliani V; Cirilo G; Ziegler DS, 2020, 'DDEL-12. NANOPARTICLE DELIVERY OF DOXORUBICIN FOR THE TREATMENT OF DIFFUSE INTRINSIC PONTINE GLIOMA (DIPG)', in Neuro-Oncology, Oxford University Press (OUP), Vol. 22, pp. iii286 - iii286, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noaa222.047
    Conference Papers | 2020
    Ung C; Tsoli M; Liu J; Cassano D; Upton D; Ehteda A; Mansfield F; Failes T; Kavallaris M; Arndt G; Vittorio O; Voliani V; Cirilo G; Ziegler DS, 2020, 'NANOPARTICLE DELIVERY OF DOXORUBICIN FOR THE TREATMENT OF DIFFUSE INTRINSIC PONTINE GLIOMA (DIPG)', in NEURO-ONCOLOGY, OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, pp. 286 - 286, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000606080100048&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Conference Abstracts | 2020
    Upton D; Valvi S; Liu J; Yeung N; George S; Ung C; Khan A; Franshaw L; Ehteda A; Shen H; Orienti I; Farruggia G; Nath C; Reynolds P; Tsoli M; Ziegler D, 2020, 'DIPG-07. HIGH THROUGHPUT DRUG SCREENING IDENTIFIES POTENTIAL NEW THERAPIES FOR DIFFUSE INTRINSIC PONTINE GLIOMAS (DIPGs)', in Neuro-Oncology, Oxford University Press (OUP), Vol. 22, pp. iii288 - iii288, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noaa222.058
    Conference Papers | 2020
    Upton D; Valvi S; Liu J; Yeung N; George S; Ung C; Khan A; Franshaw L; Ehteda A; Shen H; Orienti I; Farruggia G; Nath C; Reynolds P; Tsoli M; Ziegler D, 2020, 'HIGH THROUGHPUT DRUG SCREENING IDENTIFIES POTENTIAL NEW THERAPIES FOR DIFFUSE INTRINSIC PONTINE GLIOMAS (DIPGS)', in NEURO-ONCOLOGY, OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, pp. 288 - 288, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000606080100059&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1
    Conference Papers | 2011
    Stevens VA; Upton D; Simpson A; Morris J; Ashton A, 2011, 'DIFFERENTIAL REGULATION OF TP ISOFORMS IN PREECLAMPSIA', in HYPERTENSION, LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS, AUSTRALIA, Perth, pp. 500 - 500, presented at 33rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the High-Blood-Pressure-Research-Council-of-Australia (HBPRCA), AUSTRALIA, Perth, 06 December 2011 - 09 December 2011, https://www.webofscience.com/api/gateway?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000306550900098&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a29b250adbe88d1

Current Funding

  • 2019-2022: Mark Hughes Foundation Innovation Grant: Upton D (CIA) Developing new treatments for childhood brain cancer.
  • 2022-2023: The DIPG Collaborative: Upton D (CIA) Developing Novel Combination Therapies for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma
  • 2022-2024: The Kids Cancer Project: Upton D, Ziegler D (Co-CI) Targeting the thioredoxin system as a novel strategy for DIPG
  • 2022-2023: Children's Cancer Insitute: Upton D, Moles E (Co-CI) Targeting diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma using nanotechnology
  • 2022-2023: University of New South Wales (UNSW) Medicine - E/MCR Cancer Research Seed Grant Scheme: Elucidating the oncogenic role of telomere dysfunction in drug resistant ER+ breast cancer

Translational Research Partnership 

  • 2022-2024: Accendatech AU Pty Ltd: Upton D, Ziegler D (Co-CI) Developing novel ACT001 combination therapies for DIPG

Research Infrastructure Support

  • 2021: UNSW Research Infrastructure Support Grant: Exploring and targeting the brain with state-of-the-art equipment

Dr Dannielle Upton was awarded a University Postgraduate award scholarship during her PhD studies.

She has been awarded travel scholarships including:

  • the International Mammalian Genome Society Student Travel Scholarship (2015)
  • Concord Repatriation General Hospital Travel Award (2015)
  • Society for Reproductive Biology Travel Scholarship (2014, 2015)
  • Endocrine Society Australia Travel Scholarship (2015)

She was also awarded the Frontiers in Reproductive Biology Scholarship (2016), James Kentley Memorial Scholarship (2016) and Royston George Brooker Scholarship (2016) to attend the Frontiers in Reproductive Biology Course.

During her research career she was been awarded presentation awards such as:

  • ANZCHOG best abstract - Junior Investigator - Basic and Translational Science (2022)
  • Kid's Cancer Alliance (KCA) - Early Career Researcher Oral Presentation Finalist and Prize winner (2021)
  • Kids Cancer Alliance (KCA) - Early Career Researcher Oral Presentation Finalist (2020)
  • Cancer-Lifespan Research symposium – Best Postgraduate Presentation Award (2015)
  • Endocrine Society Australia Annual meeting – ESA Novartis Junior Scientist Award Finalist (2015)
  • Society of Reproductive Biology Annual meeting – Oozoa Award Finalist (2015)
  • Women’s Health and Maternal Medicine Conference - Best Undergraduate Presentation Award (2011).

 

Dr Dannielle Upton currently holds the "Levi Wheeler Early Career Researcher Fellowship" 2022-2026

  1. High Throughput screening approaches to find new treatments for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas

  2. Utilizing single cell RNA sequencing to examine Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas and the blood brain barrier

  3. Levi's Project: A future for kids with DIPG

  4. Preclinical development of novel compound ACT001 for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma

  5. Targeting the thioredoxin system as a novel strategy for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma

  6. Targeting diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma using nanotechnology

My Research Supervision

Honours students

2022

Student: Katerina Misevska

Project: Developing Novel Combination Therapies for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)

Supervisor: David Ziegler, Co-supervisor: Dannielle Upton

 

2023

Student: Arcadia Sivanathan

Project: Exploring therapeutic options for Diffuse Midline Glioma (DMG).

Supervisor: Dannielle Upton, Co-supervisors: David Ziegler, Holly Holliday

 

PhD students

2019 - 2023

Student: Caitlin Ung

Project: New therapeutic strategies for DIPG – understanding the role of the super BBB in the brainstem and ways to overcome it.

Supervisors: David Ziegler, Maria Tsoli, Orazio Vittorio, Dannielle Upton