Adelaide Medical School
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.
A/Prof Wendy Ingman graduated from a PhD at the University of Adelaide in 2002 and conducted postdoctoral training as an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NY, returning to Adelaide in 2005. Wendy made the transition to independent researcher in 2009 with an NHMRC New Investigator Project grant. In 2011 she was appointed an NBCF Early Career Fellow and THRF A/Prof of Breast Cancer Research, and established a laboratory at TQEH which is her current appointment. The Unit employs a variety of techniques including 3 dimensional culture of human breast tissue and genetically modified mouse models to investigate breast biology and how disease states of the breast occur.
The Breast Biology and Cancer Unit is located at the Basil Hetzel Institute within The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and at the Medical School on Frome Rd at the main University campus.
- My Research
- Grants and Funding
- Professional Activities
The breast is a unique organ, because it goes through the majority of its development a long time after birth. The major phases of breast development occur during puberty, where the cellular structures develop to maturity, and pregnancy where the cells become altered, so as to enable milk production during lactation. Milk is an essential part of the life cycle of all mammals. In fact, provision of milk to newborns from the breast (also known as the mammary gland) is one of the defining features of mammals. Therefore, it is critically important to the survival of mammalian species that mammary gland function is protected, so that milk can be produced to nurture the next generation. However, the extensive changes that occur in the breast pose some unique immunological challenges. The immune system is programmed to maintain the status quo by mounting attacks against invading bacteria and viruses, and preventing rogue cells from developing into tumours. So when a tissue undergoes such extensive changes as the breast does, the immune system must develop particular strategies to allow this to happen. Our research investigates the immunology of the breast and how immune system cells affect cancer risk and development of mastitis.
Research projects for Honours, Masters and PhD students are available in our laboratory.
Breast Cancer Risk and Prevention
Breast cancer places an incredible burden on Australian women. Every year, around 18,000 Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer alone - a disease that devastates women's lives and is often fatal.
If we are to prevent and treat breast cancer, we must better understand how the disease develops. Breast density (also known as mammographic density) is the percentage of white and bright regions on a mammogram. Breast density is not related to how breasts look or feel and can only be assessed by mammogram. Forty three percent of women have "Heterogenously Dense" or "Extremely Dense" breasts, which together are termed "high breast density". High breast density is both an independent risk factor for breast cancer and masks cancers on a mammogram. Combined, these two distinct phenomena lead to increased incidence, delayed diagnosis, more aggressive tumours, and a 90% increased risk of breast cancer-associated death in women with high breast density.
There is exciting potential for breast density to become a widespread health assessment tool, used to identify the women most at risk of breast cancer in order to intervene early and reduce that risk.
Our research is the first to demonstrate a causal role for immune system signalling in breast density and the associated cancer risk. Using a unique human biobank of paired high and low density breast tissue samples, together with transgenic mouse models, we demonstrated that pro-inflammatory protein C-C Motif Chemokine Ligand 2 (CCL2) is a biological driver of both high breast density and increased risk of cancer. This study opens the door for new approaches to reduce breast cancer risk through use of anti-inflammatory drugs in women with dense breasts.
Improving Breast Cancer Treatment
Breaking immune tolerance in triple negative breast cancer: Failure of the body's immune system to attack a threat such as a mutated cell is known as immune tolerance, and is one of the key hurdles to overcome in both treating breast cancer and preventing its recurrence. Our laboratory has identified a new biological pathway active in breast cancer involving a protein called C1q, which can be targeted to break this tolerance. The aim of this project is to capitalize on this discovery to develop a new approach to breaking tolerance in triple negative cancer, a very aggressive subtype of breast cancer which is notoriously difficult to treat.
Exploring the impact of menstrual cycling on personalised medicine for premenopausal breast cancer patients: Gene expression profiling of breast cancer is a technology increasingly being adopted in the clinic as a personalised medicine approach to tailor treatment to individual patients. However, an underappreciated factor in premenopausal breast cancer diagnosis is that oestrogen and progesterone fluctuate dramatically during the menstrual cycle, and these hormones are likely to affect gene expression. This research aims to determine whether fluctuation in oestrogen and progesterone associated with different stages of the menstrual cycle significantly affects gene expression profiles in breast cancers from premenopausal women. We will examine gene expression profiles in paired biopsy and surgical breast cancer tissue samples taken from women undergoing treatment at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and investigate how menstrual cycle stage in the two samples affects breast cancer subtype.
Mastitis and Lactation Insufficiency
Lactation mastitis is an inflammatory breast disease affecting 17-27% of Australian breastfeeding women that causes pain, fever and low milk supply. The challenges posed by this disease lead many women to use supplementary formula, or cease breastfeeding altogether leaving their infants at increased risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases as babies, and non-communicable diseases including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, allergies, asthma, mental illness and chronic lung, liver and renal diseases as both children and adults. Our recent research has suggested that macrophages play a role in development of this disease.
Our current research pursues new knowledge in how disease state develop in the breast. We explore revolutionary new concepts of how immune cells function in the breast, and how these cells affect breast disease development.
Date Position Institution name 2011 Associate Professor University of Adelaide 2009 - 2010 Research Fellow University of Adelaide 2008 - 2008 Postdoctoral Research Officer University of Adelaide 2003 - 2008 CJ Martin Fellow University of Adelaide and Albert Einstein College of Medicine 2002 - 2003 Research Officer Adelaide University 1998 - 1998 Research Assistant Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Awards and Achievements
Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount 2016 Award Award for Excellence in Reproductive Biology Research Society for Reproductive Biology Australia — 2016 Award Women’s Research Excellence Awards University of Adelaide Australia — 2012 Award SA Leading Light Award Finalist Australian Society for Medical Research — — 2011 Recognition Most Outstanding Research Paper published in 2011 University of Adelaide Australia — 2010 Recognition Excellence in Research Supervision University of Adelaide Australia — 2008 Award Best Presentation by Postdoctoral Fellow Network of Genes and Environment in Development Australia — 2007 Award Most Outstanding Early Career Researcher University of Adelaide Australia — 2007 Recognition Most Outstanding Research Paper published in 2007 University of Adelaide Australia — 2005 Award Tall Poppy Science Award Australian Institute of Political Science — — 2003 Fellowship NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship NHMRC Australia — 2003 Scholarship World Academy of Arts and Science’s Emily Hartshorne Mudd Scholarship & C. Lalor Burdick Scholarship — — — 2002 Award Young Investigator Award, finalist Women’s and Children’s Hospital — — 2001 Award Ross Wishart Award Australian Society for Medical Research Australia — 2001 Award Find of National Science Week — Australia — 2001 Award Junior Scientist Award, 1st place Society for Reproductive Biology Australia — 2001 Research Award Trainee Research Award, 2nd place Society for the Study of Reproduction Australia — 1998 Award Australian Postgraduate Award — — — 1997 Award Junior Scientist Award, finalist Australian Society for Reproductive Biology — —
Date Institution name Country Title 1998 - 2002 University of Adelaide Australia PhD 1993 - 1997 University of Adelaide Australia BSc
Year Citation 2015 Panagopoulos, V., Zinonos, I., Liapis, V., Hay, S., Ingman, W., Iasiello, M. P., . . . Evdokiou, A. (2015). Uncovering a new role for peroxidases in breast cancer development and metastasis. In CLINICAL & EXPERIMENTAL METASTASIS Vol. 32 (pp. 227-228). SPRINGER. 2015 Huo, C. W., Huang, D., Chew, G. L., Hill, P., Ingman, W. V., Henderson, M., . . . Thompson, R. (2015). Comparing tissue compositions of within-individual mammographically high and low dense breast tissue. In CANCER RESEARCH Vol. 75 (pp. 2 pages). San Antonio, TX: AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH. 2009 Hull, M. L., Johan, M., & Ingman, W. V. (2009). Host Site TGFB1 Deficiency Constrains Endometriosis-Like Lesion Development. In REPRODUCTIVE SCIENCES Vol. 16 (pp. 101A). Glasgow, SCOTLAND: SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC. 2009 Ricciardelli, C., Frewin, K., Ingman, W., & Russell, D. L. (2009). Role of Adamts1 in mammary cancer growth and metastasis. In CLINICAL & EXPERIMENTAL METASTASIS Vol. 26 (pp. 922). SPRINGER. 2008 Robertson, S., Jasper, M., Bromfield, J., Care, A., Nakamura, H., & Ingman, W. (2008). The role of macrophages in implantation and early pregnancy success. In BIOLOGY OF REPRODUCTION Vol. 78 (pp. 274-275). Kailua Kona, HI: SOC STUDY REPRODUCTION.
Year Citation 2018 Bernhardt, S., Townsend, A., Price, T., & Ingman, W. (2018). Hormonal modulation of breast cancer gene expression and implications for diagnosis and treatment of premenopausal women. Poster session presented at the meeting of CLINICAL ENDOCRINOLOGY. Perth, AUSTRALIA: WILEY. 2017 Liapis, V., Labrinidis, A., Zinonos, I., Hay, S., Ponomarev, V., Panagopoulos, V., . . . Evdokiou, A. (2017). Anticancer efficacy of the hypoxia-activated pro-drug evofosfamide in prcelinIcal osteosarcoma murine models. Poster session presented at the meeting of INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR MEDICINE. SPANDIDOS PUBL LTD. 2017 Liapis, V., Zinonos, I., Labrinidis, A., Hay, S., Ponomarev, V., Panagopoulos, V., . . . Evdokiou, A. (2017). The hypoxia activated pro-drug evofosfamide exhibits tumour suppressive activity and synergy with chemotherapy against primary and metastatic breast cancers. Poster session presented at the meeting of INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR MEDICINE. SPANDIDOS PUBL LTD. 2016 Huo, C. W., Chew, G., Waltham, M., Ingman, W., Brown, K., Timpson, P., . . . Britt, K. (2016). THE BIOLOGY UNDERLYING MAMMOGRAPHIC DENSITY AND PRECLINICAL MOUSE MODELS TO TEST NEW THERAPIES. Poster session presented at the meeting of ASIA-PACIFIC JOURNAL OF CLINICAL ONCOLOGY. WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2013 Johan, M. Z., Ingman, W., Robertson, S., & Hull, M. (2013). Activation Status of Macrophages in Lesions from a MacGreen/SCID Mouse Model of Endometriosis. Poster session presented at the meeting of REPRODUCTIVE SCIENCES. Orlando, FL: SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC. 2010 Ingman, W., Chua, A., Hodson, L., & Robertson, S. (2010). Novel roles for macrophages in epithelial cell turnover in the cycling adult mammary gland. Poster session presented at the meeting of JOURNAL OF REPRODUCTIVE IMMUNOLOGY. Palm Grove, AUSTRALIA: ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD.
2010 Jasper, M., Care, A., Sullivan, B., Ingman, W., Aplin, J., & Robertson, S. (2010). Uterine epithelial cell fucosylated structures are regulated by macrophages during early pregnancy in mouse. Poster session presented at the meeting of JOURNAL OF REPRODUCTIVE IMMUNOLOGY. Palm Grove, AUSTRALIA: ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD.
2010 Care, A. S., Jasper, M. J., Ingman, W. V., & Robertson, S. A. (2010). Macrophages are essential for maintenance of corpus luteum function in early pregnancy. Poster session presented at the meeting of Meeting Abstracts, as published in Biology of Reproduction. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Society for the Study of Reproduction. 2009 Ingman, W. V., Chua, A. C., Clark, L. J., & Robertson, S. A. (2009). Key roles for macrophages in the proliferation, differentiation, and phagocytosis of epithetial cells in the mammary gland of cycling mice. Poster session presented at the meeting of Abstracts of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, as published in Biology of Reproduction. Pittsburgh, PA: Society for the Study of Reproduction.
|Date||Project Title||Investigators||Funding Body||Amount|
|2016 - 2017||Exploring the impact of menstrual cycling on personalised medicine for premenopausal breast cancer patients||W Ingman||The Hospital Research Foundation||100 000|
|2015 - 2016||Inflammation in mammographic density and breast cancer risk||A Evdokiou, W Ingman||The Hospital Research Foundation||110 000|
|2011 - 2014||Immune system determinants of breast cancer susceptibility||W Ingman||National Breast Cancer Foundation||600 000|
|2013 - 2014||A novel concept for parity-induced breast cancer protection||W Ingman||National Breast Cancer Foundation||199 997|
|2011 - 2012||Control of breast density and cancer risk by stromal-epithelial interactions||W Ingman||National Breast Cancer Foundation||199 772|
|2011 - 2013||TGFB1 is a pivotal regulator of endometriotic lesion development||L Hull, W Ingman||Australian National Health and Medical Research Council||423 786|
|2011||Understanding the inflammatory basis of mastitis||W Ingman||Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation||70 000|
|2009 - 2011||Macrophages in developmental programming of reproductive health||W Ingman||Australian National Health and Medical Research Council||511 500|
|2011||Extracellular matrix – macrophage crosstalk in the mammary gland||W Ingman, Ricciardelli C, Russell D, Sharkey DJ||Robinson Institute||12 000|
|2003 - 2008||Macrophages in mammary gland development and disease||W Ingman||Australian National Health and Medical Research Council||368 000|
|2007||Establishing a mouse model to study the role of TGFbeta-regulated macrophages in reproductive biology||W Ingman||Research Centre for Reproductive Health||10 000|
|2006 - 2007||Physiological role of TGFbeta 1 in erectile dysfunction||W Ingman, Musgrave I, Robertson SA||University of Adelaide||25 000|
|2005 - 2006||Macrophage regulating cytokines in mammary gland development and disease||W Ingman, Robertson SA||University of Adelaide||17 000|
2009 – present
- Guest lecturer in Comparative Reproductive Biology of Mammals III, Bachelor of Health Science, University of Adelaide, Australia. Lectures focus on mammary gland development, lactation, evolution of mammary gland and comparative biology of lactation in different mammals.
- Guest lecturer in Animal Reproduction and Development III, Bachelor of Animal Science, University of Adelaide, Australia. Lectures focus on mammary gland development, lactation, comparative biology of lactation in different mammals and mammary gland diseases in livestock.
- General examiner, Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide Honours course
- Supervisor of 4th year research project, Bachelor of Medicine, University of Adelaide
- Supervisor for Structural Cell Biology III, Bachelor of Health Science, University of Adelaide
1998 – 2000
- Tutor and Examiner (part-time employment)
Introductory Medicine course for first and second year medical students, University of Adelaide
Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2017 Principal Supervisor The Role of Adipocytes in Breast Density Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Amita Gautam Ghadge 2016 Principal Supervisor The role of Gg in modulation of macrophage function and breast cancer susceptibility Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Joseph Wrin
Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)
Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name 2016 - 2020 Principal Supervisor The effect of menstrual cycling on genomic predictive biomarkers in premenopausal breast cancer Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Sarah Margaret Bernhardt 2015 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Hormone and transcription factor regulation of cytokines in the mammary gland Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Vahid Atashgaran 2015 - 2020 Principal Supervisor Immune Modulation of Mammographic Density and Breast Cancer Risk Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Maddison Rose McKinnon Archer 2012 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Cytokine-macrophage Regulatory Network in Mammary Gland Development and Tumourigenesis Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Xuan Sun 2011 - 2014 Co-Supervisor The Effect of Macrophages on Fibroblast Activity and Lesion Development in Mouse Models of Endometriosis Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Mohammad Zahied Johan 2011 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Effect of C1q Null Mutation on Mammary Gland Development and Breast Cancer Susceptibility Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Siti Mariam Noor Din 2009 - 2012 Co-Supervisor The Role of Macrophages in Early Pregnancy Success Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Alison Care
Date Role Board name Institution name Country 2008 - 2011 Council Society for Reproductive Biology — —
Date Role Committee Institution Country 2012 - 2015 Chair Basil Hetzel Institute Management Committee The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Australia
Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country 2015 - ongoing Associate Editor Frontiers in Endocrinology — —
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