Director of Monash Haematology receives academic promotion

Director of Clinical Haematology at Monash Health Professor Stephen Opat has been acknowledged for his significant achievements with an academic promotion at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University.

Professor Opat’s research aims to improve outcomes for patients with lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, and to achieve these ends he has employed a number of strategies.

“The Lymphoma and Related Diseases Registry (housed within Monash University’s, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine) enables haematologists across Australia and New Zealand to monitor access to care; benchmark outcomes nationally and internationally; explore variation in practice; and act as a resource for clinical trials,” said Professor Opat.

As Director of the Monash Haematology Clinical Research Unit, Professor Opat has also been principal investigator in over 40 studies in lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

“Monash Health has been a major contributor to the development of numerous compounds for the treatment of malignant and non-malignant blood disease, and our Unit is engaged in all aspects of clinical research, from first in human to large international phase III studies.”

Professor Opat said the Unit’s outstanding success is in no small part due to its managers Micheleine Uhe and Jeanette Gamgee, and their dedicated team of trial personnel.

Another research interest of Professor Opat’s is improving the understanding of lymphoma biology to facilitate the rational application of targeted therapy.

“The Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance Lymphoma flagship is a collaborative effort to improve outcomes for patients with poor-risk non-Hodgkins lymphoma through gaining an understanding of the genetic lesions involved in the malignant transformation of lymphoid cells,” said Professor Opat.

“Our collaborative project involves genetic sequencing of tumour DNA coding regions to identify genetic variants that may help guide treatment.”

Professor Opat said he is extremely proud of his attachment to both Monash University and Monash Health and sees his academic promotion as an acknowledgement of the hard work and achievement of Monash Haematology.

“We often 'hit above our weight' but have a lower profile than the more established high profile institutions.”

Beyond haematology, Professor Opat’s other passion is road cycling.  He is about to embark on a six day cycling adventure in Kyushu, Japan to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation to support patients and research in blood cancer.

“It beats shaving my head—and if anyone wants to sponsor me they can do so here:,” said Professor Opat.

Professor Opat is President, Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand; Chair, Steering Committee, Lymphoma and Related Diseases Registry; and Chair, Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance Lymphoma Flagship.