Dr Vijesh Vaghjiani is a Postdoctoral Scientist with the Developmental and Cancer Biology research group and the Sarcoma program.

Dr Vaghjiani’s research program focuses on understanding the oncogenic roles of embryonic signalling pathways in cancer. He is particularly interested in the Hedgehog signalling pathway that is strongly implicated in a variety of both paediatric and adult cancers. Dr Vaghjiani’s work utilises robust in vitro and in vivo preclinical models of Hedgehog-dependent cancer to investigate the mechanisms leading to tumorigenesis and progression as well as the identification and validation of biomarkers and specific pathway inhibitors. His current work focuses on developing multi-pronged approaches to exploit vulnerability of cancers with activated hedgehog signalling. He is interested in understanding the mechanisms of pathway activation in hedgehog ligand-driven tumorigenesis. Dr Vaghjiani is a recipient of Victorian Cancer Agency Early-Career Research Fellow investigating hedgehog signalling in osteosarcoma.

Selected publications

  • Vaghjiani V, Cain JE, Lee W, Vaithilingam V, Tuch BE, St John JC (2017) Modulation of Mitochondrial DNA Copy Number to Induce Hepatocytic Differentiation of Human Amniotic Epithelial Cells. Stem Cells Dev 26:1505-1519.

  • Fleuren EDG, Vlenterie M, van der Graf WTA, Hillebrandt-Roeffen MHS, Blackburn J, Ma Xiuquan, Chan H, Magias MC, van Erp A, van Houdt L, Cebeci SAS, van de Ven A, Flucke UE, Heyer EE, Thomas D, Lord CJ, Marini KD, Vaghjiani V, Mercer TR, Cain JE, Wu J, Versleijen-Jonkers YMH, Daly RJ (2017) Phosphoproteomic profiling across sarcoma subtypes reveals ALK and MET as novel actionable targets in synovial sarcomas. Cancer Res77:4279-4292.

  • Johnson J, Lee W, Frazier AE, Vaghjiani V, Laskowski A, Rodriguez AL, Cagnone G, McKenzie M, White SJ, Nisbet DR, Thorburn DR, St John JC (2016) Deletion of the complex I subunit NDUFS4 adversely modulates cellular differentiation. Stem Cells Dev 25:239-250.

  • Cagnone G, Vaghjiani V, Lee W, Sun C, Johnson J, Yeung KY, St John JC (2016) Analysis of the Mitochondrial DNA and Its Replicative Capacity in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. Methods Mol Biol 1357:231-267.

  • Lee W, Johnson J, Gough DJ, Donoghue J, Cagnone GL, Vaghjiani V, Brown KA, Johns TG, St John JC (2015) Mitochondrial DNA copy number is regulated by DNA methylation and demethylation of POLGA in stem and cancer cells and their differentiated progeny. Cell Death Dis 6:e1664.

  • Vaghjiani V, Vaithilingam V, Saraswati I, Sali A, Murthi P, Kalionis B, Tuch BE, Manuelpillai U (2014) Hepatocyte-like cells derived from human amniotic epithelial cells can be encapsulated without loss of viability or function in vitro. Stem Cells Dev 23:866-876.

  • Hodge A, Lourensz D, Vaghjiani V, Nguyen H, Tchongue J, Wang B, Murthi P, Sievert W, Manuelpillai U (2014) Soluble factors derived from human amniotic epithelial cells suppress collagen production in human hepatic stellate cells. Cytotherapy 16:1132-1144.

  • Liu YH, Chan J, Vaghjiani V, Murthi P, Manuelpillai U, Toh BH (2014) Human amniotic epithelial cells suppress relapse of corticosteroid-remitted experimental autoimmune disease. Cytotherapy 16:535-544.

  • Vaghjiani V, Vaithilingam V, Tuch B, Sievert W, Manuelpillai U (2013) Deriving hepatocyte-like cells from placental cells for transplantation. Curr Stem Cell Res Ther 8:15-24.

  • Moodley Y, Vaghjiani V, Chan J, Baltic S, Ryan M, Tchongue J, Samuel CS, Murthi P, Parolini O, Manuelpillai U (2013) Anti-inflammatory effects of adult stem cells in sustained lung injury: a comparative study. PLoS One 8:e69299.

  • Tee JY, Vaghjiani V, Liu YH, Murthi P, Chan J, Manuelpillai U (2013) Immunogenicity and immunomodulatory properties of hepatocyte-like cells derived from human amniotic epithelial cells. Curr Stem Cell Res Ther 8:91-99.

  • Vaithilingam V, Fung C, Ratnapala S, Foster J, Vaghjiani V, Manuelpillai U, Tuch BE (2013) Characterisation of the xenogeneic immune response to microencapsulated fetal pig islet-like cell clusters transplanted into immunocompetent C57BL/6 mice. PLoS One 8:e59120.