Doug Hilton

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Doug Hilton
Doug hilton.jpg
Hilton in 2009
Born Douglas James Hilton
(1964-06-13) 13 June 1964 (age 52)
Eton, Berkshire, England
Nationality Australian
Fields Molecular biology and hematopoiesis
Institutions Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Education East Doncaster High School
Alma mater Monash University

Douglas "Doug" James Hilton AO, FAA (born 13 June 1964 in England) is an Australian molecular biologist. He is the Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia and Head of the Department of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne. His research has focused on cytokines, signal transduction pathways and the regulation of blood cell formation (hematopoiesis). Since 2014, Hilton has been the President of the Association of the Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI).[1]

Early life[edit]

Hilton migrated to Australia with his family in 1970 and grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Warrandyte. He was educated at Warrandyte Primary School and East Doncaster High School, where he recalls being inspired by “a wonderful biology teacher”.[2]

Scientific career[edit]


Hilton received a Bachelor of Science from Monash University. He spent summer holidays as an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of Ian Young at the John Curtin School of Medical Research. His Honours and PhD research projects were conducted with Professors Don Metcalf and Nicos Nicola at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and resulted in the cloning of the cytokine Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF).[3]

Cytokine Signalling and Blood Cell Formation[edit]

Hilton spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow studying the erythropoietin (EPO) receptor with Professor Harvey Lodish at the Whitehead Institute, MIT, USA.[3] In 1993 Hilton returned to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute where he continued his research into cytokine signalling, with discoveries including the interleukin-11 receptor, the interleukin-13 receptor, and the Suppressors of Cytokine Signalling (SOCS) proteins. In recent years, together with Professor Warren Alexander and Dr Benjamin Kile, Hilton has established a new program using large-scale mouse genetics and genomics to identify regulators of blood cell formation, with a view to determining targets for the development of new medicines. He has been the head of the Institute’s Division of Molecular Medicine since it began in 2006, and is a professor in the University of Melbourne Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Science.

Other positions[edit]

From 1997 to 2001, Hilton served as Director of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Cellular Growth Factors,[4] during which he initiated the Australian Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). He is also a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of the biotechnology company MuriGen Therapeutics.[5] He currently serves on the Board of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, the Australian Cancer Research Foundation Medical Research Advisory Committee,[6] the Victorian Cancer Agency Plan Implementation Committee, the Victorian Life Sciences Computational Initiative Steering Committee,[7] the Board of the Bio21 Cluster,[8] and the Board of the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Thailand.[9]

Directorship of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute[edit]

On 1 July 2009, Hilton became the sixth Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.[10]

At the time of appointment, Hilton believed that the Institute’s success requires:[citation needed]

  • continuing its cornerstone research into cancer, blood cells, immunology, autoimmunity and infectious diseases, and enhancing this research with technological and investigative innovations including structural biology, chemistry, high-throughput screening, and mathematics and computational science.
  • expanding the translational research conducted by the Institute and considering, in collaboration with indigenous communities and other organisations, ways in which the research strengths of the Institute can be constructively utilised to improve indigenous health in Australia.
  • enhancing the institute’s links with the University of Melbourne, the Royal Melbourne Hospital and other leading centres of excellence in medical research and education, and continuing to pursue collaborations with the private sector.

Awards and honours[edit]

  • 1989 — Victorian Young Achiever of the Year
  • 1993 — Queen Elizabeth II Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1998 — Gottschalk Medal, Australian Academy of Science[11]
  • 1999 — Australian Institute of Political Science, Victorian "Tall Poppy" Award[12]
  • 2000 — Amgen Medical Researcher Award, Australian Society for Medical Research
  • 2000 — Inaugural Commonwealth Health Minister's Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research
  • 2003 — The GlaxoSmithKline Australia Award for Research Excellence
  • 2004 — Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science[13]
  • 2006 — COSMOS Bright Spark Award "Australia's Top 10 Scientific Minds Under 45"[14]
  • 2008 — Australia National Health and Medical Research Council “Ten great minds in health and medical research”[15]
  • 2009 — The Age Melbourne Magazine, “Top 100 People”
  • 2010 — Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
  • 2011 — Seymour & Vivian Milstein Award for Excellence in Interferon and Cytokine Research, International Cytokine Society and the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research[16]
  • 2011 — Research Australia Leadership and Innovation Award[17]
  • 2012 — Lemberg Medal, Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology[18]
  • 2012 — Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers[19]
  • 2013 — Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research [20][21]
  • 2015 — Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences[22]
  • 2016 — Officer in the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medical research and education, particularly in the field of haematology, as a molecular biologist and author, to gender equity, and as a mentor of young scientists.[23]


  1. ^ President. (20 June 2014). Retrieved on 2016-10-26.
  2. ^ A conversation with Professor Doug Hilton NHMRC podcast, 20 March 2008.
  3. ^ a b The Director Archived 16 February 2011 on Wayback Machine. Walter and Eliza Hall Institute website.
  4. ^ Ludwig Institute Archives. (24 June 2011). Retrieved on 2016-10-26.
  5. ^ Scientific Advisory Board MuriGen Therapeutics.
  6. ^ "ACRF Medical Research Advisory Committee". Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "The Victorian Life Sciences Computational Initiative Steering Committee". Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Bio21 Cluster Board". Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  9. ^ National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. Archived 16 March 2011 on Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute announces the next Director Archived 1 March 2011 on Wayback Machine. WEHI press release, 24 February 2009.
  11. ^ Young Australian Researchers Get Recognition At The Highest Level Archived 10 March 2011 on Wayback Machine. 24 March 1998.
  12. ^ Young Tall Poppy Science Award winners – Victoria 1999 Archived 18 February 2011 on Wayback Machine. Australian Institute of Policy and Science website.
  13. ^ Science Academy Elects New Members Archived 21 December 2010 on Wayback Machine. Australian Academy of Science Media Release, 26 March 2004.
  14. ^ Cosmos Bright Sparks: Australia's top 10 young minds announced Archived 10 April 2011 on Wayback Machine. COSMOS Magazine Media Release, 26 July 2006.
  15. ^ Great minds in health and medical research National Health and Medical Research Council.
  16. ^ "2011 Milstein Award Announcement". 1 July 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  18. ^ Douglas Hilton. ASBMB (20 June 2014). Retrieved on 2016-10-26.
  19. ^ "Eureka Prize winners". The Sydney Morning Herald. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2016. 
  20. ^ Filmer, Natalie (30 October 2013). "Warrandyte research scientist Professor Douglas Hilton wins prestigious award for his work". Manningham Leader. Retrieved 10 September 2016. 
  21. ^ Ramaciotti 2013 Doug Hilton. YouTube (3 July 2014). Retrieved on 2016-10-26.
  22. ^ "AAMRI President appointed fellow of new Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences". Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2016. 
  23. ^ "It's an Honour – Hilton, Douglas James". Canberra: Australian Governor. 13 June 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 

External links[edit]