Prof Marc Achen

Research Unit

Lymphatic, adipose & regenerative medicine


Co-Head, Lymphatic, Adipose & Regenerative Medicine, O’Brien Institute Department, SVI

Professional Experience

1985-89        PhD, Russell Grimwade School of Biochemistry,
                     University of Melbourne
1989-94        Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology,
                     Martinsried, Germany
1995-6          Research Fellow, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Melbourne
1996-2010    Head, Angiogenesis Laboratory, Ludwig Institute for Cancer
                     Research, Melbourne
2010–19       Head, Tumour Angiogenesis Program, Peter MacCallum
                     Cancer Centre, Melbourne
2014-20        Professor, Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology,
                     University of Melbourne
2020             Senior Principal Research Fellow and Laboratory Head,
                     O’Brien Institute Department, St Vincent’s Institute, Melbourne


1991              Awarded Research Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation,
2004             Awarded NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship
2004             Awarded NHMRC Program Grant
2005             Founded Lymphatix Oy, a private biotechnology company in
                     Helsinki, Finland
2005             Awarded George Hodgson Medal for Medical Science by
                     Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
2006             Involved in founding Vegenics Ltd, a Melbourne biotechnology
2008             Awarded NHMRC Program Grant
2009             Appointed Member of Special Emphasis Grant Review Panel, NIH,
2009             Awarded “Ten of the Best Research Projects” by NHMRC
2009             Awarded NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship
2011              50th patent granted with Marc Achen as Inventor
2014              Awarded NHMRC Program Grant
2019              18,000th citation of Marc Achen’s publications (Google Scholar)
2020              Awarded NHMRC Ideas Grant

Research Interests

Vascular biology, Lymphatic biology, Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs), Angiogenesis, Lymphangiogenesis, Lymphoedema, Inflammation.

Selected Publications

  1. Achen, M.G., Jeltsch, M., Kukk, E., Makinen, T., Vitali, A., Wilks, A.F., Alitalo, K. and Stacker, S.A. Vascular endothelial growth factor-D (VEGF-D) is a ligand for the tyrosine kinases VEGF receptor-2 (Flk1) and VEGF receptor-3 (Flt4).  Proc Natl Acad Sci USA  95 (1998) 548-553. (Citations=1,458)*
  2. Stacker, S.A., Stenvers, K., Caesar, C., Vitali, A., Domagala, T., Nice, E., Roufail, S., Simpson, R.J., Moritz, R., Karpanen, T., Alitalo, K. and Achen, M.G.   Biosynthesis of vascular endothelial growth factor-D involves proteolytic processing which generates non-covalent homodimers.  J Biol Chem  274 (1999) 32127-32136. (Citations=397)
  3. Stacker, S.A., Caesar, C., Baldwin, M.E., Thornton, G.E., Williams, R.A., Prevo, R., Jackson, D.G., Nishikawa, S.-i., Kubo, H. and Achen, M.G.  VEGF-D promotes the metastatic spread of tumor cells via the lymphatics.  Nature Medicine  7 (2001) 186-191. (Citations=1,591)
  4. Baldwin, M.E., Catimel, B., Nice, E.C., Roufail, S., Hall, N.E., Stenvers, K.L., Karkkainen, M.J., Alitalo, K., Stacker, S.A. and Achen, M.G.  The specificity of receptor binding by vascular endothelial growth factor-D is different in mouse and man. J Biol Chem  276 (2001) 19166-19171. (Citations=216)
  5. Stacker, S.A., Achen, M.G., Jussila, L., Baldwin, M.E. and Alitalo, K.  Lymphangiogenesis and cancer metastasis.  Nature Reviews Cancer  2 (2002) 573-583. Invited review. (Citations=914)
  6. McColl, B.K., Baldwin, M.E., Roufail, S., Freeman, C., Moritz, R.L., Simpson, R.J., Alitalo, K., Stacker, S.A. and Achen, M.G.  Plasmin activates the lymphangiogenic growth factors VEGF-C and VEGF-D.  J Exp Med  198 (2003) 863-868. (Citations=256)
  7. Baldwin, M.E., Halford, M.M., Roufail, S., Williams, R.A., Hibbs, M.L., Grail, D., Kubo, H., Stacker, S.A. and Achen, M.G.  Vascular endothelial growth factor-D is dispensible for development of the lymphatic system.  Mol Cell Biol,  25 (2005) 2441-2449. (Citations=331)
  8. Achen, M.G., McColl, B.K. and Stacker, S.A.  Focus on lymphangiogenesis in tumor metastasis.  Cancer Cell  7 (2005) 121-127.  Invited review. (Citations=377)
  9. McColl, B.K., Paavonen, K., Karnezis, T., Harris, N.C., Davydova, N., Rothaker, J., Nice, E.C., Harder, K.W., Roufail, S., Hibbs, M.L., Rogers. P.A.W., Alitalo, K., Stacker, S.A. and Achen, M.G.  Proprotein convertases promote processing of VEGF-D, a critical step for binding the angiogenic receptor VEGFR-2. FASEB J  21 (2007) 1088-1098. (Citations=115)
  10. Francois, M., Caprini, A., Hosking, B., Orsenigo, F., Wilhelm, D., Browne, C., Paavonen, K., Karnezis, T., Shayan, R., Downes, M., Davidson, T., Tutt, D., Cheah, K.S.E., Stacker, S.A., Muscat, G.E.O., Achen, M.G., Dejana, E., and Koopman, P.  Sox18 induces development of the lymphatic vasculature in mice. Nature  456 (2008) 643-647.  (Citations=433)
  11. Harris, N.C., Paavonen, K., Davydova, N., Roufail, S., Sato, T., Zhang, Y.-F., Karnezis, T., Stacker, S.A. and Achen M.G.  Proteolytic processing of vascular endothelial growth factor-D is essential for its capacity to promote the growth and spread of cancer.  FASEB  25 (2011) 2615-2625. (Citations=43)
  12. Karnezis, T., Shayan, R., Caesar, C., Roufail, S., Harris, N.C., Ardipradja, K., Zhang, Y.-F., Williams, S.P., Farnsworth, R.H., Chai, M.G., Rupasinghe, T., Tull, D., Baldwin, M.E., Sloan, E.K., Fox, S.B., Achen, M.G. and Stacker, S.A.  VEGF-D promotes tumor metastasis by regulating prostaglandins produced by the collecting lymphatic endothelium.  Cancer Cell  21 (2012) 181-195. (Citations=233)
  13. Harris, N.C., Davydova, N., Roufail, S., Paquet-Fifield, S., Paavonen, K., Karnezis, T., Zhang, Y.-F., Sato, T., Rothacker, J., Nice, E.C., Stacker, S.A. and Achen, M.G.  The propeptides of VEGF-D determine heparin binding, receptor heterodimerization and effects on tumor biology.  J Biol Chem  288 (2013) 8176-8186. (Citations=34)
  14. Paquet-Fifield, S., Levy, S., Sato, T., Shayan, R., Karnezis, T., Davydova, N., Nowell, C.J., Roufail, S., Ma, G.Z.-M., Zhang, Y.-F., Stacker, S.A. and Achen M.G.  Vascular endothelial growth factor-D modulates calibre and function of initial lymphatics in the dermis. J Invest Dermatol  133 (2013) 2074-2084. (Citations=27)
  15. Stacker, S.A., Williams, S.P., Karnezis, T., Shayan, R., Fox, S.B. and Achen, M.G.  Lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic vessel remodeling in cancer. Nature Reviews Cancer  14 (2014) 159-172.  Invited review. (Citations=405)
  16. Sato, T., Paquet-Fifield, S., Harris, N.C., Roufail, S., Turner, D.J. Yuan, Y., Zhang, Y.F., Fox, S.B., Hibbs, M.L., Wilkinson-Berka, J.L., Williams, R.A., Stacker, S.A., Sly, P.D. and Achen, M.G.  VEGF-D promotes pulmonary oedema in hyperoxic acute lung injury. J Pathol  239 (2016) 152-161. (Citations=15)
  17. Davydova, N., Harris, N.C., Roufail, S., Paquet-Fifield, S., Ishaq, M., Streltsov, V.A., Williams, S.P., Karnezis, T., Stacker, S.A. and Achen M.G.  Differential receptor binding and regulatory mechanisms for the lymphangiogenic growth factors VEGF-C and VEGF-D. J Biol Chem  291 (2016) 27265-27278. (Citations=21)
  18. Williams, S.P., Odell, A.F., Karnezis, T., Farnsworth, R.H., Gould, C.M., Li, J., Paquet-Fifield, S., Harris, N.C., Walter, A., Gregory, J.L., Lamont, S.F., Takano, E.A., Nowell, C.J., Bower, N.I., Resnick, D., Smyth, G.K., Coultas, L., Hogan, B.M., Fox, S.B., Mueller, S.N., Simpson, K.J., Achen, M.G. and Stacker, S.A. Genome-wide functional analysis reveals central signalling regulators of lymphatic endothelial cell migration and remodelling. Science Signaling  10 (2017) 499. (Citations=11)
  19. Karnezis, T., Farnsworth, R., Harris, N.C., Williams, S.P., Caesar, C., Byrne, D.J., Herle, P., Macheda, M.L., Shayan, R., Zhang, Y.-F., Yazar, S., Takouridis, S.J., Gerard, C., Fox, S., Achen, M.G. and Stacker, S.A.  CCL27/CCL28-CCR10 chemokine signalling mediates migration of lymphatic endothelial cells.  Cancer Res 79 (2019) 1558-1572.
  20. Vogrin, A.J., Bower, N.I., Gunzburg, M.J., Roufail, S., Okuda, K.S., Paterson, S., Headey, S.J., Stacker, S.A., Hogan, B.M. and Achen, M.G.  Evolutionary differences in the Vegf/Vegfr code reveal organotypic roles for the endothelial cell receptor Kdr in developmental lymphangiogenesis. Cell Reports  28 (2019) 2023-2036

*Citation numbers derived from Google Scholar