Candidate for Council Member for Inclusion and Training, 2-3 Years – 2021 ICIS Leadership Election

Farhad Dehkhoda, MSc, PhD

Farhad Dehkhoda, MSc, PhD
Postdoctoral Scientist
Nicholson Laboratory, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Farhad Dehkhoda has been active in the field of cytokine biology for over 5 years. Farhad’s primary research focus is understanding how cytokine signalling is regulated and how this can be harnessed for therapeutic benefit. After completing his undergraduate degree at the Azad University of Tabriz in Iran, Farhad moved to Australia to pursue a research career. After a Masters degree, Farhad was awarded an Australian Postgraduate award to join Prof Andrew Brooks at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, completing a PhD investigating the mechanism of activation of the IL-6 family receptor subunit, gp130. This work demonstrated the importance of correct spatial positioning for both the receptor cytoplasmic domains and the JAK kinase domains for initiation of signalling, and is currently being prepared for publication. Farhad has been the recipient of several travel awards, presenting his findings at national and international conferences, including the EMBO Cytokine Signalling and Cancer Therapy meeting (Croatia, 2018), and EMBO Proteins and Complexity meeting (Greece, 2017). Farhad joined Assoc/Prof Sandra Nicholson’s laboratory at WEHI in Oct 2019, where he has been working on identifying novel regulators of cytokine signalling and contributing to a multidisciplinary drug discovery program. Despite the challenges and ongoing disruption of laboratory-based research caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Farhad has generated some exciting results on the role of the E3 ligase AMBRA1 in SOCS regulation of cytokine signalling, and was selected to give a short talk at the 8th annual ICIS meeting in 2020.

Farhad has had the added challenge of juggling both an academic research project and a leading role in a collaboration with an international pharmaceutical company to develop SOCS inhibitors as new immunotherapies. This has required both excellent time management and the ability to interact with a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, both within WEHI and overseas. Farhad has risen to the challenge, taking on a new lab, new skills and a new city. He has made great progress in characterising an unappreciated component of the SOCS box E3 ubiquitin ligase complex and become a local expert in cellular thermal shift assays. Farhad is an outstanding young scientist with an inquiring mind who is not only passionate about his research, but is also about passionate about diversity and representation in science.

Statement from Farhad Dehkhoda:

I am writing to express my willingness to serve as a member of the Council for Inclusion and Training. As an Australian immigrant from Iran, I believe I can offer a perspective from a minority point of view that will assist in organising diverse and inclusive scientific meetings. I believe that serving as a Council member will be an invaluable opportunity to make a genuine contribution to the cytokine field and develop leadership and management skills under the mentorship of Council members