About Us

Ian Vela

Ian Vela


  • Urologic Oncologist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Department of Urology
  • Senior Research Fellow, APCRC-Q
  • Member, IHBI, QUT
  • Senior Lecturer and Examiner, The University of Queensland, School of Medicine

Contact Details

+61 7 3240 2111
Linkedin profile


2012 - 2014

Society for Urologic Oncology (SUO) Urologic Oncology Fellow Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), New York

2012- present 

Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Urology – FRACS (Urology) Royal Australasian College of Surgeons

2006 - 2010

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the field of Medicine The University of Queensland School of Medicine

1997 - 2000

Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery The University of Queensland (MBBS)

1994 - 1996

Bachelor of Science (BSc) The University of Queensland


Dr Vela is an early career clinician scientist at the APCRC-Q and Consultant Urologist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital with subspecialty training in Urologic Oncology.

Dr Vela has a molecular and cellular biology research background and was awarded his PhD from the University of Queensland in 2010, identifying a novel Wnt pathway associated gene (PITX2) in metastatic prostate cancer (publication submitted to Journal of Experimental Metastasis).

During his PhD, Dr Vela secured several grants/scholarships including a Smart State PhD scholarship (2007), Australasian Urologic Foundation scholarship (2006) and a University of Queensland Pathfinder grant (2009).

During this time, he collaborated with Team Leaders Prof Clements and Prof Nelson, being co-authors on publications, abstracts and international and national podium and poster presentations. Dr Vela was also an associate supervisor for two PhD students together with Profs Clements and Nelson.

Dr Vela has completed his training in Urology being awarded FRACS Urology in 2012 and was then selected for a two year Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO) Fellowship at the prestigious Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where he, together with Dr Charles Sawyers, Dr Brett Carver, Dr Yu Chen, and Dr Howard Scher (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), and Dr Hans Clevers (Hubrecht Institute in the Netherlands), was instrumental in developing cutting edge “organoid” culture technology.

This technology allows in vitro culture of metastatic prostate cancer tissue and circulating prostate cancer tumour cells (CTCs), and has lead to the development of multiple new metastatic prostate cancer cell lines (publication currently pending).

The fellowship also provided Dr Vela with extensive clinical training in advanced open, minimally invasive, endoscopic and robotic Urologic Oncology.

Awards and grants


May 2010

Best Poster: Prostate Cancer Basic Research IV, Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urologic Association

October 2009

Winner, Neville Davis Research Prize, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons

August 2009

Nominee of the Award for Excellence in Resident Education, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, QLD, Australia



EJ Whitten Foundation Fellowship


Movember Revolutionary Team Award


Australian Government Department of Health


University of Queensland Pathfinder Grant


Neville Davis Research Prize RACS QLD


Australasian Urologic Foundation Scholar


Queensland Cancer Fund Travel Grant


Smart State PhD Scholarship, Queensland Government

Research interests

metastatic and advanced prostate cancer, circulating tumor cells, urological oncology, urology

Current research projects

Circulating Tumor Cells culture and analysis in prostate and other solid organ malignancies

Metastatic Prostate Cancer Organoid Culture

The role of PITX2 in prostate cancer metastasis

Top publications

  • Gao D, Vela I, Sboner A, Iaquinta PJ, Karthaus WR, Gopalan A, Dowling C, Wanjala JN, Undvall EA, Arora VK, Wongvipat J, Kossai M, Ramazanoglu S, Barboza LP, Di W, Cao Z, Zhang QF, Sirota I, Ran L, MacDonald TY, Beltran H, Mosquera JM, Touijer KA, Scardino PT, Laudone VP, Curtis KR, Rathkopf DE, Morris MJ, Danila DC, Slovin SF, Solomon SB, Eastham JA, Chi P, Carver B, Rubin MA, Scher HI,, Clevers H, Sawyers CL, Chen Y. Organoid cultures derived from patients with, advanced prostate cancer. Cell. 2014 Sep 25;159(1):176-87. doi:, 10.1016/j.cell.2014.08.016. Epub 2014 Sep 4. PubMed PMID: 25201530,
  • Vela I, Morrissey C, Zhang X, Chen S, Corey E, Strutton GM, Nelson CC, Nicol, DL, Clements JA, Gardiner EM. PITX2 and non-canonical Wnt pathway interaction in , metastatic prostate cancer. Clin Exp Metastasis. 2014 Feb;31(2):199-211. doi:, 10.1007/s10585-013-9620-7. Epub 2013 Oct 26. PubMed PMID: 24162257
  • Laudone VP, Vela I. Editorial comment. Urology. 2013 Feb;81(2):331-2;, discussion 332-3. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2012.07.119. PubMed PMID: 23374794
  • Vela I, Gregory L, Gardiner EM, Clements JA, Nicol DL. Bone and prostate, cancer cell interactions in metastatic prostate cancer. BJU Int. 2007, Apr;99(4):735-42. Epub 2006 Dec 13. Review. PubMed PMID: 17166237


  • Handoo Rhee Urology Research Fellow, Princess Alexandra Hospital


Professional memberships and associations

2013 - present

Active Member,  Society for Basic Urologic Research (SBUR)

2012 - present

Candidate Member, Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO)

2012 - present

Full Member, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)

2012 - present

International Member, American Urological Association (AUA)

2012- present

Member, The Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group (ANZUP)


Member, Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ)


Fellow, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS)