About Us

Michael Doran

Michael Doran


  • Group Leader Stem Cell Therapies Laboratory, IHBI, QUT
  • Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health, QUT
  • Honorary Research Fellow, Mater Medical Research Institute

Contact Details

+61 7 3443 7348


PhD, Biomedical Engineering, University of New South Wales, Australia, 2006

BEng, Chemical Engineering, University of Alberta, 2001

BSc,  Genetics, University of Alberta, 1997


A/Prof Mike Doran completed a BSc (Genetics) and BEng (Chemical) at the University of Alberta in Canada. Following a brief career as a Project Manager for Exxon/Mobile, A/Prof Doran relocated to Sydney, Australia to undertake a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. As a PhD student, he contributed to the development of a bioreactor for stem cell expansion. This system was subsequently integrated with CaridianBCT’s dialysis robotics platform.

Following his PhD (2006), A/Prof Doran completed two postdoctoral fellowships split between the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Mater Medical Research Institute (MMRI). During this time he filed two more patents, lectured a fourth year Engineering Subject for three years at UQ, mentored postgraduate students, published a number of high-impact papers, won UniQuest Trailblazer Innovation awards in three consecutive years, won four external competitive grants and presented internationally at a number of conferences.

In 2010, A/Prof Doran relocated to QUT where he was awarded the prestigious QUT Vice Chancellor’s Fellowship. He is a Group Leader at the Translational Research Institute (TRI) on the Princess Alexandra Hospital campus with a growing research team which includes six PhD students, a research assistant and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

Awards and grants


NHMRC Project Grant

The microniche: A novel in-vitro and in-vivo prostate cancer model system

Doran, Vela, Tse, Russell


NHMRC Project Grant

Coupling an injectable gel and MSC microtissues to enhance cartilage repair

Doran, Klein, Xiao, Crawford


NHMRC Project Grant

Engineering an Osteochondral Tissue for Cartilage Defect Repair

Cooper-White, Doran

2013, 2014, 2015

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia

Engineering a High-Throughput Prostate Cancer Stem Cell Niche Mimic

Doran, Chambers, Clements



Innovations in Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU) Wound Care

Upton, Doran, Khosrotehrani


Wound Healing Innovation CRC

Rapid production system for HSE



Wound Healing Innovation CRC

Expansion of MSCs



Perpetual Philanthropies

The Next Step in Cartilage

Doran and Klein


Inner Wheel Australia

Temporary Immune Support for Cord Blood Transplant Recipients




Taking the Limp out of Cartilage Repair

Cooper-White and Doran


Inner Wheel Australia

Defining the oxygen and redox conditions for human cord blood stem cell expansion

Doran, Nielsen, Atkinson, Brooke

Research interests

A/Prof Mike Doran is a Bioengineer with interests in stem cells, regenerative medicine and cancer models.  He has formal training in Genetics (BSc) and Chemical Engineering (BEng) from the University of Alberta, Canada.  A/Prof Doran then worked as a Project Manager for Esso (Exxon/Mobile) before undertaking a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

A/Prof Doran directs a small research team through the Queensland University of Technology, and his Laboratory is located at the Translational Research Institute on the Princess Alexandra Hospital Campus (Brisbane, Australia).  A/Prof Doran also consults for a Brisbane-based Intellectual Property law firm as an expert witness in patent oppositions.

Current research projects

Cartilage tissue engineering

Cartilage is a hard-to-heal tissue, and cartilage defects are more likely to further degrade rather than regenerate.  A/Prof Doran's group is developing novel cartilage repair technologies to enhance cartilage tissue regeneration. His group is particularly interested in enhancing the differentiation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSC) into chondrocytes and the generation of high-quality cartilage tissue matrix.  His group developed methods for the rapid production of cartilage microtissues and their assembly into larger cartilage tissues.  The links to two relevant papers are provided below:



Bioreactors for large-scale blood cell manufacture

It is now possible to cultivate red blood cells, neutrophils and other blood cell types in vitro.  However, existing manufacturing methods are not efficient and this compromises the economic feasibility of using manufactured blood cells in the clinic.  There are a number of bottlenecks in these processes, but two significant limiting factors are the volumes of blood cell cultures and the quantities of proteins consumed by these cultures. A/Prof Doran's group has contributed to the development of membrane bioreactor systems that aim to reduce both culture volumes and the culture protein consumption.  The links to two relevant papers are provided below:



Stem cell niche mimics

Haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplants are routine and life-saving therapies. However, in some transplant scenarios the low number of stem cells available limits both the safety and efficacy of transplants. Despite recent progress in the field, it is still not possible to achieve true HSC self-renewal in vitro.  As a result expanded HSC populations do not engraft long-term in human patients.  It is assumed that achieving true HSC self-renewal in vitro is dependent on the capacity of the culture to mimic or recapitulate the bone marrow HSC niche microenvironment.  A/Prof Doran's laboratory was the first to develop a high-throughput 3D bone marrow niche mimic - "micromarrow".  The 3D micromarrow HSC niche mimic is more effective at mimicking the complex bone marrow microenvironment than traditional 2D cultures. The micromarrow niche mimic is described in the paper below:


Prostate cancer stem cell niche and bone metastasis models

Prostate cancer often metastasises to the bone, and recent evidence suggests that prostate cancer stem cells displace bone marrow stem cells (haematopoietic stem cells (HSC)) and take up residence in the bone marrow. This is problematic as this bone marrow stem cell niche microenvironment appears to enable prostate cancer stem cells to evade the immune system and chemotherapy.   A/Prof Doran's laboratory is developing a platform designed to mimic the bone marrow prostate cancer niche in vitro.  Such a platform will enable controlled investigation of the cancer-bone marrow relationship and enable the more effective evaluation of new therapeutics.

Top publications

  • BD Markway, GK Tan, G Brooke, JE Hudson, JJ Cooper-White, MR Doran, Enhanced chondrogenic differentiation of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in low oxygen environment micropellet cultures, Cell Transplantation 19 (1), 29-42   40. 2010.
  • MR Doran, WB Lott.  A duty of care.  Trends in biochemical sciences.  2012.
  • B Babur, P Ghanavi, P Levett, W Lott, T Klein, J Cooper-White, R Crawford, M Doran. The interplay between chondrocyte redifferentiation pellet size and oxygen concentration.  PlosOne 8(3):e58865, 2013.
  • NE Timmins, M Kiel, M Günther, C Heazlewood, MR Doran, G Brooke, K Atkinson.  Closed system isolation and scalable expansion of human placental mesenchymal stem cells. Biotechnology and bioengineering 9. 2012.
  • MM Cook, K Futrega, M Osiecki, M Kabiri, B Kul, A Rice, K Atkinson, G Brooke, MR Doran. Micromarrows–3D co-culture of haematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stromal cells, Tissue Engineering. 3.  2011.


  • Parisa Ghanavi, PhD Candidate, IHBI QUT
  • Betul Babur, PhD Candidate, IHBI QUT
  • Abbas Shafiee, PhD Candidate, IHBI QUT
  • Michael Osiecki, PhD Candidate, IHBI QUT