Dr Rupinder Kanwar



Senior Research Fellow


Faculty of Health


School of Medicine


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus


Biography summary

• Ph. D. (Medical Microbiology and Immunology), - Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India.
• M. Sc. (Medical Microbiology)-Punjab Agricultural University, India.
• B.Sc. (Medical) Punjab University, India.

Research Profile

Dr Rupinder K Kanwar has expertise in the field of biomedicine, especially interdisciplinary work on targeting cancer and chronic inflammation. After her PhD, Dr Kanwar’s multiaward winning research career has focussed on studying the molecular mechanisms and devising treatments for human chronic inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, asthma, multiple sclerosis, bacterial diahhrea / gut health and cancer (colon, breast, liver, prostate, melanoma, retinoblastoma and brain) by employing both in vivo and in vitro models.

She has worked- in India, New Zealand and Australia, in a variety of positions (from postdoctoral to senior scientist positions), supporting and building new research programs related to interdisciplinary research, international collaborations and initiatives in the fields ranging from biomedicine to nanomedicine. She has 17 years’ experience in drug discovery targeting cancer and chronic inflammation, and delivered both academic and industry-oriented research outcomes.

Dr Kanwar’s current research interests focus on targeting molecular pathogenesis of cancer, cardiotoxicity and chronic inflammation, through drug discovery and pharmacogenomics leading to nanodrug and nanodiagnostic developments.

Her team’s research focus is Bench ↔Bedside biomedical research and innovative nanomedicine (emerging area in the future medicine), by employing established and patient derived biological specimens as well as cutting edge techniques of molecular biology, cell biology, immunology, nanobiotechnology, and protein chemistry.

Summary of HDR supervision at Deakin (since 2008)

As a Principal supervisor = 12 HDR students (10 PhD (includes 3 DIRI) + 2 MSc by Research),
Completions PhD =7, MSc= 1
As an Associate supervisor and co-supervisor = 21 HDR students (including 7 DIRI students, I TERI student)

Honours Supervision Completions/ Graduations
• Bachelors of Honours degree completion as a Principal-supervisor =1
• Bachelors of Honours degree completion as a Co-supervisor = 8

Masters of Biotechnology (Honours) project completions (as an associate supervisor) =4

Memberships of Professional Societies/Industry and Government Consortium

• 2016: British Society for Nanomedicine
• 2011-Present: Australian Nanotechnology Network (group membership)
• 2010- Present: Life membership of The Indian Academy of Tropical Parasitology, India.
• 2010- Present: Life membership of Indian Association of Medical Microbiology, India.
• 2010-2012: Membership of Inflammation Research Association (IRA) USA.
• 2010: Membership of Australasian Society for Immunology, Australia. 
• 2002-2006: Immune Team Membership of LactoPharma Consortium, New Zealand. LactoPharma was an exciting milk bioactives discovery joint venture between Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited, New Zealand and Auckland UniServices Limited. It was supported by the investment from New Zealand's Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST) and Fonterra NZ.
• 1994-Present: Life membership of Indian Society for Veterinary Immunology and Biotechnology, India.

Research interests

Dr RK Kanwar has expertise in applying cutting edge techniques of immunology, cell biology, molecular biology to study the pathophysiology and therapeutic targets of human cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases (atherosclerosis, asthma and multiple sclerosis) in both in vivo and in vitro models. Dr Kanwar also has skills in delivering industry oriented research and is a key inventor  on number of recent patent applications on devising treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases. Her current research focus is on combining nanomedicinal approaches with basic cell biology and immunology research, to devise diagnostics and therapeutics for cancer drug resistance, stemcells,  and chronic inflammatory disease (atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis).

Teaching interests

Cell and tissue engineering, Nanomedicine, Molecular pathogenesis oif disease,

Units taught

2015-2016: HMM305 Cell and Tissue Engineering (Unit Chair & lecturer)
2013-2016: HMO303 Health and Vision Sciences 2 (Guest Lecturer)
2013: HBS 400 Med Innovation (Unit chair)
2013: Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (BMBS) Year 1
(Guest Lecturer Cardio-respiratory Physiology)
2013: HMH 401 Developing Research Skills (Assessment Panel Member)
2012: SEK302 Nanomedicine (Assessment Panel Member)
2009-2011: SBB320 Nanobiotechnology (Unit Co-Chair, Lecturer, Assessment Panel Member)
2008-2009: SEK302 Nanomedicine (Unit Co-Chair and Guest Lecturer)
2008: SBB320 Nanobiotechnology (Unit Co-Chair, Assessment Panel Member and Guest Lecturer)
2008: SBB706 Frontier Techniques in Biotechnology and Nanotechnology (Guest Lecturer)
2006-2007: SBB323 Immunology (Lecturer).
2007: SBB234 Microbiology (Guest Lecturer).

Problem Based Learning (PBL) facilitator for Bachelor Medicine Bachelor of Surgery,

• Brain and Behaviour (2016)
• Infection Defence Repair (2015),
• Cardio-respiratory Physiology (2014)

Teaching at the University of Auckland, New Zealand
2006: MEDSCI 708 Advanced Immunology and Immunotherapy.
2002-2005: Molecular Medicine 712 (Advanced Immunology).
2000-2001: Integrin Signalling in Molecular Medicine 545.70

Professional activities

• Editorial board member, Future Science OA (UK)
• Editorial advisory board member Recent Patents on Anti-Infective Drug Discovery
• Manuscript reviewer for ten peer reviewed journals including PloS One, Journal Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics [American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), Current Medicinal Chemistry, Journal of Nanomaterials; Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM) 
• Conference organising committee member and Moderator: 5th Asia-Pacific Summit on Cancer 2015, Brisbane, Australia.
• Scientific organizing committee member & symposium Co- chair 17th, Inflammation Research Association conference in USA, 2012.
• Poster judging panel member for 17th, Inflammation Research Association conference in USA, 2012.
• Grant application assessor for NHMRC; and Research Grant Council (RGC) of Hong Kong. 2010.
• Invited speaker and session chair/co-chair at national & international conferences since 2009.
• 2003-2006: Member of the Animal Resource Unit (ARU) Management committee of the University of Auckland, New Zealand (2003-March 2006)
At Deakin
• 2012-present: HDR Candidature confirmation panel member for BioDeakin, ITRI/IFM and School of Medicine.
• 2008-2011: HDR co-ordinator for BioDeakin in ITRI and IFM.


2015: Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research Supervision (Highly Commended).

2013: Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Deakin Connectedness

2011. Selection for Deakin “Academic Women Aspiring to Leadership (AWAL)” Program.

2010: Charles River Competition “The Most Therapeutic Potential category award” at 16th International Inflammation Research Association Conference, Washington Dulles, Chantilly, Virginia. USA, (September 26-29). (The abstract # 112 was also selected for symposium’s invited presentation).

2005: Travel award Department of Molecular Medicine & Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, The University of Auckland, New Zealand.

2004: Poster presentation award at the Conference of the International Society for Cancer Gene Therapy, Singapore. Work was also selected for an oral presentation (21 & 22 February 2004).

2003: Travel grant award Department of Molecular Medicine & Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, University of Auckland New Zealand.

2003: Travel grant award Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust, New Zealand.

1995- 1996: Research Associateship* Department of Veterinary Immunology, College of Veterinary Sciences, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, India.

1993-1994: Senior Research Fellowship* Department of Veterinary Immunology, College of Veterinary Sciences, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, India.

March 1993 –Nov 1993: Senior Research Fellowship* Department of Experimental Medicine & Biotechnology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India.

August 1992-Feb 1992: PGIMER, Directors’ Fellowship award, India.

Jan1989 - July 1992: Junior Research Fellowship, Indian Council of Medical Research Postgraduate fellowship award, Department of Experimental Medicine & Biotechnology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India.

*These were All India Merit Early Career Research Fellowship awards from CSIR, India equivalent to DECRA (ARC) and NHMRC career development awards such as Peter Doherty in Australia.

1985: B.Sc. Medical  Merit list 25th rank (in Top 1% of total candidates in Punjab state, India) in the Punjab University, India.

1984: Class Topper Award for B.Sc.Year II in Khalsa College for Women, India.

1982-1983: Merit Scholarship Award of Punjab University Chandigarh, India, (BSc Medical).

1981-1982: Khalsa Diwan Merit Scholarship for B.Sc. Medical Year I.