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Darling Rojas-Canales

I first completed my honours degree at Flinders University of South Australia in 2006 as part of a Bachelor of Biotechnology program. My interest in the area of Transplantation Immunology began during my honours year, which focused on the role of RelB and its regulation of dendritic cell (DC) maturation. I went on to complete my Ph.D under the principal supervision of Associate Professor Dr. Toby Coates (Ph.D, M.D). My thesis examined the immuno-modulatory role of IFN-gamma in DC based therapies and the genetic modification of human islets for the prevention of islet allograft rejection. I was awarded my Ph.D in 2011 from the University of Adelaide, Department of Medicine. In the same year I was awarded the International Thomas E. Starzl Postdoctoral Fellowship in Transplantation Biology at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. During my fellowship I was mentored by Dr. Adrian Morelli (Ph.D, M.D), where my work focused on examining the pro-inflammatory role of the nervous system in allo-immunity. Specifically we focused on the function of Neurokinin-1 Receptor in skin allograft rejection. This work was done in collaboration with Associate Professor Adriana Larregina (Ph.D, M.D) from the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh.


I am now into my second post-doctoral position with the University of Adelaide where my work is focused on improving islet graft survival post transplantation with the use of stem cells, with particular interest in the use of endothelial progenitor cells. Throughout my Ph.D studies and postdoctoral period I have been fortunate to have presented at various national and international conferences. Seven presentations which have been acknowledged with awards, including three Young Investigator Awards, the most recent being at the 2013 Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand Annual Meeting. I am proud to be part of a leading team in the field of islet transplantation and research here at the Centre for Clinical and Experimental Transplantation.


Research Focus


Islet transplantation biology, Transplant Immunology, Cell-based therapies and Type-1 Diabetes.


Study Background



  • Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours), Flinders University, Bedford Park, South Australia.

  • PhD (Medicine), University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia.

  • T.E. Starzl Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America
Research Interests: