Wil Lehmann

Wil Lehmann

Researcher in the lab
Viruses are the ultimate microscopic hijackers, subverting an infected cells’ protein machinery to reproduce and spread.

How viruses seize control of the cell death machinery is the focus of Mr Wil Lehmann’s Honours research.

Cell death mechanics

Three people talking together
Honours student Mr Wil Lehmann (centre) with his
supervisors Dr Emma Petrie (left) and Associate
Professor James Murphy (right).

Wil joined the Institute after studying biotechnology and biomedicine at RMIT University, and having undertaken a UROP placement at CSL. “When I met my supervisors at Student Open Day their research resonated with my scientific interests,” he said. “I fell in love with the project!”

Wil’s Honours project is investigating how viral proteins block an inflammatory cell death pathway known as necroptosis. “There are many unanswered questions about necroptosis. My supervisors Associate Professor James Murphy and Dr Emma Petrie have led many recent discoveries in the field, and it’s exciting to be part of this work.

“At the moment I’m spending most of my time expressing viral proteins in cell lines to understand how they prevent cell death. I’m also producing recombinant versions of these proteins that could potentially be used for drug discovery in the future,” he said.

A great learning environment

Researcher in the lab
Wil's research is investigating how viruses seize
control of cells.

Wil said his Honours studies have helped him to shape his critical thinking abilities.

“I’ve also appreciated the Institute’s supportive culture – I am always comfortable asking any question, no matter how absurd it might seem!

“I’ve also appreciated being part of the Institute’s student body, and have met other students through regular social events.”

Postgraduate studies are something Wil is considering in the future, but not before taking a well-deserved break. “I’d like to have a gap year before deciding on my next steps,” he said.