Dr Barbara Withers is a haematologist and pathologist working at St Vincent’s Hospital. She completed her science degree with a major in Pharmacology in 1999 at the University of Queensland, and then completed her medical degree at the University of Sydney in 2004. She undertook haematology training at St Vincent’s Hospital and St George Hospital. She completed a clinical bone marrow transplant fellowship at Royal North Shore Hospital. Barbara was supported by a Leukaemia foundation fellowship to complete a PhD at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research investigating the use of healthy donor immune cells expanded in the laboratory to treat CMV infection post-transplant.
She has a special interest in allogeneic haemopoietic stem cell transplant and the use of cellular therapies to manipulate immune cell recovery post-transplant. She won the American Society of Transplantation and Cellular Therapy George Santos annual award for the best clinical science article by a new investigator in 2018. The article described the creation of an off-the-shelf bank of virus specific T-cells for treatment of viral infections after transplant.
She has been leading the St Vincent’s BMT program to obtain international accreditation for allogeneic transplant and cellular therapies services. She collaborates with haematology and neurology colleagues to oversee the clinical program of autologous transplantation for treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neuroimmune disorders. She is an active participant in the cellular therapies research program looking at the impact of autologous transplant on MS and other autoimmune neurological disorders.