Cancer & Disease Epigenetics

The Cancer & Disease Epigenetics (CDE) group uses state-of-the-art multidisciplinary approaches, encompassing genetic, environmental and epigenetic analyses, to understand childhood development and complex disease.

Using this approach we aim to more fully understand how genes and environment interact in early life to modify the risk of developing a whole range of non-communicable diseases in children and adults.

Group Leaders: 
Group Members: 
Dr Boris Novakovic
Role: 
Research Officer (off campus)
Dr Peter Rzehak
Role: 
Honorary Research Fellow (off campus)
Dr Nick Wong
Role: 
Honorary Research Fellow (off campus)
Dr Louise Ludlow
Role: 
Honorary Research Officer
Ms Anna Czajko
Role: 
Technical Officer
Ms Sarah Ashley
Role: 
PhD Student
Mr Jake Carmody
Role: 
MSc Student
Ms Line Hjort
Role: 
PhD Student
Ms Vania Januar
Role: 
Research Assistant
Mr Toby Mansell
Role: 
PhD Student
Ms Alex Sexton-Oates
Role: 
PhD Student
Mr Regan Vryer
Role: 
Honours Student
Mr Peter Fransquet
Role: 
Honours Student
Ms Dianne Beck
Role: 
PhD Student

REGULATION OF THE EARLY HUMAN EPIGENOME
This research theme aims to identify epigenetic/molecular changes in neonatal/child tissues associated with (i) maternal diet/BMI and (ii) later childhood adiposity & metabolic health. This is being done as part of large collaborative projects currently funded by NHMRC projects, NHMRC:EU and EC:FP7 project grants totalling over $10M, spanning 2010-2016.

EPIGENETICS AND COMPLEX DISEASE IN CHILDREN
The aim of this research theme is to identify epigenetic and other molecular disruption associated with common childhood diseases including food allergy, asthma and obesity (and related comorbidities). This is being done as part of both local and National collaborative projects funded by 2 NHMRC project grants spanning 2011-2016.

RESEARCH PROGRAMME 3: EPIGENETICS OF CHILDHOOD TUMOURS
This research theme aims to define genes and cellular pathways subject to epigenetic disruption in childhood malignancy in order to inform development of novel treatment strategies and diagnostic/prognostic clinical tests. This research is funded by various philanthropic bodies.

CHILDHOOD EPIGENETICS AND EARLY LIFE ADVERSITY
This research aims to understand how early life exposure (in utero or early postnatal) to specific environmental factors modifies the developing epigenetic profile.

Funding: 
  • NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (Richard Saffery; 2013-17)
  • NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (Boris Novakovic; 2014-17)
  • NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (Joanne Ryan; 2011-15)
  • NHMRC project grant (2016-17)
  • NHMRC project grant (2015-16)
  • NHMRC project grant (2014-15)
  • NHMRC:EU project grant (2012-16)
  • EU FP7 Project Grant (2012-16)
  • Cancer in Kids Auxillary (CIKA)
  • Perpetual Trustees
  • Children’s Cancer Foundation

Collaborations: 
  • Prof Berthold Koletzko, University of Munich, Germany
  • Prof Fionnuala McAuliffe, Univesity of Dublin, Ireland
  • Prof Lucilla Poston, Kings College, London, UK
  • Prof Tim Spector, Dr Jordana Bell, Kings College, London, UK
  • Prof Philip Baker, University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Prof Olle Byrgen, Karolinska Institute, Sweden
  • Prof Marcus Pembrey, University of Bristol, UK
  • Prof Pat Holt, Dr Deb Strickland, University of WA
  • Assoc Prof Daniel Catchpoole, Westmead Children’s Hospital, Sydney
  • Dr Andrew Hallahan, Royal Children’s Hospital Brisbane
  • Assoc Prof Eva Dimitriades, Prince Henry’s Research Institute
  • Prof Len Harrison, Dr Yuxia Zhang, WEHI
  • Dr Ilia Voskoboinik,  Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melb
  • Dr Sarah Cohen Woods, University of Adelaide
  • Dr Andrew Lewis, Dr Megan Galbally, Mercy Womens Hospital, Melb
  • Dr Padma Murthi, Monash Medical Centre, Melb
  • Dr Daniell Burke, National Measurements Institute, NSW
  • Dr Allan McRae, University of Queensland, QLD