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Functional Genomics Laboratory Ovarian Cancer Research

Functional Genomics Laboratory Ovarian Cancer Research

The Functional Genomics Laboratory, led by Professor Deborah Marsh, is one of the research laboratories within the Hormones and Cancer Division of the Kolling Institute, affiliated with Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney and part of the Sydney Vital Translational Cancer Research Centre (Cancer Institute NSW).

We investigate changes in a cell that lead to and drive cancer. These include changes in cancer cells that are responsible for resistance to chemotherapy, a major problem for the treatment of cancer patients today. We work predominantly on ovarian cancer as treatment options for women diagnosed with this cancer have remained largely unchanged for decades. While research is beginning to lead to new therapies, significant improvement in survival remains to be achieved. It is our overarching goal to change this.

Our group is taking an epigenomic approach, meaning literally “above the DNA”, to making new discoveries that will help treat women with ovarian cancer. This includes investigating cancer-associated changes to proteins known as histones around which our DNA is either tightly or loosely wrapped. It also includes investigating changes to non-coding RNA that can influence the expression of our genes.

In collaboration with scientists and clinicians across NSW, we are part of an exciting program supported by the Cancer Institute NSW known as INOVATe (Individualised Ovarian Cancer Treatment Through Integration of Genomic Pathology into Multidisciplinary Care). The goal of this program is to facilitate personalised treatment based on precision medicine that will improve the survival of the 1,300 women in Australia and 200,000 women globally diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. Our research is also currently supported by the Cancer Council NSW.

PhD & Master's Project Opportunities

  • Contribution of the epigenome to ovarian cancer - investigating the role of post-translational histone modifications as therapeutic targets for the treatment of malignancy

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