QIMR Berghofer Director and CEO and Group Leader, Control of Gene Expression
Current QIMR Berghofer appointment
- 2011 – present: Director and CEO of QIMR Berghofer
- 2007 – 2010: Director General, Science Foundation Ireland
- 1994 – 2007: Executive Director of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO)
- 1981 – 1994: Department of Microbiology, University College, Galway, Ireland
- 1975 – 1981: Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculté de Medicine, and INSERM unit, University of Strasbourg, France
- 1973 – 1975: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Current Area of Research
My research is focused on the control of gene expression, particularly by the estrogen receptor. This research is of relevance to breast and endometrial cancer. The control of gene expression involves the study of epigenetic modifications and the way in which changes in the environment of the cell are mediated such that the expression profile is altered.
Currently, our focus is on the critical role that epigenetic modifying enzymes play in the response of breast and endometrial cancer cell lines. A second related aspect of our research is to decipher the connections between obesity and cancers. This is particularly relevant to endometrial cancer which is a paradigm of cancers that are, to a significant extent, increased in obese individuals.
- Isolation of one of the first eukaryotic genes (the ovalbumin gene).
- Definition of the intron exon boundaries.
- Detailed description of the cyclical processes involved in the recruitment of RNA polymerase to target genes by the estrogen receptor.
- Demonstration that DNA methylation is subject to cyclical processes.
- Development of molecular probes for the detection of pathogenic organisms.
- Selection of molecules that interfere with the expression of estrogen responsive genes.
- Demonstration that estrogens are not the predominant cause of increases the occurrence of endometrial cancers in obese patients.
- European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO)
- Academia Europea
- Royal Irish Academy (MRIA)
- European Academy of Cancer Sciences
- Queensland Academy of Arts and Science
- Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAAHMS)
- Doctor Honoris Causa, Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland
- Doctor Honoris Causa, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
- Doctor Honoris Causa, Josef Attila University, Szeged, Hungary
- Society of Industrial Microbiology Pan Labs Award
- Member Emeritus of the International Advisory Board of the International Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology, Warsaw
- Member of the Heidelberg Club International
- Advisor to the Asia Pacific Rim International Molecular Biology Network (AIMBN)
- Diplome d’Honneur from the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS)
- Honorary Professor at The University of Queensland
- 1973: PhD University of Leicester, England
- 1970: BSc University College, Galway, Ireland