Professor Nicholas Hayward has studied the molecular genetics of melanoma for over 30 years. He was the first to carry out a linkage scan for melanoma susceptibility genes, to confirm the location of one such gene (CDKN2A), and to report mutations of CDKN2A in Australian families. He played key roles in the identification of CDK4, POT1, ACD, TERF2IP and MITF as melanoma susceptibility genes and in linkage and association scans for melanoma, pigmentation and nevi. Nick has also contributed significantly to understanding of the somatic mutations that drive melanocyte neoplasia, including the seminal finding of BRAF mutations in naevi, and MAP3K5, MAP3K9 and RAC1 mutations in cutaneous melanoma, and PLCB4 mutations in uveal melanoma.
Current QIMR Berghofer appointment
- 1986 – current: Head, Oncogenomics Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
- 2007 – current: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Principal Research Fellow
Other current appointments
- 2007 – current: Adjunct Professor, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland
- 2009 – current: Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Science, Queensland University of Technology
- 2013 – current: Adjunct Professor, School of Biomolecular and Physical Sciences, Griffith University
- 2010 – 2012: Chair, QIMR Staff Association
- 2010 – 2012: Vice-President, Society for Melanoma Research
- 2002 – 2006: NHMRC Principal Research Fellow
- 2000 – 2002: Chair, Cancer and Cell Biology Division, QIMR
- 2000 – 2002: Chair, Joint Experimental Oncology Programme of the QIMR, The University of Queensland (UQ) and the Queensland Cancer Fund (QCF)
- 1998 – 2001: NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
- 1994 – 1997: NHMRC Research Fellow
- 1991 – 1993: NHMRC R. D. Wright Fellow
- 1983 – 1990: NHMRC research officer/senior research officer, QIMR
Current Area of Research
Research of the Oncogenomics group spans genetics, epidemiology, molecular and cell biology, and mouse models, and focuses on identifying high and low penetrance melanoma predisposition genes through linkage and genome-wide association studies, positional cloning and candidate gene analysis, as well as whole-genome and exome sequencing.
Additionally, a large part of the research program involves identification and characterisation of somatic mutations, structural aberrations, or gene expression differences associated with melanoma development and progression. The group has been integral to international efforts to characterise germline mutations in melanoma families and we have published widely on somatic mutation of genes in melanoma, as well as the mapping of loci responsible for the melanoma-associated traits of naevi and pigmentation.
Though the group’s primary focus is on melanoma, there is also a substantial interest in the molecular genetics of lung cancer, with this program of work headed by Jill Larsen.
- Led the first report of CDKN2A mutations in Australian melanoma families.
- Contributed to the identification of CDK4 gene as the second familial melanoma gene.
- Contributed to the first comprehensive molecular classification of melanoma by gene expression profiling.
- Contributed to the seminal finding of BRAF mutations in 85% of naevi.
- Led the first genome-wide association study for low risk melanoma genes, which identified ASIP as a melanoma predisposition locus.
- Contributed to the second genome-wide association study for low risk melanoma genes, which showed that TYR, MTAP and MC1R confer melanoma susceptibility.
- Co-led the first genome-wide association study for naevus genes, which showed that the MTAP and PLA2G6 loci contribute to naevus count.
- Identified MITF as a familial and sporadic melanoma susceptibility gene.
- Contributed to the identification of POT1 as a high penetrance familial melanoma gene Identified ACD and TERF2IP as high penetrance familial melanoma genes.
- Identified PLCB4 somatic mutations in uveal melanoma.
- 2008 – current: Australia and New Zealand Melanoma Trials Group.
- 2004 – current: Society for Melanoma Research.
- 2002 – current: American Association for Cancer Research.
- 1991 – current: National Association of (NHMRC) Research Fellows.
- 2012: Lifetime Achievement Award – Society for Melanoma Research.
- 2011: William Rudder Travelling Fellowship – Cancer Council Queensland.
- 2009: Ralph Doherty QIMR Science Prize.
- 2007 – 2011: NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowship.
- 2003 – 2006: NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship.
- 2001 – 2002: Queensland Health and Medical Research – best publication.
- 1998 – 2002: NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship.
- 1994 – 1997: NHMRC Research Fellowship.
- 1994: Queensland Cancer Fund Travel Fellowship.
- 1991 – 1993: NHMRC R. D. Wright Fellowship.
- 1991: Beckman-QIMR Young Scientist Award.
- 1990: Queensland Cancer Fund Travel Fellowship.
- 1981 – 1983: Commonwealth Postgraduate PhD Scholarship.
- 1981 – 1983: Doctor of Philosophy, Biochemistry Department, The University of Queensland – project titled ‘Phenacetin metabolites and DNA damage’.
- 1980: Master of Science, Qualifying, Biochemistry Dept., The University of Queensland, First Class Honours.
- 1977 – 1979: Bachelor of Science, The University of Queensland – majors in Biochemistry and Microbiology.