Epigenetics & Disease

Epigenetic modifications change the pattern of expression in genes. In some cases, this can give rise to cancers. The group research uses small molecule inhibitors to reverse some of these changes and block tumour progression. Having successfully identified combinations of epigenetic modifying enzyme inhibitors that stop the growth of tumour cell lines – making the more sensitive to clinical treatments or reversing the resistance of some cancers to some therapies – the group is now testing these combinations in animal models. The epigenetic studies target breast, ovarian, head and neck and lung cancers as well as melanoma.


  • Molecular epigenetics
  • Chromatin dynamics
  • Regulation of gene expression
  • Transcriptomics
  • Hypoxic signalling
  • Cancer metastasis

Internal Collaborators

External Collaborators

  • Dr Joan Massague, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Dr Gregg Semenza, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, USA.
  • Dr Paula Vertino & Professor Xiaodong Cheng, Emory University
  • Professor Daehee Hwang & Professor Sung Hee Baek, Seoul National University
  • Professor Wonki Baek, Keimyung University, Daegu, Korea
  • Professor Sunil Lakhani, University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR)
  • Professor Lewis Perrin & Professor John Hooper, University of Queensland/Mater Hospital Brisbane
  • Dr Donal Brennan, University College Dublin
  • Professor Susan Ramus, University of New South Wales
  • Professor Deborah Marsh, University of Technology Sydney
  • Professor Peter Soyer & Associate Professor Helmut Schaider, University of Queensland/PA Hospital
  • Professor Barbara Leggett, Honorary Group Leader
  • Queensland Emory Development Grant
  • Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Research Centre Enabling Grant Scheme Project Grant
  • QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Seed funding
  • Cancer Council Queensland Project Grant
  • Brisbane Diamantina Health Partners Strategic Initiative Grant
  • Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF)


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