Professor | Group Leader+617 3362 0371
Professor Spurdle has been continuously involved in scientific research since 1987. She was employed as a medical scientist at the South African Institute for Medical Research, Johannesburg, South Africa. Her roles included genetic analysis for the purpose of prenatal diagnosis, undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and independent research. Her topics of research included XX true hermaphroditism and other sex anomalies, Oudtshoorn skin disease linkage analysis and Y chromosome population and evolutionary genetics. The latter was the focus of her PhD, conducted part-time in parallel to other responsibilities.
In 1994 she took up an NHMRC-funded position as research officer at La Trobe University, Melbourne to work on the comparative genetics of the human and marsupial Y chromosome. She moved to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in 1997 to take up a post-doctoral position studying the role of low-risk genetic factors in predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer. In 2004, supported by an NHMRC Career Development award, she set up her own laboratory at the Institute and expanded her research to include molecular studies of high-risk genetic factors, in study of additional cancer types.
2020-current: NHMRC Investigator Fellow, QIMR Berghofer
2001-current: Conjoint Lecturer, promoted to Adjunct Professor 2011, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Queensland
2011-current: Adjunct Associate Professor, promoted to Adjunct Professor 2017, Cell & Molecular Biosciences Discipline, Faculty of Science &Technology, Queensland University of Technology
2009-2019: NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, QIMR Berghofer (reappointed SRFB from 2014)
2008: QIMR Fellowship, Queensland Institute of Medical Research
2003-2007: NHMRC R Douglas Wright Fellowship, Queensland Institute of Medical Research
2000-2002: Senior Research Officer, Cancer and Cell Biology Division, Queensland Institute of Medical Research
1997-1999: Research Officer, Queensland Institute for Medical Research
1994-1997: Research Officer, Department of Genetics, La Trobe University
1987-1994: Medical Scientist, Human Genetics Department, South African Institute of Medical Research
Professor Spurdle’s main focus of research is in the field of molecular epidemiology of cancer and encompasses studies of breast, endometrial, ovarian and other cancers implicated in hereditary cancer syndromes. A major research effort is development and application of methods to determine the clinical importance of variants in high-risk cancer susceptibility genes, including the BRCA1, BRCA2 and TP53. She co-founded and now leads the ENIGMA international consortium to develop and apply methods to evaluate variants in breast/ovarian cancer susceptibility genes. She is active in multiple ClinGen Variant Curation Expert Panels focussed on hereditary cancer genes. She participates in the Australian Genomics Health Alliance, with her research focus primarily around promoting sharing of information to facilitate and harmonise clinical classification of variants. She also contributes in an advisory role to endometrial cancer genome-wide association and functional follow-up studies led by post-doctoral fellows in her laboratory.
2020: NHMRC Investigator Fellowship (Level 1, APP1177524)
1992: PhD (Human Population Genetics), University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
1986: M Sc (Biotechnology), University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
1985: B Sc Hons (Botany), University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
1984: B Sc (Biological Sciences), University of Witwatersrand, South Africa