Dr Jason Cullen
Phone: +61 7 3845 3741
Dr Jason Cullen obtained his BSc in Biochemistry from Imperial College, London, UK. He then undertook an MRC funded D. Phil scholarship in the Chromosomal Integrity Group, led by Dr Tim Humphrey, at what is now known as the CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology. During his D. Phil studies he used a model organism (fission yeast) to investigate how a form of DNA damage can lead to chromosomal anomalies that are frequently observed in cancer cells. For his postdoctoral training he undertook a position in Martin Lavin’s group at QIMR Berghofer (which has relocated to the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research). Here, he performed research into a group of neurodegenerative disorders known as recessive cerebellar ataxias, which are caused by mutations in genes with roles in the DNA damage response and mitochondrial function.
He is now actively involved in drug discovery and development, and has been performing contract research for the Australian biotech companies EcoBiotics Ltd. and QBiotics Ltd. for the past few years. This has seen him contribute to the development of the novel oncology agent Tigilanol Tiglate (formerly known as EBC-46) and the development of WH-1, a novel agent for the treatment of chronic, hard to heal wounds. He recently received an Advance Queensland Fellowship to several promising candidates as potential neuroprotective drugs.
Other current appointments
Member of QIMR Berghofer ASSC.
- Panel member – QIMR Berghofer Spinning Disk Microscope Tender (2014/2015).
- Research Officer – Radiation Biology and Oncology Group.
Current Area of Research
- DNA damage response.
- Neurodegenerative disease.
- Mitochondrial biology.
- Cancer biology.
- Protein kinase C signalling.
- Cell death pathways.
- Drug discovery and development.
- Investigated the cellular and biochemical role of a mitochondrial protein, ADCK3, which is mutated in a rare form of autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia (ARCA-2).
- Helped develop a redox sensitive fluorescent probe targeted to mitochondria.
- Identified a role for homologous recombination in the suppression of de novo telomere addition at a single site specific DNA double-strand break.
- Developed new technology to identify suppressors of DNA double-strand break-induced loss of heterozygosity.
- Played a key role in the characterisation of cell death pathways responsible for photoreceptor degeneration in the rd mouse.
- Intimately involved in the (preclinical) development of various natural products for the treatment of cancer, wound healing and various other clinically relevant conditions.
- Aiding mechanistic investigations into the novel anti-cancer agent Tigilanol Tiglate (formerly known as EBC-46) and various semi-synthetic analogues.
- Currently acting as a paid consultant for QBiotics Ltd. and EcoBiotics Ltd.
- Carried out an Industrial Placement at Vertex Pharmaceuticals Ltd. which contributed to the development of several pan-caspase inhibitors (VX-740, VX-799) and various Akt inhibitor leads.
- Several commercially related projects funded by EcoBiotics/QBiotics:
- Structure activity relationship studies around a class of compounds known as epoxytiglianes.
- Continued development and research activities around the novel anti-cancer agent – Tigilanol Tiglate (formerly known as EBC-46).
- Development of a novel agent, WH-1, for the treatment of chronic wounds.
- Bryan Day and Dr Yi Chieh Lim, Translational Brain Cancer Research Group, QIMR Berghofer, QLD.
- Ben Panizza, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD.
- Steven Ogbourne, Plant Biotechnology Group, University of the Sunshine Coast, QLD.
- Ryan Moseley, Tissue Repair and Regeneration Group, Cardiff University, UK.
- Glen Boyle, Cancer Drug Mechanisms Group, QIMR Berghofer, QLD.
- Advance Queensland Mid-Career Fellowship. Development of novel neuroprotectants from Queensland rainforest plants. End date: 1/12/2020.
- NHMRC Development Grant #1093569 (CIC). Development of a novel drug for chronic and infected wounds. End date: 31/12/2017.
- 2017 – Advance Queensland Mid-Career Fellowship.
- 2016 – External Reviewer, NHMRC Project Grants.
- 2010 – Cancer Council Queensland Travel Grant.
- 2002 – MRC PhD Studentship.
- Oral and poster presentations at various national and international conferences.
- D. Phil Genetics (University of Oxford, Oxford, UK).
- BSc Biochemistry with a Year in Industry/Research (Imperial College London, London, UK).