Professor | Senior Scientist | Coordinator of the Genetics & Computational Biology Department | Head of Cancer Genetics+61 7 3362 0390
Professor Chenevix-Trench completed her PhD at the Medical College of Virginia (USA) in 1985 and came to QIMR Berghofer for a post-doc the following year. She established her own lab in 1992 when she received an NHMRC R. Douglas Wright award and has been continually funded by the NHMRC Fellowship scheme.
2007: NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, Queensland Institute of Medical Research
2004-2006: NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Queensland Institute of Medical Research
1999-2003: NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, Queensland Institute of Medical Research
1996-1998: NHMRC Research Fellow, Queensland Institute of Medical Research
1992-1995: NHMRC R. Douglas Wright Fellow, Queensland Institute of Medical Research
1989-1991: Research Officer in the joint QIMR-University of Queensland Oncology Program
1986-1989: Research Officer, Queensland Institute of Medical Research
1986: Post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Human Genetics, Medical College of Virginia, USA
The Cancer Genetics Laboratory investigates why some people get breast cancer and how these cancers develop from a normal cell. Using genome wide association studies (GWAS), the lab has identified over 200 breast cancer risk loci. Through extensive in vitro assays, Professor Chenevix-Trench’s team and collaborators have successfully identified some of the target genes at several of these loci.
The functional mechanism behind the associations usually involves perturbed regulation of target gene transcription by risk single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) lying in regulatory elements positioned some distance from the target. The nearest gene to the GWAS ‘hit’ is not necessarily the target of the association, and for some loci there are multiple gene targets. We have developed a pipeline (INQUISIT – integrated expression quantitative trait and in silico prediction of GWAS targets) for predicting target genes at GWAS hits but the challenge of functionally interrogating each risk locus to identify the target gene(s) is enormous.
With Dr Sefi Rosenbluh at Monash University, the team is currently performing large scale pooled CRISPR knockout and activation screens of all the predicted target coding and non-coding genes at these loci to identify novel breast cancer risk genes, using assays to identify genes that impact on proliferation, anchorage independence, senescence, tumorigenicity and immunosurveillance. In addition, they are exploring opportunities for drug repositioning from knowledge of the GWAS target genes for prevention and treatment of breast cancer.
1985: Medical College of Virginia, USA – PhD
1980: Trinity College, Dublin – BA (Hons)