Current QIMR Berghofer appointment
- 2014 – current: Senior Research Fellow (B), QIMR Berghofer.
Other current appointments
- 2012 – current: Honorary Associate Professor, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
- 2011 – current: Team Head – Statistical Genetics Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer.
- 2009 – 2011: Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
- 2009 – 2014: Senior Research Fellow (A), QIMR Berghofer.
- 2006 – 2009: Senior Research Officer, QIMR Berghofer.
- 2005 – 2006: Research Officer, QIMR Berghofer.
- 2003 – 2005: Lecturer, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Unit (affiliated with Department of Psychological Medicine), Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.
Current Area of Research
Associate Professor Stuart MacGregor is a statistical geneticist, studying the role genetic variation plays in determining risk of disease and its risk factors. His Statistical Genetics laboratory develops and applies statistical genetic methods to gene mapping studies across a wide range of traits and diseases.
One major focus is understanding genetic and epigenetic variation in various cancers. Cancers studied include skin cancers (including melanoma), ovarian cancer, breast cancer and esophageal cancer. Another major interest is ophthalmological genetics, with work ongoing to identify the specific genes involved in both eye disease and in underlying quantitative risk factors.
Stuart play a leading role in consortium science, most recently in successful large scale gene mapping studies in melanoma and in eye disease. My work developing and applying statistical genetic methods has led to publications in top journals.
In 2010, Stuart was awarded the Australian Academy of Science human genetics medal.
Stuart’s work to date has focused on development of statistical genetic methods and on their application to disease. In these areas he has published over 100 research articles since 2002, frequently in top journals (e.g. 15 in Nature Genetics, including 6 as first or senior author), with many highly cited (39 papers cited >39 times).
- Developed VErsatile Gene-based ASsociation (VEGAS) test for genome-wide association studies (GWAS). This ‘post GWAS’ method, implemented in web-based software (users in >25 countries), has been cited in the literature ~300 times.
- Over a series of high profile papers over the period 2008 to 2015, we helped identify 15 sequence variants (genes) which confer risk of melanoma. This work uncovered known (pigmentation, mole count) as well as novel biological pathways (DNA repair, telomere length) in melanoma susceptibility.
- Over a series of high profile papers over the period 2010 to 2015, we helped identify 8 sequence variants (genes) which confer risk of glaucoma. In parallel projects on intraocular pressure, optic nerve measures and corneal thickness, we identified over 50 key genes, advancing our understanding of how inherited genetic factors alter the healthy eye and lead to disease.
- Developed statistical methods for designing and analysing DNA pooling experiments. The DNA pooling design allows one to conduct genome wide association studies at dramatically reduced cost. I subsequently extended the design to allow cost effective assessment of epigenetic changes in large samples of cases and controls.
- Showed that for most common cancers (ovarian, prostate, melanoma, pancreatic, endometrial, kidney, esophageal) inherited genetic variation is important in determining risk but each individual gene effect is typically very small. In specific case of esophageal cancer, we further showed that the many genes of small effect conferring risk also confer risk of the pre-cancerous trait barrett’s esophagus.
- Showed that obesity is likely to play a causal role in the development of esophageal cancer.
- 2010: Australian Academy of Science – Ruth Stephens Gani Medal (The Academy early career award recognising distinguished research in human genetics).
- 2010: I was selected as one of Queensland’s ‘Best and brightest 2010’ by the newspaper The Courier Mail. The list, published annually, comprises 50 people from all aspects of life, ranging from Olympic medalists to business leaders.
- 2009: Winner, Queensland Premier’s Award for Medical Research (Senior Researcher Category), Australia.
- 2009: The Millennium Award – Lorne Genome Inc.
- 2009: I was selected as one of Queensland’s ‘Best and brightest 2009’ by the newspaper The Courier Mail.
- 2008: QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Postdoctoral Research Prize.
- 2008: I was selected as one of Queensland’s ‘Best and brightest 200’ by the newspaper The Courier Mail.
- 2007: Finalist, Queensland Premier’s Award for Medical Research (Postdoctoral Category), Australia.
- 2006: Finalist, Queensland Premier’s Award for Medical Research (Postdoctoral Category), Australia.
- 2000: BBSRC/CASE (Organon Pharmaceuticals) Industry PhD scholarship, UK.
- 1999: MSc scholarship, Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, University of Edinburgh, UK.
- 2004: PhD Statistical Genetics, University of Edinburgh, U.K. Advisors Peter Visscher, Douglas Blackwood, Sara Knott.
- 2000: MSc Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis (with Distinction), University of Edinburgh, UK.
- 1999: BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Statistics (Joint Honours), University of Edinburgh, UK.