Project Description:Melanomais responsible for >1,800 deaths a year in Australia Melanoma risk has a complex etiology, with environmental (ultraviolet radiation, UVR) and genetic factors both important. ~58% of the variability in melanoma risk in populations is due to genes.
While research into the genetics of melanoma risk is well in hand through work undertaken at QIMR Berghofer. the environmental and genetic factors influencing melanoma survival are far less well understood. The Swedish Family Cancer database clearly shows familial aggregation and hence heritability of mortality from melanoma, and as a proof of principle we have shown genetic variants in PARP1leads to markedly worse survival (hazard ratio >2). Our unpublished work shows melanoma tumour depth is heritable. Survival is influenced by tumourdepth,number of tumours, histological type and anatomical site, making it important to perform GWAS within these phenotypes; this data is in hand. While immunotherapy improves melanoma survival there is substantial variability in response. Host variation in immune responses are strongly genetically determined supporting a role for the germline in response.
Aims:Perform large scale genetic analyses of melanoma outcome, survival and treatment response. Use these datasets to develop prediction model and explore the role of traits influence melanoma survival (e.g. tumour histology).
Approaches: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS), meta-analysis of GWAS, and post-GWAS analyses (e.g. fine-mapping, bioinformatics, gene-based tests). Development of prediction models.
Suitable background:The post is ideally suited to someone with an undergraduate or Masters degree in genetic epidemiology, epidemiology, statistics or bioinformatics. Experience in the analysis/manipulation of large datasets and a good knowledge of computing is desirable. Experience in cancer and/or molecular biology advantageous but not essential. Non-statistical applicants must be able to demonstrate some knowledge of statistics. For statistical applicants, some knowledge of genetics is desirable.