Response of eukaryotic organisms to oxidative stress and ageing. He was a pioneer in the field of yeast responses to oxidative stress demonstrating that yeast cells have inducible responses to peroxides, free-radicals and lipid peroxides and showing the cellular role of glutathione using mutants affected in glutathione metabolism. His group also showed cells arrest in the cell cycle in response to oxidant damage; in G2 in response to H2O2, and in G1 in response to superoxide anion or lipid hydroperoxides. They identified the entire set of yeast genes involved in responses of cells to five different oxidants, providing an extremely detailed view of how particular cell systems function in the cellular defense, repair and survival mechanisms. Genes involved in signalling oxidative damage to cell cycle control have been identified, together with those involved in adaptive responses to reactive oxygen species. In collaboration with Prof Breitenbach he has shown cell ageing in yeast is affected by oxidative stress, and aged cells undergo a program of programmed cell death.
Molecular analysis of control of one-carbon and folate metabolism in yeast. Prof Dawes has also made a major contribution to understanding how cells control one-carbon metabolism in yeast. This elucidated the molecular basis of how 1-C metabolism is regulated, how cells control the flow of metabolites from the major 1-C donors (serine, glycine and formate) to the products and how the metabolic steps are modulated between the cytoplasm and the mitochondrion. This integrated the role of different controls at the level of gene expression as well as enzyme activity.
Molecular mechanisms involved in initiation and timing of cell development. He showed for sporulation in Bacillus subtilis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae that: cell development can only be initiated at a particular stage in the cell cycle; development can only be initiated in cells that have attained a particular size; and that genes are expressed in a sequential way during meiotic development. He determined molecular mechanisms controlling sequential gene expression by cloning and characterising promoters and analysing regulation of several sporulation-specific genes. This identified a control motif in meiotically activated genes which is responsible for one of the main switching events during meiotic development. Read More
John Mattick obtained his BSc with First Class Honours from the University of Sydney and his PhD from Monash University. He undertook postdoctoral training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He undertook his postdoctoral training at Baylor College of Medicine at the Texas Medical Center in Houston and then joined the CSIRO Division of Molecular Biology in Sydney where he developed one of the first genetically engineered vaccines.
In 1988 he was appointed the Foundation Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Queensland, where he was also Foundation Director of the ARC Special Research Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology, the Institute for Molecular Bioscience and the Australian Genome Research Facility, as well as ARC Federation Fellow and NHMRC Australia Fellow. He also spent sabbatical periods at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Cologne and Strasbourg. In 2012 he returned to Sydney to take up the position of Executive Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
Professor Mattick has served on councils, advisory boards and committees of a number of research and funding organisations, including Genome Canada, the Wellcome Trust, the Human Frontier Science Program, the National Health & Medical Research Council, the Australian Health Ethics Committee, and the Human Genome Organisation.
He has made several seminal contributions to molecular biology, including delineation of the architecture and function of the fatty acid synthase complex, development of one of the first recombinant DNA-based vaccines, and genetic characterisation of bacterial surface filaments involved in host colonisation.
Over the past 20 years he has pioneered a new view of the genetic programming of humans and other complex organisms, by showing that the majority of the genome, previously considered ‘junk’, actually specifies a dynamic network of regulatory RNAs that guide differentiation and development. He has published almost 300 research articles and his work has received coverage in Nature, Science, Scientific American, New Scientist and the New York Times, among others.
Professor Mattick’s honours and awards include the inaugural Gutenberg Professorship of the University of Strasbourg, the Order of Australia and Australian Government Centenary Medal, Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of Health & Medical Sciences and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, the International Union of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (IUBMB) Medal, the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) Chen Award for Distinguished Achievement in Human Genetic & Genomic Research, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterBertner Memorial Award for Distinguished Contributions to Cancer Research, and the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Lemberg Medal. He was named by NHMRC as the one of the all-time high achievers in Australian health and medical research. Read More
Professor Sean Grimmond BSc PhD FFS RCPA obtained his PhD in pathology from the University of Queensland. He is a founding scientific fellow in The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia.
Previous appointments include the chair of medical genomics at the University of Glasgow, co-director of the Scottish Genomes Partnership, a professor of genetics at the University of Queensland, and founding director of the Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics.
Over the past 8 years, Sean has pioneered whole-genome and transciptome analysis of cancer patients, led Australia’s International Cancer Genome Consortium efforts into pancreatic, neuroendocrine and ovarian cancer, and contributed cohort-based mutational landscape studies in melanoma and oesophageal cancer. These studies have been used to resolve the mutagenic processes, driver mutations, molecular taxonomies, and potential vulnerabilities open to therapeutic exploitation in these cancer types. His current research is firmly focused on real-time omic analysis of recalcitrant cancers, testing the value of personalised therapies, and further cancer genome discovery. Read More