Molecular Oncology

Group leader: Professor Jennifer Byrne

Our team investigates what happens in cancer at a molecular level, this being at the level of how genes, proteins and other molecules work in the cell. We are studying how inherited genetic changes contribute to cancers in children and families, and how genetic changes in cancers can predict how patients respond to therapy. We also study the functions of particular proteins in cancer cells, in order to target altered lipid (or fat) metabolism to improve cancer treatment.

Much of our research employs patient samples from the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Tumour Bank (http://www.kidsresearch.org.au/our-facilities/bio-banks), and so our team recognises the vital importance of tumour banks (or biobanks) in facilitating cancer research. We are also supporting the development and broader application of NSW Health Pathology biobank certification (https://nsw.biobanking.org/webs/certification_program) to improve patient sample quality for cancer research.

Current research interests include:

  • the regulation of lipid metabolism and lipid storage in cancer cells
  • the identification of cancer predisposition genes and predictive biomarkers in childhood cancer patients
  • and the improvement of cancer biobank operations