Dr Ian Majewski - Blood Cells and Blood Cancer division

Dr Ian Majewski - Blood Cells and Blood Cancer division

Davis Auditorium
Start Time: 
Wed, 21/08/2019 - 1:00pm
End Time: 
Wed, 21/08/2019 - 2:00pm

Bad blood: tracing the origins of leukaemia

Wednesday seminar​

Maintaining the integrity of the genome is critically important for healthy development and healthy ageing. Our group studies how DNA repair pathways protect against cancer, with a particular focus on the blood system. As part of this work, we have identified a series of rare patients that lack a DNA glycosylase, called Methyl-Binding Domain 4 (MBD4), resulting in a predisposition to acute myeloid leukaemia. MBD4 is a thymine glycosylase that repairs damage at sites of 5-methylcytosine (5mC). Although DNA methylation has an important regulatory function, it also makes DNA more susceptible to damage. The slow erosion of 5mC has shaped the human genome over evolutionary time, but in the absence of MBD4 the process is accelerated and this epigenetic modification re-writes the genetic code. This seminar will detail the identification and characterisation of MBD4-deficiency, as it provides unique insight into the consequences of accelerating the natural processes that degrade our DNA as we age.

The Majewski laboratory uses genomic approaches to investigate why cancers develop and how the disease changes in response to therapy. Dr Majewski is a Victorian Cancer Agency Fellow and his research is supported by the NHMRC, Cancer Council of Victoria and a Centenary Fellowship from the Felton Bequest.