Cancer Epigenetics

As one of the driving forces of cancer, the program aims to attract researchers studying the relationship between epigenetics and cancer.

Cancer Epigenetics Program

Epigenetics explores the molecular mechanisms governing gene regulation and gene expression without changes to the underlying DNA sequence.  Epigenetic dysregulation can be found in most stages of cancer progression, including tumorigenesis, progression, and recurrence.  Notably, certain epigenetic drugs hold the potential to reverse some of these changes, offering promising avenues for intervention.

The Cancer Epigenetics program strives to unravel the epigenetic mechanisms contributing to cancer, with the aim of developing effective therapeutics.

Development and Epigenetics Laboratory

Development and Epigenetics Laboratory

L-R:  Dr Kate Dredge, Dr Adrienne Sullivan, Ashleigh Geiger, Anna Nixon.

Group Leader - Dr Adrienne Sullivan

The Sullivan Lab seeks to uncover how gene enhancer activity is molecularly controlled and its impact on cell identity, behaviour, and potency.  In particular we focus on the selective activation and deactivation of enhancers through epigenetic changes, critical for the differentiation of multipotent progenitor cells during development, and the misregulation of these processes in malignancy.  This research is essential for understanding both developmental processes and disease.

Epigenetics and Gene Regulation Laboratory

Epigenetics and Gene Regulation Laboratory

L-R:  Dr Qi Zhang, Jvaughn Duggan.

Group Leader - Dr Qi Zhang

Our research revolves around understanding the fundamental mechanisms governing epigenetic regulation, we aim to translate foundational laboratory findings into innovative therapeutic strategies.  Presently, our primary focus lies in exploring the intricate interplay of chromatin-modifying complexes in both gene regulation and cancer pathology.  We employ a multifaceted approach encompassing biochemistry, structural biology, cell biology, genomics, and bioinformatics to illuminate these complexities and pave the way for novel therapeutic interventions.

Epigenetic Processes in Pluripotency and Reprogramming Laboratory

Epigenetic Processes in Pluripotency and Reprogramming Laboratory

Back L-R:  Elly Walters, Dr German Mora Roldan, Dr Wenjun Nora Liu, Professor Jose Polo.  Front L-R:  Suzanne Maiolo, Monika Mohenska, Dulce Lorena Medina Garcia, Tianjun Percy Zhang.

Group Leader - Professor Jose Polo

The Polo Lab is interested in transcriptional and epigenetic processes that govern cell identity, especially pluripotency, somatic cell reprogramming into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, and their relevance to development and cancer.  They aim to reprogram mature cells into a pluripotent state, to gain insights into the molecular and cellular events involved in cell type conversion.  Using diverse techniques and stem cell models, they investigate epigenetic and genomic changes during cell fate transitions, the influence of cell origin on reprogramming and the role of transcription factors and transcriptional regulation in pluripotency, developmental biology and cancer.

Molecular Epigenetics Laboratory

Molecular Epigenetics Laboratory

L-R:  Dr Katja Hummitzsch, Dr Luke Isbel, Katarina Amerl.

Group Leader - Dr Luke Isbel

The Isbel Lab is fascinated by the interactions between transcription factors and chromatin and means of controlling these interactions to influence DNA expression. In particular, through the use of a variety of genomics and proteomics tools in mammalian stem cells, cancer cell lines and animal models, we aim to identify novel means of altering transcription factor activity to open new avenues of cancer treatment.

Single Cell and Spatial-Omics Laboratory

Group Leader - Associate Professor Luciano Martelotto

The Single Cell and Spatial-Omics Lab at ACE/SAIGENCI functions as a specialised academic incubator for the conception and preliminary assessment of new tools and methods in single cell, spatial, and genomics research.  This space fosters innovation in technology generation, protocol formulation, equipment appraisal, and the development and integration of informatics tools.  While the objectives and pursuits of this lab and its team naturally adapt to the rapid progressions in the genomics realm, the enduring goal is to cultivate technologies with the promise of propelling research and its tangible benefits for the broader scientific fraternity.  This lab is envisioned as a collaborative, technology-driven nucleus, offering comprehensive technical and intellectual aid throughout all phases of experimental endeavours, encompassing stages like planning, design, implementation, and interpretation.  The Martelotto Lab stands as a comprehensive resource for collaborators seeking access to pioneering technologies, technical guidance, developmental support, and problem-solving assistance.


Professor Jose Polo

Program Lead and Group Leader, Epigenetic Processes in Pluripotency and Reprogramming Laboratory

Dr Luke Isbel

Group Leader, Molecular Epigenetics Laboratory

Associate Professor Luciano Martelotto

Group Leader, Single Cell and Spatial-Omics Laboratory

Dr Adrienne Sullivan

Group Leader, Development and Epigenetics Laboratory

Dr Qi Zhang

EMBLAus (PLN) Group Leader, Epigenetics and Gene Regulation Laboratory