From breast cancer genes to academic leadership



Professor Melissa Brown, UQ
This colloquium will be held 12 noon, 28th April, in Goddard 08-139

Variations in our genes can confer an increased risk of cancer. Determining the clinical significance of these variations is a major challenge for genetic counselors and clinicians, and this is increasing significantly with expanded access to human genome sequencing. My research has focused on the function of non-coding regions of the human genome and how variations in these regions can contribute to breast cancer risk. This has involved using bioinformatic and molecular approaches to identify regions that control the activation of genes, and then assessing the consequence of DNA sequence variations on the functions of these regions. These studies have been facilitated by both national (kConFab) and international (ENIGMA) multidisciplinary research consortia. They have also been associated with the development of many PhD students and early career researchers. The joys of providing opportunities for individuals and teams to work together and be successful in achieving strategic goals and in their careers has attracted me to several academic leadership roles, most recently as Executive Dean of Science. In the first part of the talk I will provide a general overview of my research interests and outcomes. In the second part of the talk I will talk about some of my achievements in previous leadership roles and aspirations in my current role, with a focus on the development of students and staff, in facilitating multidisciplinary outcome focused research, and in working towards gender equity.