Cancer Functional Genomics Workshop
Monday, 13 November 2017

The organisers of the Cancer Functional Genomics workshop would like to invite researchers and clinicians to attend a free one-day workshop in Adelaide on Monday 13 November aimed at exploring current and emerging techniques for assessing the impact of genomic changes in cancer. The workshop is open to those who have an interest in understanding and collaborating in Australian cancer functional genomics initiatives.


The workshop will pose the question of how approaches such as saturation mutagenesis, PDX, iPS models, organoid culture, transcriptomics, high-throughput live cell imaging, pharmacogenomics, metabolomics and bioinformatic modelling, among others, can be used to more efficiently harness genomics to improve outcomes for cancer patients.


For those interested in the field (and/or South Australian wines!), note that this workshop directly precedes the 8th Barossa Cell Signalling in Cancer meeting, which is to be held on the 14th – 17th November 2017.


Register online at:

Registration deadline: November 1


Limited places are available, so book soon before they run out.


Meeting Overview


The workshop will include themes such as:

  • PDX
  • iPS models
  • Organoid culture
  • Transcriptomics
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Meta-omics
  • Bioinformatic modelling
  • Cancer genetics
  • Translational medicine
  • Collaborative research in Australia



Confirmed Speakers (Speaker Biographies at bottom of page)

  • Lea Starita
  • David Thomas
  • Deb White
  • Brandeis McBratney-Owen
  • Arcadi Cipponi
  • Sean Grimmond
  • Sriganesh Srihari
  • Tony Burgess
  • Marco Herold
  • Stephen Gregory
  • Susie Woods
  • Maggie Centenara
  • Alan Rubin


The workshop is sponsored by:

The Australian Genomics Health Alliance, in conjunction with:

The Centre for Cancer Biology, University of SA

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

Garvan Institute of Medical Research


Venue and Accomodation 

The workshop will be held in the One room overlooking the historical Adelaide Oval and scoreboard. The oval is a short walk over the river from the Adelaide CBD and provides the opportunity for visitors to experience the new refurbished facilities. Entry to the stadium is via the South Gate, Level 1 on War Memorial Drive, with the One room situated on level 3 of the Riverbank Stand). The entry is well signed and further directions are available at the Stadium Concierge desk.


Dinner will be held at Cliche Exhibition which provides a modern take on French food and all the best of South Australian wines. Cliche Exhibition is located in the North Adelaide district, just a 10 minute walk up from the oval.

For those looking for accommodation in Adelaide there are a variety of options in the CBD.


Recommended accommodation includes:


Speaker Biographies

Lea Starita

Lea is an Assistant Research Professor in the Genome Sciences department at the University of Washington where she develops massively parallel methods to determine the effects of genetic variation on protein function. Using this approach, she hopes to help solve the problem of variants of uncertain significance by scoring the pathogenic potential of genetic variants before they are found in the clinic.


Arcadi Cipponi

Dr Arcadi Cipponi received his degree in Molecular Biology at the University of Milan, Italy. He obtained his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Pathology at the University of Parma, Italy. In 2006 he moved to the Ludwing Institute of Cancer Research in Brussels where he worked on fundamental aspects of anti-tumor immune response in human melanoma. In 2011 he joined the group of Prof. David Thomas at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne to study the mechanisms driving adaptive mutagenesis of human cancer cells in response to pharmacological pressures. He is currently Senior Research Officer in the Genomic Cancer Medicine Laboratory at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Sydney directed by Prof. David Thomas.

Dr Cipponi’s interests include the development of in vitro models to define cancer risks associated with germline mutations in tumour suppressor genes. He developed a random-scanning mutagenesis methodology and a high-throughput functional assay as powerful tools for elucidating protein structure-function relationships of the human ERCC2 gene, essential for the nucleotide excision repair pathway.


Sean Grimmond

Sean Grimmond is the founding Bertalli Chair in Cancer Medicine and Director of the University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research in the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. He holds a Genetics degree from University of New England and a PhD in Pathology from the University of Queensland and became a Founding Scientific Fellow in The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia in 2011. Previous appointments include the Chair of Medical Genomics at the University of Glasgow (2013-2016), the Co-Chair of the Scottish Genomes Partnership (2014-2016), Professor of Genomics at the University of Queensland (2009-2016) and the founding Director of the Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics (2009-2013).

Over the last 20 years, Professor Grimmond’s research has focused uncovering the underlying genetics controlling key biological processes and pathological states through integrated ‘omic analyses.

He has pioneered whole genome analysis of cancer patients at scale and led Australia’s International Cancer Genome Consortium efforts into both Pancreatic and Ovarian cancers. His current research is firmly focused on real-time omic analysis of recalcitrant cancers, testing the value of personalizing therapies and further cancer genome discovery.


Sriganesh Srihari

Sriganesh Srihari is a Senior Research Fellow with the Lynn EMBL-Australia group at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), and a Senior Research Officer with the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. He has a background in computer science (having received a Ph.D. in 2012 from National University of Singapore) and has worked extensively on graph (network) and combinatorial algorithms and in applying these to large omics datasets in biomedicine. He won an American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) - Susan G.Komen for the Cure® Scholar-in-training Award at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2015 (San Antonio, Texas, USA) for his computational approach MutExSL on predicting synthetic-lethal targets by mining mutually exclusive genetic alterations in cancers.  He serves on the Editorial Board for the bioinformatics theme of Scientific Reports and is a Guest Editor for Methods (Elsevier). Dr Srihari’s interests include the use of network models to study intracellular networks including protein-protein interaction (PPI), signal transduction, metabolic (enzyme-substrate), and gene regulatory networks have been studied using network models.


Tony Burgess

Professor Tony Burgess is a colon cancer researcher and was Director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Melbourne and Professor of Surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne for 30 years.  Currently, he is a laboratory Head at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. He is particularly interested in identifying the mechanisms which control crypt production in normal, adenomatous and cancerous colon tissue. This focus has led him to study the EGFR, wnt and notch signaling. In 2012 his laboratory started to grow mouse colon crypts, for the last two years members of his laboratory have been culturing human colon crypts.


Marco Herold

Marco Herold is a Laboratory Head in the Molecular Genetics of Cancer Division at WEHI. He is an expert in using CRISPR/Cas9 technology to develop mouse models of human diseases, in particular cancer. During his PhD and first postdoctoral studies at the University of Würzburg (Germany) he was trained in cell death research and mouse genetics. Since his arrival at WEHI he combined these two research streams to investigate the functions of genes required for the continuous growth of cancer cells. In addition, Dr Herold developed a new major research interest: using CRISPR library screening to discover novel regulators of apoptosis and other processes with the aim to thereby identify targets for cancer therapy.


Stephen Gregory

Dr Stephen Gregory is the head of the Cell Division and Cancer laboratory in the Genetics department at the University of Adelaide. He received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Adelaide on transcription control. Dr Gregory spent 5 years using molecular genetics to answer cell biology questions at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, UK, before returning to work on mechanisms of cytokinesis with Professor Rob Saint in Adelaide. He has been running his own lab for eight years and is focusing on the use of Drosophila to investigate the function of metabolic genes that we have found are needed to maintain chromosomal instability in cancer.


Susie Woods

Susan is a Cure Cancer Australia research fellow. She specialises in functional modelling of cancer associated genetic variation. She joined the Gastrointestinal Cancer Biology group headed by physician-scientist Dr Daniel Worthley at SAHMRI in 2015. This laboratory is physically located within the SAHMRI “flagship” and the group benefits from cross-appointment thru the University of Adelaide. Previously Susan undertook post-doctoral training in the Oncogenomics laboratory of Prof. Nick Hayward at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. Before that she completed 4-years of post-doctoral studies in the lab of Nobel Laureate J.Michael Bishop at the University of California, San Francisco. She has three co-first author Nature journal publications in the field of cancer research. She won a “Young Tall Poppy” Science Award 2016 from the Australian Institute for Policy and Science, the 2016 “Women’s Research Excellence” award from Adelaide University and 2011 “Best Senior Researcher Award” from the Australian Society for Medical Research (QLD).


Maggie Centenara

Dr Maggie Centenera, BHSc, BSc(Hons), PhD, is a Research Fellow in the School of Medicine at the University of Adelaide. Her PhD, investigating androgen receptor structure and function in prostate cancer, was awarded in 2008 at the University of Adelaide. As part of her postdoctoral research at the Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories, Dr Centenera developed a patient-derived prostate cancer explant model. In 2012, Dr Centenera was a visiting scholar at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the University of Leuven in Belgium to assist prostate cancer research laboratories with establishing the explant technique. While at the University of Leuven, Dr Centenera undertook a short-term Fellowship with Professor Johan Swinnen, the leading expert on lipid metabolism and cancer. Upon returning to Australia, Dr Centenera was awarded a prestigious Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia Young Investigator Award. In 2014 she was recruited by A/Prof Lisa Butler to the Prostate Cancer Research Group at SAHMRI. Her current research is focussed on using the patient-derived explant model to improve treatment of prostate cancer through more accurate pre-clinical evaluation of novel drugs, and development of more accurate methods to monitor drug efficacy.


Brandeis McBratney-Owen

Dr Brandeis McBratney-Owen is the Project Officer at Australian Functional Genomics.  She received her PhD from Harvard University looking at mouse craniofacial development and was a visiting researcher during graduate school at the University of Hawaii and University of Oxford.  After doing postdoctoral research with mice and zebrafish at Boston Children’s Hospital, Brandeis lectured and organised courses across the Harvard campuses in craniofacial development, genetics, and anatomy.  Brandeis is also a dentist, having earned a DDS from the University of Melbourne, and sees patients in private practice.  In her role at Australian Functional Genomics, Brandeis is working with clinicians and researchers across Australia to create a national functional genomics network that links to global partners in Canada, Europe, and Japan.


David Thomas

Professor David Thomas is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, and a medical oncologist specialising in sarcomas.  In June 2014, he was appointed as Director of The Kinghorn Cancer Centre and Head of the Cancer Division at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney.  Dr Thomas has a particular focus on the impact of genomics on cancer medicine and public health.  His work has had significant translational impact.  Dr Thomas led an international clinical trial of denosumab in Giant Cell Tumor of bone, which has led to a new therapeutic option for patients with advanced disease.  He established a national infrastructure for clinical research into sarcomas, the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group.  As Director of the statewide adolescent and young adult cancer service, onTrac@PeterMac, Dr Thomas played a significant national and international role in the development of adolescent and young adult oncology.


Deb White

Professor Deborah White is the Director of Cancer Research and Deputy Cancer Theme Leader at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) in Adelaide. She is a Senior Principal Research Fellow with SAHMRI, and a Professor in both Medicine and Paediatrics at the University of Adelaide.  In addition, she is a Fellow of the Faculty of Science (Royal College of Pathologists of Australia), Adjunct Professor of the University of South Australia (Health Science), a member of the American, European and Australian Societies of Haematology, the Australian and New Zealand Children’s Haematology/ Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) and the International (USA) Children’s Oncology Group (COG).  Professor White’s research focus is in Chronic Myeloid (CML) and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL)