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Gene Regulation in Cancer

We focus on discovering and understanding the roles of novel mechanisms that control gene expression in normal physiology and cancer. Our breakthrough work published in the eminent journal, Cell, in 2013 showed that a mode of RNA processing called “intron retention” is crucial to regulate cellular differentiation. We have since demonstrated that intron retention is widespread (Genome Biology 2017) and is regulated by epigenetic changes (Nature Communication 2017). Building on these discoveries, a major interest of our lab is to determine how mistakes in this type of RNA processing lead to cancer development.

Another major interest of our laboratory is to determine the role of RNA modifications in normal cell differentiation and cancer. Over 100 types of RNA modifications have been identified to date. However, their functions in normal and cancer biology are largely unknown. We are passionate to establish the role of RNA modifications in the regulation of myriad biological processes, including alternative splicing, protein translation and RNA stability. We are excited at the prospect of understanding how these modifications become abnormal in cancer, and potential new therapeutic targets that may arise from these discoveries.

Dr. Justin Wong (Lab Head)

Phone: +612 95656175

Email: j.wong@centenary.org.au

Dr. Justin Wong is an Associate Faculty Member and Head of the Gene Regulation in Cancer Laboratory at the Centenary Institute. He leads a research team with a focus on deciphering novel gene regulation mechanisms in normal biology and cancer.Since completing his PhD in Cancer Epigenetics with publicationsin the New England Journal of Medicine and Cancer Cell, he has added RNA biology to his portfolio. In the last 8 years, he has authored over 10 peer-reviewed papers in the areas of non-coding RNA, alternative splicing and RNA modifications in high profile journals including Cell, Nature Communications, Genome Biology, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, Nucleic Acids Research and Blood. He has received numerous awards including an Early Career Fellowship, travel awards and project funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council. Having been awarded a Cancer Research Network Early Career Researcher award in 2016, Dr. Wong is recognised as one of the two most promising early career cancer researchers within the University of Sydney. Building on his expertise in epigenetics and RNA biology Dr. Wong is passionate in determining the control of processes such as alternative splicing via epigenetic changes and RNA modifications (epitranscriptomics). His vision is to generate new knowledge in the areas of RNA, epigenetics and epitranscriptomics, which may be useful for the development of novel therapeutics for human diseases, especially cancers.

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Dr. Chau-To Kwok (Postdoc)

Ms. Natalia Pinello (Research Assistant)

Dr. Alex Wong (PhD Student)

Mr. Immanuel Green (Honours Student)