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Centenary Institute - Medical Research
Centenary Institute - Medical Research

Melanoma Epigenetics

The Melanoma Epigenetics Laboratory seeks to understand how deregulation of epigenetic modifiers can potentially govern all hallmarks of cancer. Using cutting edge techniques such as CRISPR, high throughput drug screening and mouse models, we seek to identify new targets for potential treatments. Working closely with collaborators we will look to identify drugs that can be rapidly screened in the laboratory using our extensive pre-clinical in vitro and in vivo melanoma models. This will allow us to study tumour growth, metastases and resistance to therapy.

Our ultimate goal is to apply the knowledge we have gained through this current work in melanoma and expand into other cancer areas which have poor prognosis, such as cancers of the lung, pancreas and brain.

The Melanoma Epigenetics Laboratory will work to understand how epigenetic regulators such as histone modifications drive melanoma progression, immune evasion and response to therapy.


  • The role of histone and chromatin modifier’s in melanoma progression and treatment resistance.
  • Identifying novel epigenetic regulators of targeted therapy and immunotherapy resistance.
  • Investigating sex differences in X-linked epigenetic regulators of melanoma.

Dr Jessamy Tiffen leads the Melanoma Epigenetics Laboratory at the Centenary Institute. She is an expert in the study of epigenetic regulation in cancer. She has an excellent publication record and citations in high impact factor journals including Nature Genetics, Lancet Oncology, JNCI and Cancer Research. She is the recipient of grants from the Cancer Council of NSW and Tour de Cure. She was recently awarded a Centenary Institute Future Fellowship and holds a dual affiliation as an Honorary Senior Research Fellow within the University of Sydney (USYD).

In 2011 she completed her PhD from USYD in Cancer genetics. From there she underwent postdoctoral training at the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK under the mentorship of Dr David Adams. Upon returning to Australia she pursued her interest in melanoma at the Kolling Institute of Medical Research with Professor Peter Hersey who relocated with his team to Centenary Institute in 2015. She was a mentee in the Franklin Women Mentoring program in 2018. She is also a member of the American Association of Cancer Research and the Society for Melanoma Research.

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