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Meet the Research Team

Epigentic and Transcription Regulation Lab members

The members of the Epigentic and Transcription Regulation Lab at the University of Canberra are working tirelessly to help prevent cancer recurrence. Featured below are stories from two of the team members, Professor Sudha Rao and PhD candidate Robert McCuaig.

Dr Sudha Rao

Professor Sudha Rao obtained her Bachelor of Science with Honours at Keele University in the UK. She subsequently joined Aventis and as a Senior Scientist was involved in developing therapeutics strategies in the arena of asthma & COPD.

Sudha received a prestigious Aventis Fellowship and obtained her PhD from Kings College London in 2000. During this period, she joined a team of scientists at Aventis Pharma to establish the first therapeutic microarray screening platform in the UK in collaboration with Affymetrix, USA.

She was recruited by Professor Frances Shannon (now Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research at UC) as a postdoctoral fellow to John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) at the Australian National University (ANU) in 2000. In 2003 she was appointed as a research fellow and in 2009, Sudha was appointed Team Leader of the Immune Regulation & Nuclear Dynamics Group at JCSMR, ANU.

In 2010 Sudha came to the University of Canberra as an Associate Professor in Molecular & Cellular Biology and is also on the staff of the Centre for Research in Therapeutic Solutions (CResTS).

Sudha has extensive experience in transcriptional biology and genomic technologies that spans both pharmaceutical and academic settings. The primary focus of her research group has been to unravel complex epigenetic-signatures in transcription programs in the context of the immune system, as well as to understand the deregulatory mechanisms operating in cancer settings.

PhD candidate Robert McCuaig completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Canberra and his Honours at the University of Tasmania. He has always had a strong interest and passion for science and medical research and after working for Professor Rao as a Laboratory Technician, the transition to doing his PhD under Professor Rao was an easy step to take. His PhD initially looked at the immune system before evolving into cancer research. His role in the team is to use high resolution 3D imaging technology. This technology visualises the epigenetic regulators of cancer that the team is investigating as potential therapeutic targets in the treatment of breast cancer and other cancers. This technology will also be used to examine patient samples for biomarkers that have the potential to provide important information on the specific nature of the cancer a patient may have which can be used to track therapy outcomes and provide early warning for potential cancer recurrence and metastasis.

My goal is to make a difference in the lives of patients who have aggressive cancer. Everybody knows someone who has had cancer, like breast cancer, and through the work our lab is undertaking I hope to be able to contribute to making the lives of people with cancer better and to improve their quality of life and longevity.