IMB’s Genomics of Development and Disease Division generates important insights into gene structure, function, regulation and interaction; clues to the causes of inherited and developmental diseases; and new molecular and genomic approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases.

Some of the most serious diseases facing society today are known to have a genetic component, and for many of these, disease susceptibility is determined during fetal life.

Scientists within the Division – in partnership with academic, clinical and industry collaborators around the world – have the capacity to not only link a novel genetic mutation with a disease state, but also to begin to investigate how this disease state might be treated on an individual level and at a broader population level.

Drawing on their expertise in molecular genetics, stem cell biology, bioinformatics, computational biology, mathematics, statistics, and computer science, GDD Division researchers are able to apply common skillsets and approaches to a broad range of biological conditions. Specifically, they aim to improve understanding of, and progress treatments for, cancer, disorders of sex development, and diseases of the heart, kidney, metabolism, vasculature, skeleton, testis and brain.

Advanced technologies are applied to these research programs, with world-class on-site facilities for microarray and protein visualisation including immunofluorescence and confocal imaging methods; and gain- and loss-of-function gene analyses in mice and zebrafish. The Division also hosts the Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics and QFAB Bioinformatics.

Major funding sources include the Queensland Government, Australian Cancer Research Foundation, Australian Research Council, National Health and Medical Research Council, Human Frontiers Science Program, J.S. McDonnell Foundation, and the US National Institutes of Health and key industry partners.

Group leaders

  Name Title Research Areas Keywords
Dr Lachlan Coin Group Leader Population genomics obesity; type 2 diabetes; systematic autoimmune disease; rheumatoid arthritis; tuberculosis; psoriasis; meningicoccal disease; Kawasaki disease
Dr Mat Francois Group Leader Transcriptional regulation of blood and lymphatic vessels lymphoedema; cancer metastasis; chronic inflammatory disorders
Dr Nick Hamilton IMB Biomathematician Modelling, visualisation and classification of bioimaging  pathogen invasion; cancer cell biology; developmental disorders 
Associate Professor Ben Hogan Co-Division Head Vascular biology and development vascular development; disease models; lymphoedema; cancer metastasis
Professor Peter Koopman Group Leader Disorders of sex development, infertility and testicular cancer intersex disorders; testicular cancer; ovarian cancer; infertility
Professor Grant Montgomery
Group Leader Genetics of complex disease Endometriosis, Reproductive traits, Functional Genomics
Dr Nathan Palpant Group Leader Stem cells and cardiovascular development
cardiovascular system; cardiovascular disease; heart disease; heart development; vascular development; heart regeneration; human pluripotent stem cells; genomics; genome engineering; bioengineering
Dr Joseph Powell Dr Joseph Powell Group Leader Computational genomics functional genomics; transcriptomics; RNA; genomic sequencing; population genetics; medical genomics
Professor Mark Ragan Co-Division Head Computational systems biology breast cancer; pancreatic cancer; prostate cancer; gastrointestinal disorders; urohaemolytic disorders; staphylococcal diseases
Dr Kelly Smith Group Leader Genetics and cell biology of cardiac development heart development; cardiovascular biology; congential heart defects
Dr Ryan Taft Group Leader Rare childhood diseases rare childhood diseases; leukodystrophies; Prader-Willi syndrome; personalised medicine; high-throughput genomics
Professor Peter Visscher  Group Leader Genetics and genomics of complex traits quantitative genetics; complex trait genetics; population genetics; statistical genetics; systems genomics; complex trait genomics; genetics theory;
Professor Brandon Wainwright IMB Director and Group Leader Cancer and cell signalling skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma); brain tumours (medulloblastoma and glioblastoma); medical research; scientific leadership
Associate Professor Carol Wicking Group Leader Developmental genes and human disease childhood genetic disease; ciliopathies; cleft lip; cleft palate; high-throughput genomics
Professor Naomi Wray Group Leader Genetics of complex genetic traits, disease and disorders  
Associate Professor Jian Yang
Group Leader Statistical genetics complex traits; gene mapping; population genetics; genetics of human diseases


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