Professor Sean Grimmond
Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics
One in two Australians will develop cancer before the age of 85 and one in five will die from the disease, making cancer an important national health priority area. Our research at the Queensland Centre for Medical Genomics (QCMG) aims to discover the process for how normal cells transform into cancer cells, one patient at a time. From this information, we can then help to choose drugs and treatments to treat each individual, not just their cancer type.
To achieve this, we survey genomic and gene activity information, as well as how non-genetic factors influence physical traits using high-throughput genomic sequencing and microarrays. The combined data sets are then integrated to enable us to define the molecular networks controlling biological processes, such as cell division and specialisation, and disease states, including cancers of the pancreas, prostate, bowel, brain, ovary and breast. This systems-wide approach will provide the means to identify key genes driving specific physical traits and enable us to model the different layers of control guiding biological states.
We are continuing to survey gene activity in specific biological states using high-throughput sequencing approach (RNAseq) in an effort to put newly discovered gene products into a functional context. We are actively engaged in RNAseq studies to create a human and mouse tissue gene activity atlas, studying gene activity complexity in stem cells and we are surveying gene activity during the cell cycle.
During the past 12 months, we led an international team of more than 100 researchers working as part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium to conduct the most comprehensive investigation to date into the genetic sequencing of pancreatic cancer, which garnered significant international media attention. We also established new experimental models by using mouse models of pancreatic cancer to identify new key drivers in cancer initiation and tumour progression.
As modern technology increases the volume of patient data available, the need to automate both laboratory and informatics pipelines becomes more critical.
Our next steps will focus on finding new ways to automate and sort these large and important data sets. By better understanding the molecular signature of each individual patient we can make more informed decisions about effective treatment solutions, which has the potential to offer patients a better quality of life and hopefully fewer side effects of treatment.
Student projects and opportunities
View current Grimmond Lab honours projects.
View more publications by Professor Grimmond via PubMed.
Chiu, H.-S., Szucsik, J.C., Georgas, K.M., Jones, J.L., Rumballe, B.A., Tang, D., Grimmond, S.M., Lewis, A.G., Lessard, J.L., Aronow, B.J., and Little, M.H. (2010). A comprehensive catalogue of gene expression in the developing lower urinary tract and genital tubercle reveals strong links with cadherin and Wnt signaling and identifies epidermal gene networks in the developing genital tubercle. Developmental Biology 344: 1071-1087.
Cloonan, N., and Grimmond, S.M. (2010). Simplifying Complexity. Nature Methods 7: 793-795.
Mercer, T.R., Dinger, M.E., Bracken, C.P., Kolle, G., Szubert, J.M., Korbie, D.J., Askarian-Amiri, M.E., Gardiner, B.B., Goodall, G.J., Grimmond, S.M., and Mattick, J.S. (2010). Regulated post-transcriptional RNA cleavage diversifies the eukaryotic transcriptome. Genome Research 20: 1639-1650.
Schmeier, S., Kanamori-Katayama, M., Bertin, N., Carninci, P., Daub, C.O., Forrest, A.R.R., Gough, J., Grimmond, S.M., Han, J.-H., Hashimoto, T., Hide, W., Hofmann, O., Kawaji, H., Kubosaki, A., Lassmann, T., van Nimwegen, E., Ogawa, C., Teasdale, R.D., Tegnér, J., Lenhard, B., Teichmann, S.A., Arakawa, T., Ninomiya, N., Murakami, K., Tagami, M., Fukuda, S., Imamura, K., Kai, C., Ishihara, R., Kitazume, Y., Kawai, J., Hume, D.A., Ideker, T., and Hayashizaki, Y. (2010). An Atlas of Combinatorial Transcriptional Regulation in Mouse and Man. Cell 140: 744-752.
The International Cancer Genome Consortium (SM Grimmond listed as leader of the Australian project & member of the technology and scientific steering committees) (2010). International network of cancer genome projects. Nature 464: 993-998.