Dr Nicholas A. Wallace
Prof Nigel McMillan
Menzies Health Institute Queensland Program Seminar Series
Infectious Diseases & Immunology - Host Professor Nigel McMillan
Dr Nicholas A. Wallace - Title: Cutaneous HPV Infections and Skin Cancer
Skin cancers are more common than every other cancer type combined. The majority of these malignancies are non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs). Skin cells are frequently exposed to DNA damaging UV that can introduce mutations into oncogenes and tumor suppressors. To protect against these a mutagenic events a complex signaling network, collectively referred to as the DNA damage response (DDR), has evolved to maintain genome fidelity. We have demonstrated that cutaneous human papillomavirus infections (Beta-HPVs) disrupt the DDR and increase the risk of oncogenic mutations. By destabilizing a histone acetyltransferase, p300, the E6 protein from Beta HPV decreases the abundance of essential repair factors (ATM, ATR, BRCA1 and BRCA2) and attenuates multiple DDR pathways. These data support our hypothesis that Beta HPV infections augment the mutagenic potential of UV damage and as result increase the risk of NMSCs.
Dr Nicholas A. Wallace is passionate about understanding the role of cutaneous human papillomavirus (Beta-HPV) in skin cancers. He completed his doctorate on genomic instability at Tulane University in New Orleans with Dr. Prescott Deininger. Dr. Wallace then accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Under the mentorship of Dr. Denise Galloway, he applied his DNA repair background to characterizing the oncogenic risk of Beta-HPVs. Currently an Assistant Professor at Kansas State University Dr. Wallace is supported by the US Department of Defense, the Johnson Cancer Research Center and the Les Clow Family.
Professor Nigel McMillan - Title: CRISPR gene editing for cancer treatment. Progress and proposed clinical trial
Not since the discovery of RNA interference has a new technology made such a powerful and sweeping impact in the molecular biosciences as the development of CRISPR/Cas gene editing. Cas nucleases are bacterial defense proteins that provides adaptive immunity by introducing targeted DNA mutations in pathogenic viruses and plasmids. This was discovered to also be exploitable as a programmable platform to generate precise insertions or deletions (Indels) in living mammalian cells. This ability to edit genes in situ has been long sought after and has been the missing weapon in our gene therapy toolkit. Here I will discuss our progress with regard to the effectiveness of CRISPR/Cas in preclinical models and proposed clinical trials.
Professor Nigel McMIllan is a cancer biologist whose research focuses on the infectious causes of cancer and to develop novel treatments involved in gene editing and silencing. Nearly one-third of all cancers are caused by viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms. Prof McMillan is an internationally recognised expert in the area of human papillomavirus, gene editing and gene silencing. He has over 90 publications and has had continuous NHRMC funding for 22 years. During his career, Prof McMillan has graduated over 40 Masters or Honours students and 22 PhD students.
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