Epigenetics Seminar Series 2020

We are delighted to bring you our new online Epigenetics Seminar Series, starting June 2020. We’ve planned a fantastic program, hosted by our Committee members, with a line-up of speakers from around Australia and overseas.

The Seminars will be held every four weeks, on Thursdays at 12 noon (AEST). Attendance is available to all Australian Epigenetics Alliance members – please join AEpiA for free or check your membership here.

A Zoom link will be sent to members prior to each meeting.

We enjoyed seeing many of you in June, when we introduced our first speaker, Dr Alyson Ashe from The University of Sydney, and we look forward to seeing you again soon. Join in the chat on Twitter on #AEpiAseminar.

Thurs 23 July 2020

12.00 – 12.45pm

Host: A/Prof Bastien Llamas

Professor Jus St. John

The University of Adelaide

Genomic balance

Professor Jus St. John is based in the Robinson Research Institute and The School of Medicine at The University of Adelaide. His research focuses on understanding how mitochondrial DNA is replicated and transmitted during development.

Jus uses a variety of assisted reproductive technologies and stem and tumour-initiating cell models to show how mitochondrial DNA replication is regulated in oocytes, embryos and undifferentiated and differentiating stem cells and why mtDNA replication is important to developmental outcome. His work indicates that the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes should be in synchrony for mitochondrial DNA replication and cellular differentiation to take place.

Jus has further shown that modulating the nuclear genome through, for example, DNA demethylation agents can impact on mitochondrial copy number. Likewise, modulating mitochondrial DNA copy number or haplotype can alter the global DNA methylation profiles of the nuclear genome. In cells that have established genomic balance, these actions can result in arrest whilst, in tumour-initiating cells, this can promote differentiation.

Thurs 20 Aug 2020

12.00 – 12.45pm

Host: A/Prof Vicki Whitehall

Professor Sudha Rao

QIMR Berghofer

Novel epigenetic driven re-invigoration: progress from mechanism to therapeutics in immuno-oncology

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

Sudha obtained her PhD from the University of London, Kings College in 2000. During this period, she joined a team of scientists at Rhone Poulenc/Sanofi Pharma, both in UK and France. During this time, she was part of one of the first groups world-wide to establish the clinical genomics platform for therapeutics in the UK.

Sudha has developed close partnerships with global technology companies and established novel liquid biopsy clinical platforms, first of its kind in Asia, for non-invasive tracking of blood samples from cancer patients. She has attracted highly competitive NHMRC, ARC and commercial funding to advance her cancer work. Sudha’s work has yielded national and international patents for both novel diagnostics and therapeutics in the emerging arena of immune-oncology and this work has great potential for cancer patients.

Thurs 17 Sept 2020

12.00 – 12.45pm

Host: Prof Ryan Lister

Details to follow



Thurs 22 Oct 2020*

10.00 – 10.45am*

Host: Dr Phillipa Taberlay

Prof Peter Jones

Van Andel Institute, USA



Thurs 12 Nov 2020

12.00 – 12.45pm

Host: Dr Tanya Soboleva

Details to follow



Past seminars

Thurs 25 June 2020

12.00 – 12.45pm (AEST)

Host: Dr Heather Lee

Dr Alyson Ashe

The University of Sydney

Insights into transgenerational epigenetic inheritance from C. elegans

Dr Alyson Ashe is an early career research fellow in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at The University of Sydney. She is interested in all areas of epigenetics and small RNA molecules.

Alyson studies epigenetic regulation of gene expression: the interplay between the environment that an organism encounters during its lifetime, and the expression patterns of its genes. Importantly, these environmental signals can sometimes get passed between generations (Darwin was wrong!), and Alyson’s work is trying to understand how this occurs.

To do this Alyson mainly uses the model organism C. elegans, a small nematode worm, but is also branching out into other species such as the honey bee.