Committee bio

Dr Sarah Diermeier

Dr Sarah Diermeier

Department of Biochemistry,

University of Otago

& Amaroq Therapeutics,

New Zealand

Email Sarah

Dr Sarah Diermeier completed her undergraduate studies in Biochemistry in Germany, followed by a Master’s Thesis in Finland, where she investigated the impact of nutrition on gene regulation in cancer.

In 2009, Sarah began her PhD project in epigenetics and genomics back in Germany with Dr Gernot Längst, studying the structure-function relationship in chromatin with a focus on nucleosome positioning.

Sarah then joined the laboratory of Dr David Spector at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York in 2013. There, she received two postdoctoral fellowships for her investigations of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) as new therapeutic targets in breast cancer. In 2017, Sarah received an NIH/NCI Pathway to Independence Award to continue her work as Senior Fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Her work in the USA was part of an industry collaboration with Ionis Pharmaceuticals and resulted in the generation of new IP for RNA therapeutics in oncology.

Sarah moved to New Zealand to start her own research group at the University of Otago in 2018, and was awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship in the same year. Her group investigates the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of oncogene regulation with a focus on lncRNAs and RNA structures and interactions. Her lab combines bioinformatics, RNA biology, CRISPR screening and preclinical research using organoids and mouse models. The team also uses spatial transcriptomics to investigate tumor evolution.

Sarah is also the Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Amaroq, a venture-backed RNA therapeutics company. Amaroq serves as translational vehicle to bridge the gap between Sarah’s academic research and the clinical development of new cancer therapeutics.

Early in 2008, Sue Clark brought a handful of epigenetics researchers from Australia together to form the Australian Epigenetics Alliance. The AEpiA has now grown to a membership of over 600, with members spanning not only Australasia, but the globe.  In February 2021, our Victorian local organising committee hosted our eighth flagship Epigenetics conference, online for the first time.  Our NSW team is now busy preparing for Epigenetics 2022, which will be held in September in Kingscliff, NSW.