Dr Melanie Eckersley-Maslin
Dr Melanie Eckersley-Maslin is a group leader at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and research fellow in the Department of Anatomy and Physiology at the University of Melbourne.
Melanie studied Advanced Sciences at the University of Sydney before completing her PhD in molecular biology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s School of Biological Sciences in New York, USA with Prof David Spector. In 2014, she moved to the Babraham Institute, Cambridge UK to work with Prof Wolf Reik as a postdoctoral research fellow supported by an EMBO Fellowship, Marie Curie Independent Fellowship and a BBSRC Discovery Grant. Her postdoctoral research focused on the epigenetic control of early embryonic cell fate transitions including zygotic genome activation and gastrulation. This led to the discovery of Dppa2 and Dppa4 as epigenetic priming factors in early development.
In 2020, Melanie was awarded the prestigious 2020 Metcalf prize for Stem Cell Research by the National Stem Cell Foundation reflecting her upcoming leadership in the field. In 2021, she returned to Australia as a group leader investigating the concepts of epigenetic plasticity in development and cancer using stem cell and cancer models and single-cell and CRISPR-based technologies. Her research explores how cell identity is established in embryos yet deregulated in cancers, with the ultimate aim to identify new prognostic markers and therapeutic targets.
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 - watch this space!