HMRI researchers receive $3.9m in NHMRC grants

Oct 14 2022

Professor Xu Dong Zhang and Dr Heather Lee have received National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator grants for separate projects relating to the identification of cancer biomarkers.  


Professor Xu Dong Zhang was awarded $2.3m to explore long noncoding RNAs for cancer diagnosis and treatment. 

Compared to normal cells, cancer cells exploit a new class of molecules called nonprotein-coding RNAs for their malignancy.

A better understanding of how these molecules influence cancer initiation, progression and treatment response will uncover new biomarkers for early cancer diagnosis and molecular targets for cancer treatment.

Professor Zhang and his team will integrate biological understanding of these molecules and conduct preclinical testing of novel cancer biomarkers and treatments. 

Dr Heather Lee received $1.5m to detail epigenetic mechanisms in cancer evolution for improved patient outcomes. 

Cancers can change over time allowing them to recur. When cancers return, patients often succumb to their illness. New ways of monitoring how cancers change, and treatments to target or reverse those changes, are needed to prevent this recurrence.

Dr Lee’s research program will use cutting-edge techniques to identify these unknown forces.