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Dr Bente Talseth-Palmer

Dr Bente Talseth-Palmer
Research Program:
Project Grant
2009 Project Grant

What are your research interests?

  • Genetics of colorectal cancer 
  • Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC)/ Lynch Syndrome 
  • Detecting genetic variations in Lynch syndrome patients that will help early detection

Why did you get into research? 

My career path towards being a cancer researcher has been long and winding but I have gained valuable experience and met a lot of interesting people along the way. My mum’s cancer diagnosis has influenced my professional life.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

My ultimate research goal is cancer prevention by early detection. By this I mean that I will identify genetic risk factors that will target patients for early surveillance (colonoscopy) that can prevent cancer development (by removing polyps before they become cancerous).

Future Focus

My career goal is to contribute to knowledge of the genetic mechanisms of cancer and continue to expand my research into modifier genes that influence disease expression in Lynch Syndrome (LS).

Brief profile

Dr Bente Talseth-Palmer is a early career researcher with a passion for the disease she is working with. Since completing her Bachelor degree in Norway in 1999, her main aim has been to become a cancer researcher, which was fulfilled when she came to the University of Newcastle. Since 2004 Dr Talseth-Palmer has been working on the genetics of an inherited colorectal cancer predisposition called hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC)/Lynch syndrome.

Dr Talseth-Palmer was awarded her PhD from the University of Newcastle in December 2007 and was appointed as a Glady’s M. Brawn Memorial Post-Doctoral Fellow in January 2008, a NHMRC Early Career Fellow (previous training fellowship) in 2011 and Cancer Institute NSW Early Career Research Fellow in 2014. In 2008 she was awarded the Research Higher Degree Award for Excellence in the Faculty of Health in recognition of outstanding research achievement for her Doctor of Philosophy Research thesis.

She was appointed as a full time post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Newcastle in 2008 and been awarded various fellowships, grants, prizes and awards for her research efforts. She has been actively involved in mentoring and training of students throughout her career. 

Her expertise in searching for modifier genes in complex disease has been demonstrated by her doctoral research, which has provided novel discoveries about modifier genes affecting disease expression in individuals with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC)/Lynch syndrome. Her ultimate goal is to prevent cancer by detecting genetic variations in Lynch syndrome patients that will help early detection.

Her research focus represents an area of international recognition and her future research plans will produce quality research that adds to the knowledge and understanding of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC)/Lynch syndrome (LS), which confer a high lifetime risk of developing cancer, especially colorectal and endometrial cancer. The average age of patients with this disease is considerably less than patients without a family history and these patients are unlikely to be picked up in population screening programs.

In 2015 Dr Talseth-Palmer applied for leave without pay from her Cancer Institute NSW Early Career Fellowship and accepted a position as a Research Fellow in Cancer Genetics (3 year contract) in Norway. In November 2015 she also accepted a 0.2FTE position as a Research Adviser at Møre and Romsdal Hospital Trust (2 year contract).  

Specialised/Technical Skills 

  • SNP arrays
  • Genotyping
  • Next-generation sequencing
  • Scientific writing
  • Statistical analysis
  • Bioinformatics


  • School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Newcastle
  • PRC for Information-Based Medicine, University of Newcastle
  • PRC for Cancer, University of Newcastle
  • Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children´s and Women´s Health, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
  • Møre and Romsdal Hospital Trust, Norway


PULSE Education Prize
Project Grant