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Professor Matt Dun

Matt Dun
HMRI Award for Mid Career Research
2023 HMRI Award for Mid Career Research

Dedication, collaboration, and hard work are the hallmarks of Professor Matt Dun’s medical research career as a HMRI and University of Newcastle researcher. His world-class research into the most aggressive forms of cancer has earned him global recognition and a plethora of awards - all celebrating the important work Matt and his team are conducting to transform cancer treatments for families across the globe.
View Matt's research outputs on his University of Newcastle profile >
 

Profile

Matt Dun is Professor of Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Research at the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute, a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator Emerging Leader, Director of Brain Cancer Research - HMRI Precision Medicine Research Program, Paediatric Stream Leader - MHF Centre for Brain Cancer research and an Executive of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC) DMG Therapeutic Advisory Committee.

Matt has been decorated by 33 national and international awards for his paediatric cancer research. Notably, in 2019, he was named the NSW Premier’s Outstanding Cancer Research Fellow, and in 2020 received an Australian Institute of Policy and Science Young Tall Poppy Award.

In 2022, he received an International DIPG ‘Big Hero’ Award (Washington D. C.) and was named as the University of Newcastle, College of Health, Medicine, and Wellbeing, Mid-Career Researcher of the year. In 2023, Matt was named the Lake Macquarie Ambassador, awarded the ChadTough Defeat DIPG ‘Spirit Award’ (Michigan), the PNOC ‘Basic Science Trailblazer’ award (San Francisco), the International DIPG Symposium 2023 ‘Innovator Award’ (Lexington) and finally named the HMRI Directors Award for ‘Mid Career Research’.

Matt has published more than 90 peer reviewed articles in the world’s leading journals including, The Lancet Oncology, Nature Genetics, Cancer Cell, Cancer Discovery, The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Science Signaling, Neuro-Oncology where he sits as a member of the Editorial Board.

Matt has an exceptional record of achieving research funding, $>18M in his career including continuous Cancer Institute and NHMRC Investigator Grant - fellowships. As well as NHMRC Project Grants, NHMRC Target Call Grants, and funding from industry and philanthropy.

The research of Matt’s lab underpins the international clinical trial for patients diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma - DIPG (NCT05009992) – a combination therapy strategy targeting the unique and emerging features of DIPG, with each drug targeting critical hallmarks discovered by the research of his laboratory. Today, 137 children worldwide have received the therapies he discovered for DIPG in his lab, all thanks to the NHMRC, generous philanthropic support, and the brave and selfless donations of tumour cells/tissue by the families of children diagnosed with brain cancers.

 

Research Interests

My research program is focused on developing new anti-leukaemia drugs and determining their mechanism of action, synthesised in collaboration with the University of New South Wales. This targeted anti-cancer approach is complemented by a program of discovery research focused on furthering our understandings into how common gene mutations regulate the growth, survival and proliferation of cancer cells.

I am also interested in how normal healthy stem cells stored in the bone marrow grow and develop (cellular signalling) in response to signals or growth factors from the immune system. Hence, I have a research program studying the molecular switches regulated by the activity of protein phosphatases.

Finally, all of the complex and intricate activities of our cells (cellular physiology) are regulated through the actions of proteins, therefore I have a significant interest in methods that help us study the composition and function of proteins. Techniques such as mass spectrometry and biochemical techniques that can help us to understand the function of individual proteins and proteins that form complexes.

 

Specialised/Technical Skills 

  • Characterisation of protein expression
  • Proteomic profiling including iTRAQ and SILAC
  • Phosphoproteomics
  • Quantitative posttranslational modification analysis
  • DNA mutational analysis
  • Cellular imagery
  • Identification of protein-protein interactions via Co-immunoprecipitation
  • Far-Western blotting and Blue Native PAGE
  • Cell culture
  • Functional assays, the generation of recombinant proteins and polyclonal antibodies

 

Affiliations

  • PRC for Cancer (PRC-Cancer)
  • Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR)
  • Australasian Proteomics Society (APS)
  • American Association of Cancer Research (AACR)
  • Haematology Department, The Calvary Mater Hospital
  • Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Southern Denmark
  • Chemistry Department, The University of New South Wales
  • Lowy Cancer Research Centre, Prince of Wales Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, The University of New South Wales
  • Department of Human Genetics, VIB, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • The Alfred Hospital and Monash University

 

Why did you get into research?

The ability to make discoveries that one day may improve the health of our community is an honour that not many professions can lay claim to.

Also, research is about choosing your own adventure and I love that about the job.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?
The ability to make discoveries that one day may improve the health of our community is an honour that not many professions can lay claim to.

Also, research is about choosing your own adventure and I love that about the job.

2023

HMRI Award for Mid-Career Research
HMRI Award for Mid Career Research
Researchers: