Professor Rodney Scott

Professor Rodney Scott

Professor Rodney Scott | Co-leader of HMRI’s Information Based Medicine Research Program

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HMRI Award for Research Excellence
2008 HMRI Award for Research Excellence
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2007 Scholarship
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What are your research interests?

I am interested in understanding the mechanisms of disease so that more appropriate approaches to treatment can be developed to improve outcomes.

I have been interested for many years in molecular aspects of bowel and breast cancer.  By studying the molecular basis of these diseases it has served as a springboard to study other diseases such as melanoma, ovarian cancer and multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia. Indeed the skills I acquired as a geneticist are transferable to a variety of other diseases. 

Why did you get into research?

When I first started my research career in the 1980s, I realised very early on that this was a profession that was always going to change and would not become mundane. This was the sort of career I relished because the last thing I wanted was a career that was repetitive. 

I used to discuss with my father how he treated his patients for their diseases and I realised that I wanted to do more than that.  As a medical researcher, I concluded that I could make a more profound difference to people’s health by understanding the genetic basis of disease.

What is the ultimate goal for your research?

Ultimately, I want to alleviate needless suffering. I hope that we can develop the ability to intervene at an appropriate time in someone’s life to reduce the risk of succumbing to a disease before they should. We all grow old and I want to see people living a long fulfilling life that is healthy from beginning to end.

Biography

Professor Rodney Scott is an internationally recognised leader in genetics who has been instrumental in bringing the Hunter to the forefront of personalised medicine.

Professor Scott has been involved with HMRI since it was established in 1998. His first appointment in the Hunter was as Professor and Head of the Discipline of Medical Genetics at the University of Newcastle and as Director of Molecular Medicine in the Hunter Area Pathology Service, positions he still holds.

His research focuses on the identification of genes associated with inherited forms of colorectal cancer and breast cancer. In 2005 Professor Scott was appointed the inaugural HMRI NBN Telethon Chair of Childhood Cancer in recognition of his outstanding research track record in genetic predispositions to cancer. The work involved looking at the genetics of leukaemia and brain tumours in children which is ongoing.

Professor Scott is involved with the Hunter New England Health Family Cancer Genetic Counselling Service and first initiated testing for familial breast and familial colon cancer in the Hunter New England Region to ensure early risk detection for patients and their families that could lead to preventative strategies and better.

Recently, Professor Scott found a new suite of genetic biomarkers that are associated with the “triple negative breast cancer", a subtype of breast cancer that lacks the three critical receptors and is difficult to treat since none of the newer therapies target this type of breast disease.  In women with this type of cancer, the well-known BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes were found to be present in up to 10% of patients. 

Professor Scott’s work has led to collaborations with other HMRI Research Programs and collaborators across the globe, now having more than 500 peer reviewed scientific publications in genetics research spanning the fields of cancer, asthma, stroke, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, macular degeneration, lung disease and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). He has attracted over $45 million in grant funding over the course of his career.

Professor Scott currently leads a program of over 30 research staff and is supervising over 20 post-graduate students working on multiple aspects of genetic research.

More details at Professor Scott’s University of Newcastle research profile

Specialised / Technical Skills

  • Next generation DNA sequencing
  • Genome wide association studies
  • Genetic testing
  • Cell culture
  • Cancer cell biology
  • Bioinformatics


Affiliations

 

2015

The Virtuous Circle: A Living Brain Cancer BioBank
Project Grant
Description:

Whilst treatments for brain cancer are improving these do not work well in all patients. 

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Small p53 isoforms, BIG implications for treatment response in breast cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kelly Avery-Kiejda, Professor Rodney Scott

Description:

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with 1 in 9 women diagnosed in their lifetime.

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2014

MicroRNA’s of the Brain and Blood in Multiple Sclerosis
Project Grant
Description:

This project aims to confirm or refute the predicted targets of the deregulated miRNA and determine the functional impact this has on cellular behaviour in the MS brain.

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Triple-gas incubator
Equipment Grant
Description:

Dr Gedye’s basic laboratory research within the HMRI Building will focus on ways of targeting these more aggressive kidney cancer cells, and hopefully lead to novel combinations of old and new drugs to work with the medications routinely used in the clinic.

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A new frontier in breast cancer: Can small molecules in the blood predict outcome?
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

The research team has identified 27 small molecules called micro RNAs that are associated with very aggressive triple negative breast cancer subtype.

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The Virtuous Circle: A Living Brain Cancer BioBank
Project Grant
Description:

Whilst treatments for brain cancer are improving these do not work well in all patients.

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Genetic and Environmental Determinants of Depressive Symptoms: Trajectory and Outcomes in a Longitudinal Population Data Set
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Brian Kelly, Associate Professor Paul Tooney, Professor Rodney Scott, Professor John Attia, Dr Murray Cairns, Prof Vaughan Carr 

Description:

This project comprises the analysis of DNA samples obtained within the NHRMC funded 5-year longitudinal study of mental health among rural community residents.

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Small p53 isoforms, BIG implications for treatment response in breast cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kelly Avery-Kiejda, Professor Rodney Scott 

Description:

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with 1 in 9 women diagnosed in their lifetime. Estrogen and an important gene known to stop cancer development (p53) are essential for normal breast growth. 

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p53 isoforms in breast cancer - MM Sawyer Estate Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Brianna Morten, Professor Rodney Scott, Dr Kelly Avery -Kiejda

Description:

Estrogen and p53 (a gene known to stop cancer development) are essential in normal breast growth.

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2013

Targeted next-generation sequencing of potential breast cancer susceptibility genes (Bridge Funding)
Fellowship
Description:

Michelle’s PhD project is entitled The Contribution of Genetic Susceptibility to Breast Cancer. 

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Biological characterisation of genetic associations for large artery atherosclerotic stroke
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Elizabeth Holliday, Rodney Scott, Christopher Levi, John Attia 

Description:

Genetic risk factors, gene expression and ischaemic stroke

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Antipituitary Autoantibodies and Pituitary Target Autoantigens
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Vicki Maltby, Associate Professor Patricia Crock, Professor Rodney Scott

Description:

The thyroid gland is responsible for the secretion of hormones involved in growth, sleep patterns, and cognitive development.

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Happy Healthy Children: A genome wide association study on childhood brain tumours
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Rodney Scott, Dr Frank Alvaro, Tiffany-Jane Evans, Elizabeth Milne, Bruce Armstrong, Professor John Attia, Elizabeth Holliday 

Description:

Brain tumours are the second most frequent cancer diagnosed in children yet very little is known about the risk factors associated with their occurrence or what events are necessary for their progression.

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miRNA regulation of growth, invasion and treatment response in triple negative breast cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kelly Avery-Kiejda, Ms Andrea Mathe, Professor Rodney Scott 

Description:

Breast cancer is the most common malignancy that develops in women, responsible for the highest cancer-related death rates. While the prognosis is good if the cancer is limited to the breast; once a patient has developed metastatic disease they are essentially incurable.

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Drugs that act on the renin-angiotensin system; repositioning their therapeutic targets to endometrial cancer
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The genetic determinants of brain haemorrhage associated with stroke thrombolysis
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Christopher Levi, J. Sturmm, Mark Parsons, Neil Spratt, A. Loiselle, B. O'Brien, V. Zenteno, L.Holliday, Rodney Scott, J. Maguire 

Description:

Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in Australia and the second leading cause of death.

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A genome-wide study of lymphocyte-specific DNA methylation status in relation to Multiple Sclerosis
Project Grant
Description:

To identify the major lymphocyte-specific epigenetic loci associated with susceptibility to MS

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The function of the delta-40p53 isoform in breast cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kelly Avery-Kiejda, Brianna Morten, Rodney Scott 

Description:

Breast cancer is the most common cancer that develops in women. A gene known to suppress cancer development (p53) is essential for the normal growth of the breast. Loss of this control is associated with poor outcome in breast cancer.

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p53 isoforms in breast cancer
Scholarship
Researchers:

Brianna Morten, Professor Rodney Scott, Dr Kelly Avery-Kiejda 

Description:

Estrogen and p53 (a gene known to stop cancer development) are essential in normal breast growth.

more

2012

MicroRNA in Multiple Sclerosis
Project Grant
Small p53 isoforms, BIG implications for treatment response in breast cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kelly Avery-Kiejda, Professor Rodney Scott
 

2011

p53 isoforms in breast cancer - MM Sawyer Estate Scholarship
Scholarship
Researchers:

Brianna Morten, Professor Rodney Scott, Dr Kelly Avery-Kiejda
 

Development of a diagnostic genetic test for childhood skin cancer disorders - Lawrie Bequest Paediatric Oncology Research Project Grant
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Researchers:

2010

MicroRNA in Multiple Sclerosis
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Nucleotide excision repair gene expression in melanoma
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Researchers:

Dr Nikola Bowden, Katie Ashton, Stephen Braye, Rodney Scott, Ricardo Vilain

p53 isoforms, a prognostic indicator in breast cancer?
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kelly Avery-Kiejda, Rodney Scott, John Forbes 

The identification of microRNAs as therapeutic targets for the treatment of advanced breast cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kelly Avery Kiejda, Professor Rodney Scott 

Analysis of schizophrenia-associated gene and mircoRNA signatures in purified CD4 and CD8 positive T-cells
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Researchers:

Dr Murray Cairns, Jingqin Wu, Paul Tooney, Rodney Scott 

Genetic influences in colorectal cancer: a global consortium
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Vascular Ischemia Study
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Researchers:
Gene expression profiling of Xeroderma pigmentosum 1 yr fellowship
Fellowship
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2009

Identification of Genetic Modifiers of Kidney Disease
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Researchers:

Dr Severine Roselli, Leonie Ashman, Professor Rodney Scott
 

Genome wide SNP association study of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
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Search for modifer genes influencing breast cancer incidence in families diagnosed with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer.
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2008

PhD Scholarship
Scholarship
Genome wide SNP association study of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
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Identification of novel markers in paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia; investigation of DNA methylations and non-coding small microRNAs
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kyu-Tae Kim, Professor Rodney Scott
 

Brain Science and Young People’s Mental Health: A gene expression study in young people at ultra high risk of developing schizophrenia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Paul Tooney, Professor Pat Michie, Associate Professor Ulrich SchallProfessor Rodney Scott, Dr Helen Stain, Ms Rebbe

The effects of iron status on calcium handling systems in heart and brain
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Post Doctoral Fellowship - Gene expression profiling of Xeroderma pigmentosum - post doctoral fellowship - 1 year - Katie Ashton
Fellowship
Researchers:
Award for Research Excellence - Rodney Scott
HMRI Award for Research Excellence
Researchers:

2007

Genetic polymorphisms in the native thrombolytic systems as risk factors for ischaemic stroke
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Christopher Levi, Dr John Attia, Professor Rodney Scott, Dr Amanda Thrift
 

NBN Children's Cancer Research scholarship x 3 (part of NBN Fellowship funds) Bente Talseth, David Mossman, Stuart Reeves
Scholarship
Researchers:

Professor Rodney ScottBente Talseth, David Mossman, Stuart Reeves

2006

Genetic origins of childhood cancer
Project Grant
NBN Children's Cancer Research scholarship x 3 (part of NBN Fellowship funds) Bente Talseth, David Mossman, Stuart Reeves
Scholarship
Researchers:

Professor Rodney ScottBente Talseth, David Mossman, Stuart Reeves

2005

NBN Children's Cancer Research scholarship x 3 (part of NBN Fellowship funds) Bente Talseth, David Mossman, Stuart Reeves
Scholarship
Researchers:

Professor Rodney ScottBente Talseth, David Mossman, Stuart Reeves

NBN Children's Cancer Research scholarship x 3 (part of NBN Fellowship funds) Bente Talseth, David Mossman, Stuart Reeves
Equipment Grant
Researchers:
NBN Children's Cancer Research scholarship x 3 (part of NBN Fellowship funds) Bente Talseth, David Mossman, Stuart Reeves
Fellowship
Researchers:
Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research
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Researchers:

2004

The role of MYHgene mutations in persons who have developed early onset colorectal cancer.
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Researchers:

2003

Evaluating a new genetic risk factor for hereditary colon cancer
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Researchers:

2002

The genetic origins of childhood cancer
Project Grant

2001

The development of microarray technology of biomedical research in the Hunter Region.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Paul Tooney, Professor Rodney Scott
 

1999

Investigation of the cellular checkpoint proteins in desmoid tumour cells.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Benjamin Curry and Professor Rodney Scott