SysGen Seminar – Marnie Blewitt – 16th June, 2017

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Andrew Siebel

T: +61 3 8344 0707

Marnie Blewitt

Walter & Eliza Hall Institute

Friday 16th June
Theatre 2 (Room 219), Level 2, 200 Berkeley Street, The University of Melbourne

Screening for and characterizing the molecular mechanisms of mammalian epigenetic modifiers

The focus of my research is on the molecular mechanisms of epigenetic control. Despite significant efforts, much of the mechanistic detail for how epigenetic gene regulation occurs eludes us. In part, this is because relatively few of the components involved have been identified or studied in detail. Without a comprehensive list of these factors, it will be impossible to assemble the complete picture of any epigenetic process, or optimally target these systems to treat disease. I will discuss screens for epigenetic modifiers we are performing, and characterization of their molecular mechanisms of action. I will focus on SMCHD1, an epigenetic repressor that I discovered in a previous screen, where both loss and gain of function mutations cause specific human diseases.

Marnie completed her PhD with Emma Whitelaw at The University of Sydney, developing a sensitised mutagenesis screen for novel epigenetic modifiers in the mouse, for which she was awarded the Genetics Society of Australia DG Catcheside prize. Marnie took up a NHMRC fellowship with Doug Hilton at WEHI. She continued to work on Smchd1 that she identified in her PhD, plus studied the role of polycomb group proteins in hematopoietic stem cells. This work earned her the AAS Gani medal and the L’Oreal Australia Women in Science fellowship 2009. In 2010, Marnie established her own group at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute as an ARC QEII fellow, working on the molecular mechanisms of epigenetic control. She is now a Bellberry-Viertel Senior Medical Research fellow, and a Joint Division head for the Molecular Medicine division at WEHI. Her recent work earned her the Lorne Genome Women in Science Award 2015.

Enquiries: Andrew Siebel (