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Studies of a novel cancer gene with links to transcription


This project will investigate how a tumour suppressor implicated in a number of different malignancies functions to cause cancer.


Associate Professor Deborah Marsh.

Research location

North Shore - Kolling Institute of Medical Research

Program type



The tumour suppressor parafibromin has recently been implicated in the development of parathyroid and kidney cancer, as well as possibly gastric and breast cancer. How parafibromin contributes to tumorigenesis is not well understood but it seems to function as part of a complex that regulates transcription. The Functional Genomics Laboratory is internationally recognised as a leading group in the study of parafibromin and the gene that encodes it, HRPT2, publishing seminal papers in this area in recent years. We have performed a yeast two hybrid screen of parafibromin and identified multiple interesting binding partners of this protein, including some with roles in ubiquitination. Some of these binding partners also associate with p53, the ‘guardian of the genome’. Projects available would be based around determining the significance of parafibromin’s interactions with other proteins, as well as determining how parafibromin itself might be regulated. The findings would give valuable insights into how parafibromin functions in tumorigenesis and provide important knowledge on which to base possible new therapies. PhD students will be exposed to a wide variety of cell and molecular biological techniques including cloning, transfection, mutagenesis, immunoblotting, flow cytometry, confocal microscopy etc. They will work in the new state-of-the-art Kolling Building based at Royal North Shore Hospital.  

Additional information

The Functional Genomics Laboratory (FGL) at the Kolling Institute   The Functional Genomics Laboratory (FGL) is part of the Hormones and Cancer Group made up of approximately 50 researchers at the Kolling Institute. FGL currently consists of the laboratory head, 3 postdoctoral scientists, 5 PhD students at various stages, a research assistant and 2 tumour bank staff. Research is ongoing in the fields of endocrine tumours, ovarian and endometrial cancer, as well as studies of the PTEN tumour suppressor in the context of cancer and overgrowth. The study of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signalling is of particular interest in these contexts.
The Kolling Institute provides a dynamic academic environment for students with seminar programs, journals clubs, and an active student group PReSS (
Interested students are asked to apply for all available funding (eg. APA, UPA, NHMRC Dora Lush, CINSW Research Scholar Awards etc.) and the potential supervisors will help with this process.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 1048