Molecular Medicine

Mapping gene inheritance

Research Focus

This Division studies biological function and disease at the microscopic molecular level. We are interested in how proteins encoded in the genome work together to control complex biological processes. We aim to identify proteins that may be targeted to provide treatment for disease.


In the first decade of the 21st century, biologists have access to an unprecedented and ever expanding quantity of information concerning the 20,000 to 30,000 genes that make up the human genome and the genomes of model organisms, such as the mouse. With this sequence information at hand, the major challenge is to understand how it directs the formation of a complex multi-cellular organism and how the genetic makeup of an individual may predispose them to certain diseases.

The goal of the Division of Molecular Medicine is to determine how the proteins encoded in the genome work together to regulate complex processes. We are interested in drawing on genetic, genomic, proteomic and computational tools to place individual genes into regulatory pathways. Using this information, our long-term goal is to pinpoint proteins, which may then be used as targets to provide treatments for, or diagnoses of, diseases.

Within this framework of moving from genes to pathways, we have programs focused on blood cell production and function, epigenetic regulation of gene expression, autoimmunity, hearing, brain development and cancer. We utilize a range of experimental approaches, with an emphasis on functional screens in whole animals using ENU mutagenesis and in cell-lines using siRNA. The research we do is highly collaborative between laboratories within the Division and with other Divisions, especially the Division of Cancer and Haematology.

In addition to our basic research, we are committed to research translation. We have major collaborations aimed at finding small molecule inhibitors of apoptosis; and the development of antiinflammatory biopharmaceuticals. We also have excellent collaborations with the start-up company Murigen Therapeutics, with CSL, and, through CSL, with Merck.

Molecular Medicine PhD and Honours student research projects

Faculty Members

Professor Doug Hilton (Division Head)

Professor Len Harrison

Dr Marnie Blewitt

Dr Ross Dickins

Dr Samir Taoudi (jointly with Cancer and Haematology division)

Dr Matthew Ritchie

Dr Shalin Naik (jointly with Immunology division)


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