During embryonic development, the unique cellular phenotypes of the adult are established. The diverse cell types are genetically identical, but differ in their form and function due to differences in gene expression. Therefore, gene activity is an important mechanism in embryonic development and adult stem cell differentiation.
Transcriptional activity is regulated by DNA binding transcription factors, but these typically act in more than one cell lineage activating different subsets of target genes in each. Their cell lineage-specific effects are governed by chromatin structure. Thus, we are particularly interested in the function of chromatin modifiers, including the MYST family of histone acetyltransferases. We have shown that MOZ/MYST3 is essential for the development of haematopoietic stem cells and that QKF/MYST4 has a critical role in neural stem cells and in brain development.
We are currently investigating the function of chromatin modifiers during embryonic development, in adult stem cell populations and in cancer, and modelling chromatin-based intellectual disability to discover ameliorating treatments.
Germany, University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover, BVSc, 1986
Germany, University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover, PhD, 1988
Germany, University of Goettingen, PD, Habilitation 1998
2021, Australian Academy of Technological Science & Engineering Clunies Ross Award (Knowledge Commercialisation)
2021, Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation in the Life Sciences
2018, Kellaway Discovery Award
2015, Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship Award for Biomedical Science.
2009-2019, Senior Research Fellowship, National Health and Medical Research Council NHMRC
1992-1994, German Research Council Post-doctoral Research Fellowship Award, German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)
1988, Erich Aehnelt-Memorial Prize, awarded for the best doctoral thesis at the College of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany
2020-2024 Investigator Grant: Investigating the function of chromatin modifiers in embryonic development and disease, National Health and Medical Research Council
2019-2021: Project Grant: Investigating a tumour suppressor in haematopoiesis and lymphoblastic leukaemia, National Health and Medical Research Council
2018-2021, Project Grant: The molecular and biological roles of growth inhibiting chromatin binding proteins, National Health and Medical Research Council
2019- 2023, Philanthropic, Discovery of new treatments for brain development disorders, Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Foundation
2015-2017, Project Grant: Regulation of haematopoietic stem cells through histone modifications, National Health and Medical Research Council
2015-2017, Project Grant: Chromatin regulation of neural stem cell multipotency, National Health and Medical Research Council
2013-2015, Project grant: Understanding the regulation of craniofacial development through control of chromatin and gene transcription, National Health and Medical Research Council
2012-2014, Project Grant: Understanding the control of brain development and endocrine function through central regulation of gene transcription, National Health and Medical Research Council
2011-2013, Project Grant: Effects of the histone acetyltransferases MOZ and QKF on chromatin modifications, National Health and Medical Research Council
Consumer engagement: Ms Meg Salisbury of the KAT6A.org patient family group. 2018-current
Convenor and Chair, Lorne Genome Conference, 2014-2015
Organising Committee Member, Lorne Genome Conference, 2011-2013
Organising committee, Hunter Cell Biology Meeting, 2010-2013
Project Grant Panel Member, National Health and Medical Research Council, 2009-2011
Career Developmental Award Panel Chair, National Health and Medical Research Council, 2009
Kueh AJ, Bergamasco MI, Quaglieri A, Phipson B, Li-Wai-Suen CSN, Lönnstedt IM, Hu Y, Feng ZP, Woodruff C, May RE, Wilcox S, Garnham AL, Snyder MP, Smyth GK, Speed TP, Thomas T, Voss AK. Stem cell plasticity, acetylation of H3K14, and de novo gene activation rely on KAT7.
Cell Rep. 2023 Jan 31;42(1):111980. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.111980. Epub 2023 Jan 14. PMID: 36641753
Ke FS, Holloway S, Uren RT, Wong AW, Little MH, Kluck RM, Voss AK, Strasser A. The BCL-2 family member BID plays a role during embryonic development in addition to its BH3-only protein function by acting in parallel to BAX, BAK and BOK. EMBO J. 2022 Aug 1;41(15):e110300. doi: 10.15252/embj.2021110300. Epub 2022 Jun 27. PMID: 35758142
Wichmann J, Pitt C, Eccles S, Garnham AL, Li-Wai-Suen CSN, May R, Allan E, Wilcox S, Herold MJ, Smyth GK, Monahan BJ, Thomas T, Voss AK. Loss of TIP60 (KAT5) abolishes H2AZ lysine 7 acetylation and causes p53, INK4A, and ARF-independent cell cycle arrest Cell Death Dis. 2022 Jul 20;13(7):627. doi: 10.1038/s41419-022-05055-6. PMID: 35853868
Ke FFS, Brinkmann K, Voss AK, Strasser A. Some mice lacking intrinsic, as well as death receptor induced apoptosis and necroptosis, can survive to adulthood Cell Death Dis. 2022 Apr 7;13(4):317. doi: 10.1038/s41419-022-04731-x. PMID: 35393408
El-Saafin F, Bergamasco MI, Chen Y, May RE, Esakky P, Hediyeh-Zadeh S, Dixon M, Wilcox S, Davis MJ, Strasser A, Smyth GK, Thomas T, Voss AK. Loss of TAF8 causes TFIID dysfunction and p53-mediated apoptotic neuronal cell death Cell Death Differ. 2022 May;29(5):1013-1027. doi: 10.1038/s41418-022-00982-5. Epub 2022 Mar 31. PMID: 35361962
Delbridge ARD^, Kueh AJ^, Ke F, Zamudio NM, El-Saafin F, Jansz N, Wang GY, Iminitoff M, Beck T, Haupt S, Hu Y, May RE, Whitehead L, Tai L, Chiang W, Herold MJ, Haupt Y, Smyth GK, Thomas T, Blewitt ME*, Strasser A*, Voss AK*. Loss of p53 Causes Stochastic Aberrant X-Chromosome Inactivation and Female-Specific Neural Tube Defects. Cell Rep. 2019 Apr 9;27(2):442-454.e5. PMID: 30970248
Baell JB, Leaver DJ, Hermans SJ, Kelly GL, Brennan MS, Downer NL, Nguyen N, Wichmann J, McRae HM, Yang Y, Cleary B, Lagiakos HR, Mieruszynski S, Pacini G, Vanyai HK, Bergamasco MI, May RE, Davey BK, Morgan KJ, Sealey AJ, Wang B, Zamudio N, Wilcox S, Garnham AL, Sheikh BN, Aubrey BJ, Doggett K, Chung MC, de Silva M, Bentley J, Pilling P, Hattarki M, Dolezal O, Dennis ML, Falk H, Ren B, Charman SA, White KL, Rautela J, Newbold A, Hawkins ED, Johnstone RW, Huntington ND, Peat TS, Heath JK, Strasser A, Parker MW, Smyth GK, Street IP, Monahan BJ, Voss AK*, Thomas T*. Inhibitors of histone acetyltransferases KAT6A/B induce senescence and arrest tumour growth. Nature. 2018 Aug;560(7717):253-257. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0387-5. Epub 2018 Aug 1. PMID: 30069049
Ke FFS, Vanyai HK, Cowan AD, Delbridge ARD, Whitehead L, Grabow S, Czabotar PE, Voss AK*, Strasser A*. Embryogenesis and Adult Life in the Absence of Intrinsic Apoptosis Effectors BAX, BAK, and BOK. Cell. 2018 May 17;173(5):1217-1230.e17. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.04.036. PMID: 29775594
Sheikh BN, Downer NL, Phipson B, Vanyai HK, Kueh AJ, McCarthy DJ, Smyth GK, Thomas T*, Voss AK*. MOZ and BMI1 play opposing roles during Hox gene activation in ES cells and in body segment identity specification in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 112(17):5437-5442. PMID: 25922517
Vanyai HK, Thomas T*, Voss AK*. Mesodermal expression of Moz is necessary for cardiac septum development. Developmental Biology. 2015 403(1):22-29. PMID: 25912687
Sheikh BN, Downer NL, Kueh AJ, Thomas T*, Voss AK*. Excessive versus physiologically relevant levels of retinoic acid in embryonic stem cell differentiation. Stem Cells. 2014 Jun;32(6):1451-8. PMID: 25099890.
Voss AK, Vanyai HK, Collin C, Dixon MP, McLennan TJ, Sheikh BN, Scambler P, Thomas T. MOZ regulates the Tbx1 locus, and Moz mutation partially phenocopies DiGeorge syndrome. Dev Cell. 2012 Sep 11;23(3):652-63. PMID: 22921202
Voss AK, Collin C, Dixon MP, Thomas T. Moz and retinoic acid coordinately regulate H3K9 acetylation, Hox gene expression, and segment identity. Dev Cell. 2009 Nov;17(5):674-86. PMID: 19922872
Thomas T, Dixon MP, Kueh AJ, Voss AK. Mof (MYST1 or KAT8) is essential for progression of embryonic development past the blastocyst stage and required for normal chromatin architecture. Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Aug;28(16):5093-105. PMID: 18541669
Thomas T, Corcoran LM, Gugasyan R, Dixon MP, Brodnicki T, Nutt SL, Metcalf D, Voss AK. Monocytic leukemia zinc finger protein is essential for the development of long-term reconstituting hematopoietic stem cells. Genes Dev. 2006 May 1;20(9):1175-86. PMID: 16651658