Dr Andrew Das

Online resume

Profile

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre



Andrew Das

About me

I am fascinated by the intersection between gene regulatory networks and epigenetics the role they play in development and cancer. My current research focus integrates single-molecule imaging techniques with multi-omic data in order to understand this interplay better.

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Details

John Gavin Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory (Mark Dawson)
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Melbourne, Australia


Mark Dawson Research Profile
Dawson Lab on Twitter
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Experience


Education

University of Otago

Feb 2005 - Dec 2016

MBChB/PhD (Integrated double degree) This combined degree integrates the full NZ medical curriculum with a PhD in the area of the candidate's choice. See research experience below for further details. Dunedin and Christchurch, NZ | otago.ac.nz


Research Experience

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Feb 2021 - present

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Epigenetics, Development and Cancer) One of the main challenges in treating cancer is undertanding how it evolves resistance to different therapies. My current research focus in the Dawson Lab is integrating single-molecule imaging techniques with multi-omic data in order to investigate potential mechanisms. Melbourne | Mark Dawson Research Profile

University of Otago

May 2017 - Jan 2021

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Epigenetics and Redox Biology) Over the course of my PhD I became increasingly interested in epigenetics and its relationship to cell phenotype. After completing my PhD and medical studies, I took the opportunity to transition to this exciting area of research by engaging with two postdoctoral projects. Professor Vissers and I have been investigating the potential role of vitamin C as an epigenetic therapeutic in specific subtypes of acute myeloid leukaemia (published in Blood Cancer Journal, Haematologica and Frontiers in Oncology). When cells acquire mutations in DNA that affect this epigenetic processes, they can become dysfunctional and potentially cancerous. This is in fact what we see with AML. Interestingly, these mutations appear earlier in the course of the disease and drive the development of AML. Because epigenetic markings can be written or erased, the effects are potentially reversible. A prime example is mutations that affect the activity of the enzyme TET2. TET2 is involved in erasing a marking called methylation, and requires vitamin C for optimal activity. Furthermore, supplying additional vitamin C can increase the activity of TET2. These observations have led to the postulation that patients with decreased TET2 activity could benefit from treatment with vitamin C. We are currently using a number of different approaches to investigate this hypothesis. A second project with Professor Hampton is investigating whether reactive oxidant species produced by immune cells can regulate the epigenetic identity of neighbouring cells (recently published in JBC, Epigenetics and Chromatin, and FRBM). Christchurch | www.otago.ac.nz/andrewdas

University of Otago

Completed Dec 2016

PhD (Pathology, specialising in free radical biochemistry) For the PhD component of my MBChB/PhD, I am grateful to have been to be part of the Centre for Free Radical Research (CFFR) under the supervision of Professor Tony Kettle and Professor Christine Winterbourn. My time spent here has given me the opportunity to work on team projects and on self-directed research in the area of free radical biochemistry. This project has given me an appreciation of how to take a project from basic science through to relevant in vivo models. The work from my PhD resulted in four publications. In addition this I have also presented my results at international conferences in Australia and the USA. Christchurch

Funding and Awards


Grants

Cancer Research Trust NZ

2021 - 2023

John Gavin Postdoctoral Fellowship Supported by the Cancer Research Trust NZ, this award will enable Andrew to spend 2 years working with Mark and Sarah-Jane Dawson at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute in Melbourne. The award will enable him to develop epigenetic and bioinformatic expertise and use these tools to discover potential vulnerabilities in leukaemia. Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a particularly aggressive form of blood cancer and many patients do not respond to current treatment. Although new drug targets have been identified, their success has been limited due to their inability to eradicate leukaemia stem cells. These cells often do not respond to chemotherapy and serve as the source of resistance in patients who do not respond. Successful treatment is also hampered by the recurrence of leukemia in patients that have previously responded. To address this critical problem, his main research focus will be combining single-molecule imaging techniques with multi-omic data in order to uncover the mechanisms by which leukaemia evolves in response to therapy. Melbourne | www.cancerresearchtrustnz.org.nz/andrewdas

Bone Marrow Cancer Research Trust Grant

2019 - 2020

See CMRF grant below for details Named Co-investigator Christchurch | www.otago.ac.nz/andrewdas

Canterbury Medical Research Fellowship Project Grant

2018 - 2020

Developing tools to identify ascorbate-responsive subgroups of acute myeloid leukaemia Named Primary Investigator. Many of the early genetic changes in the development of AML affect epigenetic regulation, with effects that are potentially reversible. A prime example is the epigenetic regulator TET2, a protein whose activity is affected in around one third of AML patients. TET2 requires vitamin C (ascorbate) to function, and patients with decreased TET2 activity could benefit from ascorbate supplementation. Recent studies using mouse models support this hypothesis. However, patients with TET2 mutations always have additional mutations, which can greatly affect response to treatment. The effective design of future clinical trials relies on targeting the right treatment to the appropriate combination of mutations. Therefore, the aim is to develop AML cell lines that combine TET2 mutations with additional mutations seen in patients using CRISPR/Cas9. We will also investigate their response to treatment with ascorbate. Christchurch | www.otago.ac.nz/andrewdas

Canterbury Medical Research Fellowship Travel Grant

2019

Presentation of research at the Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics Gordon Research Conference 2019 Barga, Italy | www.grc.org

Leukaemia and Blood Cancer Foundation NZ & Cancer Society NZ

2018

Presentation of findings at the Keystone Hypoxia meeting 2018 Oxford, UK | www.keystonesymposia.org


Awards

Roche Translational Cancer Research Fellowship 2018

2018

NZ Society for Oncology This award provides a unique opportunity for NZ cancer research teams to up-skill an integral team member, so that the team can work together more effectively to improve research output. I received this award for the purpose of developing of bioinformatic and epigenetic experimental skills. http://www.roche.co.nz/translational-cancer-research-fellowship

Pathology and Biomedical Science Best Early Career Paper Prize

2018

University of Otago, Christchurch Christchurch | www.otago.ac.nz/andrewdas

Finalist, 3 Minute Thesis competition

2013

University of Otago, see this page for details or the link below for a recording of the event Dunedin, New Zealand | Event Recorded on YouTube

Best Student Presentation Award,

2018

REDOX Satellite Meeting, Queenstown Research Week Queenstown, New Zealand | https://www.queenstownresearchweek.org/

Young Investigator Award

2009

16th Annual Meeting of the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine San Francisco, USA | https://sfrbm.org/

Publications and media coverage


Publications


Media coverage

Radio New Zealand

September 2018

Interviewed live on Radio New Zealand by Kim Hill about my research into the role of epigenetics in cancer

Contact