My research is focused on the cellular process of DNA repair relating to:

  • Genome instability disorders causing bone marrow failure and cancer in children and young adults
  • CRISPR and its application to therapeutic gene editing for correction of inherited disorders
  • New therapies for cancer, based on synthetic lethal interactions in the DNA damage response (DDR)

I completed PhD studies with Professor Grant McArthur at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, where I developed expertise relating to role of the cell cycle and DNA repair development and treatment of breast cancer. From 2006 to 2011, I undertook postdoctoral research with Professor Steve West at the London Research Institute, publishing several papers on the role of DNA repair proteins in familial cancer syndromes such as Fanconi anaemia and Bloom Syndrome.

I returned to Australia to found the Genome Stability laboratory at SVI in 2011, becoming an Associate Director in 2022.

Current projects underway in my lab are funded by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), US Department of Defense Bone Marrow Failure Research Program, Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision, as well as industry partnerships.

For my pioneering work on the biochemical reconstitution of the Fanconi Anaemia DNA repair process, I received the 2017 David Frohnmayer Award.

Research interests

DNA damage repair; Gene editing; Fanconi Anaemia; Bloom Syndrome; Familial breast/ovarian cancer; targeted cancer therapies.

Key achievements

2017   David B Frohnmayer Award

2016-2020   Victorian Cancer Agency Mid-career Fellow

2012-2016   NBCF Early Career Fellowship

2007-2013   NHMRC CJ Martin Postdoctoral Fellowship

2006   Breast Cancer Campaign Postdoctoral Fellowship (UK)

2000-2004 and 2005-2006   Cancer Council Victoria Postgraduate Fellowship

Selected publications

Hodson, C, Low, JKK, van Twest, S, Jones, SE, Swuec, P, Murphy, V, Tsukada, K, Fawkes, M, Bythell-Douglas, R, Davies, A, Holien, JK, O’Rourke, JJ, Parker, BL, Glaser, A, Parker, MW, Mackay, JP, Blackford, AN, Costa, A, and DEANS, AJ (2022) ‘Mechanism of Bloom syndrome complex assembly required for double Holliday junction dissolution and genome stability’ PNAS, 119, e2109093119. 10.1073/pnas.2109093119

Sharp MF, Bythell-Douglas R, Deans AJ and Crismani W, The Fanconi Anaemia ubiquitin E3 ligase complex as an anti-cancer target 2021 Molecular Cell 10.1016/j.molcel.2021.04.023

Jung, Moonjung; Ramanagoudr-Bhojappa, Ramanagouda; van Twest, Sylvie; Rosti, Rasim Ozgur; Murphy, Vincent; Tan, Winnie; Donovan, Frank X; Lach, Francis P; Kimble, Danielle C; Jiang, Caroline S; Roger Vaughan, Parinda A Mehta, Filomena Pierri, Carlo Dufour, Arleen D Auerbach, Deans, AJ*, Agata Smogorzewska*, Settara C Chandrasekharappa* (co-corresponding). Association of clinical severity with FANCB variant type in Fanconi anemia 2020 Blood 10.1182/blood.2019003249

Tan, Winnie; van Twest, Sylvie; Leis, Andrew; Bythell-Douglas, Rohan; Murphy, Vincent J; Sharp, Michael; Parker, Michael W; Crismani, Wayne; DEANS, Andrew J; Monoubiquitination by the human Fanconi Anemia core complex clamps FANCI: FANCD2 on DNA in filamentous arrays, 2020 eLife 10.7554/eLife.54128

Lu, R, O’rourke, J, Sobinoff AP, Allen J, Nelson CB, Tomlinson,CG, Deans, AJ* and Pickett, HA* (*co-corresponding authors) The FANCM-BLM-TOP3A-RMI complex suppresses alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) 2019. Nature Communications, 10(1):2252. 10.1038/s41467-019-10180-6

van Twest S, Murphy VJ, Hodson C, Tan W, Swuec P, O’Rourke, JJ, Heierhorst, J, Crismani, W and Deans AJ 2017. Mechanism of Ubiquitination and Deubiquitination in the Fanconi Anemia Pathway. Molecular Cell. 65(2):247–59. 10.1016/j.molcel.2016.11.005

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