Completing my PhD studies on food allergens at James Cook University, under Professor Andreas Lopata, I developed skills and experience in protein chemistry and protein-based assays. I then joined SVI’s DNA Repair and Recombination laboratory, to develop and perform a large drug screen searching for a targeted new treatment for ‘BRCA’ breast and ovarian cancers.

My goal is to target the Fanconi anaemia pathway, a cellular DNA repair mechanism vital to the survival of breast and ovarian cancer cells. I have now screened more than 55,000 potential new drugs and am currently characterising just a handful of these for their anti-cancer properties.

Another research interest developed from this work is the rare genetic disorder, Fanconi anaemia, which leads to high cancer predisposition, bone marrow failure, infertility and developmental defects. Through building understanding of the Fanconi anaemia pathway proteins and their interactions on a molecular level, I aim to improve health outcomes for people with this condition.

Key achievements

2022   SVI Postdoctoral Society leader; Harold Mitchell Foundation Travel Grant

2021   SVI Rising Star Award

2020   TIA Pipeline Accelerator Fund Grant; SVI, Most Outstanding Seminar from a Postdoctoral Researcher

2019   Best Flash Talk Presentation, VCCC Postdoctoral Symposium; The CASS Foundation Travel Scholarship

2018   Best poster, VCCC Postdoctoral Symposium

Selected publications

Sharp, M. F., Bythell-Douglas, R., Deans, A. J. & Crismani, W. The Fanconi anemia ubiquitin E3 ligase complex as an anti-cancer target. Mol. Cell 81, 2278–2289 (2021).

Sharp, M. F., Taki, A. C., Ruethers, T., Stephen, J. N., Daly, N. L., Lopata, A. L., et al. IgE and IgG4 epitopes revealed on the major fish allergen Lat c 1. Mol. Immunol. 131, 155–163 (2021).

Tan, W., van Twest, S., Leis, A., Bythell-Douglas, R., Murphy, V. J., Sharp, M., et al. Monoubiquitination by the human Fanconi Anemia core complex clamps FANCI:FANCD2 on DNA in filamentous arrays. Elife 9, 1–20 (2020).

Sharp, M. F., Murphy, V. J., Twest, S. Van, Tan, W., Lui, J., Simpson, K. J., et al. Methodology for the identification of small molecule inhibitors of the Fanconi Anaemia ubiquitin E3 ligase complex. Sci. Rep. 10, 1–11 (2020).

Tan, W., Murphy, V. J., Charron, A., Van Twest, S., Sharp, M., Constantinou, A., et al. Preparation and purification of monoubiquitinated proteins using Avi-tagged ubiquitin. PLoS One 15, 1–16 (2020).

Sharp, M. F. & Lopata, A. L. Fish allergy: In review. Clin. Rev. Allergy Immunol. 46, 258–271 (2014).

Related news