Academic Editor

Joan K Heath


Summary

Associate Professor Joan Heath received her undergraduate and PhD degrees in Cambridge, England, where she studied the role of osteoblast-osteoclast interactions and matrix metalloproteinase activity in the breakdown of bone. After post-doctoral positions in bone biology and osteoporosis research at the Merck Sharp and Dohme Research Laboratories in Philadelphia, USA and St. Vincent’s Institute for Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, Joan joined the Melbourne-Parkville Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and switched her focus to colon cancer, becoming joint-head of the Colon Molecular and Cell Biology laboratory in 1998. Shortly after this time she adopted the zebrafish as a vertebrate model in which to discover genes with functions in intestinal development that may also be critical for the development and progression of colon cancer. In October 2012 she moved her laboratory to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne.

Biochemistry Cell Biology Developmental Biology Gastroenterology & Hepatology Genetics Molecular Biology

Work details

Laboratory Head

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
October 2012
Development and Cancer
Joan Heath is a laboratory head in the Development and Cancer Division of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to this she was co-head of the Colon Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory at the Melbourne-Parkville Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (1998-2012). For the last 15 years she has embraced the zebrafish as a vertebrate model in which to discover genes with functions in intestinal development that may also be critical for the development of colon cancer. Her laboratory’s positional cloning of the underlying genes in several zebrafish intestinal mutants has drawn attention to a group of “information-processing” genes (transcription factors, rRNA processing genes, mRNA splicing genes, nuclear pore components) that are essential for the growth and proliferation of intestinal epithelial cells. The overarching aim of her laboratory is to determine whether these genes contribute to tumorigenesis. To do this, her team uses zebrafish cancer models, loss-of-function mouse models and analysis of human cancer transcriptomes.

Member

Ludwig Cancer Research
Joan joined the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Parkville, Melbourne, Australia in 1994 as a post-doctoral fellow and became a laboratory head in 1998, a position she held until 2012 when the Branch closed. She is a full Member of the Institute, and continues to receive Ludwig Cancer Research funding.

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