Dr Melanie Eckersley-Maslin
Laboratory Head in Development and Cancer Epigenetics, Department of Anatomy & Physiology
What does your research focus on and why is it important?
My research focuses on what gives cells their identity, and how disrupting cell identity can contribute to diseases such as cancer. The first cells to form in the embryo are unique in their ability to become any cell type found in the adult, while healthy adult cells suppress this ability through control mechanisms. When these mechanisms fail, adult cells can acquire new identities reminiscent of the rapidly growing early embryo, ultimately leading to cancer. This novel way of viewing cancer has the potential to open new therapeutic avenues.
Did you have a part-time job whilst at school/studying?
My first job was in a fast-food hot potato cafe! During all my studies I have done a bit of tutoring of high school students. I also worked as a waitress at big functions like weddings when an undergraduate student.
What was your first job in Biomedical Sciences?
My first paid job would have been as a postdoctoral researcher, after i got my PhD. But I was fortunate to be able to spend time volunteering to get experience in labs when studying year 12 in Tasmania at the Australian Antarctic Division, and also during my undergraduate studies in various labs across the University of Sydney.