David Priest


By illuminating the dynamic behaviour of our DNA, we will pave the way for future cures to diseases such as cancer. Our genome consists of over two meters of DNA, which must be packaged into a cell nucleus only a few microns across. Such a high degree of compaction is achieved by wrapping the DNA around histone proteins to form a beads-on-a-string chromatin fibre. This chromatin fibre adopts specific structures across a hierarchy of scales, and we are beginning to understand how chromatin structure influences, and is influenced by, the activities of our genome including gene expression, DNA replication and repair of DNA damage. During my PhD with Assoc. Prof. Keith Shearwin and Dr. Ian Dodd at the University of Adelaide, I investigated how DNA looping can topologically isolate different genome regions.  From 2014 to 2018 I completed a RIKEN special postdoctoral research fellowship (SPDR) with Dr Yuichi Taniguchi at RIKEN, Osaka, Japan where I developed skills in advanced fluorescence microscopy and contributed to a project uncovering the local structure of the chromatin fibre across the yeast genome. From mid 2018 I have returned to Australia as a research fellow with Dr Elizabeth Hinde at the Bio21 institute, the University of Melbourne, where I am applying fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and microscopy to discover how fundamental dynamic features of chromatin intersect with the DNA damage response.

  • Contact Details
  • Current Research Focus

    Microscopy dynamics of damaged chromatin

    Field of ResearchDescription
    060404Epigenetics (incl. Genome Methylation and Epigenomics)
    060199Biochemistry and Cell Biology not elsewhere classified
  • Key Skills
    • Microscopy
    • Molecular biology
    • Cloning
    • Tissue culture
  • Looking to collaborate?

    We use common laboratory cell lines to study the biophysics and molecular biology of chromatin and the DNA damage response. DNA damage is proposed to be important in cancer development and we are excited to collaborate with researchers with expertise in clinical and in vivo models. Furthermore, since we work at the intersection of physics and biology, we welcome collaborations with physicists and mathematicians seeking to apply new biophysical techniques, especially microscopy and image analysis or develop models of biology, especially polymer physics and epigenetic modelling.