New Centre scientist Conny Hooper is only a recent convert to plant science.
In fact, just last week she took home the Human Genetics Society of Australasia poster prize at the Combined Biological Sciences Meeting for her PhD work profiling childhood brain tumours.
By comparing the transcript profiles (gene-products) from healthy and cancerous samples in the developing brain, Conny identified surprising "signatures" representing different stages of brain development. The differences between healthy cells and brain tumour cells suggested that the cell types originated from distinct areas and time periods in the brain. She also found several genes that may have contributed to the cancer development and may be useful as clinical markers.
These fantastic results were described in her poster "Developmental-Intersect-Analysis using human Neural Stem and Precursor Cells identifies Candidate Genes involved in Childhood Medulloblastoma Pathogenesis".
Computational biology is a powerful and relatively new tool that is applicable across all fields of biology. We are delighted to welcome Dr Hooper into our ranks to help us uncover how plant genes and their products are matched to overall plant performance and yield.