Brandon Wainwright is Professor and Director of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) at the University of Queensland. The IMB was the first and is the largest of the UQ Research Institutes and is focused on Life Sciences.
Brandon is a molecular geneticist and developmental biologist with a focus on understanding human disease through a combination of patient and animal model studies. Some of the work of his team led to the discovery that the hedgehog signalling pathway was perturbed in common human cancer, including a highly prevalent paediatric brain tumour, medulloblastoma, a cancer of the cerebellum. In this talk Brandon will illustrate how a bioinformatics and animal model approach has led to the clinical trial of new agents for medulloblastoma that directly target the cell cycle. The Wainwright laboratory also has a long-standing interest in cerebellar development more generally and the second part of this talk will describe a novel mechanism of neurodegeneration in the adult cerebellum, and a therapeutic strategy that substantially delays the degeneration. These data have indicated a treatment for cerebellar ataxia patients – a set of diseases for which there are currently no therapeutic options.