Professor Thomas Preiss

Group Leader

From 1986-91 Thomas Preiss studied Chemistry at the Philipps-Universität, Marburg (Germany) and the University of Bristol (UK), followed by PhD work (1992-95) at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (UK). He spent the next seven years (1995-2002) as a postdoctoral scientist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratories (EMBL), Heidelberg (Germany), in parallel also completing his Habilitation in Biochemistry [Permission to teach at the professorial level] at the Medical Faculty of the Universität Heidelberg (Germany). In 2002 he became a laboratory head at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney and held conjoint appointments at the University of New South Wales (Senior Lecturer, then Associate Professor). In 2011 he accepted a position as Professor of RNA Biology at ANU/JCSMR.

Research interests

Our group studies the mechanisms and transcriptome-wide patterns of eukaryotic mRNA translation as one of life’s core processes and its regulation by RNA-binding proteins and non-coding RNA (e.g. microRNAs) as a means of controlling gene activity. Translation takes place on the ribosome, and is aided by numerous accessory factors. Control at this post-transcriptional level makes major contributions to gene regulation and its dysregulation is increasingly recognised as an important factor in human disease. Pathologic mechanisms may perturb the activity of components of the translational machinery with a broad impact on the cellular translation program, leading to, for instance, malignant transformation, inappropriate cell death or cardiac hypertrophy. Failure to properly regulate the translation of specific mRNAs is also linked to a growing spectrum of diseases. We investigate post-transcriptional gene control in mammalian and yeast cell culture models and employ a mix of conventional molecular biology approaches as well as global methods such as next generation sequencing.