Head of the Cell Biology Unit and CMRI Postgraduate Student Coordinator
Professor Tracy Bryan BSc (Hons) PhD, Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney — is Head of the Cell Biology Unit at Children's Medical Research Institute (CMRI).
She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from Macquarie University, and then spent two years working on the genetics of colon cancer at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, USA, before returning to Australia to take up a PhD studentship in 1993.
During her PhD studies with Roger Reddel at CMRI she discovered a new mechanism for maintaining the ends of chromosomes, called telomeres, in human tumours. This mechanism was called Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT).
Professor Bryan spent four years conducting postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Professor Tom Cech at the University of Colorado, USA, where she carried out biochemical studies on the enzyme telomerase, which is responsible for adding DNA to telomeres.
She returned to Australia to establish her own research program at CMRI in 2001. Her research continues to focus on the role of telomeres in the growth of cancer cells and stem cells, and in particular on dissecting biochemical mechanisms of telomerase action.