Welcome – Director of Functional Genomics, Dr Sefi Rosenbluh

Hudson Institute of Medical Research is pleased to welcome Dr Joseph (Sefi) Rosenbluh as Director of the new Centre of Functional Genomics within the Centre for Cancer Research.

Dr Sefi Rosenbluh

Dr Rosenbluh joined the Centre, a new initiative within the Centre for Cancer Research, in October 2016. He has also been appointed as a group leader in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash University.

Dr Rosenbluh joins the Institute from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was Instructor of Medicine. He was attracted to MHTP’s unique collaborative clinical and scientific environment, and is moving his family to Australia from the US.

“My interest is in genomic medicine and in particular the idea of using genomic approaches to identify diagnostic bio-markers and enable new strategies to treat disease,” Dr Rosenbluh said.

“The combination of highly trained physicians and a collaborative and enthusiastic scientific community I found at Hudson Institute and Monash is key for succeeding in these challenging goals in genomic medicine.

“I truly believe that the special environment and opportunities at the Hudson Institute and Monash University will enable many of the applications and strategies I envision.”

Dr Rosenbluh’s role will enable Hudson Institute researchers to examine every gene in the genome and their relationship to a specific disease through techniques such as high-throughput RNA screens, and genetic interaction mapping.

He is also a specialist in CRISPR loss of function screens, a powerful gene-editing technique which allows researchers to go into a sequenced genome to pinpoint the gene that is causing or affecting a disease to “edit” the gene responsible.

“The idea of CRISPR is to use a bacterial protein called Cas9 that, in combination with a sequence specific RNA, targets Cas9 to a specific DNA sequence and creates a cut in the DNA resulting in a dysfunctional gene,” Dr Rosenbluh explained.

“If a sequenced genome is a library, CRISPR screening provides researchers with the tools to find any book, open it up to a specific page and edit the text.”

The new Centre of Functional Genomics in the Centre for Cancer Research is a centrepiece in Hudson’s growing expertise in precision medicine – an emerging approach which targets a treatment to a patient based on their genomic and epigenetic data.

“Precision medicine is a more efficient way of treating cancer. The basic idea is to first identify genetic mutations causing cancer. Now, functional genomic approaches allow us to pinpoint these genes and find new approaches to treating complex diseases such as cancers,” Dr Rosenbluh said.

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