Profile – A/Prof Elizabeth Algar

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Associate Professor Elizabeth Algar


Research Group Head, Genetics and Molecular Pathology
Principal Scientist, Genetics and Molecular Pathology, Monash Health


A Scientific Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists Australia, Associate Professor Elizabeth Algar leads research to provide clinical diagnostic testing for genetic biomarkers in cancer and paediatric cancer predisposition syndromes. She has played a leading role in developing clinical research group genetics on the Monash Health campus, in addition to managing an active research program in paediatric cancer. Her genetic service, currently based at the Monash Health site, was the first specialised NATA-accredited Australasian molecular genetic testing service established for paediatric cancers, neonatal growth disorders and renal nephropathy syndromes.

After completing undergraduate studies at the University of Melbourne and postgraduate studies at La Trobe University’s Department of Biochemistry, Associate Professor Algar accepted a position in biochemical genetics in the Division of Science and Technology at Griffith University, Qld. While at Griffith University, she completed PhD studies in Biochemical Genetics and subsequently accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Queensland to work on paediatric cancer genetics in the Department of Pathology. In 1996, she relocated to Melbourne where she set up a research group in the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, later joining Monash Health and Hudson Institute in 2012.

With a keen interest in understanding the genetic and epigenetic basis for cancer in childhood, Associate Professor Algar continues to apply a variety of genomics tools to investigate cancer in both familial settings and in the context of cancer predisposition syndromes. Genomic imprinting, the process that controls gene dosage from the parental chromosomes in early development by epigenetic modification, is also a strong focus of her work.

Co-author of the approved USA Clinical and Laboratory Standard’s Institute guideline for Nucleic Acid Amplification Assays for Molecular Hematopathology, her significant body of work also includes over 55 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and citations in the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) database for CDKN1C, IGF1R and the imprinting disorder, Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome. A regular participant on grant review panels, her roles have included positions on the Oncology and Cancer Biology grants review panel for the National Health and Medical Research Council. She is also a member of the Human Genetics Society of Australasia, the American Society for Human Genetics and the European Association for Cancer Research, and is the Victorian representative for the Molecular Genetics Society of Australasia. She is a sought-after speaker and presenter, regularly attending meetings and conferences, and has been recognised with numerous international awards.

Selected publications

Eggermann T, Algar E, Lapunzina P, Mackay D, Maher ER, Mannens M, Netchine I, Prawitt D, Riccio A, Temple IK, Weksberg R (2014) Clinical utility gene card for: Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome. Eur J Hum Genet 22: doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.132.

Sabbath DE, Algar EM, Bhattacharyya PK, Bijwaard KE, Hong T, Lindeman N, Luthra R, Press RD, Rothberg PG, Domiati Saad R, Singh ZN, Winn-Deen ES (2012) Nucleic Acid Amplification Assays for Molecular Hematopathology; Approved Guideline – Second Edition. MM05-A2 CLSI, Vol 32, No 6.

Rigby L, Muscat A, Ashley D, Algar E (2012) Methods for the detection of histone acetylation in blood. Epigenetics 7:875-882.

Wong NC, Ashley D, Chatterton Z, Parkinson-Bates M, Ng HK, Halemba MS, Kowalcyk A, Bedo J, Wang Q, Bell K, Algar E, Craig JM, Saffery R (2012) A distinct DNA methylation signature defines pediatric pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Epigenetics 7:535-541.

Algar E, Dagar V, Sebalj M, Pachter N (2011) An 11p15 Imprinting Centre region 2 deletion in a family with Beckwith Wiedemann syndrome provides insights into imprinting control at CDKN1C. PLoS One 6:e29034.

Gan HK, Rosenthal MA, Dowling A, Kalnins R, Algar E, Benson A, Woods AM, Cher L (2010) A phase II trial of primary temozolomide in patients with grade III oligodendroglial brain tumors. Neuro Oncol 12:500-507.

Dagar V, Chow CW, Ashley DM, Algar EM (2009) Rapid detection of SMARCB1 sequence variation using high resolution melting. BMC Cancer 9:437.

Algar EM, Muscat A, Dagar V, Rickert C, Chow CW, Biegel J, Ekert PG, Johnstone RW, Ashley DM (2009) Imprinted CDKN1C is a tumor suppressor in rhabdoid tumor and activated by restoration of SMARCB1 and histone deacetylase inhibitors. PLoS One 4:e4482.

Wojdacz TK, Dobrovic A, Algar EM (2008) Rapid detection of methylation change at H19 in human imprinting disorders using methylation-sensitive high-resolution melting. Hum Mutat 29:1255-1260.

Wilson M, Peters G, Bennetts B, McGillivray G, Wu ZH, Poon C, Algar E (2008) The clinical phenotype of mosaicism for genome-wide paternal uniparental disomy: two new reports. Am J Med Genet A 146A:137-148.

Algar EM, St Heaps L, Darmanian A, Dagar V, Prawitt D, Peters GB, Collins F (2007) Paternally inherited submicroscopic duplication at 11p15.5 implicates insulin-like growth factor II in overgrowth and Wilms’ tumorigenesis. Cancer Res 67:2360-2365.