Dr Qi Zhang will bring her cutting-edge cancer research to the South Australian immunoGENomics Cancer Institute (SAiGENCI) as the first EMBL Australia group leader to be hosted at the institute.
Dr Zhang – who has flourished as a postdoctoral researcher at Monash University in the lab of EMBL Australia group leader Associate Professor Chen Davidovich since 2016 – is excited to establish her lab at SAiGENCI as an EMBL Australia group leader and continue working towards improving cancer treatments.
“The outstanding infrastructure and resources offered by SAiGENCI and EMBL Australia enable me to pursue my research interests, with a focus on addressing some of the most fundamental questions in epigenetics,” Dr Zhang said.
“Specifically, I aim to study the mechanisms underlying gene activation and repression, as well as how these processes become dysregulated in various diseases.
“My ultimate and ambitious goal is to translate the foundational lab-based research discoveries into novel therapeutic approaches for cancer treatments.”
Dr Qi Zhang has a longstanding interest in the structure and function of epigenetic modifiers.
Her current research focus is to understand fundamental mechanisms governing the regulation of epigenetic modifiers in gene silencing.
Prior to joining the Davidovich Lab, Dr Zhang was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, studying the structure and function of ubiquitination complexes involved in stress response and gene regulation.
She completed her PhD in 2013 at China Agricultural University, investigating the molecular mechanism of the regulation of a histone demethylase.
Dr Zhang held an ARC DECRA Fellowship (2018-2020) and is a recipient of the NHMRC EL1 Investigator Grant (2021-2025).
SAiGENCI is an independent cancer-focused medical research institute located in South Australia, jointly resourced by the Department of Health, Central Adelaide Local Health Network and the University of Adelaide.
The institute focuses on discovery and translational cancer research, including cutting-edge technologies in immunotherapies and genomics.
SAiGENCI Director Professor Christopher Sweeney said team members were “delighted” that Dr Zhang will be joining the institute.
“Dr Zhang is a key recruit as a group leader and her incredible science and dynamic energy will be a great asset for a new cancer research institute,” Prof Sweeney said.
SAiGENCI officially joined the EMBL Australia Partner Laboratory Network earlier this year and Dr Zhang will be the institute’s first EMBL Australia fellow, commencing in December.