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PhD projects

Oncogenic Ageing - How normal physiological ageing predisposes to gastrointestinal malignancy


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Dr Fennell is an early career cancer biologist and lab head at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. My laboratory interrogates the mechanisms at the intersection of aging and gastrointestinal malignancies. We use a combination of cutting-edge in vitro models and genomic approaches to decipher the intricacies of this relationship. Dr Fennell completed his doctoral and postdoctoral studies under the supervision of A/Prof Whitehall and Prof Leggett at QIMR Berghofer in Brisbane. His used genomic approaches to evaluate the role of age in serrated colorectal neoplasia, showing that aging predisposes to rapid neoplastic transformation. This work was published in leading gastroenterology journals (ie. Gut, CMGH).

Dr Fennell has published 16 original research articles over the past five years, including high impact articles in field-leading journals including in Gut (x2), Modern Pathology, Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and Cell Death and Differentiation. 

Monash teaching commitment

I currently teach genomic and bioinformatic units in the Master of Genome Analytics

Research interests

The most significant risk factor for cancer development is age, yet in comparison to other risk factors, we know little of the mechanisms that drive cancer in the elderly.

My research program uses murine and organoid models of disease, coupled with high-throughput sequencing approaches to elucidate the drivers of aging and how they predispose to cancer, enhance the progression of the disease and inhibit or alter response to treatment

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Cancer Genomics, Doctor of Philosophy, Age, DNA Methylation and the Malignant Potential of the Serrated Neoplasia Pathway, University of Queensland

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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