TCRN Travel story | Jayne Barbour, PhD - 2018 R1 Professional Development Grant

11 May 2018
Jayne submission

2018 Lorne Genome Conference

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your research? 

I am conducting postdoctoral research with Associate Professor Jason Wong in cancer genomics – which is the thousands of changes that occur in the DNA of cancer cells.

Could you tell us about the conference you went to and why you chose to attend this conference/workshop?

It is the leading conference in Australia for genomics.

What would be the most important outcomes of the conference for you?

Genomics is a rapidly evolving area, especially with regards to methodologies. A key outcome of attending this conference was getting the latest advances in methods and techniques that I am currently trying to apply to my work.

Could you tell us about your presentation at the conference

I presented some unpublished data exploring how specific mutation patterns form in gastric and oesophageal cancer. We hypothesise that these mutations have a key role in driving the cancer.

Were there any new knowledge or strategies from the conference you found interesting and possibly an interest of other TCRN members?

An extremely interesting talk by Professor Kenneth W. Kinzler from John’s Hopkins Medicine showed that they could detect cancer with a combination of less than 10 genomic blood markers. His group is about to test these blood markers on a thousand healthy volunteers to see if they can detect cancer in subjects that do not know they have cancer which will be one of the first studies of its kind to use healthy volunteers. Many cancers have a very good survival rate if detected early but unfortunately are asymptomatic until it is late. Methods like this may change our approach to cancer screening in the future.

Could you tell us about your membership with the TCRN?  

I have been a member for the last 12 months. I have learnt a lot from attending TCRN events including roundtable discussions, bridging the gap seminars and research seminars.  

You received funding to attend the conference – could you tell us about the difficulties of obtaining funding for these sorts of activities and how the TCRN fills a need? 

While there are many funding opportunities for graduate research students to attend conferences through their schools, there are significantly less opportunities for postdocs. TCRN conference funding well and truly filled this gap.