About Associate Professor Hilda Pickett

Associate Professor Pickett's research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms contributing to telomere length regulation in human cells.

Telomeres are nucleoprotein structures at the ends of linear chromosomes that function to maintain chromosome integrity. Telomere maintenance is vital for the continued growth of tumour cells and occurs either by activation of the enzyme telomerase, or by recombination-mediated telomere replication referred to as alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). It is becoming increasingly clear that telomere length and the underlying mutations in proteins involved in telomere maintenance can predispose an individual to a variety of cancers, and can be used to identify disease susceptibility. The aims of my research are to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying telomere length control. My research focuses principally on characterising the ALT mechanism, as well as investigating the cell signaling pathways involved in telomere length control. The ultimate goal is to identify novel avenues both for cancer diagnosis and for telomere-targeted cancer therapeutics.

Assoc Prof Pickett completed her PhD at the University of Leicester, UK, in 2002, where she studied the molecular mechanisms of telomere repeat instability. She then carried out her first post-doc for Cancer Research UK at St James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK. In 2005, Assoc Prof Pickett moved to Australia to carry out her second post-doc in the lab of Prof Roger Reddel at Children's Medical Research Institute. Assoc Prof Pickett now heads the Telomere Length Regulation Group at Children's Medical Research Institute. and is a Conjoint Associate Professor at University of Sydney.

Selected publications

For a comprehensive list of Associate Professor Pickett's publications, please visit her Sydney Medical School  profile page