About Professor Tracy Bryan

Professor Bryan's research focusses on the role of telomeres in the growth of cancer cells, and in particular on dissecting biochemical mechanisms of telomerase action. We aim to understand the biological and biochemical properties of telomerase in order to rationally design better anti-cancer treatments with fewer side effects, and boost telomerase in patients with inherited bone marrow failure.

Our research projects are collectively directed at understanding the properties of telomerase at the cellular and biochemical level, including association with its telomeric DNA substrate, active recruitment of telomerase to the telomere, telomerase enzymology, and structure, with the long-term aim of using this knowledge to rationally design small-molecule inhibitors of telomerase as potential anti-cancer therapeutics, or develop ways to boost telomerase action as a treatment for inherited bone marrow failure. Much of our research is enabled by our ability to over-express and purify human telomerase on large-scale. See here. for descriptions of specific projects ongoing in the Bryan laboratory.

Professor Tracy Bryan (BSc (Hons), PhD) is head of the Cell Biology Unit at Children's Medical Research Institute (CMRI). She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from Macquarie University, and then spent two years working on the genetics of colon cancer at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, USA, before returning to Australia to take up a PhD studentship in 1993.

During her PhD studies with Roger Reddel at CMRI she discovered a new mechanism for maintaining the ends of chromosomes, called telomeres, in human tumours. This mechanism was called Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT).

Professor Bryan spent four years conducting postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Professor Tom Cech at the University of Colorado, USA, where she carried out biochemical studies on the enzyme telomerase, which is responsible for adding DNA to telomeres.

She returned to Australia to establish her own research program at CMRI in 2001. Her research continues to focus on the role of telomeres in the growth of cancer cells and stem cells, and in particular on dissecting biochemical mechanisms of telomerase action.

Selected publications

See for a full list of Professor Bryan’s publications .