Dr Kristina Warton was awarded her PhD from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia in 2002. She undertook her first postdoctoral position at the Centre for Immunology at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, where her work with the then-new technology of gene expression microarrays led to the identification of a novel gene family involved in inflammation. Dr Warton then went on to work in the biotech industry. Her most recent project was to characterise the genome-wide methylation changes in cell-free DNA of blood plasma from ovarian cancer patients, with the intent of creating a blood test for ovarian cancer based on the identified changes. In order to make this project successful, the group paid particular attention to quality control at each step of the protocol, and modified existing methods so that they could be applied to the challenging clinical specimens they were working with. The methods-oriented research paper describing the above work was accessed over 4000 times in the 12 months following publication. The differentially methylated regions found in that project are currently being developed into sensitive PCR assays that will identify blood samples from ovarian cancer patients.
Project: Methylated Circulating DNA in Blood for the Early Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer