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Molecular barcoding to understand initiation, maintenance and progression of AML at single cell resolution

Dr Jamie Kuzich

Dr Jamie Kuzich – Final year haematology registrar

Funding period: 2021 – 2024

Jamie received his medical degree from the University of Western Australia in 2011 and undertook Basic Physician Training at Royal Perth & Fiona Stanley Hospitals in WA. He moved to Melbourne in 2017 to commence advanced training in clinical and laboratory haematology, and has trained at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Austin Health.

During his training he has gained a broad experience in malignant and non-malignant haematology and has presented research findings at Australian and international conferences including the American Society of Hematology, and Transplant & Cellular Therapies Meeting. He has a specific interest in acute leukaemia and aggressive lymphoma, particularly in identifying the mechanisms behind their resistance to targeted and immune based therapies, and in 2021 he will commence further studies toward a PhD supervised by Prof. Mark Dawson in the Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Project summary

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is an aggressive blood cancer with low rates of long-term survival. Whilst most patients appear to achieve a remission with current treatment, the majority eventually relapse. Understanding the many ways that AML adapts in response to treatment will allow us to design treatments that prevent resistance to, and relapse following, treatment.

This project will use a new technique called molecular barcoding to allow us to see the genetic and non-genetic changes that occur in each individual leukaemia cell over time, following treatment, to determine the mechanisms that underpin treatment failure and relapse.

Once Dr Kuzich understands the ways in which leukaemia evades treatment, he believes we can hopefully then design targeted treatment strategies to prevent relapse and prolong survival for patients with AML.

This PhD scholarship is kindly supported by the Bourne Foundation.

PhD scholarships are co-funded by the Leukaemia Foundation and the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand (HSANZ).