Research > Transcription & Gene Targeting (Levon Khachigian)
Transcription and Gene Targeting
Group Leader: Professor Levon Khachigian
Overview of Research
Cardiovascular disease and cancer remain the most prevalent causes of morbidity and mortality. The pathogenesis of these and a myriad of related diseases is underpinned by molecular and cellular changes in our blood vessels. Professor Levon Khachigian’s research is uncovering key networks of transcriptional control and inducible gene-regulatory circuits that lead to vascular disease. The group is also developing new experimental drugs that have the potential to treat a diverse range of health problems, from cancer and inflammation through to eye and heart disease.
Professor Khachigian’s research program has two major objectives:
- To better understand how harmful genes are controlled in vascular cells. This arm investigates signaling and transcriptional mechanisms of pro-inflammatory cytokine-dependent gene expression, post-translational mechanisms that modify protein behavior, proteinase control, the isolation and characterization of new genes induced or repressed by vascular cell injury, and the molecular control of vascular cell migration and proliferation. The group has considerable expertise in animal models of neointima formation, angiogenesis, tumor growth, myocardial ischemia, and inflammation.
- To develop new vascular therapeutic agents. The lab is harnessing the outcomes of its fundamental research by pioneering the development of novel “anti-gene-” and “gene-therapeutic” strategies targeting key regulatory genes in a myriad of vascular disorders. This involves strategic collaborations with a range of clinical specialists, academics and drug development consultants. Khachigian has laid the framework for groundbreaking clinical trials translating the lab's discovery science into clinical “smart drug molecular assassin” technology. "First-in-man" trials of catalytic DNA molecules (DNAzymes) targeting key immediate-early genes commenced in Sydney in patients with skin cancer in 2010.
PhD, MSc and Hons projects are available in both these research streams in Khachigian Lab in 2013. If you’re interested, please email ,
sending your CV.
DNAzymes targeting c-Jun inhibit bone erosion in the collagen-antibody inducible arthritis (CAIA) model. Arrows denote bone-resorbing osteoclasts.
(Fahmy, R., Waldman, A., Zhang, G., Mitchell, A., Tedla, N., Cai, H., Chesterman, C.N., Geczy, C.R., Perry, M.A., Khachigian, L.M. (2006) Nature Biotech 24, 856-863)
|Professor Levon Khachigian||Group Leader|
|Dr Lionel Lourenco-Dias||Post-doctoral Fellow (NHMRC-INSERM Fellow)|
|Dr Jianmei Li||Post-doctoral Fellow (UNSW Vice Chancellor’s Fellow)|
|Dr Hong Cai||Post-doctoral Fellow|
|Dr Kristine Malabanan||Post-doctoral Fellow|
|Dr Lucinda McRobb||Post-doctoral Fellow|
|Dr Mei-Chun Yeh||Post-doctoral Fellow|
|Dr Estella Sanchez-Guerrero||Post-doctoral Fellow|
|Fernando Santiago||Post-doctoral Fellow|
|Cecilia Chan||PhD Student|
|David (Yue) Li||PhD Student|
|An Truong||PhD Student|
|Anjali Nath||PhD Student|
|Grace Yee||PhD Student|
|Siwei An||Masters Student|
|Margaret Patrikakis||Senior Research Assistant|
|Annie Au-Yeung||Research Assistant/Lab Co-ordinator|
|Vicki Freeman||Personal Assistant (part-time)|
To view key publications from the Khachigian Lab, click here