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Professor Martin Lavin

Queensland Institute of Medical Research

Email: martinL@qimr.edu.au
Homepage: http://www.qimr.edu.au/research/labs/martinl/

Research interests include recognition and repair of DNA damage; early detection of prostate cancer; developmental genetics and isolation of novel factors (including proteases and protease inhibitors) from the venom of Australian snakes with therapeutic potential. Major contributions include (1) first description of radiosensitivity in ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) gene carriers (2) first group to report cell cycle checkpoint defect in A-T (3) member of an international consortium that cloned the gene (ATM) defective in A-T (4) first to clone and express full-length ATM cDNA (5) author of numerous reports on substrates and pathways contributed by ATM in radiation signaling (6) generated first “knockin” animal model for A-T (7) demonstrated cancer predisposition in mouse mutant carriers of the Atm gene. Published over 250 peer review manuscripts with over 100 of these in the A-T field. More recent focus is on the identification and characterization of pharmacologically active components of the venom of Australian snakes. To date we have cloned 6 genes coding for Textilinin, a plasmin inhibitor from the Common Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis). This protein has great potential as an anti-blocking agent: A second gene coding for a Factor Xa-like protease has also been cloned and expressed in E.coli and mammalian cells. This protease converts prothrombin to thrombin and has been demonstrated to have pro-coagulant activity in citrated whole blood. A venomics program is in place in collaboration with Dr Paul Masci (Southern Clinical School, University of Queensland) and Professor John de Jersey (Molecular and Microbial Sciences, University of Queensland) to isolate and identify other factors from snake venom with potential therapeutic benefit.

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