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Inflammation, epigenetics, and their role in healthy aging and cancer.

As defined by Lopez-Otin, Cell, 2013: “Aging is characterized by a progressive loss of physiological integrity, leading to impaired function and increased vulnerability to death. This deterioration is the primary risk factor for major human pathologies, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases”. Two important hallmarks of aging are: i) inflammation, the body’s response to tissue damage, in particular chronic, low-grade inflammation that builds up with age (sometimes called “inflammaging”), and ii) epigenetics; including aberrant DNA methylation changes accumulating over the lifetime, and is thought to play a role in disease, including cancer. Genetics may modulate these processes and their association with healthy aging. The aim of this project is to investigate the interplay between inflammation and DNA methylation and its contribution to aging trajectories and risk of cancer. This work will be useful to derive novel, improved molecular biomarkers of aging and better predict risk of death and cancer in the Australian population. The student will have the opportunity to develop various skills in epidemiology, biostatistics/statistics, genetics and scientific writing and to make a contribution to health research.
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here:
Epigenetics, DNA methylation, Aging, Cancer risk, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Genomics
School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health / Hudson Institute of Medical Research
Available options 
Masters by research
Time commitment 
Top-up scholarship funding available 
Year 1: 
Year 2: 
Year 3: 
Physical location 
Monash Medical Centre Clayton
Melissa Southey
Assoc Prof 
Allison Hodge

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