Professor Susan Clark
Media Release: 25 May 2015
Professor Susan Clark, Head of the Genomics and Epigenetics Division at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, has been elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in recognition of her outstanding contributions to science and scientific research.
Professor Clark is one of 21 new Fellows, 9 women and 12 men, to be elected in 2015 from around Australia and across all the natural sciences. The Academy now numbers a total of 503 Fellows.
“Election to the Academy celebrates excellence and recognises contributions to science of the highest order,” said Academy President Professor Andrew Holmes.
“Each of these research scientists has changed the way we think and made a significant and lasting contribution to his or her field.”
Professor Susan Clark is highly acclaimed internationally for her work in human epigenetics, and is best known for her pivotal contribution to the advancement of new sequencing technologies for DNA methylation and histone modification to investigate complex relationships between epigenetic alterations and gene control in normal and cancer cells.
The techniques pioneered by Professor Clark in the early 1990s, including bisulphite sequencing, have revolutionised and now underpin the new era in epigenomic research. Her discoveries relating to DNA methylation patterns in normal and cancer genomes have led to the commercialisation of new methylation-based tests for early cancer detection.
Professor Clark’s research has initiated profound questions about the importance of epigenetics in early development and disease, especially in cancer. Within the last five years, she has demonstrated that epigenetic changes in cancer are not restricted to individual genes but can encompass genome-wide domains, resulting in widespread gene silencing and activation.
Professor Clark was a founding member of IHEC (International Human Epigenome Consortium) and led the formation of the AEpiA (Australian Epigenetics Alliance).
“The Australian Academy of Science is the most highly regarded scientific body in Australia,” said Professor Clark. “I am extremely honoured and humbled to be elected as a Fellow.”
New Fellows will be admitted to the Academy in a formal ceremony today in Canberra, and will make presentations about their work tomorrow at the Academy’s annual flagship event, Science at the Shine Dome.