Dr Phillippa Taberlay

Visiting Scientist - Epigenetics Research

Dr Phillippa Taberlay

Phillippa grew up in Hobart, Tasmania where she attended school before receiving a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Tasmania in 2002, and graduating with a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Biochemistry and Molecular Biolo

Research Level

Senior Research Officer


Phillippa grew up in Hobart, Tasmania where she attended school before receiving a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Tasmania in 2002, and graduating with a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2003. She then joined the laboratory of Dr Adele Holloway where they sought to understand how leukaemic fusion proteins disrupt epigenetic mechanisms in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and was awarded her PhD for this work from the Menzies Research Institute of the University of Tasmania in 2008.

After a chance meeting with world-renowned Epigeneticist, Professor Peter A Jones, she joined his lab at the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Southern California as a post-doctoral fellow in 2008. She returned to Australia after almost four years in the USA to establish her own group at the end of 2011; joining the Epigenetics Research Program directed by Professor Susan J Clark. She is secretary of the Workplace Equity Committee at the Garvan Institute.

Phillippa’s early-career work has directly answered many unresolved questions, some of which have remained unanswered for over 30 years. These findings impact the multi-disciplinary fields of epigenetics, developmental gene regulation, embryonic stem cell biology and cellular reprogramming. The core of her post-doctoral work was selected by the editorial board of Cell as the sole video highlight of the publication issue (Taberlay et al. Cell 2011). In addition, she was a member of the team that discovered how OCT4 maintains control of its targets (You et al., PNAS 2011), which received a prestigious Faculty of 1000 Article Factor (FFa) score of 8 – a “must read”. Phillippa has also contributed technological advancement, including development of the NOMe-seq technique whilst at the University of Southern California. 

Awards and Honours

2016-2019 - NHMRC Career Development Fellow
2013-2016 - Cancer Institute NSW Early-Career Development Fellow
2012 - L’Oréal for Women in Science Fellowship (shortlisted finalist)
2008-2011 - Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center Postdoctoral Research Fellow (USA)
2009 - Aspen Cancer Conference Fellow (USA)
2004-2007 - Japanangka Errol West Indigenous Postgraduate Research Scholarship
2007 - Jeanne Foster Scholarship (Cancer Council of Tasmania)
2007 - David Collins Leukaemia Foundation Scholarship
2010 - Outstanding Merit Award, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center (USA)
2009 - Australian Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development Award
2009 - Benjamin F. Trump Award (USA)
Several prizes for poster presentations at local and international conferences


2004-2008 - PhD (Medicine), Menzies Research Institute, TAS - Australia
2003 - BSc First Class Honours (Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), University of Tasmania - Australia
2000-2002 - BSc (Major: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Immunology), University of Tasmania, TAS - Australia

Selected Publications

Please note, maiden name Oakford.

Andrew J. Phipps, James C. Vickers, Phillippa C. Taberlay, Adele Woodhouse. (2016) Neurofilament-labelled pyramidal neurons and astrocytes are deficient in DNA methylation marks in Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging. In press (Accepted May 2016).

Phillippa C. Taberlay*, Achinger-Kawecka J*, Aaron TL Lun, Kenneth Sabir, Catherine M. Gould, Elena Zotenko, Saul A. Bert, Katherine A. Giles, Denis C. Bauer, Gordon K. Smythe, Clare Stirzaker, Sean I. O'Donoghue, Susan J. Clark. (2016) Three-dimensional disorganisation of the cancer genome occurs coincident with long range genetic and epigenetic alterations. Genome Research pii: gr.201517.115. [Epub ahead of print] 

Kate H. Brettingham-Moore, Phillippa C. Taberlay, Adele F. Holloway. (2015) Interplay between transcription factors and the epigenome: Insight from the role of RUNX1 in leukemia. Frontiers in Immunology. 6:499. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2015.00499

Aaron L. Statham, Phillippa C. Taberlay, Theresa K. Kelly, Peter A. Jones, Susan J. Clark. (2014) Genome-wide nucleosome occupancy and DNA methylation profiling of four human cell lines. Genome Data 3:94-96. doi: 10.1016/j.gdata.2014.11.012

Abeer A. Qadi, Phillippa C. Taberlay, Jessica L. Phillips, Arabella Young, Alison C. West, Kate H. Brettingham-Moore, Joanne L. Dickinson, Adele F. Holloway. (2015) The Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Receptor Gene is a Direct Target of RUNX1. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 117(1):49-58. doi: 10.1002/jcb.25246

Kate H. Brettingham-Moore and Phillippa C. Taberlay. (2015) Cancer Epigenetics in Drug Discovery in Cancer Epigenetics 41-61. 

Phillippa C. Taberlay*, Aaron L. Statham*, Theresa K. Kelly, Susan J. Clark* and Peter A. Jones*. Reconfiguration of nucleosomedepleted regions at distal regulatory elements accompanies DNA methylation of enhancers and insulators in cancer. Genome Research, 24(9):1421-32. doi: 10.1101/gr.163485.113

Katherine A. Skulte, Lisa Phan, Susan J. Clark and Phillippa C. Taberlay. Chromatin remodeller mutations in human cancers: epigenetic implications. Epigenomics, 6(4):397-414. doi: 10.2217/epi.14.37

Daniel D. De Carvalho*, Shikhar Sharma*, Jueng Soo You, Sheng-Fang Su, Phillippa C. Taberlay, Theresa K. Kelly, Xiaojing Yang, Gangning Liang, and Peter A. Jones. DNA methylation screening identifies driver epigenetic events of cancer cell survival. Cancer Cell, 2012; 21(5):655 – 667. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2012.03.045

Phillippa C. Taberlay, Theresa K. Kelly, Chun-Chi Lui, Jueng Soo You, Daniel D. de Carvalho, Tina B. Miranda, Xianghong J. Zhou, Gangning Liang, and Peter A. Jones. Polycomb repressed genes have permissive enhancers that initiate reprogramming. Cell, 2011; 47(6):1283 – 1294.doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.10.040.

Jueng Soo You, Theresa K. Kelly, Daniel D. de Carvalho, Phillippa C. Taberlay, Gangning Liang, and Peter A. Jones. OCT4 establishes and maintains nucleosome depleted regions which provide additional layers of epigenetic regulation of its target genes. PNAS USA 2011; 108(35):14497-14502. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1111309108

Phillippa C. Taberlay and Peter A. Jones. DNA Methylation and Cancer. Prog Drug Res. 2011;67:1-23. 

Phillippa C. Oakford, Sally R. James, Abeer Qadi, Alison C. West, Shannon N. Ray, Andrew G. Bert, Peter N Cockerill and Adele F. Holloway. Transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of the GM-CSF promoter by RUNX1. Leukemia Research 2010; 34(9):1203-1213.

Kate H. Brettingham-Moore, Owen. R. Sprod, Xin Xin Chen, Phillippa C. Oakford, M. Frances Shannon and Adele F. Holloway. Determinants of a Transcriptionally Competent Environment at the GM-CSF promoter. Nucleic Acids Research 2008; 36 (8): 2639-2653.

Adele F. Holloway and Phillippa C. Oakford. Targeting Epigenetic Modifiers in Cancer. Current Medicinal Chemistry 2007; 14 (24):2540-2547. 


* Co-first authors.