Our research themes
Age-related degeneration of our nerves, brain and cells that control metabolism — leading to Parkinson’s disease, dementia, hearing loss, eye diseases and diabetes — remains one of the least well understood areas of medicine. These diseases appear to be influenced partly by our genes and proteins, and partly by inflammation and immunity reactions.
Garvan’s researchers are bringing together these different disciplines to identify explanations, new diagnostic tests and treatments for Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, autism, anorexia and deafness.
1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Cancer is a genetic disease: its root cause is changes in the DNA sequence and the way that DNA is packaged in our cells.
Our cancer researchers study rare and less common cancers, and cancers that run in families like the many forms of sarcoma, cancers that spread very quickly like pancreatic cancer, and common cancers that still resist treatment or come back including breast, lung, bowel and prostate cancer.
We work at the intersection of immunity and cancer disciplines. We have numerous clinical trials in progress to ensure our discoveries can directly benefit patients.
Genomics and epigenetics research
Garvan researchers are at the forefront of genomics, epigenetics (the additional layer of instructions that activate or deactivate genes) and cellular genomics research. This is one of the fastest moving and most important areas of medical research today.
Our researchers study how DNA and its copying into RNA varies from person to person and cell to cell, revealing the detailed answers to health and disease – how to diagnose, treat, predict and prevent disease.
The immune system plays a critical role in our health. 1 in 8 people will develop one or more of the 100 autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or celiac disease. These diseases result partly from genes we inherit, and partly from changes in the DNA.
Garvan’s researchers are at the forefront of research into the genomic basis for immune diseases, and the use of that information to match patients to targeted treatments that work exceptionally well for them.
Diabetes and metabolism research
This research looks at the global rise of diabetes and obesity, and the part genetics and changes in our lifestyle and diet have played in this. Our teams are particularly interested in how fat and sugar contributes to diabetes, and how insulin fails to work properly in sufferers.
Garvan’s Neuroscience researchers seek to understand the molecular mechanisms that underpin the capacity of the human brain to learn, think and function. This includes the ways nerve cells communicate with each other and what goes wrong in disorders such as neurodegenerative disease.
Diseases we research
By collaborating across different fields of research, we see a future where countless devastating diseases are no longer a death sentence. Through our never-ending pursuit of new discoveries, we see a future where medicine is revolutionised by understanding your DNA and treatment is personalised to you.