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Dr Elizabeth Murchison

Research Themes

Immunogenetics:

Departments

Department of Veterinary Sciences:
Reader in Comparative Oncology and Genetics
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute:

Research Interests

Elizabeth Murchison is Reader in Comparative Oncology and Genetics at the University of Cambridge, Department of Veterinary Medicine. Her laboratory studies the genetics, evolution and host interactions of clonally transmissible cancers. There are only two known naturally occurring clonally transmissible cancers, and these are the Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) and the canine transmissible venereal tumour (CTVT). These two clonal cell lineages are spread between individual hosts by the physical transfer of living cancer cells. DFTD is spread by biting and is threatening its host species, the Tasmanian devil, with extinction. CTVT is a sexually transmitted cancer that affects dogs and is found around the world. Elizabeth uses genetics and genomics to understand the origins, evolution and geographical spread of these two unusual diseases.

Keywords

immunohistochemistry ; genetics

Topics

  • cancer

Key Publications

Murchison EP, Wedge DC, Alexandrov LB, Fu B, Martincorena I, Ning Z, Tubio JM, Werner EI, Allen J, De Nardi AB, Donelan EM, Marino G, Fassati A, Campbell PJ, Yang F, Burt A, Weiss RA, Stratton MR. Transmissible dog cancer genome reveals the origin and history of an ancient cell lineage. Science. 2014 Jan 24;343(6169):437-40. 

Bender HS, Murchison EP, Pickett HA, Deakin JE, Strong MA, Conlan C, McMillan DA, Neumann AA, Greider CW, Hannon GJ, Reddel RR, Graves JA. Extreme telomere length dimorphism in the Tasmanian devil and related marsupials suggests parental control of telomere length. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e46195. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046195.

Deakin JE, Bender HS, Pearse AM, Rens W, O'Brien PC, Ferguson-Smith MA, Cheng Y, Morris K, Taylor R, Stuart A, Belov K, Amemiya CT, Murchison EP, Papenfuss AT, Graves JA. Genomic restructuring in the Tasmanian devil facial tumour: chromosome painting and gene mapping provide clues to evolution of a transmissible tumour. PLoS Genet. 2012;8(2):e1002483. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002483.

Murchison EP, Schulz-Trieglaff OB, Ning Z, Alexandrov LB, Bauer MJ, Fu B, Hims M, Ding Z, Ivakhno S, Stewart C, Ng BL, Wong W, Aken B, White S, Alsop A, Becq J, Bignell GR, Cheetham RK, Cheng W, Connor TR, Cox AJ, Feng ZP, Gu Y, Grocock RJ, Harris SR, Khrebtukova I, Kingsbury Z, Kowarsky M, Kreiss A, Luo S, Marshall J, McBride DJ, Murray L, Pearse AM, Raine K, Rasolonjatovo I, Shaw R, Tedder P, Tregidgo C, Vilella AJ, Wedge DC, Woods GM, Gormley N, Humphray S, Schroth G, Smith G, Hall K, Searle SM, Carter NP, Papenfuss AT, Futreal PA, Campbell PJ, Yang F, Bentley DR, Evers DJ, Stratton MR. Genome sequencing and analysis of the Tasmanian devil and its transmissible cancer. Cell. 2012 Feb 17;148(4):780-91. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.11.06

Tovar C, Obendorf D, Murchison EP, Papenfuss AT, Kreiss A, Woods GM. Tumor-specific diagnostic marker for transmissible facial tumors of Tasmanian devils: immunohistochemistry studies. Vet Pathol. 2011 Nov;48(6):1195-203. doi: 10.1177/0300985811400447. Epub 2011 Mar 7.

Murchison EP, Tovar C, Hsu A, Bender HS, Kheradpour P, Rebbeck CA, Obendorf D, Conlan C, Bahlo M, Blizzard CA, Pyecroft S, Kreiss A, Kellis M, Stark A, Harkins TT, Marshall Graves JA, Woods GM, Hannon GJ, Papenfuss AT. The Tasmanian devil transcriptome reveals Schwann cell origins of a clonally transmissible cancer. Science. 2010 Jan 1;327(5961):84-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1180616.

Murchison EP. Clonally transmissible cancers in dogs and Tasmanian devils. Oncogene. 2008 Dec;27 Suppl 2:S19-30. doi: 10.1038/onc.2009.350. Review.