Phillippa C. Taberlay, B.Sc (Hons), Ph.D. was born in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. She graduated from the University of Tasmania in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Biochemistry, as well as Immunology and Microbiology. In 2003 she attained her Bachelor of Science with First Class Honors in Biochemistry and was awarded the Japanangka Errol West Postgraduate Research Fellowship to complete her Ph.D. in Medical Research, graduating in 2007 from the University of Tasmania. During this time, Dr Taberlay investigated the role of leukemic fusion proteins in epigenetic gene regulation, focusing on identifying novel target genes that contribute to the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia. Her doctoral work was recognized by the Cancer Council of Tasmania Jeanne Foster and David Collins Leukemia Foundation Scholarships.
Dr. Taberlay is currently working at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, which is one of the world's leading cancer research facilities. Her current research is specifically focused on cancers arising from epigenetic alterations. Epigenetics refers to information beyond the DNA sequence, or literally, “above genetics”, that can control how genes are switched on and off in different cell types. Interestingly, factors such as the environment, lifestyle, stress and diet can lead to certain types of epigenetic changes in cells. This information can be inherited through generations and has the potential to contribute to carcinogensis. Currently, she is studying cancer at a cellular level, actively investigating a process called “epigenetic switching”. This describes the predisposition of some important genes to be abnormally turned off in cancer cells. She recently received an Australian Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development Award and the Benjamin F. Trump Award for Outstanding Research (USA) for this work.