Professor Dunning has 30 years experience as a laboratory scientist in the genetic epidemiology of common diseases – she did her PhD in cardiovascular genetics at UCL before moving to Cambridge where she has worked on the genetics of hormonal cancers ever since.
She has two complementary areas of expertise:
(i) Technologies for high-throughput genetic analysis.
She developed the high-throughput genotyping & next generation sequencing laboratory within the CCGE. Her team are experts at designing processes for running hundreds-of-thousands of genetic assays in thousands of DNA samples. Within international consortia these processes have to be run in parallel in collaborating labs across the world, her team design control steps to ensure comparability of the results, regardless of where they were obtained. She helped direct the international wet-lab work required to genotype first the iCOGS chip and later the Oncoarray.
(Ii) Fine-scale mapping to identify genetic variants that are directly responsible for traits and diseases
Professor Dunning provides a bridge between the genetic epidemiologists who detect disease associations and molecular/cell biologists who identify the functional variants underlying those associations. She chairs the BCAC Functional working group with this aim.
She helped initiate the Radiogenomics Consortium, which works to identify genetic variants underlying normal-tissue response to tumour radiotherapy and we regularly host visiting scientists from this consortium. Dr Laura Fachal is currently working with us on an EU Marie Curie Fellowship.
The lab can also run assays to determine telomere length in white blood cells and Dr Pooley has undertaken numerous studies on the genetic control of mean telomere length and its effect on cancer susceptibility.
At undergraduate level she devised most of the human genetics content and teaches the Cambridge University Institute of Continuing Education Certificate in Genetics. She also gives some lectures on the MPhil in Public Health and Epidemiology.
Michailidou K, Lindström S, Dennis J … Dunning AM, Simard J, Kraft P, Easton DF Association analysis identifies 65 new breast cancer risk loci Nature 2017 Nov 2;551(7678):92-94. Pubmed ID: 29059683
Kerns S.L, Dorling L, Fachal L … Dunning AM …and Radiogenomics Consortium Meta-analysis of Genome Wide Association Studies Identifies Genetic Markers of Late Toxicity Following Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer EBioMedicine 2016 Aug;10:150-63. Pubmed ID: 27515689
Dunning AM,* Michailidou K*, Kuchenbaecker KB*, Thompson D*, French JD*, Beesley J*, Healey CS*, Kar S, Pooley KA, (…), García-Closas M, Vachon C, Chenevix-Trench G, Antoniou AC, Easton DF, Edwards SL. Breast cancer risk variants at 6q25 display different phenotype associations and regulate ESR1, RMND1 and CCDC170. Nat Genet. 2016 Apr;48(4):374-86. Pubmed ID: 26928228
Dorling L, Barnett GC, Michailidou K, Coles CE, Burnet NG, Yarnold J, Elliott RM, Dunning AM, Pharoah PD, West CM. Patients with a High Polygenic Risk of Breast Cancer do not have An Increased Risk of Radiotherapy Toxicity. Clin Cancer Res. 2016 Mar 15;22(6):1413-20. Pubmed ID: 26510858
Ghoussaini M, Edwards SL, Michailidou K, (…), Pharoah PD, Chenevix-Trench G, French JD, Easton DF, Dunning AM; Australian Ovarian Cancer Management Group; Australian Ovarian Cancer Management Group. Evidence that breast cancer risk at the 2q35 locus is mediated through IGFBP5 regulation. Nat Commun. 2014 Sep 23;4:4999. Pubmed ID: 25248036
Fachal L, Gómez-Caamaño A, Barnett GC, Peleteiro P, Carballo AM, Calvo-Crespo P, Kerns SL, Sánchez-García M, Lobato-Busto R, Dorling L, Elliott RM, Dearnaley DP, Sydes MR, Hall E, Burnet NG, Carracedo A, Rosenstein BS, West CM, Dunning AM, Vega A. A three-stage genome-wide association study identifies a susceptibility locus for late radiotherapy toxicity at 2q24.1. Nat Genet. 2014 Aug;46(8) 891-4. Pubmed ID: 24974847
Pooley KA, McGuffog L, Barrowdale D, Frost D, Ellis SD, Fineberg E, Platte R, Izatt L, Adlard J, Bardwell J, Brewer C, Cole T, Cook J, Davidson R, Donaldson A, Dorkins H, Douglas F, Eason J, Houghton C, Kennedy MJ, McCann E, Miedzybrodzka Z, Murray A, Porteous ME, Rogers MT, Side LE, Tischkowitz M, Walker L, Hodgson S, Eccles DM, Morrison PJ, Evans DG, Eeles RA, Antoniou AC, Easton DF, Dunning AM; EMBRACE. Lymphocyte Telomere Length Is Long in BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers Regardless of Cancer-Affected Status. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev.:1018-24. Pubmed ID: 24642354
Edwards SL, Beesley J, French JD, Dunning AM. Beyond GWAS: Illuminating the dark road from association to function. Am J Hum Genet. 2013 Nov 7;93(5),779-797. Review. Pubmed ID: 24210251
Pooley KA*, Bojesen SE*, Nielsen SF, Thompson D, AlOlama AA, Michailidou k, Tyrer JP, Benlloch S, Brown J, Audley T, Luben R, Khaw KT, Neal, DE, Hamdy FC, Donovan JL, Kote-Jarai Z, Baynes C, Shah M, Bolla MK, Wang Q, Dennis J, Dicks E, Rongxi Y, Rudolf a, Schildkraut J, Chang-Claude J, Burwinkle B, Chenevix-Trench G, Pharoah PDP, Berchuck A, Eeles RA, Easton DF, Dunning AM*, Nordestgaard BG*. A genome wide association scan (GWAS) for mean telomere length within the COGS project: Identified loci show little association with hormone related cancer risk. Hum Mol Genet. 2013 dDec 15;22(24)5056-64 . Epub Jul 29 2013. Pubmed ID: 23900074
Bojesen SE*, Pooley KA*, Johnatty SE*, Beesley J, Michailidou K,Tyrer JP, Edwards SL, (…), Pharoah PD, Reddel RR,Goode EL, Greene MH, Easton DF, Berchuck A, Antoniou AC, Chenevix-Trench G*, Dunning AM*. Multiple independent variants at the TERT locus are associated withtelomere length and risks of breast and ovarian cancer. Nat. Genet. 45,371-84. Pubmed ID: 23535731