Dr Moira Graves

Dr Moira Graves

Post-Doctoral Researcher

School of Medicine and Public Health

Career Summary

Biography

Dr Moira Graves completed her doctorate in 2015. In my thesis, I examined DNA methylation (the ”stop” signs on DNA expression) in key genes and multiple sclerosis risk in individual cell populations. This was the first time that specific T and B cell populations were examined in a epigenetic study in MS populations.

I accepted an opportunity to work with Associate Professor Nikola Bowden and  now use my knowledge in DNA methylation in immune cells to apply to melanoma research.  My current research examines immune cells populations in metastatic melanoma patients who have relapsed on immunotherapy.  I also examine the pharmacokinetics of anti-PD-1 therapy in patients with metastatic melanoma.

What are your research interests?

  • Investigating why some patients with metastatic melanoma respond to the new treatment, immunotherapy, and why others do not
  • Understanding the process where the body can identify a cancer is foreign but is unable to destroy it
  • Using drugs that are off patent (ie cheap) to “reboot” a patient’s immune system to identify that the cancer they have is foreign and to destroy it.

Why did you get into research?

I am from a family of nine – I have four brothers and four sisters.  Six of the nine siblings have had stage 1 melanomas removed and my brother was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma.  The reason he is alive and well is that he was part of clinical trials. Clinical trials have given my brother another chance at life and my wish is that other families is have that chance to live.

My ultimate goal is to see patients with metastatic melanoma enjoy a good quality of life with treatment that will prolong life with minimal side effects. It would make cancer part of a person’s life journey, not the end the journey.

Future Focus

I would like my research in future to concentrate on the individual patient with melanoma as future treatments will be dedicated to the individual.  Just as your immune system is unique to you so will your cancer treatment.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Lab Science), Queensland Institute of Technology
  • Graduate Diploma in Management Studies, University of Southern Queensland

Keywords

  • Cancer Genetics
  • Immunotherapy
  • Melanoma

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
060405 Gene Expression (incl. Microarray and other genome-wide approaches) 30
060404 Epigenetics (incl. Genome Methylation and Epigenomics) 30
060406 Genetic Immunology 40

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Post-Doctoral Researcher University of Newcastle
School of Medicine and Public Health
Australia
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (5 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2020 Navani V, Graves MC, Bowden NA, Van Der Westhuizen A, 'Immune checkpoint blockade in solid organ tumours: Choice, dose and predictors of response.', Br J Clin Pharmacol, (2020)
DOI 10.1111/bcp.14352
Co-authors Nikola Bowden
2019 Graves M, CelliMarchett G, van Zyl B, Tang D, Vilain RE, van der Westhuizen A, Bowden NA, 'Monitoring Patient Response to Pembrolizumab With Peripheral Blood Exhaustion Marker Profiles', FRONTIERS IN MEDICINE, 6 (2019) [C1]
DOI 10.3389/fmed.2019.00113
Citations Web of Science - 4
Co-authors Nikola Bowden
2018 Maltby VE, Lea RA, Graves MC, Sanders KA, Benton MC, Tajouri L, et al., 'Genome-wide DNA methylation changes in CD19+ B cells from relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients.', Scientific reports, 8 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.1038/s41598-018-35603-0
Citations Scopus - 5Web of Science - 4
Co-authors Vicki E Maltby, Rodney Scott, Jeannette Lechner-Scott
2015 Maltby VE, Graves MC, Lea RA, Benton MC, Sanders KA, Tajouri L, et al., 'Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling of CD8+T cells shows a distinct epigenetic signature to CD4+T cells in multiple sclerosis patients', CLINICAL EPIGENETICS, 7 (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.1186/s13148-015-0152-7
Citations Scopus - 38Web of Science - 38
Co-authors Jeannette Lechner-Scott, Vicki E Maltby, Rodney Scott
2014 Graves MC, Benton M, Lea RA, Boyle M, Tajouri L, Macartney-Coxson D, et al., 'Methylation differences at the HLA-DRB1 locus in CD4+ T-Cells are associated with multiple sclerosis', Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 20 1033-1041 (2014) [C1]

Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is thought to be caused by T-cell mediated autoimmune dysfunction. Risk ofdeveloping MS is influenced by environmental and genetic factors. Mod... [more]

Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is thought to be caused by T-cell mediated autoimmune dysfunction. Risk ofdeveloping MS is influenced by environmental and genetic factors. Modifiable differences in DNA methylation arerecognized as epigenetic contributors to MS risk and may provide a valuable link between environmental exposure andinherited genetic systems.Objectives and methods: To identify methylation changes associated with MS, we performed a genome-wide DNAmethylation analysis of CD4+ T cells from 30 patients with relapsing-remitting MS and 28 healthy controls using Illumina450K methylation arrays.Results: A striking differential methylation signal was observed at chr. 6p21, with a peak signal at HLA-DRB1. Afterprioritisation, we identified a panel of 74 CpGs associated with MS in this cohort. Most notably we found evidence of amajor effect CpG island in DRB1 in MS cases (pFDR <3 x 10<sup>-3</sup>). In addition, we found 55 non-HLA CpGs that exhibiteddifferential methylation, many of which localise to genes previously linked to MS.Conclusions: Our findings provide the first evidence for association of DNA methylation at HLA-DRB1 in relation toMS risk. Further studies are now warranted to validate and understand how these findings are involved in MS pathology. © The Author(s) 2013.

DOI 10.1177/1352458513516529
Citations Scopus - 67Web of Science - 64
Co-authors Rodney Scott, Jeannette Lechner-Scott
Show 2 more journal articles

Conference (9 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Van Der Westhuizen A, Vilain R, Graves M, Mandaliya H, Cornall K, Levy R, et al., 'PRIME002: Early phase II study of Azacitidine and Carboplatin priming for Avelumab in patients with advanced melanoma who are resistant to immunotherapy', Salt Lake City, UT, USA (2019)
Co-authors Nikola Bowden
2019 Budden T, Graves M, Wong M, Vilain R, Van Der Westhuizen A, Bowden N, 'Repurposing chemotherapy to alter methylation, DNA repair and immune pathways to prime treatment-resistant melanoma for immunotherapy', Salt Lake City, UT, USA (2019)
Co-authors Nikola Bowden
2019 Graves M, Galettis P, Navani V, Van Der Westhuizen A, Bowden N, 'Detecting plasma pembrolizumab concentrations in patients with melanoma using Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry', Salt Lake City, UT, USA (2019)
Co-authors Nikola Bowden, Peter Galettis
2019 Van Der Westhuizen A, Graves M, Levy R, Majid A, Vilain R, Bowden N, 'PRIME002: Early phase II study of azacitidine and carboplatin priming for avelumab in patients with advanced melanoma who are resistant to immunotherapy', ANNALS OF ONCOLOGY, Barcelona, SPAIN (2019)
Co-authors Nikola Bowden
2018 Graves M, Celli Marchett G, Van Zyl B, Tang D, Vilain R, Van Der Westhuizen A, Bowden N, 'The presence of CXCR6 on CD8+ T cells a biomarker for poor treatment outcomes in metastatic melanoma patients on Pembrolizumab?', Melbourne, VIC, Australia (2018)
Co-authors Nikola Bowden
2018 Graves M, Celli Marchett G, Van Zyl B, Tang D, Vilain R, Van Der Westhuizen A, Bowden N, 'The presence of CXCR6 on CD8+ T cells in metastatic melanoma patients on pembrolizumab correlated with poor treatment outcomes.', Manchester UK (2018)
DOI 10.1111/pcmr.12738
Co-authors Nikola Bowden
2015 Maltby V, Graves M, Lea R, Benton M, Sanders K, Lechner-Scott J, et al., 'Minor methylation differences at various loci in CD8+T-Cells are associated with multiple sclerosis', MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS JOURNAL (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Vicki E Maltby, Jeannette Lechner-Scott, Rodney Scott
2014 Graves MC, Ribbons K, Lea R, Vucic S, Shaw CP, Broadley S, et al., 'Do disease modifying treatments affect cognitive performance in early multiple sclerosis?', MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS JOURNAL, Boston, MA (2014) [E3]
Co-authors Peter Schofield, Jeannette Lechner-Scott
2014 Graves MC, Benton M, Lea R, Macartney D, Tajouri L, Scott RJ, Lechner-Scott J, 'Epigenetic changes in CD8(+) T cells and CD19(+) B cells isolated from relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis patients', MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS JOURNAL, Boston, MA (2014) [E3]
Co-authors Jeannette Lechner-Scott, Rodney Scott
Show 6 more conferences
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 7
Total funding $785,819

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20193 grants / $605,819

PRIME002: Early phase II study of Azacitidine and Carboplatin priming for Avelumab in patients with advanced melanoma who are resistant to immunotherapy$266,500

Funding body: Merck Group

Funding body Merck Group
Project Team Associate Professor Nikola Bowden, Associate Professor Nikola Bowden, Doctor Moira Graves, Mr Ricardo Vilain, Dr Andre van der Westhuizen, Dr Andre van der Westhuizen
Scheme Investigator Sponsor Trials
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1801426
Type Of Funding C3111 - Aust For profit
Category 3111
UON Y

Early phase high throughput studies of cannabinoids using new understandings of glioblastoma biology, radiobiology and pharmacology$190,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Professor Jennifer Martin, Doctor Michael Fay, Doctor James Lynam, Doctor Catherine Lucas, Doctor Peter Galettis, Associate Professor Nikola Bowden, Associate Professor Jenny Schneider, Associate Professor Paul Tooney, Doctor Ross Norris, Doctor Moira Graves
Scheme Project Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2021
GNo G1900511
Type Of Funding C3120 - Aust Philanthropy
Category 3120
UON Y

Can we target PSMA to effectively treat recurrent glioblastoma?$149,319

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Doctor Michael Fay, Associate Professor Paul Tooney, Associate Professor Nikola Bowden, Doctor Moira Graves, Dr Thomas Robertson
Scheme Project Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1901139
Type Of Funding C3112 - Aust Not for profit
Category 3112
UON Y

20184 grants / $180,000

Repurposing traditional chemotherapy to prime advanced melanoma for immune therapy$100,000

Funding body: Maitland Cancer Appeal Committee

Funding body Maitland Cancer Appeal Committee
Project Team Associate Professor Nikola Bowden, Doctor Moira Graves
Scheme Research Project
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo G1701600
Type Of Funding C3120 - Aust Philanthropy
Category 3120
UON Y

Finding new treatment options for brain tumors with DNA repair inhibitors$30,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Doctor Moira Graves, Doctor Jennette Sakoff, Doctor Michael Fay, Associate Professor Paul Tooney, Associate Professor Nikola Bowden
Scheme Project Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1801321
Type Of Funding C3112 - Aust Not for profit
Category 3112
UON Y

Do white blood cells from the bone marrow play a role in regrowth of glioblastoma and can blocking their movement into the brain improve treatment?$30,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Doctor Moira Graves, Associate Professor Nikola Bowden, Doctor Michelle Brown
Scheme Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2020
GNo G1901577
Type Of Funding C3120 - Aust Philanthropy
Category 3120
UON Y

Standard doses of anti-PD-1 immunotherapy for metastatic melanoma may not be sufficient for all patients and may influence patient response to therapy$20,000

Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute

Funding body Hunter Medical Research Institute
Project Team Associate Professor Nikola Bowden, Doctor Moira Graves, Dr Andre van der Westhuizen, Mr Ricardo Vilain, Doctor Peter Galettis
Scheme Project Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo G1801346
Type Of Funding C3120 - Aust Philanthropy
Category 3120
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current3

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2020 PhD Brain Cancer and Cannabinoids PhD (Clinical Pharm), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2020 PhD Investigation of the Immune System and the Tumour Microenvironment in Glioblastoma PhD (Experimental Pharmacol), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2019 PhD Will DNA Repair Inhibitors Improve Survival of Patients with Brain Cancer? PhD (Experimental Pharmacol), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
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Dr Moira Graves

Position

Post-Doctoral Researcher
DNA Repair Group
School of Medicine and Public Health
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Contact Details

Email moira.graves@newcastle.edu.au
Phone E(02) 40420284

Office

Room HMRI West wing
Building HMRI
Location HMRI

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