Researcher

Dr Shafagh Waters

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

Following a B.Sc in Biological Science at The University of Auckland, I completed a Masters in Genetics with Distinction at The University of Otago, New Zealand. My Master’s thesis focused on prognostic and predictive genetic biomarkers of adult brain tumours (Gioblastoma multifome). I then received a scholarship to go to the Australian National University (Canberra), where I was awarded a PhD in 2012 for my work on epigenetic regulation of...view more

Following a B.Sc in Biological Science at The University of Auckland, I completed a Masters in Genetics with Distinction at The University of Otago, New Zealand. My Master’s thesis focused on prognostic and predictive genetic biomarkers of adult brain tumours (Gioblastoma multifome). I then received a scholarship to go to the Australian National University (Canberra), where I was awarded a PhD in 2012 for my work on epigenetic regulation of X chromosome inactivation. I then started a period of post-doctoral research at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to study the roles and mechanisms of non-coding RNA-directed changes to gene expression in various cell types and disease models. Since August 2016, I am postdoctoral research fellow and the lead scientist at Australasian Centre for Personalised Cystic Fibrosis Medicine (ACPCFM) at the School of Women’s and Children’s Health-UNSW.

I am passionate about molecular research with clinically applicable outcomes, my main research project has a strong translational focus and aims to discover small molecules and peptides that are effective in correcting the trafficking and functional defects exhibited by CFTR mutation, while additionally addressing inter-individual human population variability. We are using an exciting and cutting edge technology to grow stem cell-derived human ‘mini organs’ (organoids) from the tissues of patients with cystic fibrosis.

 


My Grants

Scheme: Ideas Grants
Funding agency: National Health & Medical Research Council 
Grant name: Towards Personalised Cystic Fibrosis Medicine: Functional characterisation and targeted therapies for rare CF Transmembrane Regulator (CFTR) mutations using patient-derived organoids
Role: CIA, UNSW Grant number: RG191611 Start date: 1 January 2020

Scheme: 2019 Gene Therapy Innovation Grant
Funding agency: Cystic Fibrosis Community Care 
Grant name: Nanoparticle nanoparticle gene addition therapy in primary differentiated CF airway cell models.
Role: Sole CI, UNSW Grant number: RG194254 Start date: 1 January 2020

Scheme: Orphan Disease Center Million Dollar Bike Ride Grant Program
Funding agency: Penn Medicine Orphan Disease Centre | University of Adelaide  
Grant name: Airway Cell Therapy for Cystic Fibrosis Nonsense Mutations
Role: co-CI, UNSW Grant number: RG192792 Start date: 1 June 2019

Scheme: DAVID MILLAR GILES INNOVATION GRANT
Funding agency: CYSTIC FIBROSIS AUSTRALIA
Grant name: an australian alliance of personalised lab grown mini-organs to save the rarest of them all
Role: Sole CI, UNSW Grant number: RG191126 Start date: 1 August 2019
 

Scheme: TSANZ VERTEX PAEDIATRIC CYSTIC FIBROSIS AWARD
Funding agency: THORACIC SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND (TSANZ)
Grant name: a novel compound for cystic fibrosis therapy, targeting proteostasis network.
Role: Sole CI, UNSW Grant number: RG192793 Start date: 17 July 2019

Scheme: NSW HEALTH PAEDIATRIC PRECISION MEDICINE SHARED GRANT
Funding agency: PAEDIATRIO LIMITED
Grant name: ppm 1: centralized capacity to develop functional genomics for paediatric precision medicine
Role: CIB, UNSW Grant number: RG192369, Start date: 1 June 2019

Scheme: REBECCA L. COOPER MEDICAL PROJECT GRANTS
Funding agency: REBECCA L. COOPER MEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION
Grant name: personalised lab grown mini-lungs to predict effect of therapies in patients with cystic fibrosis
Role: Sole CI, UNSW Grant number: RG182229, Start date: 1 January 2019

Scheme: CONTRACT RESEARCH
Funding agency: PAEDIATRIO LIMITED
Grant name: microscope funding for drug discovery and efficacy testing
Role: CIB, UNSW Grant number: RG182726, Start date: 24 October 2018

Scheme: VERTEX INNOVATION AWARDS
Funding agency: VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS (CH)
Grant name: exo-cf; exosomal biomarkers for early prediction of cystic fibrosis related diabetes (cfrd)
Role: CIA, UNSW Grant number: RG181847, Start date: 22 March 2019

Scheme: ACFRT INNOVATION GRANT
Funding agency: CYSTIC FIBROSIS RESEARCH LIMITED QLD
Grant name: Rna therapeutics: novel paradigm in mutation independent cf therapy
Role: CIA, UNSW Grant number: RG173352, Start date: 5 March 2018

Scheme: BOOSTING BUSINESS INNOVATION PROGRAM
Funding agency: NSW DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY
Grant name: in vitro investigation of the potential efficacy of thiols to treat cystic fibrosis - techvoucher
Role: CIA, UNSW Grant number: RG161881-T Start date: 23 June 2018

Scheme: CONTRACT RESEARCH
Funding agency: BIOSPECIALTIES AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
Grant name: in vitro investigation of the potential efficacy of thiols to treat cystic fibrosis
Role: CIA, UNSW Grant number: RG181150, Start date: 4 June 2018


My Qualifications

PhD, Australian National University

MSc (Distinction), University of Otago, New Zealand 

BSc, The University of Auckland, New Zealand

 


My Awards

 Triple I Secondment Grant Award, 2019

 Triple I Secondment Grant Award, 2018

Centre for Gene Therapy, City of Hope, USA visiting scientist fellowship 2018

Genetics Society of AustralAsia 57th Annual Conference 2010, Best PhD Student Talk Award 

Australian National University Vice-Chancello's HDR Travel Grant, 2010

Australian National University PhD Scholarship, 2008

Australian National University PhD Top Up Scholarship, 2008

Australian National University Summer 2006-2007 Research Scholarship

University of Otago Summer 2005-2006 Research Scholarship

Molecular Basis of Cancer and Development Satellites Meeting 2007 Best Poster Award


My Research Supervision


Areas of supervision

Cystic Fibrosis, epigenetics, genomics, personalised medicine 


Currently supervising

PhD student (July 2016- current)

Hons 

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Videos

It's a genetic disease which requires constant treatment and shortens the lives of those affected.

But there's new hope for kids with cystic fibrosis, doctors now testing personalised treatment on miniature organs, grown using the patient's own cells.
We're doing a survey about emerging technologies that use a person's cells to predict how they will respond to certain medications. Like to join in?

When it comes to medication, everyone responds to drugs differently. New technologies in medicine are making it possible to develop truly personalised care for people with serious, chronic and life-limiting disease.This short video is part of a research survey with UNSW that asks people about their perspectives on the new technologies that may be available in the near future.

If you wish to participate in this survey, please watch the video describing the new "avatar" technology and fill out the following questionnaire, which will take about 10 minutes to complete. These technologies are not available to the public but are available as a research pipeline in some laboratories.
New treatment giving hope to kids with cystic fibrosis | Nine News Australia
No video provider was found to handle the given URL. See the documentation for more information.
Avatar acceptability survey