Dr Alexander Sobinoff


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Biographical details

Dr Sobinoff received his PhD in 2012 from the University of Newcastle, Australia. His dissertation on the effects of environmental chemicals on reproductive health received both national and international recognition, with articles detailing his research published in Time Magazine, Huffington Post Québec, and the daily mail UK. In 2013 Dr Sobinoff accepted a postdoctoral position examining telomere length maintenance with Assoc/Prof Pickett at the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI), Sydney. In 2014 he received the prestigious Prof. Tony Basten Fellowship from the Sydney Medical School Foundation, and was awarded a Cancer Institute NSW Early Career Fellowship in 2018. During his time at CMRI Dr Sobinoff has received several awards for his research on telomere length maintenance, and has independently established collaborations with both national and international research groups.

Research interests

My research revolves around the study of telomeres and how they relate to cancer cell biology. Telomeres are specialised DNA-protein structures which differentiate the ends of linear chromosomes from sites of DNA damage.Telomeres shorten during each round of cell division, eventually triggering cellular senescence and apoptosis when they become critically short. As part of oncogenesis, cancer cells must activate a telomere maintenance mechanism to lengthen their telomeres and achieve cellular immortality. Paradoxically, cancer cells have several telomere deficiencies brought about by replication stress, resulting in fragile and damaged telomeres. These deficiencies represent a unique vulnerability which can be exploited for the treatment of cancer. I aim to create a unique program of research focused on identifying the basic mechanisms of cancer cell telomere length maintenance and repair, with the goal of developing new therapies which target these mechanisms for cancer treatment.

I am currently investigating the different DNA damage repair pathways which converge at telomeres in Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) cancer cells, and the role of RNA/DNA binding proteins in regulating telomerase activity. I am also testing the efficacy of novel telomere targeting peptides designed to induce mitotic catastrophe specifically in cancer cells as part of an ongoing international collaboration.

Teaching and supervision

Current Teaching
  • Cancer - AMED3001
Teaching Interests:
  • Cancer cell biology
  • Molecular biology
  • Cellular biology
  • DNA damage and repair

Selected grants

2018

  • Targeting telomeric repeat-binding factor 2 (TRF2) with small molecule inhibitors to promote a DNA damage response and prevent cancer cell growth; Sobinoff A, Pickett H; Cancer Institute New South Wales/Early Career Fellowship.

2016

  • Developing a rapid and quantitative telomere length test to measure chemotherapeutic response to telomerase inhibition; Sobinoff A; Cancer Australia/Priority Driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme.

2015

  • Prof Tony Basten Fellowship Scheme; Sobinoff A; University of Sydney/Internal Scheme.

Selected publications

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Book Chapters

  • Sobinoff, A., Bernstein, I., McLaughlin, E. (2012). All Your Eggs in One Basket: Mechanisms of Xenobiotic Induced Female Reproductive Senescence. In Tetsuji Nagata (Eds.), Senescence, (pp. 559-584). Croatia: InTech.
  • Sobinoff, A., McLaughlin, E. (2010). Contraception Targets in Mammalian Ovarian Development. In Ursula-F. Habenicht and R. John Aitken (Eds.), Fertility Control, (pp. 45-66). Heidelberg Dordrecht London New York: Springer. [More Information]

Journals

  • Sutherland, J., Sobinoff, A., Fraser, B., Redgrove, K., Siddall, N., Koopman, P., McLaughlin, E. (2018). RNA binding protein Musashi-2 regulates PIWIL1 and TBX1 in mouse spermatogenesis. Journal of Cellular Physiology, 233(4), 3262-3273. [More Information]
  • Sobinoff, A., Pickett, H. (2017). Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres: DNA Repair Pathways Converge. Trends in Genetics, 33(12), 921-932. [More Information]
  • Sobinoff, A., Allen, J., Neumann, A., Yang, S., Walsh, M., Henson, J., Reddel, R., Pickett, H. (2017). BLM and SLX4 play opposing roles in recombination-dependent replication at human telomeres. EMBO Journal, 36(19), 2907-2919. [More Information]
  • Dagg, R., Pickett, H., Neumann, A., Napier, C., Henson, J., Teber, E., Arthur, J., Reynolds, C., Murray, J., Haber, M., Sobinoff, A., Lau, L., Reddel, R. (2017). Extensive Proliferation of Human Cancer Cells with Ever-Shorter Telomeres. Cell Reports, 19(12), 2544-2556. [More Information]
  • Killedar, A., Stutz, M., Sobinoff, A., Tomlinson, C., Bryan, T., Beesley, J., Chenevix-Trench, G., Reddel, R., Pickett, H. (2015). A Common Cancer Risk-Associated Allele in the hTERT Locus Encodes a Dominant Negative Inhibitor of Telomerase. PLoS Genetics, 11(6), 1-23. [More Information]
  • Sutherland, J., Fraser, B., Sobinoff, A., Pye, V., Davidson, T., Siddall, N., Koopman, P., Hime, G., McLaughlin, E. (2014). Developmental expression of Musashi-1 and Musashi-2 RNA-binding proteins during spermatogenesis: analysis of the deleterious effects of dysregulated expression. Biology Of Reproduction, 90(5), 92. [More Information]
  • Sobinoff, A., Nixon, B., Roman, S., McLaughlin, E. (2012). Staying alive: PI3K pathway promotes primordial follicle activation and survival in response to 3MC-induced ovotoxicity. Toxicological Sciences, 128(1), 258-271. [More Information]

2018

  • Sutherland, J., Sobinoff, A., Fraser, B., Redgrove, K., Siddall, N., Koopman, P., McLaughlin, E. (2018). RNA binding protein Musashi-2 regulates PIWIL1 and TBX1 in mouse spermatogenesis. Journal of Cellular Physiology, 233(4), 3262-3273. [More Information]

2017

  • Sobinoff, A., Pickett, H. (2017). Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres: DNA Repair Pathways Converge. Trends in Genetics, 33(12), 921-932. [More Information]
  • Sobinoff, A., Allen, J., Neumann, A., Yang, S., Walsh, M., Henson, J., Reddel, R., Pickett, H. (2017). BLM and SLX4 play opposing roles in recombination-dependent replication at human telomeres. EMBO Journal, 36(19), 2907-2919. [More Information]
  • Dagg, R., Pickett, H., Neumann, A., Napier, C., Henson, J., Teber, E., Arthur, J., Reynolds, C., Murray, J., Haber, M., Sobinoff, A., Lau, L., Reddel, R. (2017). Extensive Proliferation of Human Cancer Cells with Ever-Shorter Telomeres. Cell Reports, 19(12), 2544-2556. [More Information]

2015

  • Killedar, A., Stutz, M., Sobinoff, A., Tomlinson, C., Bryan, T., Beesley, J., Chenevix-Trench, G., Reddel, R., Pickett, H. (2015). A Common Cancer Risk-Associated Allele in the hTERT Locus Encodes a Dominant Negative Inhibitor of Telomerase. PLoS Genetics, 11(6), 1-23. [More Information]

2014

  • Sutherland, J., Fraser, B., Sobinoff, A., Pye, V., Davidson, T., Siddall, N., Koopman, P., Hime, G., McLaughlin, E. (2014). Developmental expression of Musashi-1 and Musashi-2 RNA-binding proteins during spermatogenesis: analysis of the deleterious effects of dysregulated expression. Biology Of Reproduction, 90(5), 92. [More Information]

2012

  • Sobinoff, A., Bernstein, I., McLaughlin, E. (2012). All Your Eggs in One Basket: Mechanisms of Xenobiotic Induced Female Reproductive Senescence. In Tetsuji Nagata (Eds.), Senescence, (pp. 559-584). Croatia: InTech.
  • Sobinoff, A., Nixon, B., Roman, S., McLaughlin, E. (2012). Staying alive: PI3K pathway promotes primordial follicle activation and survival in response to 3MC-induced ovotoxicity. Toxicological Sciences, 128(1), 258-271. [More Information]

2010

  • Sobinoff, A., McLaughlin, E. (2010). Contraception Targets in Mammalian Ovarian Development. In Ursula-F. Habenicht and R. John Aitken (Eds.), Fertility Control, (pp. 45-66). Heidelberg Dordrecht London New York: Springer. [More Information]

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