Tim Thomas completed his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Melbourne. His postdoctoral training took place at the Centre for Early Human Development, Monash and then as an EMBO Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany. He started his laboratory at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in 2000. Dr Thomas has a long-term interest in understanding the epigenetic regulation of embryonic development.
Lysine acetylation of histones, which is associated with gene activation, plays a critical role in regulating the overall structure of chromatin and the level of gene expression. The MYST family of lysine acetyltransferases (KATs) is the largest and includes oncogenes such as MOZ, (monocytic leukaemia zinc finger gene). Dr Thomas has characterised the function of the MYST KATs during embryonic development, in adult stem cell populations and oncogenesis. More recently, he has initiated a drug discovery project and developed acetyltransferase inhibitors targeting MOZ, which are effective in arresting the progression of lymphoma.