Ruby Oberin wins award in recognition of bone disease researcher

Congratulations to Ruby Oberin for winning The Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society (ANZBMS) 2020 Christopher and Margie Nordin Young Investigator Award.

Ruby Oberin, PhD student, Germ Cell Development and Epigenetics
Ruby Oberin

Ruby, a PhD Student in the Germ Cell Development and Epigenetics lab, was recognised for the award at the virtual ANZBMS annual scientific meeting for her poster presentation, which included a short speech and live Q&A session.

Ruby’s work demonstrated how altering a type of non-genetic instruction, known as the epigenetic memory or program, in the mother’s egg can change skeletal development in mouse offspring.

Previous work in the lab has shown that changing the egg’s epigenetic program can alter offspring growth, but how this affects skeletal development was unknown.

Ruby’s studies revealed that the size, shape and quality of the bones is affected in mouse offspring from eggs that lacked specific epigenetic programming. The observations are consistent with Cohen-Gibson Syndrome, which is a rare disorder linked to overgrowth in humans.

Understanding how overgrowth and skeletal abnormalities present in these patients may help decipher how non-genetic inheritance affects bone development and ageing, including diseases such as osteoporosis.

At a broader level, this work is providing exciting insights into how children’s health may be affected not only by the genes they inherit from the parents, but also the epigenetic program inherited from the egg.

“This was my first year attending the ANZBMS scientific meeting, my first virtual meeting and my first opportunity to present an oral presentation at a conference,” Ruby said. “I am so excited to win my first conference award at my first ever bone conference!

“I am incredibly grateful to be acknowledged for this award and I would like to thank my supervisors Associate Professor Patrick Western and Professor Natalie Sims for their constant support and guidance.”

The award is named in honour of Professor Christopher Nordin, who had a long and distinguished career in bone disease and calcium metabolism.

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