Nicholas's Notable career moments
Completed my PhD in human genomics
Moved to Texas for my postdoctoral research
Pilot funding to study gene expression in sea turtle tumours
Found a rare genetic mutation in Mexican American families that changes levels of lipid species in their blood
Recruited to the Menzies Institute as a Computational Geneticist in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) genetics
Sea turtle tumour gene expression discoveries published
Began leading the MS Family Study to understand the genetic factors of why rare multi-case families with MS occur
About Nicholas Blackburn
Dr Blackburn is a Research Fellow at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at UTAS. He currently
leads the MS Family Study where he is a ‘MS gene hunter’ – searching for genes that underpin MS. He
does this by analysing the DNA of related people with MS and their unaffected family members. The
candidate genes he finds from MS families are then studied in laboratory models to understand the role
of these genes in MS development.
Dr Blackburn grew up in Tasmania and completed his entire University education here – studying a
Bachelor of Science at UTAS and then a PhD in Medical Research at Menzies. After finishing his PhD in
2015 he took off to Texas, USA where he spent the next 5 years on the US/Mexico border. There he was
able to gain experience working with a human genetics research group across a range of different
diseases. At the end of 2020 he was recruited back to the Menzies to lead the MS Family Study.
With a background in molecular biology and training as a genome analyst Dr Blackburn connects data
and biology together to understand MS. His goal is to translate genetic discoveries into findings that
have clinical impacts for people with MS.
Watch Nicholas's videos
Finding MS genes through families