Prof Edna Hardeman
Edna Hardeman is the Head of the Cellular and Genetic Medicine Unit and Head of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of New South Wales – Sydney, Australia. She has a track record of >30 years in the field of the actin cytoskeleton in mammals using state-of-the-art cell, molecular genetic and recently intracellular intravital imaging approaches. She has a long-standing collaboration with Peter Gunning and together they discovered that tropomyosins regulate the specific activities of the actin cytoskeleton in mammalian cells and have co-authored reviews featuring this paradigm shift - Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology (1998), BioEssays (1998), Trends in Cell Biology (2005), Physiological Reviews (2008), Journal of Cell Science (2015), Current Biology (2017). As a consequence, tropomyosins are called the ‘gatekeepers of actin filament function’. They identified specific actin filaments, as defined by their partner tropomyosin filaments, that regulate key cellular processes including cell proliferation, cell motility, GLUT4 trafficking, insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, ER to Golgi trafficking and epithelial cell junctional tension. This body of work contributed to identifying tropomyosin isoforms as druggable targets for cancer (Cancer Research 2013, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2017). This work has been supported by The Kids Cancer Project, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, the New South Wales Cancer Council, and the New South Wales Cancer Institute. In 2017 they were awarded a prestigious Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Cooperative Research Centre grant for further anti-tropomyosin/anti-cancer drug development.