Scientist Spotlight: Wayne Crismani

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Name: Wayne Crismani

Institution: St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, Victoria, Australia

Area of expertise: DNA repair and recombination

My work:

I am a laboratory scientist and work mostly in discovery research. I run the DNA Repair and Recombination Laboratory at St Vincent’s Institute. I work with a wonderful team of scientists and students. The projects in my team tend to center on the biology of Fanconi anemia (FA) and other aspects of DNA repair. We are working understand why fertility is affected in FA, so that we can find ways to improve reproductive success rates. We are also studying the connection between FA and metabolism. This work comes from many years of drug discovery in the lab to find targeted drugs that could help people with FA. In more recent years we have been working to implement add-on screening for oral cancer in patients with FA using a brush biopsy in our part of the world.

What motivates me to work on FA:

I am inspired to work on FA since I was given the opportunity to meet people with FA, their families and the rest of the community. The FA community is unique, with everyone working side by side – patients, caregivers, families, doctors, scientists, FARF and other support groups – and is an excellent model to for other rare disease communities to follow. I am a relative newcomer, but I appreciate that many of you have seen remarkable advances over recent decades for improved care and outcomes for people with FA and I am sure that working together we will keep on this path.

Wayne with his wife Marta and their daughter Sofia

When I’m not in the lab, you could find me:

Out of work you will usually find me spending time with my family. We recently moved into an older Californian bungalow style home, so there is always plenty to do around the house and in the garden. In the last year I have really started to enjoy golf at the many courses around Melbourne and been working to get better; improvement has been slow but there are signs that I might one day shoot a respectable score.

Anything else you want FA families to know?

Speaking as a scientist, I appreciate how so many patients and families have shared their experiences publicly, as it gives us a much deeper understanding of how you feel and helps to pull us in and increase our dedication to the research.

For those of you in Australia or New Zealand in particular, feel free to reach out and say hi. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Fanconi Anaemia Support Australasia website. We will be holding a meeting in Melbourne in March 2023, which is a great opportunity to connect with others. You can also contact me If you are interested in participating in the non-invasive oral cancer screening using the brush biopsy or other clinical trial opportunities.

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