Dr Loretta Dorstyn obtained her PhD from the University of Adelaide for the discovery and characterisation of novel cell death proteases, known as caspases, from Drosophila melanogaster. She has made seminal contributions to the cell death field, particularly in caspase biology and function.
Her work using the model organism, Drosophila melanogaster lead to the fundamental discovery that caspases can be transcriptionally regulated and helped decipher the evolutionary conserved mechanisms of caspase activation during apoptosis.
Dr Dorstyn was awarded fellowships from the Royal Adelaide Hospital and then Cancer Council SA, before being appointed as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of South Australia in 2012.
Her work has since been devoted to understanding the molecular mechanisms of cell death by apoptosis and its role in preventing tumourigenesis. She was involved in the discovery of caspase-2 tumour suppressor function and she currently leads a group that examines the biochemical and molecular mechanisms of caspase activation and regulation.
In particular, her work has found new apoptotic and non-apoptotic roles for caspase-2 including maintainance of genomic integrity, facilitating the DNA damage response and oxidative stress response, regulating metabolism and in preventing pre-mature ageing.