Emeritus Professor Pam Sykes

Academic Status

College of Medicine and Public Health

+61 8 82044379
place Flinders Medical Centre (3L:100)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia
Prof Pamela Sykes has a PhD in Genetics and has worked in the area of molecular genetics in Australia and the US over the last 25 years. Prof Sykes is a Strategic Professor in the area of Preventive Cancer Biology and heads her own research group of staff and post-graduate students studying the biologiical effects of low doses of ionising radiation. Her current research is focussed on studying the protective role of low dose radiation. Some of her current appointments include membership on state and national committees for radiation protection and she is an Associate Editor for the journal Radiation Research.
B.Sc (Hons) PhD, FFSc (RCPA)
Key responsibilities
Undergraduate and post-graduate teaching and supervision
Supervision of low dose radiation research projects
Research expertise
Molecular biology
Oncology and carcinogenesis
Research interests

We have been using the pKZ1 transgenic mouse chromosomal inversion assay to study the mutagenic effect of very low doses of DNA damaging agents. We demonstrated that very low doses of radiation can protect from endogenous chromosomal inversions suggesting that low doses of radiation can protect from chromosomal damage. Our current research focuses on understanding the mechanism of low dose radiation induced protection from mutation and cancer. We have a number of active projects including:

  • The temporal response for chromosomal inversions after low dose radiation exposure
  • The effect of known chemical radioprotectors on chromosomal inversion in association with low dose radiation.
  • The effect of low dose radiation on DNA methylation levels
  • The role of radiation induced bystander effects after low dose radiation in vivo
  • Intercellular induced apoptosis as a possible mechanism for low dose radiation induced protection from cancer
  • Effect of low dose radiation on prostate cancer progression in a mouse tumour model
Topic coordinator
MMED3915 Human Molecular Genetics
Topic lecturer
MMED3915 Human Molecular Genetics
Supervisory interests
Cancer genetics
Molecular biology
Molecular genetics
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: cancer biology (1), Radiobiology (1)
Principal supervisor: Mutation and Cancer (8)
Associate supervisor: Cancer, Radiobiology, mutation, transplantation (13)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Benjamin Blyth

Young Investigator award at the Australian Radiation Protection Society national meeting 2010 - OCT 2010

Michelle Newman

Competitive student award to attend Australian Radiation Protection Society Conference - OCT 2010

Michelle Newman

Australian Society for Medical Research (SA) "Healthy Aging" research poster award - JUN 2013

Mark Lawrence

Competitive student award to attend Australian Radiation Protection Society Conference - OCT 2010