Associate Professor Rick Sturm

Principal Research Fellow

The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
Faculty of Medicine

Affiliate Associate Professor

School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
Faculty of Science
r.sturm@imb.uq.edu.au
+61 7 344 37380

Overview

Our work on human pigmentation genetics has allowed understanding of normal variation in this physical trait and the associated genotypic risk for skin cancer. The genes that determine an individual's skin phototype and the cellular mechanisms that result in the tanning response of melanocytes after UV-exposure of the skin are actively being investigated.

Dr Rick Sturm is group leader for Molecular Genetics of Pigmentation research at the IMB.

Research Interests

  • Skin, hair, eye colour and cancer � MC1R/OCA2, the genetic links
    Pigmentary traits such as red hair and fair skin, moles, eye colour, lack of tanning ability and propensity to freckle have been identified as genetic risk factors for skin cancer when combined with the environmental risk factor of high ultraviolet exposure. The major areas of investigation are the role of the OCA2 gene in directing eye colour, and the role of human melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene variants in directing skin phototype and response to UV-induced ligand binding and receptor activation. The MC1R coding sequence is highly polymorphic in human populations and we have examined MC1R variant allele frequencies in the general community as well as a collection of adolescent dizygotic and monozygotic twins with defined pigmentation characteristics. Subscription required to access this paper Variant allele frequencies have also been determined in several case-control studies of sporadic melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, and in familial melanoma kindreds collected within Australia. These studies have shown that three MC1R alleles � Arg151Cys, Arg160Trp and Asp294His � were associated with increased risk in all forms of skin cancer and with penetrance and age of onset in familial melanoma in CDKN2A mutation carriers. There is a significant MC1R variant allele heterozygote carrier effect on skin phototype and skin cancer risk, which indicates that these alleles do not behave in a strictly recessive manner.
  • Characterisation of melanoblast stem cell differentiation
    The process of development and differentiation of the melanocytic cell lineage is being investigated using primary melanoblast and melanocyte cells cultured in vitro from human skin. This will provide information to allow the genes and processes involved in melanoma tumour formation and metastasis to be examined. These studies focus on the identification and molecular characterisation of the genes involved in melanocyte function.
  • Mechanisms of melanoma metastasis
    Expression of the �3 integrin gene in melanoma in situ has been found to be the single most important marker of metastasis yet discovered. Experiments to investigate the effects of this expression has involved the use of Adenoviral gene transduction of the �3 integrin subunit into radial growth phase (RGP) melanoma cell lines and differential gene screening. A skin reconstruction model was used to assay the invasivness of RGP melanoma cells after ectopic �3 integrin expression and these studies have discovered induction of the anti-adhesive protein osteonectin is required for melanoma metastasis.

Qualifications

  • PhD, The University of Adelaide
  • BSc(Hons), The University of Adelaide

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

View all Supervision

Publications

Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Beaumont, K. A., Liu, Y. Y. and Sturm, R. A. (2009). The melanocortin-1 receptor gene polymorphism and association with human skin cancer. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science: G protein-coupled receptors in health and disease, Part A. (pp. 85-153) edited by Ya-Xiong Tao. San Deigo, California, U.S.A.: Elsevier : Academic Press.

  • Cook, Anthony L., Boyle, Glen M., Leonard, J. Helen, Parsons, Peter G. and Sturm, Richard A. (2006). BRN2 in melanocytic cell development, differentiation and transformation. From Melanocytes to Melanoma: The Progression to Malignancy. (pp. 149-168) edited by V. J. Hearing and A. P. L. Leong. New Jersey: Humana Press. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59259-994-3_8

  • Sturm, R A (2006). Transcription Factors: POU. Encyclopedia of Respiratory Medicine. (pp. 269-274) edited by Geoffrey J. Laurent and Steven D Shapiro. London: Elsevier Ltd. doi: 10.1016/B0-12-370879-6/00389-6

  • Sturm, R. A. (2003). Colour in our Genes - Natural selection operating through climatic, dietary or immunological pressures?. Human Evolutionary Genetics. (pp. 415-416) edited by Jobling, M A; Hurles, M E; Tyler-Smith and C. New York, USA: Garland Publishing Taylor & Francis Books Ltd..

  • Leonard, J.H., Cook, A., Van Gele, M., Speleman, F. and Sturm, R. A. (2003). Expression of developmentally regulated transcription factors in merkel cell carcinoma. The Merkel Cell Structure-Development-Function-Cancerogenesis. (pp. 203-218) edited by Baumann, Klaus, I; Halata, Zdenek; Moll and Ingrid. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer Verlag.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Rayner, Jenna E., McMeniman, Erin K., Duffy, David L., De'Ambrosis, Brian, Smithers, B Mark, Jagirdar, Kasturee, Lee, Katie J., Soyer, H. Peter and Sturm, Richard A. (2019). IRF4 rs12203592*T/T genotype is associated with nodular melanoma. ASDR Annual Scientific Meeting 2019, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, 16-17 May 2019.

  • Pflugfelder, A., Yong, X. L. H., Jagirdar, K., Eigentler, T., Soyer, H. P., Sturm, R. A., Garbe, C. and Duffy, D. L. (2019). The Importance of the Gene Locus DHCR24 for the Overall Survival of Melanoma Patients - Results of a genome-wide Association Study (GWAS). Deutschen Hautkrebskongresses (ADO–Jahrestagung), Ludwigshafen, Germany, 11–14 September 2019. Hoboken, NJ United States: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Emran, A., Marzese, D. M., Menon, D. R., Stark, M., Torrano, J., Hammerlindl, H., Zhang, G., Brafford, P., Hammerlindl, S., Gupta, D., Mills, G. B., Lu, Y., Flaherty, K., Sturm, R., Hoon, D. S. B., Gabrielli, B., Herlyn, M. and Schaider, H. (2018). Distinct epigenetic remodelling defines early stress-induced drug tolerance in melanoma. Australasian College of Dermatologists, 51st Annual Scientific Meeting, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia , 19–22 May 2018. Richmond, VIC, Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. doi: 10.1111/ajd.16_12815

  • Menon, Dinoop Ravindran, Hammerlindl, Heinz, Al Emran, Abdullah, Torrano, Joachim, Hammerlindl, Sabrina, Zhang, Gao, Somasundaram, Rajasekharan, Sturm, Richard A., Haass, Nikolas K., Flaherty, Keith, Herlyn, Meenhard and Schaider, Helmut (2018). Escape form adaptive drug tolerance through OGT and TET1 mediated H3K4me3 remodeling in MAPKi resistant melanoma. Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Chicago, IL United States, 14-18 April 2018. Philadelphia, PA United States: American Association of Cancer Research. doi: 10.1158/1538-7445.AM2018-5833

  • Menon, D. Ravindran, Hammerlindl, H., Emran, A., Torrano, J., Hammerlindl, S., Zhang, G., Krause, L., Somasundaram, R., Sturm, R., Haass, N. K., Flaherty, K., Herlyn, M. and Schaider, H. (2018). Escape form adaptive drug tolerance through OGT and TET1 mediated H3K4me3 remodeling in MAPKi-resistant melanoma. International Investigative Dermatology (IID) Meeting, Orlando, Fl, United States, 16-19 May 2018. London, United Kingdom: Nature Publishing Group. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2018.03.1252

  • MoMeniman, E., Sturm, R., Duffy, D., Jagirdar, K., Lee, K., Finnane, A., De'Ambrosis, B., Smithers, M. and Soyer, H. P. (2018). Overview of melanoma genetics for dermatologists and results of a genetic analysis of multiple primary melanoma patients. Australasian College of Dermatologists, 51st Annual Scientific Meeting, Gold Coast, Australia, 19–22 May 2018. Richmond, VIC, Australia: Wiley-Blackwell. doi: 10.1111/ajd.14_12815

  • Rayner, J., Duffy, D., McMeniman, E. K., Jagirdar, K., Lee, K., Soyer, H. P. and Sturm, R. A. (2018). Phenotypic and genotypic analysis of amelanotic melanoma patients drawn from a Queensland case-control study. Australasian College of Dermatologists, 51st Annual Scientific Meeting, Gold Coast, Australia, 19–22 May 2018. Richmond, VIC, Australia: Wiley-Blackwell. doi: 10.1111/ajd.10_12815

  • Stark, Mitchell S., Tan, Jean-Marie, Tom, Lisa, Jagirdar, Kasturee, Lambie, Duncan, Schaider, Helmut, Soyer, H. Peter and Sturm, Richard A. (2018). Whole-exome sequencing of acquired nevi identifies novel mechanisms for development and maintenance of benign neoplasms. Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Chicago, Illinois, 14-18 April 2018. Philadelphia, PA, United States: American Association for Cancer Research. doi: 10.1158/1538-7445.AM2018-5376

  • Laino, A., Berry, E., Jagirdar, K., Lee, K., Duffy, D., Soyer, P. and Sturm, R. (2017). Iris freckling as a marker of melanoma risk. Australasian College of Dermatologists 50th Annual Scientific Meeting, Darling Harbour, New South Wales, Australia, 6–9 May 2017. Richmond, VIC., Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia. doi: 10.1111/ajd.20_12652

  • Tan, J-M., Tom, L., Jagirdar, K., Lambie, D., Sturm, R., Soyer, P. and Stark, M. (2017). The prevalence of BRAF and NRAS in dermoscopic subtypes of acquired naevi. Australasian College of Dermatologists 50th Annual Scientific Meeting, Darling Harbour, New South Wales, Australia, 6–9 May 2017. Richmond, VIC., Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia. doi: 10.1111/ajd.21_12652

  • Sturm, R. (2016). Phenotypic and genotypic risk factors for naevi and melanoma.

  • Ling, X., Yong, H., Pflugfelder, A., Duffy, D., Jagirdar, K., Lee, K., Garbe, C., Soyer, H. P. and Sturm, R. (2016). A case-control study of the associations of PGC1 beta genotype with melanoma, skin reflectance, and naevus count. HOBOKEN: WILEY-BLACKWELL.

  • Emran, A. A., Menon, D. R., Marzese, D., Hammerlindl, H., Brafford, P., Stark, M., Huang, S., Hammerlindl, S., Gupta, D., Soyer, P., Sturm, R., Hoon, D., Gabrielli, B., Herlyn, M. and Schaider, H. (2016). Epigenetic remodelling of H3K9Me3 leads to early stress induced drug tolerance in cancer. Asia‐Pacific Combined Dermatology Research Conference 2016, Noosa, QLD Australia, 25–28 August 2016. Richmond, VIC Australia: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Al Emran, Abdullah, Menon, Dinoop Ravindran, Soyer, Peter, Gabrielli, Brian, Sturm, Rick, Herlyn, Meenhard and Schaider, Helmut (2016). Global histone modifications define early stress induced drug tolerance in cancer. American-Association-for-Cancer-Research (AACR) Special Conference on Chromatin and Epigenetics in Cancer, Atlanta, GA, United States, 24-27 September 2015. Philadelphia, PA United States: American Association for Cancer Research. doi: 10.1158/1538-7445.CHROMEPI15-B34

  • McWhirter, S., Lee, K., Wimberley, G., Ong, N., Leikvold, A., Ashley, A., Jagirdar, K., Duffy, D., Soyer, H. P. and Sturm, R. (2016). Naevus endophenotypes and melanoma risk. HOBOKEN: WILEY-BLACKWELL.

  • Soyer, H. Peter and Sturm, Rick A. (2016). On Nevus Research in Southeast Queensland. Joint meeting of the Australasian Wound and Tissue Repair Society (AWTRS) and the Molecular & Experimental Pathology Society of Australasia (MEPSA): Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre,, Melbourne, Australia, 7–9 November 2016. Wiley. doi: 10.1111/wrr.12489

  • Ainger, S., Ling, X., Yong, H., Tan, J. -M., Jagirdar, K., Smit, D., Soyer, H. P. and Sturm, R. (2016). Testing of viable clonal human skin cell cultures as an approach to validating microsampling of naevi. HOBOKEN: WILEY-BLACKWELL.

  • Ong, Natalie, Duffy, David, Lee, Katie, McClenahan, Phil, Jagirdar, Kasturee, Sturm, Richard and Soyer, H. Peter (2015). The correlation of skin color with dermoscopic nevus patterns in a Queensland high risk melanoma cohort. NEW YORK: MOSBY-ELSEVIER.

  • Tan, Jean-Marie, Lin, Lynlee L., Lambie, Duncan, Ong, Natalie, Flewell-Smith, Ross, Jagirdar, Kasturee, Schaider, Helmut, Sturm, Richard A., Prow, Tarl W. and Soyer, H. Peter (2015). Feasibility of genotyping melanocytic lesions by microsampling. 73rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, San Francisco, California, 20–24 March 2015. Philadelphia, PA United States: Mosby.

  • Daley, G. M., Lee, K. J., Jagirdar, K., Smithers, B. M., Duffy, D. L., Sturm, R. A. and Soyer, H. P. (2015). Glutathione S-transferase P1 Ile105Val polymorphism: phenotypic characteristics and melanoma risk. 48th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian College of Dermatologists, Adelaide SA, Australia, 16 May 2015. Richmond, VIC Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia. doi: 10.1111/ajd.12337

  • Ong, N., Duffy, D., Leikvold, A., Lee, K., Jagirdar, K., Lin, Lynlee L., Yamada, M., Sturm, R. A., Prow, T. W., Schaider, H. and Soyer, H. P. (2015). Molecular profiles of reticular and globular naevus patterns: a pilot study. 48th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian College of Dermatologists, Adelaide SA, Australia, 16 May 2015. Richmond, VIC Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia. doi: 10.1111/ajd.12337

  • McClenahan, Phil, Jagirdar, Kasturee, Lee, Katie, McEniery, Elizabeth, Beh, Sam, Burke, Brian, Duffy, David L., Soyer, H. Peter and Sturm, Richard A. (2015). Nevus count and dermoscopic pattern associated with MC1R RHC-variant alleles in a case-control study of melanoma. 106th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-for-Cancer-Research (AACR), Philadelphia Pa, Apr 18-22, 2015. American Association for Cancer Research. doi: 10.1158/1538-7445.AM2015-5588

  • McClenahan, P., Lin, L., Tan, J. M., Smith, R. Flewell, Schaider, H., Jagirdar, K., Lambie, D., Prow, T. W., Sturm, R. A. and Soyer, H. P. (2014). BRAF mutations in an involuting and non-involuting naevus upon BRAF +/- MEK treatment. The Australasian College of Dermatologists 47th Annual Scientific Meeting, Melbourne Australia, 18–21 May 2014. Richmond Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia. doi: 10.1111/ajd.12174

  • Banan, P., McClenahan, P., Duffy, D., Sturm, R. and Soyer, H. P. (2014). Dermoscopy, RCM and histopathology of a regressive melanoma in situ from an individual with a GSTP1 rs1695 polymorphism. The Australasian College of Dermatologists 47th Annual Scientific Meeting, Melbourne Australia, 18–21 May 2014. Richmond Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia. doi: 10.1111/ajd.12174

  • Sturm, R. A., McClenahan, P., Jagirdar, K., Sivakumaran, K., McEniery, E., Beh, S., Burke, B., Duffy, D. L. and Soyer, H. P. (2014). Naevus phenotypes in homozygous MC1R RHC-variant allele carriers. The Australasian College of Dermatologists 47th Annual Scientific Meeting, Melbourne Australia, 18–21 May 2014. Richmond Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia. doi: 10.1111/ajd.12174

  • Ong, N., Duffy, D., McEniery, E., McClenahan, P., Jagirdar, K., Sturm, R. and Soyer, H. P. (2014). The correlation of skin colour with dermoscopic naevus patterns in a Queensland high risk melanoma cohort. The Australasian College of Dermatologists 47th Annual Scientific Meeting, Melbourne Australia, 18–21 May 2014. Richmond Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia. doi: 10.1111/ajd.12174

  • Curchin, C. E. S., Wurm, E. M. T., Douglas, N. C., Jagirdar, K., Sturm, R. A. and Soyer, H. P. (2011). Dermoscopy, reflectance confocal microscopy and histopathology of an amelanotic melanoma from an individual with the heterozygous MC1R variation 160W. Australasian College of Dermatologists 44th Annual Scientific Meeting, Perth WA, Australia, 15-18 May 2011. Richmond VIC, Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-0960.2011.00757.x

  • Sturm, RA (2011). Human pigmentation genes and population polymorphism. unknown, unknown, unknown. MALDEN: WILEY-BLACKWELL.

  • Thurber, E., Sturm, E. C., Douglas, G, Leonard, J. H. and Sturm, R. A. (2009). Induction of spheroid cultures from adherent melanoma cell lines to study the heterogenous nature of melanoma tumours. 5th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Society for Dermatology Research, Sydney, Australia, 21-22 May 2008. London, United Kingdom: Nature Publishing Group. doi: 10.1038/jid.2009.333

  • Ainger, SA, Wong, SS, Roberts, DW, Leonard, JH and Sturm, RA (2009). The role of MC1R in melanogenesis of melanocytic cells in co-culture with keratinocytes. 5th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian-Society-for-Dermatology-Research, Sydney AUSTRALIA, MAY 21-22, 2008.

  • Maier, T., Mestel, D., Besch, R., Nagele, U., Sturm, R. A. and Berking, C. (2006). Expression of BRN2, osteopontin and nestin in melanoma and nevi. New markers of tumor progression?. 33rd Annual Meeting of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft-Dermatologische-Forschung (ADF), Aachen, Germany, 23-25 March, 2007. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2006.00403.x

  • Leonard, JH, Cook, AL, Van Gele, M, Speleman, F and Sturm, RA (2003). Expression of developmentally regulated transcription factors in Merkel cell carcinoma. 4th International Merkel Cell Symposium, Hamburg Germany, 2002. BERLIN: SPRINGER-VERLAG BERLIN.

  • Sturm, R. A., Duffy, D. L., Box, N. F., Newton, R. A., Shepherd, A. G., Chen, W., Marks, L. H., Leonard, J. H. and Martin, N. G. (2003). Genetic association and cellular function of MC1R variant alleles in human pigmentation. Fifth International Melanocortin Meeting, Sunriver, Oregon, August 25-28, 2002. New York, U.S.: The Academy. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2003.tb03199.x

  • Sturm, Richard A. (1998). Human pigmentation genes and their response to solar UV radiation. 1st Mount Buller International Conference on Environmental Radiation, Mount Buller, VIC, Australia, December 1996. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/S0027-5107(98)00176-6

  • Ablett, E., Pedley, J., Dannoy, P. A., Sturm, R. A. and Parsons, P. G. (1998). UVB-specific regulation of gene expression in human melanocytic cells: Cell cycle effects and implication in the generation of melanoma. 1st Mount Buller International Conference on Environmental Radiation, Mount Buller, VIC, Australia, December 1996. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/S0027-5107(98)00173-0

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision