Dr. Michael Fenech


Foundation President of the Asia-Pacific Nutrigenomics and Nutrigenetics Organisation (APNNO).


Professor Michael Fenech is recognised internationally for his research in nutritional genomics and genetic toxicology and for developing the cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) assay which is now a gold standard method used internationally to measure DNA damage in human cells in vitro and in vivo. The CBMN assay has been endorsed by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the OECD for in vivo radiation biodosimetry and in vitro testing of genotoxins respectively. His key goal is to determine the nutritional and environmental requirements for DNA damage prevention using in vitro systems, epidemiology and placebo-controlled human intervention trials. In 2003-05, Dr Fenech proposed a novel disease prevention strategy based on personalised diagnosis and prevention of DNA damage by appropriate diet/life-style intervention, which has led to the Genome Health Clinic concept and its translation into practice (www.reach100.com.au).

In 2003-2009 his laboratory further developed the CBMN assay into a 'cytome' assay consisting of six complementary biomarkers of DNA damage and cytotoxicity which is now published in Nature Protocols. He co-founded the ongoing HUMN and HUMN-XL projects on micronuclei in human populations (www.humn.org) and is a member of the coordinating group and co-founder of the Micronutrients Genomics Project which he has been leading since July 2011. His research is currently also focused on (i) the impact of nutrition and psychological stress on telomere integrity and (ii) personalised nutrition for dementia prevention and cancer growth control in cancer survivors. He conceived novel quantitative PCR methods for measuring absolute telomere length and telomere base damage which were later developed by the team he leads at CSIRO. He was awarded the Flinders University’s Convocation Medal in 2007, the Alexander Hollaender Award (USA) in 2008 and the honorary titles of Adjunct Professor at University of South Australia in 2009, Visiting Professor at Taipei Medical University in 2010, Professorial Fellow at Flinders University in 2011 and Honorary Fellow of the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine in 2012 for his leadership and contributions to environmental and nutritional genomic sciences internationally. In 2013 he was awarded the honorary academic title of Affiliate Professor by the University of Adelaide and elected President of the 8th Congress of the International Society of Nutrigenetics/Nutrigenomics. In 2014 he was elected Foundation President of the Asia-Pacific Nutrigenomics and Nutrigenetics Organisation (APNNO).