Professor Mann’s research investigates all aspects of melanoma control, from population-based studies of genetic and environmental susceptibility to melanoma, and psychosocial aspects of melanoma risk, to molecular markers of diagnosis, prognosis and response to treatment.
Professor Mann is lead investigator of the only population-based study of early-onset melanoma, the Australian Melanoma Family Study (AMFS), which recruited 4,000 people in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and remains a major resource for understanding the genetic epidemiology of melanoma. His group is also a primary contributor to GenoMEL and via both projects has identified many new common melanoma-susceptibility gene variations in the population, as well as novel mutations associated with high melanoma risk. Research defining the prevalence and distribution of these mutations in Australians has helped focus mutation testing and guide genetic counseling regarding melanoma in this country.
Studies of the psychosocial impact of melanoma susceptibility were among the first of their kind in the field, and have also informed appropriate clinical cancer genetics services for melanoma, and guided further translational research. His team’s work has demonstrated a 40% increased risk of melanoma before age 40 years in sunbed users, and showed that 75% of melanomas occurring before the age of 30 in solarium users could be attributed to solarium use. This has led to state government bans on commercial solaria.
Ongoing work in the melanoma research program is heavily focused on bringing a new molecular understanding to the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma, and has already identified new markers of clinical outcome. The group is also at the forefront of developing new targeted and immune therapies for melanoma. The Australian Melanoma Genome Project and NIH Cancer Genome Atlas projects are comprehensively mapping all the genetic and genomic abnormalities of melanoma. These studies are delivering the next generation of personalised diagnostics and new therapeutic targets for this cancer.