Dr Shafagh Waters
Senior Lecturer

Dr Shafagh Waters

PhD, Australian National University

MSc (Distinction), University of Otago, New Zealand 

BSc, The University of Auckland, New Zealand

 

Medicine & Health
School of Medical Sciences

Dr Shafagh Waters (BSc, MSc (Disc.), PhD) is a Scientia senior lecturer at UNSW and an honorary senior scientist at Sydney Children’s Hospital. A productive PhD (2012; ANU) and postdoctoral fellowships (2013-2016; UNSW) helped her secure international training fellowships in gene therapy and organoid medicine, establishing her independent lab in 2016. Dr Waters lead an NHMRC funded research program on adult-stem-cell biology for cystic fibrosis (CF) that is supported by 32 grants; 21 as CIA including international and national industry partnerships. Dr Waters has developed an Australian national biobank of stem-cell-derived airway and gut organoids, and has built a platform for high-throughput therapy-testing on patients organoids. She combines her unique strengths in organoid disease modelling, multi-omic molecular profiling and computational research with clinical data to improve individualised outcomes for patients with CF. She is regularly invited to media interviews and present at community, and as a keynote speaker at national and international meetings, on two occasions, and was the recipient of the best ECR research award at the 2019-Australian Academy of Science, Precision Medicine Conference. In 2020, the latter (co-culture airway organoid with pathogens) was pivoted to COVID-19 to delineate the innate immune response to SARS-CoV2 infection.

 

Phone
+61 (2)93856961
Location
The School of Medical Sciences is located in the Wallace Wurth Building (upper campus of UNSW) which is accessible via Gate 9, High Street, Randwick.
  • Journal articles | 2022
    Tran BM; Grimley SL; McAuley JL; Hachani A; Earnest L; Wong SL; Caly L; Druce J; Purcell DFJ; Jackson DC; Catton M; Nowell CJ; Leonie L; Deliyannis G; Waters SA; Torresi J; Vincan E, 2022, 'Air-Liquid-Interface Differentiated Human Nose Epithelium: A Robust Primary Tissue Culture Model of SARS-CoV-2 Infection', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 23, pp. 835 - 835, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms23020835
    Journal articles | 2020
    Capraro A; Whan R; Thomas S; Jaffe A; Bridge W; Waters S, 2020, 'Novel Antioxidant Therapy with the Immediate Precursor to Glutathione, -Glutamylcysteine (GGC), Ameliorates LPS-Induced Cellular Stress in In Vitro 3D-Differentiated Airway Model from Primary Cystic Fibrosis Human Bronchial Cells', Antioxidants, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/antiox9121204
    Journal articles | 2019
    Sprague D; Waters SA; Kirk JM; Wang JR; Samollow PB; Waters PD; Calabrese JM, 2019, 'Nonlinear sequence similarity between the Xist and Rsx long noncoding RNAs suggests shared functions of tandem repeat domains', RNA, vol. 25, pp. 1004 - 1019, http://dx.doi.org/10.1261/rna.069815.118
    Journal articles | 2019
    Villamizar O; Waters SA; Scott T; Saayman S; Grepo N; Urak R; Davis A; Jaffe A; Morris KV, 2019, 'Targeted Activation of Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator', Molecular Therapy, vol. 27, pp. 1737 - 1748, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymthe.2019.07.002
    Journal articles | 2019
    Waters S; Waters P; Capraro A, 2019, 'Waking the sleeping dragon: gene expression profiling reveals adaptive strategies of the hibernating reptile Pogona vitticeps', BMC Genomics, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-5750-x
    Journal articles | 2018
    Johnson RN; O’Meally D; Chen Z; Etherington GJ; Ho SYW; Nash WJ; Grueber CE; Cheng Y; Whittington CM; Dennison S; Peel E; Haerty W; O’Neill RJ; Colgan D; Russell TL; Alquezar-Planas DE; Attenbrow V; Bragg JG; Brandies PA; Chong AYY; Deakin JE; Di Palma F; Duda Z; Eldridge MDB; Ewart KM; Hogg CJ; Frankham GJ; Georges A; Gillett AK; Govendir M; Greenwood AD; Hayakawa T; Helgen KM; Hobbs M; Holleley CE; Heider TN; Jones EA; King A; Madden D; Graves JAM; Morris KM; Neaves LE; Patel HR; Polkinghorne A; Renfree MB; Robin C; Salinas R; Tsangaras K; Waters PD; Waters SA; Wright B; Wilkins MR; Timms P; Belov K, 2018, 'Adaptation and conservation insights from the koala genome', Nature Genetics, vol. 50, pp. 1102 - 1111, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0153-5
    Journal articles | 2018
    Waters SA; Capraro A; McIntyre KL; Graves JAM; Waters PD, 2018, 'The methylome of vertebrate sex chromosomes', Genes, vol. 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/genes9050230
    Journal articles | 2018
    Waters SA; Livernois AM; Patel H; O’Meally D; Craig JM; Marshall Graves JA; Suter CM; Waters PD, 2018, 'Landscape of DNA methylation on the marsupial x', Molecular Biology and Evolution, vol. 35, pp. 431 - 439, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msx297
    Journal articles | 2017
    Waters SA; McAteer SP; Kudla G; Pang I; Deshpande NP; Amos TG; Leong KW; Wilkins MR; Strugnell R; Gally DL; Tollervey D; Tree JJ, 2017, 'Small RNA interactome of pathogenic E. coli revealed through crosslinking of RNase E', EMBO Journal, vol. 36, pp. 374 - 387, http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/embj.201694639
    Journal articles | 2013
    Livernois AM; Waters SA; Deakin JE; Marshall Graves JA; Waters PD, 2013, 'Independent Evolution of Transcriptional Inactivation on Sex Chromosomes in Birds and Mammals', PLoS Genetics, vol. 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1003635
    Journal articles | 2010
    Al Nadaf S; Waters PD; Koina E; Deakin JE; Jordan KS; Graves JAM, 2010, 'Activity map of the tammar X chromosome shows that marsupial X inactivation is incomplete and escape is stochastic', Genome Biology, vol. 11, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/gb-2010-11-12-r122
  • Preprints | 2022
    Poursani EM; Mercatelli D; Raninga P; Bell JL; Saletta F; Kohane FV; Zheng Y; Rouaen J; Jue TR; Michniewicz FT; Kasiou E; Tsoli M; Cirillo G; Waters S; Shai-Hee T; Valli E; Brettle M; Whan R; Vahadat L; Ziegler D; Lock JG; Giorgi FM; Khanna KK; Vittorio O, 2022, Copper chelation inhibits TGF-β pathways and suppresses epithelial-mesenchymal transition in cancer, http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2022.10.03.510707
    Preprints | 2019
    Sprague D; Waters SA; Kirk JM; Wang JR; Samollow PB; Waters PD; Calabrese JM, 2019, Non-linear sequence similarity between the Xist and Rsx long noncoding RNAs suggests shared functions of tandem repeat domains, http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/630475

Scheme: Ideas Grants
Funding agency: National Health & Medical Research Council 
Grant name: Towards Personalised Cystic Fibrosis Medicine: Functional characterisation and targeted therapies for rare CF Transmembrane Regulator (CFTR) mutations using patient-derived organoids
Role: CIA, UNSW Grant number: RG191611 Start date: 1 January 2020

Scheme: 2019 Gene Therapy Innovation Grant
Funding agency: Cystic Fibrosis Community Care 
Grant name: Nanoparticle nanoparticle gene addition therapy in primary differentiated CF airway cell models.
Role: Sole CI, UNSW Grant number: RG194254 Start date: 1 January 2020

Scheme: Orphan Disease Center Million Dollar Bike Ride Grant Program
Funding agency: Penn Medicine Orphan Disease Centre | University of Adelaide  
Grant name: Airway Cell Therapy for Cystic Fibrosis Nonsense Mutations
Role: co-CI, UNSW Grant number: RG192792 Start date: 1 June 2019

Scheme: DAVID MILLAR GILES INNOVATION GRANT
Funding agency: CYSTIC FIBROSIS AUSTRALIA
Grant name: an australian alliance of personalised lab grown mini-organs to save the rarest of them all
Role: Sole CI, UNSW Grant number: RG191126 Start date: 1 August 2019
 

Scheme: TSANZ VERTEX PAEDIATRIC CYSTIC FIBROSIS AWARD
Funding agency: THORACIC SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND (TSANZ)
Grant name: a novel compound for cystic fibrosis therapy, targeting proteostasis network.
Role: Sole CI, UNSW Grant number: RG192793 Start date: 17 July 2019

Scheme: NSW HEALTH PAEDIATRIC PRECISION MEDICINE SHARED GRANT
Funding agency: PAEDIATRIO LIMITED
Grant name: ppm 1: centralized capacity to develop functional genomics for paediatric precision medicine
Role: CIB, UNSW Grant number: RG192369, Start date: 1 June 2019

Scheme: REBECCA L. COOPER MEDICAL PROJECT GRANTS
Funding agency: REBECCA L. COOPER MEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION
Grant name: personalised lab grown mini-lungs to predict effect of therapies in patients with cystic fibrosis
Role: Sole CI, UNSW Grant number: RG182229, Start date: 1 January 2019

Scheme: CONTRACT RESEARCH
Funding agency: PAEDIATRIO LIMITED
Grant name: microscope funding for drug discovery and efficacy testing
Role: CIB, UNSW Grant number: RG182726, Start date: 24 October 2018

Scheme: VERTEX INNOVATION AWARDS
Funding agency: VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS (CH)
Grant name: exo-cf; exosomal biomarkers for early prediction of cystic fibrosis related diabetes (cfrd)
Role: CIA, UNSW Grant number: RG181847, Start date: 22 March 2019

Scheme: ACFRT INNOVATION GRANT
Funding agency: CYSTIC FIBROSIS RESEARCH LIMITED QLD
Grant name: Rna therapeutics: novel paradigm in mutation independent cf therapy
Role: CIA, UNSW Grant number: RG173352, Start date: 5 March 2018

Scheme: BOOSTING BUSINESS INNOVATION PROGRAM
Funding agency: NSW DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY
Grant name: in vitro investigation of the potential efficacy of thiols to treat cystic fibrosis - techvoucher
Role: CIA, UNSW Grant number: RG161881-T Start date: 23 June 2018

Scheme: CONTRACT RESEARCH
Funding agency: BIOSPECIALTIES AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
Grant name: in vitro investigation of the potential efficacy of thiols to treat cystic fibrosis
Role: CIA, UNSW Grant number: RG181150, Start date: 4 June 2018

Young Tall Poppy Science Award

Australian Institute of Policy and Science |NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award

2022

Best EMCR Poster Award

Australian Academy of Science | AU-China Precision Medicine Symposium

2019

EMCR Travel Award

Australian Academy of Science | AU-China Precision Medicine Symposium

2019

Travel Award

Australian Academy of Science | Science at the Shine Dome Early-and Mid-Career Researchers Program

2018

Finalist

Annual Quality and Innovation Awards | The Sydney Children’s Hospital Network

2018

Travel Award

SIDRA Functional Genomics Towards Precision Medicine Symposium. Doha Qatar

2017

Travel Award

Vice-Chancellor's HDR | Australian National University (ANU)

2012

Best PhD Candidate Talk Award

Genetics Society of Australasia Conference 2010

2010

Travel Award

University of Otago, New Zealand

2008

Best Poster Presentation Award

Molecular Basis of Cancer and Development Meeting 2007

2007

My current research has a strong translational focus in three key areas of

(i) stem cell biology involving disease modeling and regenerative medicine

(ii) prognostic and diagnostic exosomal biomarker discovery for CF related diabetes,

(iii) CFTR restoring therapeutics in patient derived organoids using a variety of delivery approaches including viral and nanoformulations.

(iv) host-pathogen interactions for viral and bacterial infections.

The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand Research Committee member (since 2020)

UNSW Early Career Academic Network Executive Committee member (since 2020)

UNSW- Faculty of Medicine Co-chair Early Career Academic Network (since 2020)

Memberships:

UNSW Australian Centre for NanoMedicine

Australian Living Organoid Alliance (ALOA)

The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ)

UNSW Australian Centre for NanoMedicine

Women in Research Network member, UNSW

Australian Society for Medical Research

Genetic Society of AustralAsia (GSA)

Community Engagement

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Australia

My Research Supervision

PhD student (July 2016- current)

Hons and Masters students