BSc (Hons), MPhil
- Investigating mechanisms of therapeutic resistance in ovarian cancer.
- Understanding the molecular basis of ovarian cancer metastasis.
- Modeling ovarian cancer in vitro.
Current therapy options for ovarian cancer patients are generally good and result in substantial tumour attrition. Unfortunately however, tumour recurrence occurs in more than 70% of patients within 2 years of primary treatment. This is due to the survival of a tiny proportion of tumour cells during therapy. The re-emerging tumour species tend to be more aggressive and resistant to therapy. Such chemotherapy-resistant ovarian cancer cells initiate survival pathways with the help of a 'cross-talk' between ovarian cancer cells and their tumour microenvironment in the abdominal cavity.
I joined the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford in late Oct 2015. As part of the team in the Ovarian Cancer Cell Laboratory, I am currently involved in an ambitious MRC-funded translational project to develop and validate novel inhibitors targeting key ovarian cancer survival pathways, in order to improve clinical therapy outcomes for ovarian cancer patients. The project is conducted in collaboration with the Drug Discovery Chemistry Laboratory at the Beatson Institute.
I graduated with BSc (Hons) in Medical Genetics from the University of Leicester in 2014. During my undergraduate degree, I developed a scientific interest in the genetics and molecular biology of tumour initiation and maintenance.
To pursue my interest further, I undertook a Master's degree in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Dr Marc de la Roche. During this project, I examined the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in establishing the three-dimensional architecture of the intestinal epithelial stem cell niche, and how compromising this polarity may be a key event in tumour initiation. In addition, I aimed to optimize a protocol for genetically modifying DNA from primary mouse tissue in an in vitro, three-dimensional organoid culture. I also looked at the contribution of a novel protein in regulating the Wnt signaling pathway in the intestinal epithelial stem cell niche during development and cancer.
During my master's degree, my research interests converged to the role of stem cells in cancer biology. This is the current focus of my DPhil degree in Prof Ahmed Ahmed's laboratory, during which I aim to develop physiologically relevant and tractable models of ovarian cancer. This promises to be an effective tool for many investigations, of which I am particularly interested in patient-derived ex vivo drug screening and understanding the molecular basis of how ovarian cancer develops, as well as the cell-of-origin of ovarian cancer; a topic of considerable debate in the field hitherto.