Translational Breast Cancer Research Trainee Studentships, 2005

Nathan Bluvol

Nathan Bluvol is an MSc student in the Department of Biophysics, University of Western Ontario. Under the supervision of Dr. Aaron Fenster, Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, Nathan is developing a system that will integrate with currently available ultrasound technology in hospitals to increase the speed and accuracy of breast biopsy procedures.

Peter Cheung

Peter Cheung is an MSc student in the Department of Pathology, University of Western Ontario, and the Cancer Research Laboratory Program, London Regional Cancer Program at London Health Sciences Centre. Under the supervision of Drs. Ann Chambers and Alan Tuck, Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit, Peter is working on the interactions between osteopontin and its integrin receptors involving alpha4, alpha9, and beta3 in metastasis using in vitro and pre-clinical in vivo mouse models.

Shireen Fard

Shireen Fard is a PhD student in the Department of Pathology, University of Western Ontario and Cancer Research Laboratory Program, London Regional Cancer Program at London Health Sciences Centre, supervised by Dr. Jim Koropatnick. Shireen is investigating antisense drugs that target thymidylate synthase, an enzyme necessary for cell division. The aim of her research is to develop a method of delivering these drugs preferentially to breast tumour cells within the body, sparing healthy cells from the toxic effects normally associated with chemotherapy

Sara Hamilton

Sara Hamilton is a PhD student in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Western Ontario. Under the supervisor of Dr. Eva Turley, Cancer Research Laboratory Program in the London Regional Cancer Program, Sara is studying how breast cancer cells interact with the tissue that surrounds them, and how these molecular interactions might be blocked by inhibitors, a strategy that might lead to development of new drugs to fight breast cancer.

Ben Hedley

Ben Hedley is a PhD student in the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario and the Cancer Research Laboratory Program, London Regional Cancer Program. Under the supervision of Drs. Ann Chambers and Ian MacDonald, he is studying the role of osteopontin in the suppresion of breast cancer lymph node and lung metastases in an animal model; in particular, when lymph node and lung metastases are inhibited by the metastasis suppressor gene, BRMS1.

Matthew Irwin

Matthew Irwin is an MESc student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Western Ontario. He is supervised by Dr. Aaron Fenster, Director of the Imaging Research Laboratories of Robarts Research Institute. Breast biopsy, a procedure commonly used to obtain samples of suspicious tissue, is subject to limitations that can hinder an accurate cancer diagnosis. Matt is working on a system that combines modern medical imaging and needle guidance technology with the aim of improving the comfort, safety and accuracy of this technique.

Michael Lizardo

Michael Lizardo is a PhD student in the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, and the Cancer Research Laboratory Program of the London Regional Cancer Program. His TBCRU Studentship will augment funding from the CIHR Strategic Training Program in Vascular Research from the Robarts Research Institute. Under the supervision of Dr. Ann Chambers in Oncology and Dr. Ian MacDonald in Medical Biophysics, Michael is studying how the activity of a certain biological molecule, called CXCR4, contributes to the spread of breast cancer cells through lymphatic vessels. In addition, he is testing whether a small molecule inhibitor of CXCR4 can inhibit or reduce the incidence of lymph node metastasis in a pre-clinical mouse model of breast cancer.

Aleksandra Pandyra

Aleksandra Pandyra is an MSc student in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Westrn Ontario, and the Cancer Research Laboratory Program of the London Regional Cancer Program at London Health Sciences Centre, supervised by Dr. James D. Koropatnick. She is investigating the application of antisense technology to cancer therapeutics and imaging studies.

Bekim Sadikovic

Bekim Sadikovic is a PhD student in the Biochemistry Department, University of Western Ontario and the Cancer Research Laboratory Program of the London Regional Cancer Program at London Health Sciences Centre, supervised by Dr. David Rodenhiser. His TBCRU Studentship will augment his Studentship from the CIHR/UWO Strategic Training Program in Cancer Research and Technology Transfer. Bekim is investigating the effects of environmental exposures to chemical carcinogen benzopyrene, which is present in cigarette smoke, diet, and air pollution, as it relates to DNA methylation and gene expression in breast cancer. The aim of his research is to identify genes whose DNA methylation and expression become deregulated by benzopyrene, and to identify novel therapeutic and prognostic gene targets in breast cancer.

Dr. Marianne Stanford

Dr. Marianne Stanford is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Western Ontario, and the BioTherapeutics Research Group, Robarts Research Institute, supervised by Dr. Grant McFadden. Oncolytic virotherapy means 'using viruses to treat cancer' and our lab has been studying myxoma virus, a poxvirus, as a novel oncolytic virus. My research is involved in understanding why a virus that only causes disease in rabbits is able to infect tumour cells and how an immunosuppressant drug called rapamycin can assist the virus in its infection of cancer cells. Rapamycin on its own is in human clinical trials as breast cancer therapy, and we believe that this drug in combination with virus may be a more effective therapy for breast cancer tumours.

 

Dr. Alex Timoshenko

Dr. Alex Timoshenko received his PhD in Biophysics from the National Academy of Sciences in Belarus. He is working with Dr. P.K. Lala as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Western Ontario. Malignant tumors spread and metastasize to distant organs through blood vessels and lymphatics, and produce specific growth factors, which facilitate these processes; lymphatic metastasis, a common occurrence in breast cancer, is understood poorly. The goal of his project is to explore molecular mechanisms controlling the production of the lymphangiogenic factor VEGF-C by breast cancer cells and to study its role in breast cancer progression and lymphatic metastasis.

 

Dr. Cornelia Tolg

Dr. Cornelia Tolg is a Post Doctoral Fellow under the supervision of Dr. Eva Turley, Department of Oncology, Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit, London Regional Cancer Program. Conny's main research interest is the effect of the tumour environment on tumour cell migration and metastasis formation; in particular, the effect of hyaluronan, an important component of the tumour cell environment, on production and activity of cell matrix degrading enzymes by tumour cells.

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