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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. He is studying the role of the secreted protein osteopontin and its integrin receptors in breast cancer malignancy using in vitro and in vivo models.
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 and communicate with the tissue that surrounds them. In particular she is studying how Rhamm, a gene that has been linked to the growth and spread of many cancers, contributes to tumor progression, focusing on how it de-regulates signaling through the Ras-MEK1-Erk1 pathway, which has been linked to tumorigenesis, to favour transformation, migration and invasion. The goal of this research is to identify novel genes involved in promoting breast cancer initiation and progression for new therapeutic targets.
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.
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 developing pre-clinical animal models in which the lymphatic spread breast cancer cells can be dynamically imaged by intravital microscopy. These models will then be used to ask biological questions regarding which biological molecules contribute to a cancer cell's ability to spread to the lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes.
Shipra Rastogi Shipra's research pertains to understanding the signaling pathways contributing to lymphangiogenesis, and therby lymphatic metastasis in breast cancer. Specifically the study will help to delineate the pathways underlying the differential role of EP receptors in COX-2 mediated upregulation of VEGF-C which contributes to lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic metastasis in breast cancer.
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.
Lesley Souter The first critical step in breast cancer metastasis is the change from cells growing within the breast duct, to cells invading the adjacent tissue. Lesley will be developing a 3D tissue culture model that mimics the breast environment in order to study genes and molecules potentially involved in the initial development of invasive disease in the breast.
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. 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. Resistance of tumor cells to multiple drugs often results in failure of chemotherapy and tumor recurrence. Cornelia is interested in the effects of the tumor microenvironment, in particular the extracellular matrix component hyaluronan on multidrug resistance of breast cancer. She hopes to use hyaluronan accumulation in breast tumor samples to predict treatment outcome.