Translational Breast Cancer Research Trainee Studentships, 2008

Michel Beausoleil

Michel Beausoleil is an MSc student in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology,  University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Dr. Alison Allan.  His project involves studying how Osteopontin (OPN), a protein known to be important in cancer promotion, interacts with the blood-clotting factor thrombin in order to affect breast cancer cell behavior. In particular, he is interested in investigating the cellular signaling pathways induced by the interaction between  OPN and thrombin.

 

Cho photo

Choi-Fong Cho  is an MSc student in the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Dr. John Lewis.  Her project involves studying how non-invasive imaging using nanotechnology should permit detection of early breast cancer before metastasis can occur. Her aim is to construct "smart nanoparticles" that home to the new blood vessels that form around early tumours. She hopes to use these as imaging agents both to diagnose early cancer and to enhance treatment.   

 

DeChickera photo

 

Sonali de Chickera is an MSc student in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Dr. Gregory Dekaban.  Her project addresses the need for new, safe, and targeted therapies, such as the breast cancer vaccine. This research project in particular is concerned with developing a more effective breast cancer vaccine by improving the migration and function of a key immune cell in order to specifically target and kill breast cancer cells. 

 

Esguerra photo

 

Kenneth Esguerra  is an MSc student in the Department of  Chemistry, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Drs. Leonard Luyt and Eva Turley.  His project intends to develop an imaging probe that shows significant uptake into breast progenitor tumor cells and thus can be used for both cancer detection and diagnosis, to enable efficient identification of patients who are at risk for malignant disease.

 

 

Michael Lizardo

Michael Lizardo is a PhD student in the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Drs. Ann Chambers and Ian MacDonald. Michael is developing multi-platform approaches in studying animal models of lymph node metastasis in breast cancer. These include flow intravital fluorescence videomicroscopy, flow cytometry and laser scanning cytometry. These techniques will then be used to ask questions about the underlying biology that contributes to a cancer cell's ability to spread to the lymph nodes and how single disseminated tumor cells form clinically relevant metastases.

 

Maclean Photo

Jenn MacLean is a PhD student in the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Drs. Ann Chambers and Ian MacDonald.  Jenn’s research expands on a phenomenon known as ‘concomitant tumor resistance’ where a primary tumor is capable of restricting the development of secondary metastases.  Specifically, she will investigate the effect of a growing breast primary tumor on the growth of secondary metastases and determine the effect of individual metastasis promoting and suppressing proteins on the establishment of breast cancer metastases.

 

McGowan Photo

Patricia McGowan, PhD, is a Postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario and the London Regional Cancer Program, working under the supervision of Dr. Ann Chambers.  Her research is focusing on a specific protein, Notch, in the development of brain metastases from breast cancer. Notch appears to have multifaceted roles in tumor maintenance and progression and she hopes to investigate these roles over the course of her work.

 

Medeiros photo

 

Phil Medeiros is a PhD student in the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Dr. Dwayne Jackson.  Phil is studying the role of the sympathetic nervous system on the progression of breast cancer. Specifically, using novel in vivo and in vitro models he aims to elucidate the deleterious effects of sympathetic neurotransmitters such as Neuropeptide Y in breast cancer.

 

Jen Mutrie

 

Jen Mutrie is an MSc student in the Department of Pathology, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Drs. Ann Chambers and Alan Tuck.  Jen is investigating the effects of blocking molecular pathways mediated by osteopontin (OPN), a protein that contributes to aggressive cancer cell behaviour and tumor progression.  She is interested in how OPN signaling works and which inhibitors will be most effective.  This will help increase our understanding of how OPN contributes to cancer spread and may lead to the identification of new therapeutic targets for aggressive breast cancers that express OPN.

Jenna Pilon photo

Jenna Pilon is an MSc student in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Dr. David Rodenhiser.  Jenna is studying the role of ZEB2 in breast cancer metastasis. ZEB2 is a gene capable of turning on or off other genes, and is important in normal development. When ZEB2 is abnormally present, it can cause changes to the cell, increasing its ability to grow and invade. Jenna is studying whether ZEB2 plays an important role in breast cancer spread, and whether an epigenetic ‘extra layer’ of control of this gene is important in determining where ZEB2 is present.

 

Quail photo

Daniela Quail is an MSc student in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Dr. Lynne-Marie Postovit. Aggressive cancer cells exhibit stem cell-like properties that contribute to their plasticity and ability to metastasize. Her research is focused on an embryonic protein called Nodal, which plays a role in maintaining the stem cell-like characteristics of breast cancer cells, and promotes metastasis and aggressive cell behaviour.

 

Rosita photo

 

Dina Rosita is a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Dr. Leonard Luyt. She is currently working on two research projects: developing a class of radiolabelled ghrelin analogues as new imaging probes targeting GHSR for breast cancer imaging, and in collaboration with Dr. Eva Turley, developing a class of radiolabelled hyaluronan (HA) mimetic peptides as new imaging probes targeting Rhamm to image highly tumorigenic breast cancer cells.

 

Roumeliotis photo

Michael Roumeliotis is a PhD student in the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Dr. Jeffrey Carson.  Their 3D photoacoustic imaging system will be implemented to identify tumours as small as 1mm in diameter. As well, the system being developed will be able to define physiological information, such as blood and oxygen content, which is of paramount importance in characterizing the tumour as benign or malignant.

 

Leslie Souter photo

 

Lesley Souter is a PhD student in the Department of Pathology, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Drs. Ann Chambers and Alan Tuck.  Lesley is using a 3D tissue culture system to identify genes and molecules potentially involved in the initial development and progression of invasive disease in the breast.

 

 

 

Megan Taylor photo

Meghan Taylor is an MSc student in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Dr. Lynne-Marie Postovit. Low oxygen levels within a tumour cause cancer cells to become more aggressive by turning on specific genes. She would like to determine if there is a correlation between low oxygen levels and the appearance of her gene of interest, Nodal, in breast cancer, and characterize the events that transmit the signal of low oxygen to the genetic level.

 

Vasefi photo

 

Fartash Vasefi is a PhD student in the School of Engineering Science at Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada. He is currently studying at the Lawson Health Research Institute through a research collaboration between Dr. Bozena Kaminska's laboratory at SFU and Dr. Jeffrey Carson's laboratory at Lawson. Fartash is developing novel optical tomography techniques for detection of abnormalities in tissues based on differences in optical properties.

 

 

Zuos photo

 

Yufeng Zuo is a PhD student in the Department of Pathology, University of Western Ontario, working under the supervision of Dr. Chandan Chakraborty.  Yufeng's project is focused on Rho GTPases and one of their downstream effector proteins Rock (Rho kinase) in cancer cell migration and metastasis. His study aims to translate some basic research of Rho GTPases and Rock into designing protocols for chemoprevention suppression of human breast cancer progression.

 

 

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