Summary: I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie research fellow researching the possible role of vitamin D in protecting people from melanoma
Location: Cancer Genetics Building
I have been fascinated by cancer ever since I realised that it is caused not by foreign germs, but by rogue cells within our own selves. This fascination led me to major in Cancer Biology at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, thus helping me understand the disease better. Fascination eventually became an obsession, motivating me to do cancer research for my PhD. I am part of MELGEN*, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network, which aims to improve precision medicine for patients with melanoma. My research aims to understand how melanoma is influenced by genetic factors as well as our own immune system, thus leading to the possibility of more effective detection and treatment choices for melanoma patients.
As part of my research I am sampling tumour and nodal tissues, extracting RNA, and co-ordinating generation of transcriptomic data by a commercial provider. I am using statistical and bioinformatic methodology to analyse the resulting data and developing experimental approaches to validate results by examining RNA stored from other studies. I will integrate transcriptomic data from the different tissue types with histopathological and clinical data to examine:
- Systemic inflammation in melanoma survival, which might be addressed therapeutically.
- The possible role of Vitamin D as a modifier of systemic inflammation.
- The effect of tumour/systemic inflammation on suppression of adaptive immunity.
- Transcriptomic patterns in the tumour or blood associated with nodal evidence of reduction of adaptive immunity, which might be explored as a prognostic and predictive biomarker.
I have participated in public engagement activities on behalf of the MELGEN consortium including laboratory tours, school visits and the Be Curious festival.
*Funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 641458.