Freya Leif

Freya Leif

Profile

Freya graduated in 2018 from the University of Leeds with an MBiol, BSc in Biotechnology with Enterprise. Throughout her degree, Freya developed a keen interest in the molecular mechanisms of disease and how these can be targeted with novel therapies. Freya continued her studies at the University of Leeds starting a PhD in October 2018, under the supervision of Dr Laura Matthews, Professor Chris Twelves, Professor Val Speirs and Professor Carlo Palmieri.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) represents 10-20% of breast cancers diagnosed. TNBCs lack expression of three receptors normally used to stratify breast cancers (estrogen, progesterone and Her2). Therapies that target these three receptors are therefore ineffective in the treatment of TNBC and the only current therapeutic option is chemotherapy. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) has been found to be highly expressed in TNBC and so offers a potential new target for therapy.

Freya’s project will determine which cellular effects are controlled by GR and the role of transcription factor pathways (HIF, HIPPO and NFkB) in modulating the GR response. The therapeutic potential of glucocorticoid receptor modulators will also be assessed using clinically available GR agonists and antagonists. Defining the mechanisms that regulate GR should provide a basis for new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of TNBC.