From 2013 to 2017 I studied BSc Human Biology at Sheffield Hallam University. As part of my undergraduate studies I spent one year at The university of Sheffield Medical School in the department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascualr Disease. After completion of my placement year, I started my final year of my undergraduate degree, where for my final year project I investigated the effects of an in-vitro co-culture system of fibroblasts and colorectal cancer cells on Transglutaminase-2 expression and therefore invasive characteristics of cancer cells. It was from this project that I chose to further study oncology. I went on to study an MSc(Res) in Translational Oncology at the University of Sheffield. My course was focused on cancer research and how it is translated into a clinical setting.
My research is to utilise an in vitro system of plasma cell (PC) differentiation to determine the impact of trophic factors that mimic the bone marrow microenvironment in waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM) WM is characterised by the accumulation of proliferating and differentiating B-cells in the bone marrow. Normally B-cells usually begin the differentiation process in secondary lymphoid organs and then migrate to bone marrow as plasmablasts before terminal differentiation. Long-lived PCs persist in the bone marrow niches, and PC malignancies are related to such bone marrow niches.
Current experimental models the evaluate human PCs are limited. My current lab group have successfully developed a model system to allow robust in vitro generation of long-lived PCs. I aim to utilise this model to understand the relationship between the bone marrow environment and the differentiating WM clone, with a particular focus on the modulation of CXCR4 signals. CXCR4 is one of the genes that is often mutated in WM patients and has been shown to be important for migration of PCs and survival signalling, but it has also been shown to limit the effectiveness of current therapeutics for WM. Therefore understanding the crosstalk between the neoplastic-associated signalling pathways and the microenvironment will help to identify rational combinations of therapeutic agents.
- BSc Human Biology
- MSc(Res) Translational Oncology