Research Fellowship: MRes & PhD in biomedical and translational research
Project: Re-programming the immune response as a therapeutic approach in melanoma
Supervisors: Dr Victoria Sanz-Moreno, Dr Sophia Karagiannis, Prof. Frank Nestle
I decided to apply for the Biomedical Research Centre PhD studentship because of the translational focus of the selected research projects. I was fascinated by the idea of joining the Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, an internationally-excellent clinical research centre with state of the art facilities, leading scientists and pioneering research studies aiming at benefitting the lives of patients. The Biomedical Research Centre offers an environment where scientific interest can thrive while providing you with the motivation to improve academic and research developmental skills. My scientific interest lies in how progress in basic research could help towards designing new therapies which could advance patient health.
My MRes gave me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge in biomedical and translational science by attending workshops focused on cutting-edge research technologies. Additionally I found the three laboratory rotations very interesting as I worked on different projects, met scientists from a wide range of areas and improved my technical competence. This PhD programme also helped me enhance my writing and presentation skills. Importantly, I gained experience of how to balance my time between lab work and preparation for other commitments, all of which are part of the life of a researcher.
The Biomedical Research Centre offers a wide range of research methods courses which provide essential knowledge for data analysis, critical appraisal and ethical principles of clinical-related studies. Of upmost importance are the public-engagement activities organised by the Biomedical Research Centre on a regular basis. These events allow the interaction with a broad audience and help me communicate my research widely.
The incidence of malignant melanoma is currently increasing, while relapse in patients after current therapies is frequent. Furthermore, there is an increasing body of evidence showing both the resistance to recently approved drugs, some of which provoke severe side effects, and the inefficient reinforcement of anti-tumor immune response in melanoma patients. The Sanz-Moreno group investigates the potential merits of inhibiting Rho GTPase signalling as a therapeutic approach in melanoma.
My PhD project is focused on assessing how the immune system could be affected upon inhibition of key signalling components in melanoma. Our aim is to provide the first line knowledge of how combining immune and tumor manipulation can lead to tumor regression in melanoma.