Recruitment of human telomerase to telomeres
My PhD at Children’s Medical Research Institute aims to understand how cancer cells achieve immortality. The chromosome ends, or telomeres, of normal cells shorten with age. This eventually causes cells to stop dividing. In cancer cells this does not happen. Most of the time this is because the telomerase enzyme repeatedly extends the telomeres. My goal is to work out what key factors recruit telomerase to the telomeres allowing it to extend the chromosomes.
Neuroprotection and Parkinson's Disease
Currently the most effective treatments available to treat PD only alleviate the symptoms. There is a need to develop neuroprotective drugs which slow or stop the progression of the disease. Early intervention may help slow the onset of debilitating symptoms. I'm doing a cotutelle PhD, and so will be completing a year of research in Tours, France. I have the opportunity to travel to present at conferences.
Impact of breast and gynaecological cancer in terms of the male partner's experience
I'm looking at the experience of male partners whose female partner is diagnosed with breast or gynaecological cancer. My research focuses on the impact of this disease in relation to body image and sexuality from the male partner's perspective. The aim is to improve knowledge of how male partners cope and to explore possible interventions for the male partner during this time.
Gene therapy for X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID-X1)
While two clinical trials of SCID-X1 gene therapy have shown success, some infants developed leukaemia as a result of the integrating virus used for gene delivery, a risk previously estimated as insignificant. My PhD project at the Children’s Medical Research Institute is focussed on developing an alternative, safer gene delivery system. My project also includes an ethics component to investigate risk and uncertainty in clinical gene therapy, which allows me to draw on my undergraduate training in science and law.
Dynamin II as a potential anti-cancer drug target
My PhD project is to determine if the cellular protein dynamin II (dynII) is a potential anti-cancer drug target. DynII is implicated in the last step of the cell division process, called cytokinesis. Cell division is tightly regulated so that cells only divide when necessary and any damaged cells are killed. Cancer develops when this control is lost. We hope to stop the proliferation of cancer cells by targeting dynamin. This may result in stabilization or regression of a tumour. My research is conducted at the Children’s Medical Research Institute, part of the Westmead Research Hub.