In 2019 Alex graduated from the University of Liverpool with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. She then completed Master of Research in Biomedical Science and Translational Medicine in 2022 and was in the Stem Cells, Tissues and Disease strand of the course. Because of the uncertainty brought by the recent pandemic, she then decided to take a break from further education and go into full-time employment. Her latest job was as a research technician for the Centre of Genomic Research at the University of Liverpool. In this position, she developed a broad range of molecular and cell biology skills including next generation sequencing (NGS).
Alex started a PhD position in the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds in October 2022. She loved collaborating with the NHS in the past and now she, together with her research, wants to be the link between academia and healthcare.
Alex’s project is funded by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and World Cancer Research Fund International and focuses on studying nutrient-metabolic gene pathways and understanding their ability to impact chemotherapy in breast cancer. A summary of the grant awarded is available on the WCRF website. Overall, disease free survival of patients with breast cancer has improved in the past years, however this is not true for all its subtypes. Some tumours acquire (or have innate) resistance to the chemotherapy drugs used to treat systemic and residual disease that may be left after radiotherapy and surgery. There is a clinical need to accurately predict which patients have tumours that are resistant to these drugs. Previous research, carried by Dr Thorne’s research group, suggests that nutrient metabolism, in particular cholesterol metabolism, can lead to increased chemoresistance in some breast cancer patients.
A major aim of this project therefore is to identify chemotherapy resistance pathways that are altered by nutrient metabolism within the tumour, and/or nutritional status of the patient. By linking these observations to the WCRF cancer prevention recommendations another aim is to establish if adherence to the recommendations is associated with better outcomes.
- MRes Biomedical Science and Translational Medicine
- BSc Biochemistry (Hons)