Before joining the Barts Cancer Institute, I completed my BSc in Medical Biology at Brunel University, London. I then worked as a laboratory assistant in the Health Protection Agency in London.
During my PhD I worked mainly on ovarian cancer, and specifically, the potential of an oncolytic vaccinia virus as a therapeutic option. Currently, treatment for ovarian cancer consists of surgery and chemotherapy. I investigated the feasibility of using a vaccinia virus that is designed to replicate in (and kill) cancer cells only, while sparing healthy tissue. In particular, I worked on determining the mechanism of tumour cell death following virus delivery, and the effect of combining vaccinia with conventional chemotherapeutic drugs.
I am now a post-doc at KCL in the Research Oncology department.
Life at the Institute
The Institute is a great place to work. The centre itself is set in a lovely private square with a large green space – a rarity in central London that is perfect for summer lunches! Molecular Oncology is a relatively large Centre and I shared an office with around 15 other PhD students, meaning we never feelt isolated. While the lab is open 7 days a week for experimental work there is also a busy social aspect to the Institute. The social committee organises excellent events and the department are a very friendly, helpful and sociable bunch!
Attending and presenting data at the European Society for Gene and Cell Therapy Annual Conference in Milan. The Institute has a travel bursary fund that can be applied for to allow travel to international conferences such as this.
Our team retreat to a castle in Herefordshire for 3 days of science talk! Our team of 10 spent several days presenting our data, brainstorming and discussing future directions of our research, interspersed with wholesome walks and food home-cooked by the group.
The Great River Race 2010. The Institute has a keen interest in charity work and I was part of an 11-person team who paddled 21 miles down the Thames in a dragon boat, raising £10,000 for good causes as we did so.
Spending a month cloning without success, only to have my supervisor achieve it overnight! I’d like to point out that I am considerably better at cloning now.
Just how long a thesis actually is…. And how quickly time flies by.
I plan to continue working on cancer as a post-doctoral researcher and see where my projects take me.