March 2014

UCD Conway Researchers' Success at IACR

Mon, 24 March 14 10:00

Three UCD Conway early career researchers scooped prizes for their research at the 2014 Irish Association of Cancer Research annual meeting, which recently took place in Salthill, Galway. 

Postdoctoral research fellow, Dr Jens Rauch ( Prof Walter Kolch group, Systems Biology Ireland) won the best postdoctoral oral presentation for Differential Localization Of A-Raf Kinase Regulates Mst2-Mediated Apoptosis in Cancer and Differentiation.  Jens is focused on investigating the role of Raf signalling in cancer, differentiation, and metabolism. Raf kinases localise to different parts of the cell depending on whether it is involved in differentiation or proliferation.  This research showed how A-Raf can affect diverse signalling functions in normal cells and tumours depending on where it localises to within the cell. It also identified novel interaction partners of A-Raf during these events.

PhD student, Karolina Weiner-Gorzel (Dr Amanda McCann group) won the best PhD oral presentation category for her overview of research entitled MIR-433 Predicts Poor Response to Chemotherapy in Ovarian Cancer Patients by the Induction of Cellular Senescence.  Karolina’s research is focused on how ovarian cancer patients develop resistance to chemotherapy and by understanding this process to develop potential biomarkers to predict response to standard treatment and is a continued research agenda with Dr Fiona Furlong, Queen’s University Belfast.  In particular, Karolina is studying how certain microRNAs regulate gene expression. Here, she shows that high miR-433 expression predicts poor outcome in ovarian cancer patients by causing ovarian cancer cells to become resistant to paclitaxel treatment. Ovarian cancer (OC) affects 240,000 women worldwide annually and is the most lethal gynaecological malignancy.

The best poster presentation prize was awarded to PhD student, Laoighse Mulrane (Cancer Biology and Therapeutics group; O'Connor/Gallagher) for her overview of An Integrated Approach to Study Micro-RNA Involvement in Anti-Endocrine Resistance in Breast Cancer.  Resistance to endocrine-directed therapy is a significant problem in the management of breast cancer. Many estrogen receptor (ER)-positive patients experience relapse after treatment. Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated not only in the initiation and progression of cancer, but also in the development of resistance to therapy.  Laoighse’s research involved profiling the global expression of 667 miRNAs from a particular cancer cell line in the laboratory and selecting for further investigation particular miRNAs that showed increased expression in anti-endocrine resistant cells.

Professor William Watson (Associate Professor of Cancer Biology at the UCD School of Medicine & Medical Sciences and UCD Conway Principal Investigator) was also elected President of the IACR during the meeting.

News article originally published by UCD Conway Institute. Reproduced with permission.