My name is Tahereh Vakili (pictured right) and I’m
a Master’s student in the Department of Biochemistry a Western University. I work under the supervision of Dr. Eva Turley (pictured left), whose lab is located at London Health Sciences Centre’s London Regional Cancer Program. Dr. Turley’s lab is interested in the intricacies of the tumor microenvironment and particularly the role of hyaluronan (a molecule within the skin and other tissues) and its receptors RHAMM and CD44 in invasion and metastasis.
Breast tumors often display remarkable diversity of cells within. Some tumor cells may survive chemotherapy and possibly spread to form new tumors, which becomes a major impediment in treatment. My project focuses on a newly identified type of diversity in human breast cancer cell models based on hyaluronan binding. I investigate the sensitivity of these tumor cell subtypes to clinically routine chemotherapeutic regiments. To date, I’ve found that a high-binding subset is more chemoresistant than the low-binding cells. The findings of the study may be beneficial for designing new therapies that prevent tumor recurrence and prolong patient survival.
This past year has been a unique one for me. I enjoyed every single moment of being a new mom. Interestingly, my scientist brain saw raising a baby similar to conducting research, as I read literature on parenting and investigated a series of concepts with my baby. Now he has new learning opportunities spending time with children his age, and I am very excited to be return to the world of academic science.
Thank you to the BCSC for your trainee support!
– Tahereh Vakili, MSc Candidate
Pamela Greenaway-Kohlmeier Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit, London Health Sciences Centre