I am a Scientia PhD Scholar at UNSW exploring nanomedicine as a potential therapeutic for pancreatic cancer. I am supervised by Associate Professor Phoebe Phillips, Professor David Goldstein, Dr George Sharbeen, Associate Professor Joshua McCarroll, and Professor Cyrille Boyer. Supported by the highly prestigious UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship, my project is titled: Reprogramming the Stroma using Gene Silencing Nano-Drugs to Inhibit Pancreatic Tumours. I have won several awards during my PhD including Winner of the 2019 UNSW 3-Minute Thesis Competition, and have presented my work at several national and international conferences. I have also been awarded a grant from Tour de Cure to develop a novel pre-clinical model of pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest of all major cancers. A major driver of the aggressive nature of this hideous disease is the dense fibrotic scar tissue surrounding pancreatic tumours which acts like a fortress to protect and support the tumour. In my PhD, our team has developed an innovative method to grow whole pieces of human pancreatic tumours in the lab, thus mimicking the tumour and its surrounding 'fortress'. Down the track, this breakthrough will allow us to test chemotherapy drugs on each patient's individual tumour to inform personalised treatment for pancreatic cancer. Our multidisciplinary team is also developing a state-of-the-art nanomedicine to break through the tumour 'fortress' and deliver death signals to pancreatic cancer cells.