Doctoral fellow – Lab for cancer predisposition and precision oncology, Center for Medical Genetics Ghent (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent)
Principal investigator: prof. Kathleen Claes (PhD)
My research is focused on the development of a zebrafish PDX platform. I am developing such a platform, suitable for engraftment of both tumor tissue and circulating tumor cells, allowing adequate follow-up during therapies in a minimally invasive manner. I aim to develop an in vivo predictive test for treatment response. Zebrafish PDX models have several advantages over mouse PDX: cost efficiency, less donor material required, initial therapy response can be predicted within 2 weeks.
For this project I am focusing on ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer (+/-900 new cases in Belgium annually) is most often diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease, resulting in poor prognosis. Standard therapy schemes are applied to all epithelial ovarian cancers, but specific histologic subtypes like clear cell carcinoma do not respond and are often excluded from clinical trials.
This topic responds perfectly to the demand of pharmaceutical industries and oncologists to better stratify patients for therapies, also for rare subtypes. As several therapies can be tested in a short time, this platform would not only be an added value for phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, but also in standard clinical practice.
In 2015, I obtained a Bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical and Biological Laboratory Technology (Odisee) after an internship at the faculty of bioscience engineering, UGent.
I continued my higher education at KU Leuven, where I finished my master thesis at the facilities of Biocartis. I obtained a Master of Biochemical Engineering Technology in 2017.
After graduation, I started working as a research technician at Bayer Crop Science. I was involved in a research project for high-resolution deconvolution of regulatory elements in protoplast from wheat leaves.
In 2018, I became a full-time doctoral fellow at the lab of prof. Kathleen Claes; developing an in vivo predictive test for ovarian cancer therapy in zebrafish.