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)
I am working on pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is set to be the second biggest cancer killer in Europe by 2020. The dismal prognosis is primarily due to its advanced stage at diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer is estimated to have a familial inheritance in 5-10% of patients. In the last years it has become clear that germline mutations in a large number of different genes are predispose to familial pancreatic cancer.
In current clinical practice, tumor biopsy is the most used method for categorizing pancreatic tumors for clinical decisions. Because of the risks and limitations related to this invasive procedure, a test to detect pancreatic cancer in an early stage is needed. An attractive minimally invasive procedure is now emerging based on the concept of liquid biopsies. In the blood of patients with cancer, circulating cell-free nucleic acids such as DNA, mRNA and non-coding RNA (ncRNA) have been discovered.
The major aims of my projects are:
- to gain insight in the genetic basis of patients with a presumed genetic predisposition for pancreatic cancer
- establishment of a minimally-invasive approach for adequate diagnosis, therapy monitoring and relapse to improve clinical management of patients with pancreatic cancer.
I obtained a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences in 2015 (MSc, UGent). After graduation, I became a full-time doctoral fellow at the lab of Kathleen Claes.
I got the opportunity to present my research at several national and international meetings (BeSHG, OncoPoint, Pancreas2018, Dutch cell free DNA Symposium, …) and received a prize for best storm session presentation at Oncopoint 2019, poster presentation at BeSHG 2019 (Liège) and best poster presentation at Pancreas2018 (Baltimore).