Doctoral fellow – Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research (LECR)- UGent
Principal investigator: prof. Olivier De Wever (PhD)
Our current knowledge of tumour biology is largely based on experimentation with conventional adherent two-dimensional (2D) cancer cell cultures. However, such simple monolayer cultures do not faithfully reflect the complex three-dimensional (3D) cellular context of a solid tumour. Spheroids are near spherical multicellular aggregates and are widely used as cancer models in both fundamental and translational research across academia and industry. This 3D cancer model has emerged as a powerful tool to overcome the correlation mismatch between the preclinical and clinical situation by providing more relevant and predictive data. This is for example essential in drug testing; drugs that retain their cytotoxic effect in spheroids have a greater chance of being active in cancer patients. The increased predictive power of scalable cell culture-based screenings can contribute to a reduction in animal testing and a higher success rate in clinical trials. Furthermore spheroids can be used as a biomimetic in vitro model to study fundamental mechanisms in tumour biology. Key events such as gene expression, proliferation, apoptosis and invasion are defined by the tumour microenvironment and can be monitored by using these 3D cancer models.
In the first part of my PhD I investigated the impact of different culture conditions on the outcome of a spheroid experiment (MISpheroID, Nature Methods, 2021), demonstrating the importance of transparent reporting to be able to interpret and reproduce a spheroid experiment. In the next part of my PhD I will study the impact of metabolic conditions on metastasis.
- I obtained my Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences with great distinction at Ghent University in 2019
- I won the Price Joël Vandekerckhove for best master thesis Biomedical Sciences
- I acquired a FWO aspirant grant in 2020
- ‘MISpheroID: a knowledgebase and transparency tool for Minimum Information in Spheroid Identity’. Nature Methods, 2021. (PMID: 34725485)