Tell us about your project

The primary objective of my project is to explore the impact of immuno-sugar exposure on 3D-cultured breast cancer cells. Immuno-sugars are inhibitors of N-linked glycosidases that function by enzymatically attaching to carbohydrates, binding to protein residues as post-translational modification molecules, ultimately leading to the development of glycoproteins in the Golgi apparatus/ endoplasmic reticulum. In triple-negative breast cancer, these glycoproteins can excessively form in the glycocalyx, resulting in drug resistance. These inhibitors have demonstrated cellular changes and a reduction in glycoprotein formation. This study holds promise for slowing down metastasis in TNBC, for which the only currently available treatments are chemotherapy and surgery. By employing 3D culture models such as tumoroids, which mimic the characteristics of real human tumours, we can potentially avoid the need for animal studies and establish a non-invasive in-vitro procedure. 

What impact has the Ignite Fund made on your University experience? 

I had the privilege to present my work at a tissue and cell engineering conference at Glasgow University through the support of the Ignite Fund. This experience provided me with the opportunity to not only showcase my research but also engage in discussions about the significant role of post-translational modification studies in glycobiology. The conference was an enriching experience, offering insightful talks and the latest advancements in technology shared by fellow scientists. As a doctoral researcher, this experience has significantly boosted my confidence and further honed my skills in public speaking. 

Why do you feel that funding, such as that from the Ignite Fund, is important for students like yourself to have access to? 

This funding provides a significant opportunity for students to showcase their work while representing the University of Westminster. It also helps to improve their confidence and develop the skills required to unlock their full potential.  

What are your plans for the future, and how does your project contribute to them? 

My project aims to provide insights into questions that were raised several years ago. There is a wealth of information to uncover about the glycocalyx, which will contribute to a deeper understanding of biological processes in glycobiology. By developing new techniques based on the questions stemming from our work, we hope to pave the way for innovative therapeutic strategies in the future. Further research is required to gain a comprehensive understanding of metastatic processes, with the ultimate goal of eradicating breast cancer and cancer in general. 

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