New ISSF funding awards!


Congratulations to two of our PhD students, Yinbo Xiao and Sara Bartlome on being awarded funding from the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) Feasibility fund! Read more about the projects below:

Sara Bartlome

My project is looking to compare the effect of two differing populations of mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles (MSC-EVs) on breast cancer cells. MSC-EVs are used as signalling cues to breast cancer cells which invade the bone marrow. I am going to use this grant money to perform RNA sequencing on a 3D breast cancer cell model that has been treated with these two differing MSC-EV populations, as our preliminary data suggests these can have differing effects on breast cancer cell activity. We hope that this experiment will provide deeper insight into the biological mechanisms which facilitate MSC-EVs ability to influence breast cancer cell dormancy/ activity in the bone marrow through packaging of specific cargo.

Yinbo Xiao

My project is to bioengineer bone marrow niche model using biomaterials in vitro. Our bioengineered model has been demonstrated to maintain nestin+ MSCs, which support hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in long-term culture and protect leukemia stem cells (LSCs) undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Our preliminary data suggests that nestin+ MSCs could be reprogramed by LSCs and consequently alter the niche to support LSC evasion. Thus, I am going to use this funding to perform RNA sequencing on MSCs from healthy or malignant niche models, to understand the MSCs transcriptomic changes taking place during healthy and malignant niche remodelling. This will help us better understand the molecular dynamics of MSCs during HSC/LSC remodelling and further look for potential targets to help enhance the efficiency of chemotherapy.