“I came across the coolest discovery in my research quite recently. We damaged a specific part of the DNA and noticed that the DNA started to organize itself differently in the nucleus. We want to find out how genes become active. The nuclear organization plays a role in it. When activated, one particular gene causes cells to become resistant to chemotherapy with taxol. The best part is that we can easily find out whether this gene is activated or not by looking at the way the sample cells respond to the taxol. That allows us to investigate the effects of a different dose of taxol, or of specific damage to the DNA. Funnily enough, damage occasionally activates the gene, apparently through a repair action that is triggered. Once we understand this fully, we will hopefully be able to counter the activation of this gene as well as other resistance genes to prevent therapy resistance. Unfortunately, I won’t be working towards this discovery anymore now that I am done. But I will be conducting fascinating research on this same topic in Sydney as well.”
Anna will defend her thesis on January 13.