Division of Cancer – May Update

Prof Eric Lam's research group Breast Cancer Campaign’s ‘Research Team of the Year’

Prof Eric Lam’s research group Breast Cancer Campaign’s ‘Research Team of the Year’

Professor Eric Lam and his research group have scooped Breast Cancer Campaign’s sought-after ‘Research Team of the Year’ award for their pioneering study into why women with breast cancer can become resistant to chemotherapy treatment. With Breast Cancer Campaign funding, made possible by support from Asda’s Tickled Pink campaign, Professor Eric Lam and his team were crowned winners for their pioneering research, which aims to discover what reactions happen within individual cancer cells to make tumours stop responding to chemotherapy.

Professor Eric Lam and his team were announced as the winners at Breast Cancer Campaign’s awards ceremony on Tuesday 6 May at the House of Lords.

Dr Kirsty Flower, Postdoctoral Researcher, on taking part in the Imperial Festival

For our demonstration in the Research Zones Marquee of the Imperial Festival, we wanted an interactive way to explain epigenetics to people who may never have heard of it before. On our shopping expedition to buy toy cars (to represent cellular transcription machinery), and a ramp (representing a gene), our remit quickly extended to dinosaurs too; of course a pterosaur could represent promoter methylation! Why not use a t-rex as an analogy for histone acetylation?! After finding a ramp with a loop-the-loop, our minds were set. Then we picked up a scalextric too.

The VIP launch on Thursday evening was fun and interesting, with a steady stream of intrigued visitors to see our toy cars, as well as some useful conversations with other groups from Imperial exhibiting in the same space. Friday evening and Saturday were much more exhausting than anticipated as the toys were a magnet for small children, but did allow for some conversations with the parents whilst their kids were busy with the dinosaurs. We also met people interested in collaborating in future public outreach activities, and teachers looking for new ways to engage their students in science.

Over the three days, a rotating cast of eight enthusiast members of the Epigenetics Unit (Ian Green, Angela Wilson, Adam Beech, Emma Bell, Alun Passey, Natalie Shenker, Nair Bonito and me) ensured that there were never less than two or three individuals on the stall at any time. Overall the experience was very positive, and feedback from both the organisers and members of the public was good.

Shirley Line
Divisional Manager
Division of Cancer

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