Dr. Alina Lavinia Capatina, Biology, York
Breast cancer affects over 150 individuals every day, in the UK, with the triple negative (TNBC) subtype being the most aggressive and difficult to treat. This project explores the link between two molecular features associated with TNBC tumours: elevations in intracellular sodium and hypoxia. Our hypothesis is that sodium transport is dysregulated by hypoxia, enhancing tumour survival and metastasis. We will explore the impact of pharmacologically induced hypoxia, using the HIF1α stabilisers, Roxadustat and DMOG, on intracellular sodium accumulation in TNBC cells, employing a fluorescent plate-based and cell viability and migration assays. The student may also verify whether HIF1α stabilisation provides a survival advantage in tumour cells treated with chemotherapy drugs. Through this work, the student will complement a larger body of ongoing in vivo work that will form part of a planned publication. Furthermore, the student will gain a range of biochemistry, cellular physiology, and cell culture-related technical skills. Thus, this project will have a significant positive impact on the research and development of both the student and supervisor. Students will be expected to present their findings orally at a research day in York in September 2024.