Characterising the seeds of breast cancer metastasis

Research Opportunity
Number of Honour Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
Austin Health
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Delphine Merino 9496 9368 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Belinda Yeo

Project Details

Breast cancer is a highly heterogeneous disease. Many studies have shown that each cell in a given tumour has a specific genomic background. This high level of heterogeneity represents a major obstacle for patient biopsy and diagnostic, as all the clones responsible for tumour recurrence will need to be taken into consideration for a complete eradication of the disease. To colonize distant organs, tumour cells must intravasate into blood vessels as circulating tumour cells (CTCs), extravasate and survive in their new environment as distant tumour cells (DTCs). Only a minor proportion of cells present in the primary tumour will survive and form clinically-relevant macro-metastases. Breast cancers are known to preferentially colonize lungs, bones, lymph nodes, liver, brain and ovaries, and how the different microenvironments of these organs impact on clonal selection is unclear.Our laboratory aims at understanding the biologic properties of metastatic clones. We would like to understand how they interact with their microenvironment, whether they differ between different metastatic sites, and ultimately, to track and treat clones responsible for the relapse of the disease. Therefore, we are using optical barcodes (or tags) to label cells from patient samples, and follow their behaviour after transplantation into mice. The proposed Honours project aims at sequencing these clones at the bulk or single cell level, to identify pathways involved in metastatic spread, organ specificity and cell survival, in order to stop disease progression.

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Cancer in Medicine

Research Opportunities

Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

Austin Health

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