Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide. With its incidence set to double in less than 20 years, the development of an effective intervention strategy is critical. My DPhil project aims to investigate clonal interaction and evolution in colorectal cancer by making use of colonoids, which have been derived from mice with mutations in the key genes associated with colorectal cancer (APC, KRAS and p53). In addition to this work, I am examining the mechanism of mutagenesis in gastric and oesophageal adenocarcinoma, a disease with a 5-year survival prognosis of less than 20%. By employing an organoid-based model system, derived from human tissue samples, we hope to measure mutational patterns in single cells, and to use this system to test the influence of different environments on the process of mutagenesis in different cell types.
I completed my Bachelor of Science (majoring in Human Physiology and Genetics), B(Med)Sc Honours (Immunology and Infectious Diseases) and MSc Med (Clinical Science and Immunology) degrees at the University of Cape Town from 2013 to 2018. My honours and masters project focused on the effect of soil-transmitted helminths on cervical and colorectal cancer development and progression.