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Isaac Kitchen-Smith

DPhil student

I am a DPhil student under the supervision of Professor Gareth Bond (Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Oxford) and Professor Sarah Blagden (Department of Oncology, Oxford). My research focuses on unravelling how inherited genetic variants can influence cancer risk and how they might be valuable for the design of novel therapeutics.

Due to the intrinsic genetic heterogeneity of tumours, targeted therapies remain associated with high failure rates, poor outcomes and the frequent development of drug resistance. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified thousands of associations between inherited mutations and common diseases. It was initially thought this data would transform precision oncology; however, in the context of cancer, it remains unclear how susceptibility loci could aid in target identification due to many challenges, primarily a lack of understanding of the molecular underpinnings behind the associations with cancer risk. My research aims to demonstrate the value of inherited cancer risk loci for novel targeted therapies by unpicking the molecular mechanisms underpinning the association between variants in the p53 pathway, a key pathway for tumour suppression, and cancer risk.

I studied for BA in Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford and completed my research project in the lab of Professor Stephen Kearsey (Department of Zoology, Oxford).