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Sarah Andrews

DPhil student

Research interests

The ability of cells to respond to environmental changes is critical for their survival and homeostasis. Key to an effective response to nutritional stress is the translocation of Transcription Factor EB and E3 (TFEB and TFE3 respectively), members of the MiT family that promote expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism, lysosomal biogenesis and autophagy. TFEB and TFE3 have been implicated in diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration. We are trying to re-purpose drugs already on the market to treat these diseases. Currently, we have performed a high-throughput screen with 1,600 FDA-approved drugs. So far, we have narrowed down our hits using functional screening techniques. Future directions will be aimed at dissecting the molecular mechanisms by which these drugs affect TFEB/3 translocation, DNA-binding and transcriptional activity.

Background

Before starting my DPhil in clinical medicine at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (Oxford) in 2017, I studied for a BSc in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of York. As part of my degree, I undertook a year-long placement at Takeda Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge) working within the transgenics group.

Other roles

I am an active member of the ORCRB social committee, the NDM graduate committee and the student representative for the Ludwig Institute. I am also helping to organise the Medical Sciences Division DPhil day this year. In my spare time I enjoy a variety of sports, particularly running. I decided to set up a running club with two other avid runners aimed at people of all abilities on the Old Road Campus. We hope to enter the infamous Oxford Town and Gown in the name of Muscular Dystrophy UK as a team!