28 October 2019
DR ALISA GLUKHOVA
Understanding cancer at its core
With over 37 trillion cells making up a human body, in our most basic form humans are simply a cluster of cells. Dr Alisa Glukhova is a structural biologist, interested in understanding how the individual molecules that make up our cells work to help cells function in health; whilst also what molecular behaviour is responsible for causing disease, such as cancer.
We rely on cells to respond to stimuli and regulate activities to keep us alive and healthy e.g. cell differentiation and tissue repair. To do this, cells communicate with each other, and the first event in cell signaling is a receptor - a tiny molecule that responds to stimuli and dictates what cellular activities will occur.
Still to this day, we do not fully understand how receptor molecules respond to stimuli, initiating signaling cascades. This is a fundamental gap in our knowledge. Receptors provide a promising target in drug discovery, as by targeting these early stages of cell behavior we can treat the earliest stages of disease.
Alisa will aim to better understand the structural components of Frizzled receptors, providing the first-ever imaging of these molecules, to assist in developing more specific drug therapies to treat cancer.