Lucy Ireland

Lucy graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in BSc Genetics with Industrial Experience (Hons) in 2014. During her degree Lucy gained an understanding of molecular diseases, including cancer, and how changes to DNA can have large consequences on human health.

After graduating, Lucy joined RedX Oncology to acquire more scientific skills in a cancer research setting.

To progress her scientific career and contribute to the current and future cancer research, she decided to apply for the NWCR PhD studentship. Lucy was very excited to join Dr. Mielgo’s research group, who focuses on elucidating cell signalling pathways that promote Pancreatic Cancer Progression.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the world and has a very poor prognosis. Only ~20% of patients are candidates for surgery due to metastatic spread. Since chemotherapy is the standard of care for unresectable tumours, developing new strategies to improve the response to therapy is critical to improve outcome for this disease. Desmoplasia (excessive fibrotic stroma) is a pathological characteristic of PDA. Desmoplasia is driven by cells from the tumour microenvironment including cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) and immune cells, and plays a key role in tumour progression and therapy resistance.

However, the molecular-cellular events that initiate and drive desmoplasia, as well as the role of desmoplasia in pancreatic cancer progression remain unclear.

Thus, a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that regulate the complex tumour microenvironment in pancreatic cancer could open new avenues in the treatment of this devastating disease.