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CRM PhD student wins prestigious oral plenary prize of Royal College of Physicians

25 March 2014

CRM Clinical PhD student Rachel Guest, who works in Prof Stuart Forbes’ lab on liver stem cells & regeneration, won the oral plenary prize at this year’s Academy of Medical Science Spring meeting, held at the Royal College of Physicians in London in February of this year.

The judge panel members, Prof John Wass, Prof Deborah Ashby and Prof Ian Hall, scored Rachel’s presentation on the quality of the research and presentation style.

At the meeting Rachel presented her latest research findings on liver cancer, as published in the scientific journal Cancer Research in December 2013.

In this study, Rachel and other researchers in the Forbes group, set out to examine the cell of origin of cholangiocarcinoma; a highly aggressive cancer of the liver which currently has few available treatments. They were able to prove that cells originating from the bile ducts in the liver contributed to the formation of cholangiocarcinoma.

Prof Stuart Forbes said:

“Identifying a cell of origin of this cancer has enabled us to study in better detail the underlying biological processes occurring specifically in these cells during disease and will allow future treatments to be more effectively targeted. In particular we are now studying the role of a molecular signal, called Notch, known to regulate stem cells in the liver, and seeing whether this is also important in the development of cholangiocarcinoma.”

Rachel was delighted to win this year’s oral plenary prize:

“It was a fantastic experience to be able to present and discuss my data with such a distinguished group of clinician scientists, as well as a wonderful opportunity to meet with other clinical PhD students and compare experiences. I highly recommend this meeting to any clinical researchers looking to widen their academic perspective. “I believe the CRM represents a particularly special interface between science and the clinic and undertaking a PhD here has provided me with an invaluable training in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. My experiences here have equipped me to tackle challenges such as these with confidence.”

Image shows bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) in mice. Tumours (red) originating from the bile duct cells (green) show up in yellow (red combined with green).