An academic from Teesside University has been awarded £100,000 to fund essential brain cancer research, which aims to advance diagnosis and treatments.

Dr Sharel Peisan E, a chemistry lecturer from the School of Health & Life Sciences, will examine the nanoscale electrochemistry of brain cancer cells.

Using a multifunctional nanoscale electrochemical imaging platform, Dr E will be able to take a closer look at brain tumour cells and their processes to gain a better understanding of their biology.

The technology uses tiny electrodes to gain an extremely close and detailed visualisation of the biology of living cells.

This research project aims to explore how brain cancer reacts to different therapies on a cellular level, which will be applied to improving or designing more effective treatments for cancer patients.

It will also be able to provide insight into other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s in much the same way.

Dr Sharel Peisan E

“Glioblastoma is one of the most devastating cancers, although its biology remains somewhat of a mystery in cancer research, with brain cancer cells being difficult to analyse using current methods of examination,” explained Dr E, who is based at Teesside University’s National Horizons Centre.

“My research will use advanced nanoscale imaging to provide a new view of the solid, liquid and gaseous processes, known as heterogeneous processes, on the cancer cells at the nanoscale, providing additional information on the glioblastoma biology which has previously been unattainable through microscopic techniques, allowing us to improve current diagnostics and treatments.”

Dr E won the grant from the Academy of Medical Sciences as part of the highly competitive Springboard Award, which provides funding and career support for innovative bioscientists.

She added: “Opportunities to secure funding through excellent initiatives such as the Springboard Award are vital in the biosciences and healthcare sector, providing researchers with the means to conduct life-changing research which will have a real-world impact.

“I am delighted to have won the Springboard Award and feel very privileged that my research could play a role in improving the efficacy of cancer treatments for patients.”

The Springboard Award was also won by a Teesside University academic last year, with Dr Maria Angeles Juanes Ortiz, Lecturer in Biomedical Science, securing the £100,000 grant for her research into detecting the early stages of cancer.

Teesside University’s National Horizons Centre, based at the Darlington campus, is a £22.3m centre of excellence for innovation and training in biosciences and healthcare.

NHC staff Vikki Rand

Professor Vikki Rand, Interim Director of the National Horizons Centre, said: “Here at the National Horizons Centre, we are positioned at the forefront of the biosciences and healthcare sector, leading groundbreaking research to drive progress in key areas including disease and climate change.

“We are devoted to gaining as much knowledge about cancer as we can, and our work in cancer research is particularly impressive, directly influencing the wider healthcare sector through studies which inform new and improved therapies to help real patients which is, after all, what our research is all about.

“Grants such as the Springboard Award from the Academy of Medical Sciences are extremely important and we are thrilled that Dr E has won this very substantial funding for her research.”

National Horizons Centre

School of Health & Life Sciences

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