They grow up so fast – MRes project 3

Holly Smith

Yesterday was the poster and talk day for the third project of the 2016-17 MRes Clinical Sciences class. This time round I had the pleasure of three students in my lab; each pushing forward new and different aspects of the LaNstory.


The last couple of days have been hectic with the UV story in press so this post has been delayed but it’s nice to be able to catch up now and post about some of our cell, molecular and histopatholgy data.

First up, Holly who joined the lab having never previously done any cell biology research before. So, we threw her in at the deep end (as you do). 10 weeks to learn how to grow squamous cell carcinoma cells, modify expression levels of LaNt and laminin proteins, perform and analyse call viability, proliferation, cell migration, wound healing assays, learn how to process slides for indirect immunofluorescence microscopy and image them on the confocal microscope as well as study the distribution of fluorescently tagged proteins. Holly took it all in stride and generated a load of data that will underpin the next steps of this project. In fact, you might just say her “gangsta” attitude carried her through!

Next, Conro Sugden who returned for another 10 weeks having been with the Hamill lab for project 2. This time round,

Conro “Conor” Sugden

Conro was tasked with putting into action some of the findings of his previous research to influence the splicing events that control LaNt production. Like all discovery science, we started with a solid hypothesis but had to work through a bunch of unexpected technical challenges before we were really able to test it. However, again, Conro came through in the end and we now have some pretty nice proof of concept data that our potential therapeutic intervention could work, and which likely will go into our next grant applications. Conro also won the prize for “cheesiest “they grow up so fast” picture taken to date”. Well played sir.


Conro isn’t finished with the Hamill lab, we have invited him back to pursue a PhD starting in October so expect lots more cheese in the future.
Last, but not least, Kareem returned for project 3 having previously performed the sunscreen study in project 1 and studies the

Kareem Hassanin

distribution of LaNt in mouse tissue in project 2. This time, Kareem turned his attention to analysing changes in LaNt expression in tongue squamous cell carcinoma tissue; imaging and analysing staining intensity and distribution in ~300 tissue cores. The numbers from the final data set are still being crunched from our parallel scorers but things are looking encouraging and coupled with Holly and Conro’s data our three students have laid the groundwork of quite an exciting “LaNt in cancer” story.


As always, the students couldn’t have done so much without lots of help/training from the team. Big shout out to Lee  Valentina and Thanos for all your help.

Watch this space for the next developments, also for an update on Liam Shaw’s MRes project…





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