Dr Raphael Levy, Dr Violaine See, Dr Rachel Bearon and Dr Gary Allenby (Aurelia Bioscience)
I previously completed an MBiolSci in Biochemistry at the University of Liverpool where I completed two research projects. I initially worked analysing various biofluids, such as blood plasma and saliva, using NMR to create a database for the composition of healthy biofluids. This database could then be used to identify biomarkers of disease when compared with diseased samples. Secondly, I used ion mobility mass spectrometry to study the effect of point mutations in the catalytic site of the tyrosine kinase Ephrin-A3, a protein involved in the development in various cancers. I have always undertaken projects that have links to health and disease as this is an area that I am passionate about as well as find extremely interesting.
Development of 3-dimensional cell culture for integrated modelling of cells and tissues
3D cell culture methods allow cells to; behave akin to those in in vivo conditions (in terms of cellular communication and the development of the extracellular matrix), produce a more accurate representation of the cellular composition of tissues and adopt a polarity like in vivo. They also allow the study of tumour characteristics such as dormancy, hypoxia and anti-apoptotic behaviour.
There are two main types of 3D culture methods: Scaffold techniques (Scaffolds, biomimetic scaffolds and hydrogels) and scaffold-free techniques (bioreactors, magnetic levitation and 3D bioprinting).
The aim for my project is to perform a comparison between liver cells cultured in 2D, in 3D spheroids and on 3D scaffolds. Studying their ability to mimic the in vivo environment as well detect hepatotoxins. Using the biochemical screening expertise of my industrial partner (Aurelia Bioscience), along with microscopic analysis, I will study the effects that the different culture methods have on the cells and how this influences their function.