Spotlight on OzMRS Researcher Peiyu Wang
What is your study background and when did you decide you wanted to be a research scientist?
I completed a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Xiamen University, China. Then, I got my master’s degree of Science, majoring in Biochemistry at the same school and university. My first project, when I was a sophomore, was on traditional Chinese medicine extracts and their oncotherapy mechanism research. The results explained how the traditional drugs work on the tumour cells. Such experiences in the lab stirred my desire and enthusiasm for research and I decided to take the road of scientific career path. I was subsequently accepted into the PhD program at Queensland University Technology, based at the Translational Research Institute, where my project is on Plasma medicine and its biological applications on metastatic breast cancer.
What attracted you to cancer research?
The incidence of cancer is getting higher and higher, causing tens of thousands of deaths every year. The high cost of treatment will also cause the patients and their family to bear huge financial and mental pressure. I am determined to find effective, fast, affordable, innovative, and clinically translational cancer treatments, hoping to help such patients and their families.
Why do you think research on metastases is important?
Compared to the primary tumour, the metastatic tumour cells are the more aggressive form and have a higher lethality rate. If we can inhibit this process, the cure rate of the disease will be greatly improved. During the development of tumour migration and metastasis, their energy metabolism, gene expression, cell morphology and related immunogen presentation will all undergo immense changes, which could provide us new, potential, and specific drug targets. Therefore, the research on metastases is challenging and meaningful.
What do you find exciting about your research work?
Currently, my research focus is on plasma medicine, which is an emerging interdisciplinary and puzzling field. The reactive oxygen and nitrogen species generated by plasma could not only cause cancer cells’ apoptosis, especially for the metastatic cells, but also leave normal cells without any damage. I did the research on its anti-cancer molecular mechanism and will try to manage the clinical translation, which is promising and exciting. I look forward to seeing how this new technique could benefit oncotherapy.
What do you hope to achieve in your research career?
I hope my data for the plasma medicine could be published one day and would inspire more researchers in metastases cancer research. I will unswervingly be pursing on the academic road as a researcher. I wish I could be a Postdoc and beyond, undertaking excellent research.
Tell us about your group
Why metastasis research
My supervisor is Rik Thompson, internationally recognized and experienced researcher in the field of metastasis and EMP. Our group mainly focus on the EMT and MET relative research and set up multiple tumour migration and metastasis models. Based on them, our study made a great progress.
Why Australia ?
Australia is an inclusive and multicultural country that is unique around the world. It is easy to find the opportunities to cooperate with international researchers. For example, my project cooperates with four organizations, including Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), Translational Research Institute (TRI), Princess Alexandra Hospital and Jiangnan University of China. This international cooperation will be able to facilitate translation from research in the laboratory, to drug manufacture, to clinical trials, to treatment and to international business. This will save valuable time and money and will help develop treatments and positive patient outcomes sooner.
What have been your groups greatest discoveries
Our group has made a lot of research into the importance of EMT in cancer metastasis, especially breast cancer. My lab head, Prof Thompson, was one of the early researchers to recognise the importance of EMT for cancer progression. Some of my Plasma studies involved EMT.