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Researcher Spotlight

Michael Trpceski

PhD Candidate

Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Instagram: @michael.trp

Twitter: @MichaelTrpceski


ORCID: 0000-0001-5430-2205


What is your current research focussed on?

I use technology known as TRAP-seq to provide a fresh perspective on what drives pancreatic cancer cells to metastasise, with the hopes of identifying new therapeutic possibilities. This technology incorporates the use of microscopic magnets and genetically engineered cancer cells to, for the first-time, understand which genes are actively translated within the migrating cancer cell. I have since begun candidate gene targeting in pre-clinical experiments in the hopes of minimising metastatic burden.


What is your study background and when did you decide you wanted to be a research scientist?

I knew I wanted to be a scientist since I was a child and was lucky enough to be able to nurture that curiosity in many ways, both at home and in school. This led me to graduate with a Bachelor of Medical Biotechnology (Honours) (Dean’s Scholar) from the University of Wollongong, Australia. Following subsequent employment as a research assistant at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney with Professor Paul Timpson, I undertook a PhD (with expected completion in mid 2025).


What attracted you to cancer research?

I have always been fascinated in what drives cancer cells to not only survive (despite our best efforts), but thrive in both native and foreign tissues. Additionally, like many others, cancer has touched the lives of my nearest and dearest. As such, I am involved in numerous cancer charities and in the recent years, have decided I wanted to use my education and skill set to contribute to the fight against cancer.


Why do you think research on metastases is important?

In the past, conversations around cancer typically focused on the primary tumour and how we can remove it or slow down its growth. However, it is continually apparent that metastasis is a unique faction of cancer research that cannot be underestimated. For example, most pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed with metastatic disease, contributing to the devastating survival outcome. I believe understanding why and how cells metastasise is a key building block to our understanding of cancer biology as a whole.

What do you find exciting about your research work?

I enjoy the sense of discovery my research provides. Due to its novelty, I can delve into the unknown and uncover new aspects of pancreatic cancer metastasis biology.


What do you hope to achieve in your research career?

I hope to not only make an impact to our understanding of cancer metastasis through my own research, but also help facilitate knowledge sharing within the scientific community to strive for a common therapeutic goal. Eventually, I aim to take on more senior roles, where I can make that impact both in and out of the laboratory on an even larger scale.

Any additional comments? 

Thank you to the OzMRS community for the presentation award and for this research spotlight, I am beyond grateful.

To all reading this, my inbox is always open, feel free to contact me!

Check out more spotlights on fantastic researchers in the OzMRS community here

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