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Meet our school researchers – Laura Kane, PhD Student Surgery

Laura began her undergraduate degree in General Science in Trinity College Dublin in 2014 and graduated with a First-Class Honours Degree having specialised in Zoology in 2018. She then went on to complete her M.Sc in Translational Oncology in the Trinity Translational Medicine Institute in 2019. Laura is currently undertaking a Ph.D in the Dept. of Surgery funded by the Meath Foundation Charity in Tallaght University Hospital, under the supervision of Dr. Stephen G. Maher and Prof. Barbara Ryan.

Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease with a current 5-year survival rate of 9%. The incidence rate of this cancer is increasing every year, with 550 people in Ireland being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year. This cancer is often preceded by a pancreatic cyst, which over time can become malignant. Current management strategies for pancreatic cyst patients are limited, with no standard method of determining an individual patient’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Laura’s research focuses on identifying a novel biomarker which could stratify patients based on their risk of developing cancer. By performing Next Generation Sequencing and Proteomic Analyses on patient cyst fluid and blood serum samples, Laura aims to identify factors that could discern with patients are at a low- and high-risk of developing cancer. Laura’s project will also explore the factors within the cyst fluid which could be driving malignancy.