Barbora Kvokačková

Role of tumor microenvironment in the triple-negative breast cancer

Supervisor: Mgr. Karel Souček, Ph.D.

Institution: Masaryk University and Department of Cytokinetics, Institute of Biophysics, Czech Academy of Sciences, v.v.i., Brno

Field of Study: Animal Physiology

About my project

Given the heterogeneous nature of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and absence of molecular targets for therapy, treatment interventions beyond conventional chemotherapy in this type of cancer remain an ongoing challenge. TNBC solid tumors are dynamic complexes, comprised of a variety of different cancer cell populations with specific signatures, which might be responsible for aggressive behavior often seen in the clinic. To address the issue of intratumoral heterogeneity and cancer plasticity we plan to introduce, optimize and validate the innovative method of mass cytometry for analysis of “TNBC cytome” in patient tissues. We believe that our setup will help identify the specific signature of selected subpopulations of cancer cells associated with plasticity and the following transcriptomic analysis might unravel new markers associated with prognosis and metastatic dissemination.

I will be one of the responsible people for the successful realization of the project on many levels. I will perform most of the experimental work, specifically processing the patient samples, setting up and validating a panel of 40+ markers, preparing the samples for mass cytometry analysis and RNA sequencing and analyzing the data. I will regularly present project results at the relevant meetings and conferences. In addition, I will be actively involved in manuscript preparation, expected to be published in international peer-reviewed research journals.

Where I see myself in my career in 10 years

I plan to finish my PhD studies after the successful realization of the project and at least one study visit abroad. In 10 years, I would like to work in the translational research, on projects that could benefit the patients (e.g. novel drugs and screening tests) and transfer the knowledge from basic research into clinical settings.

What I like most about Brno

Brno is a city where one can find great job and study opportunities, culture, architecture and nature in one place but it is also compact and relatively close to everywhere.