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Katherine earned her PhD at the University of Nottingham, studying the molecular mechanisms by which hyperactivation of the hypoxic response via Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF) in lung cancer can drive cancer progression. Her postdoctoral studies at the Cancer Research UK City of London Centre, where she worked at Barts Cancer Institute, expanded this mechanistic insight of HIF deregulation into renal cell carcinoma and breast cancer.
Katherine was awarded a Centre for Future Health fellowship in 2019 to initiate her independent research programme at University of York, where she integrated her track record in HIF biology into models of haematopoietic stem cells and haematological malignancies. In 2020 she was awarded the prestigious Kay Kendall Leukaemia Fund Intermediate Fellowship to establish her research group.
As an early career researcher with a young family, Katherine is an advocate for the retention of women and parents in academia and contributes to UKRI’s Early Career Researcher forum and the Women in Research network.
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Our laboratory studies the transcription factor HIF, a master regulator of gene expression whose deregulation occurs with high frequency in solid tumours and haematological malignancies alike. In the main, hyperactivation of HIF is oncogenic, and is associated with increased aggression, invasion, metastasis and resistance to treatment of cancers. However, it is now widely accepted that in certain cellular and disease scenarios, HIF hyperactivation can act have tumour suppressive effects.
The aim of our laboratory’s work is to understand the molecular mechanisms which dictate the function of HIF as either oncogenic or tumour suppressive, and to target these mechanisms therapeutically.
Similarly to its multifaceted role in tumorigenesis, HIF is known to hold a critical role in haematopoietic stem cells and lineage committal decisions. Our laboratory is identifying non-hypoxic stimuli which activate HIFs in HSCs, and the function of HIF as a result of these stimuli in lineage committal.