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Peter Liu – 2020 Studentship Recipient

Peter Liu is a second-year Medical Sciences student at Western University in London, Ontario.

Peter Liu

What are you studying/specializing in?

I hope to enter the 3rd year Pathology module in the Medical Sciences program at Western University.

How did you learn about the studentship program?

From attending the 2019 Pam and Rolando Del Maestro Family Undergraduate Student Research Competition.

What led you to apply?

I had broad interests in pathology and neuroscience and began volunteering and working in the Zhang Lab in my first year. As my knowledge of neuropathology increased, I became very interested in the multi-disciplinary field of brain tumor research.

Why do you feel it’s important to advance study of brain tumours?

Brain metastasis from systemic cancers constitutes the majority of the central nervous system (CNS) malignancies with breast and lung carcinomas being amongst the most common sources for CNS metastatic disease. Brain metastases are often diagnosed late and can have very serious complications.

The spread and dissemination of cancer cells to the brain requires evasion of multiple immune mechanisms and brain microenvironment adaptation. These processes are influenced by phosphorylation-mediated interactions of protein kinases.

We aim to identify key molecular regulators of breast cancer brain metastasis by comparing the phosphoproteomic profile of surgically resected paired metastatic breast carcinomas to the brain with their breast-primary counterparts.

The molecular basis of brain metastasis is poorly understood. We hope to improve our ability in predicting and treating brain metastasis by developing a panel of new molecular markers and potential targets for future treatment of breast cancer brain metastasis.

What does receiving this award mean to you?

I am incredibly thankful to be a recipient of this award, as it provides me the unique opportunity to become involved and contribute to our understanding of brain tumors, while gaining experience in conducting research. It has allowed me to pursue my education in science while exploring the field of brain tumor research.

The Brain Tumor Research Studentship encourages young scientists to attain research experience and support the community in improving patient quality of life. I sincerely thank the Nichol Family Fund, Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, and all who help make this amazing program possible.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I hope to attend graduate school and continue research.

Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada is proud to announce Peter as one of three studentship grants we are funding in 2020.