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Christina Simoglou Karali

BSc, MRes, DPhil


Postdoctoral Researcher

Biography

My research focuses on strategies to harness the crosstalk between the tumour microenvironment and the immune system in order to develop novel therapeutic agents aiming to overcome unmet clinical needs.

During my DPhil project in the Department of Oncology of University of Oxford I wished to explore the impact of the tumour-associated vasculature on tumour dissemination and progression, and on the establishment of metastases. My research focused on strategies harnessing the innate immune response of the brain in order to facilitate the targeted breakdown of the blood-brain barrier at sites of early brain metastasis, thus accelerating the diagnosis and enhancing the delivery of therapeutically relevant molecules to tumour sites.

Next, I joined Prof. Sten Eirik Jacobsen’s group in the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit at the WIMM in order to study the pathological mechanisms of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) progression in order to identifying new therapeutic targets and developing novel targeted agents.

Research summary

In 2020, I joined Prof. Adam Mead’s group to investigate the molecular determinants of treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) in multiple myeloma (MM) patients. MM is the second more frequent hematologic malignancy, accounting for 2% of all cancers worldwide, with the use of immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) such as thalidomide or its derivatives being the backbone of current standard-of-care therapy for newly diagnosed (NDMM) and relapsed or refractory MM (RRMM) patients. Despite the significant the contribution of these therapeutics towards improved overall survival rates, the clinical observation of TEAEs such as neutropenia and thrombocytopenia impacts the quality of life of MM patient and frequently leads to treatment discontinuation, thus being linked to dismal prognosis.

This project aims to unravel the molecular determinants of IMiD- induced differentiation block through the application of single cell multi-omic approaches complemented by mechanistic studies in primary cells from healthy individuals and MM patients.