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Shazia Irshad

Senior Scientist and DPhil Supervisor

I completed my PhD at the Institute of Child Health, UCL, studying the role of POU domain transcription factors in childhood cancers. Following this, I did my first postdoctoral training at Imperial College London, working on high-throughput screens for genes that induced apoptosis specifically in transformed cells. To gain experience in cross-species analyses using mouse models and clinical samples, I moved to Herbert Irving Cancer Centre, Columbia University, which led to the identification of 3 ageing-associated gene signatures that were highly predictive in stratifying indolent Gleason 6 and 7 prostate cancers from lethal subtypes. I returned to the UK to work at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, exploring the role of perturbed BMP and Notch signalling in stem and progenitor cells in colorectal cancers.

Currently, my lab at NDCLS is working on understanding somatic stem cell ageing and how this impacts tissue function and tumorigenesis. We have an exciting new addition to our model system, that of the longest-lived rodent, the naked mole-rat, that maintains optimal physiological function and high fecundity for most of its life. Naked mole rats also do not exhibit an increase in age-related diseases and have a very low incidence of cancers. Unravelling novel homeostatic mechanisms associated with extended healthspan and longevity in naked mole rats holds great potential for ameliorating age-related pathologies.