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  • Writer's pictureArjun Menon

The Rudy A Menon PhD Studentship: Project Update - Spring/Summer 2022

Shauna Crampsie is now in the third year of her PhD project with the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and has spent the past few months working in Dr. Mara Vinci's lab in Rome at the Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù (OPBG). She continues to make progress in her targeted research on Gliomatosis Cerebri (GC) and has provided the following update:

"Having the opportunity to work both in Boston and Rome has been an exciting prospect for a long time in this project, especially with Covid having put a delay on all travel plans. Finally being in Rome – and during the summer – is a great experience.

Within the lab at OPBG, we have had the exciting prospect of continuing our modelling work for GC with techniques that the Vinci lab specialises in. We also finally get to utilise in situ imaging for our GC cases, which The Rudy A Menon Foundation have sponsored my time here for and something that has yet to be used for the study of GC! This has also exceeded expectations as we have many more cases than we initially projected.

It is a particular highlight for me to work with Mara Vinci personally, as though she has been remotely involved for the entire project in all capacities as a supervisor and mentor, getting to work with her and share in her expertise in a face-to-face capacity has been absolutely wonderful. Mara and her team have made me exceptionally welcome within the lab and Rome itself, and without the kind support of the Rudy A Menon Foundation and their contributors, this amazing collaboration and opportunity would not have been possible."

- Shauna Crampsie

Above we see Shauna carrying out some work on cell cultures – this is vital in the maintenance of cell lines and the team's ability to perform experiments on their GC models.

Here we see Mara and Shauna looking and discussing some of the GC cell lines. These cell lines are vital to modelling GC and enabling the team to carry out experiments to understand the disease and its growth patterns.

The team at Dr. Mara Vinci's lab in OPBG

From left to right: Lucia Petrilli , Alfredo Cerimele, Giulia Pericoli, Mara Vinci, Shauna Crampsie

Shauna with an invasion assay of a GC cell line – the invading individual cells are elongated and can be seen protruding from the large darker spheroid of GC cells, invading into a 3D matrix called Matrigel. This assay replicates the invasion capabilities of the disease and how it may spread through the brain.

Lucia and Shauna looking at an image produced by the Hyperion Imaging System – using metal tags to target very specific markers within the tumour, the team is able to visualise these markers in situ, which allows them to see these targets where they are present within a tumour.

From left to right: Giulia Pericoli, Lucia Petrilli, Shauna Crampsie, Mara Vinci, Alfredo Cerimele

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