Dr Rachael Natrajan heads the Functional Genomics team in the Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre at the ICR.
She obtained her PhD under the supervision of Dr Chris Jones at The Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, where she studied the molecular pathology of the paediatric kidney cancer Wilms' Tumour.
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Subsequently she joined the Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, training with Professor Jorge Reis-Filho focussing on the molecular make-up of both rare and aggressive subtypes of breast cancer. In 2012, Dr Natrajan was awarded a career development fellowship to start her own lab within the Division of Breast Cancer at the ICR.
Her research interests focus on understanding the interplay of genetics and microenvironmental changes in the progression of aggressive therapy resistant forms of breast cancer, with the goal of identifying novel drivers and biomarkers and therapeutic targets of the disease.
This work involves interrogating patient derived models of resistance to already established as well as experimental therapies. In addition, Dr Natrajan applies novel profiling methodologies to study the heterogeneity of patient’s tumours, in order to develop novel biomarkers of treatment resistance.
By integrating the knowledge gained from studying primary patient material and complex model systems, the Functional Genomics lab hopes to identify rationally guided therapeutic strategies to halt disease progression.
Her work has already revealed some significant genetic alterations specific to with aggressive forms of breast cancer and has highlighted potential new drug targets.
Dr Natrajan is a member of the Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Centre, which brings together leading researchers in engineering, physical sciences, life sciences and medicine to develop innovative ways to address challenges in cancer.
Convergence Science Centre