Meet the Research Fellow – Lewis Reed

We are delighted that Lewis will be joining the research team in Autumn 2024 to begin the work of the Three Bears Research Fellow. The Three Bears Research Fellow is a three-year research project which will investigate the molecular biology of pancreatic cancer. The research is being supervised by Professor Thomas A Hughes from The Hughes group who have recently relocated to the York St John University Medical Research Centre.

To find out more about the project head over to our blog to discover more!

Tell us a bit about your Academic background?

    I started out studying Veterinary Biosciences at the University of Glasgow, which involved courses covering a number of different topics such as bacteriology and parasitology, but the course that caught my attention was molecular biology of cancer, which kick started my interest in cancer. For my Bachelors dissertation I undertook a project investigating leukaemia. I then continued my studies at the University of Glasgow with a masters in Cancer Research and Precision Oncology, where I developed an interest in pancreatic cancer and undertook a lab project for my Masters dissertation investigating pancreatic cancer. I’m really excited to get start this project and continue my research!

    What inspired you to pursue a career in pancreatic cancer research?

    During my Masters I saw many different seminars that covered a wide range of topics, but the one that piqued my interest was one by Dr Biffi focused on pancreatic cancer. After the seminar I read up more on the disease and this only furthered my interest, so when it came time to choose my MSc project topic, it was an easy choice. My masters project gave me a real interest in lab-based research, so pursuing a career in pancreatic caner research is the best way for me to combine my interest in the disease and my passion for lab work.

    What interests you most about working with The Three Bears Foundation?

    The Three Bears Foundation does extremely important work funding research and raising awareness for pancreatic cancer and I’m really looking forward to working with them in the community to help raise public awareness of the disease.

    What do you hope the impact of your research will be?

    Pancreatic Cancer is currently doesn’t have many effective treatment options, so I’m hoping my research helps us to understand the diseases response to current treatments and help identify new ways of treating the disease.

    Could you share any recent breakthroughs or advancements in pancreatic cancer research that have particularly interested or inspired you?

    The main focus of my PhD research will be looking at cells called Cancer-associated Fibroblasts and their impact on pancreatic cancer resistance to chemotherapy and last year,  a paper by Duan et al. (2023) found that when they targeted and reduced the activity of a specific protein in these cancer associated fibroblasts, tumour models responded more positively to a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, reducing the tumours ability to grow. I find this extremely interesting as this sort of finding could be extremely useful in helping to increase the effectiveness of treatments for pancreatic cancer.

    Tell us three fun facts about yourself!

    I wanted to be a vet growing up, I go rock climbing in my free time and I’m a big Star Wars and Lord of the Rings fan.

    Duan, Y., Zhang, X., Ying, H., Xu, J., Yang, H., Sun, K., He, L., Li, M., Ji, Y., Liang, T., & Bai, X. (2023). Targeting MFAP5 in cancer-associated fibroblasts sensitizes pancreatic cancer to PD-L1-based immunochemotherapy via remodeling the matrix. Oncogene 2023 42:25, 42(25), 2061–2073.