Children’s Medical Research Institute is pleased to announce that senior scientist, Dr Noa Lamm-Shalem, will establish and lead a new cancer research laboratory at CMRI in Westmead.
After many years working in CMRI’s Genome Integrity Unit, Dr Lamm a talented researcher who has led major discoveries published in prestigious scientific journals, has been selected to found and lead the Nuclear Dynamics Group.
CMRI’s Director Professor Roger Reddel announced that Dr Lamm would start her new lab with two researchers.
“Noa has done an absolutely wonderful job during her time at CMRI and we were very keen to offer this opportunity to become a research leader and play an important future role at the Institute,’’ Professor Reddel said.
Dr Lamm is delighted to share her excitement.
“I feel extremely fortunate for this opportunity to start the Nuclear Dynamics Group,’’ she said.
“My group has a specific focus on the nuclei of cancer cells. A nucleus stores a cell’s DNA – the instruction manual that guides a cell’s growth and biological activities. When cells divide, they copy this DNA in a complex and carefully orchestrated process. The complexity of this ‘DNA replication’ means that even normal dividing cells are prone to replication errors (which leads to mistakes in the DNA). Cancer cells, which grow and divide uncontrollably, are even more prone to this ‘replication stress’.
“DNA replication in a cancer cell is like an old car travelling at its top speed – it frequently breaks down and must be restarted. Cancer chemotherapy exploits this weakness in cancer cells by making the process break down even more frequently to destroy them.
“The problem is that these cells have developed a resistance to chemotherapy.
“What I’m interested in is understanding this response and what is happening inside the nucleus of cancer cells and using this information to find vulnerabilities that can become targets for new cancer treatments,’’ Dr Lamm said.
Part of Dr Lamm’s motivation to become a cancer researcher arose from her own personal story: when she was young, her mother died of cancer.
“It was extremely hard, especially as a kid, to watch the person you love and depend upon the most, dying – and there was nothing you could do about it.’’
Dr Lamm completed her PhD and post-doctoral training at the Hebrew University, Israel before relocating to CMRI five years ago. She earned several prestigious awards and competitive grants including Hebrew University’s "Woman in Science" award and an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant. She was an ICRF (Israel Cancer Research Fund) post-doctoral fellow and Cancer Institute NSW Early Career Fellow.
If you would like to donate to support this new lab, visit the CMRI website: https://www.cmrijeansforgenes.org.au/