In vitro models using primary cancer cells or immortalised cell lines provide a reductionist as well as a holistic approach to investigate the implications of clinical findings. From a single molecule to integrated signalling pathways, we aim to understand cellular behaviour and dynamics. For this we use a myriad of approaches that converge on imaging and flow cytometry. Our in vitro models focus on delineating the pathophysiology of two distinct diseases – childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (cALL) and Gall Bladder Cancer (GBC). Primary advantage of our models lies in the inclusion of the tumour microenvironment to better mimic in vivo findings.
Cell biology projects are hypothesis-driven. Projects in cALL focus on understanding the role of B-cell specific transcription factor IKAROS, and the guardian of the genome p53, using multiparametric phenotypic characterisation of immortalised ALL cells where either of these molecules has been aberrantly expressed. In collaboration with TiMBR, another project utilises banked primary ALL blasts to profile potential alternate therapies using a high throughput imaging platform. The GBC project aims to utilise organoids and cell lines established from patient-derived tissues banked in TiMBR to study the aetiology of the disease.