the shepherd lab

Far and away the best prize that life 
has to offer is the chance to work hard 
at work worth doing.
                   - Theodore Roosevelt

our research

Spheroids as an in vitro model for tumour dormancy: One of our initial discoveries in the spheroid culture model of ovarian cancer metastasis was that cells reduced AKT kinase activity and adopted a quiescent state. This explains how spheroids can remain largely resistant to standard cytotoxic chemotherapeutics. This process is rapidly reversible since ovarian cancer spheroids undergo a “dormant-to-proliferative switch” when they re-attach to grow and migrate. Extending from this work, we have now uncovered additional characteristics of ovarian tumour dormancy in spheroids, including autophagy, stress metabolic signalling, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. These represent some of the major projects currently being investigated in the lab.